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] For players who did not receive gold or items from Tectus/Ko’ragh due to tonight’s bug, updates he
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] New instances have been hotfixed and drop loot. We're looking into resolution for affected players.
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] We're aware that Tectus & Ko'ragh aren't dropping loot in the 2nd Highmaul wing. Updates to follow:
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We've said that Glyph of Blackout Kick will be returning, it just needs a patch.
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4.3 Preview: Paladin Tier 13 Battleplate of Radiant Glory
2011/09/21 at 8:19 PM
Adventurers will be tested like never before in 4.3 as they take on Deathwing and his minions, emerging with powerful new treasures. Please enjoy this preview of the paladin tier 13 set, as well as a visual guide to tiers 1 through 12 for
Battleplate of Radiant Glory
Design requested a set to ‘key off the Guardian of Ancient Kings summon,’ and I though the concept of ‘feathered’ plate mail, rendered in silver and gold, would create an aggressive, yet sweeping and powerful silhouette. The previous paladin raid set had a good deal of cloth, but we wanted this set to be entirely platemail.
The key to a strong paladin tier is hitting a balance between martial prowess and elegant grace -- tapping into that classic Arthurian knight archetype.
Paladin Tier 1-12
Tier 13 Previews
Warrior Tier 13
Warlock Tier 13
Druid Tier 13
Shaman Tier 13
Mage Tier 13
Rogue Tier 13
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4.3 Preview: Rogue Tier 13 Blackfang Battleweave
2011/09/20 at 11:05 AM
Adventurers will be tested like never before in 4.3 as they take on Deathwing and his minions, emerging with powerful new treasures. Please enjoy this preview of the rogue tier 13 set, as well as a visual guide to tiers 1 through 12 for
A "bat-themed" armor set for rogues seems like a no-brainer, but we were careful to skirt the more obvious inspirations. World of Warcraft often makes playful references to pop culture, but it’s important -- particularly with player gear -- that what we create has integrity within our universe. Rogues look good in close-fitting masks, collars, and cowls rather than elaborate armored helms. It also helps reinforce the rogue's sneaky silhouette if the shoulder pads have a streamlined shape... even if that shape has sharp, bladed details.
Rogue Tier 1-12
Tier 13 Previews
Warrior Tier 13
Warlock Tier 13
Druid Tier 13
Shaman Tier 13
Mage Tier 13
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4.3 Preview: The Dragon Soul Raid And Transmogrification Rules
2011/09/19 at 6:25 PM
The Dragon Soul Raid
World of Warcraft patch 4.3 will offer players the opportunity to take the fight to Wyrmrest Temple and beyond, assisting Thrall and the Dragon Aspects as they seek to bring an end to the Black Dragonflight once and for all. 10- and 25-person raids will get to take on Deathwing himself, with three levels of difficulty to consider and epic gear to claim.
Forged by Deathwing during the War of the Ancients, the Dragon Soul harnessed the power of the other dragonflights, until it was ultimately destroyed. After recovering a version of the artifact from the Caverns of Time, Thrall and the allied dragonflights now rally at Wyrmrest Temple in a desperate bid to use its might to defeat Deathwing.
Created by the titans as a sanctuary for all Dragonkind, the crumbling Wyrmrest Temple is now the final hope for the forces allied against the black dragon Neltharion, once the Earth-Warder and protector of Azeroth, now Deathwing the Destroyer. It is here that the remaining aspects -- Alexstrasza, Ysera, Nozdormu, Kalecgos, and Thrall -- have gathered to empower the Dragon Soul -- Azeroth's last chance to stop the great behemoth. As they begin to charge the Dragon Soul with energy, Deathwing and his entire army assault Wyrmrest Temple. Players must thwart the attacking forces long enough for Thrall to charge the Dragon Soul.
Before you face Deathwing the Destroyer, you must prevail against six mighty bosses.
The most powerful elemental still under Deathwing's sway, Morchok -- once a passive guardian -- is now convinced that his only respite will come with Azeroth's demise. Morchok rages against the foundation of Wyrmrest Temple, Azeroth's last beacon of hope in the Hour of Twilight.
Countless ages ago, Warlord Zon'ozz and his soldiers waged endless war against the forces of C'Thun and Yogg-Saron. Millennia have passed, but the warlord still serves the chaotic might of the Old God N'Zoth. Deathwing has now unleashed this legendary faceless one to crush the defenders of Wyrmrest Temple.
Since the fall of the Bastion of Twilight, Yor'sahj the Unsleeping has eagerly assisted Deathwing, providing the Destroyer with the means to release more faceless ones from their prisons deep beneath the earth. Their numbers are endless and their power is beyond reckoning, and Yor'sahj intends to reap a grim reward for his faithful service.
Hagara the Binder, one of the first students of arcane magic under the Forsaken, showed surprising potential for one who had started learning so late in life. But in her undisciplined attempts to bind elementals into servitude, she was ensnared and twisted by the Windlord, Al'Akir. Now fiercely loyal to the Twilight's Hammer, Hagara binds others for her elemental masters to torment.
More an abomination of dark energy than a dragon, Ultraxion has spent his short life absorbing the essence of captured nether dragons. Ultraxion is the only twilight dragon Deathwing has praised, and his arrogance is overshadowed only by the crackling energies surging through his twisted form. Loyal to his master, Ultraxion swears to bring about the fall of Wyrmrest Temple.
Though once vast in number, only a few dozen twilight dragons now remain. Astride these hardened survivors are the last vestiges of the Twilight's Hammer's army: the elite drake riders of Deathwing's personal escort. Led by the insidious Warmaster Blackhorn, they move with unholy purpose, driven to protect their dark master.
When Deathwing first channeled the Dragon Soul's power against the other dragonflights, the massive energies that he unleashed threatened to break him apart. Rather than forgo this weapon, he had adamantium plates fused to his scales to hold his body together. Later reinforced with elementium, these plates are now his weakness -- the sole vulnerability to Deathwing's lethal presence.
Your assault on the massive Deathwing will begin a battle unlike any other. It is a fight so wide-ranging and intense that it comprises two unique encounters, taking place across Azeroth. Taking to the skies, players will parachute from soaring gunships to attack the monster mid-flight and attempt to weaken him by ripping away his armor, exposing the molten flesh beneath. Should they succeed, they will plunge into the depths of Maelstrom for the final encounter.
No adventurer has yet taken on an enemy so large and dangerous and lived to tell the tale. Will you?
Check out our previews of the forthcoming 5-person dungeons,
Well of Eternity
Hour of Twilight
Rules on Transmogrification
Since we announced the transmogrification feature coming to World of Warcraft with patch 4.3, we have monitored thousands of follow-up comments, questions and suggestions from players all over the world.
What follows is our current list of rules for transmogrification. This is a set of rules that we expect to change over time, and is not intended to be 100% comprehensive, but we hope that it can be referenced to answer most questions that players currently have about what they can and cannot expect to be able to do with transmogrification.
The character must be able to equip both items.
Only common (green), rare (blue) or epic (purple) items may be transmogrified. (exceptions: a select few of these items will prevented from being used to transmogrify if they are inappropriate)
Items must share the same armor type (examples: plate for plate, cloth for cloth)
Weapons must be the same weapon type (exceptions: Guns, Crossbows, or Bows)
Guns, Crossbows, and Bows can be used to transmogrify Guns, Crossbows, or Bows.
Main hand weapons can only be used to transmogrify Main hand weapons.
Off-hand weapons can only be used to transmogrify Off-hand weapons.
One handed weapons can be used to transmogrify a Main hand or Off-hand weapon.
Using an item for transmogrify makes it soulbound.
Using an item for transmogrify makes it non-refundable.
Using an item for transmogrify makes it non-tradable.
Heirlooms and Account Bound items can be transmogrified.
Heirlooms and Account Bound items can be used to transmogrify.
Legendary items cannot be transmogrified.
Legendary items cannot be used to transmogrify.
Fishing Poles cannot be transmogrified.
Fishing Poles cannot be used to transmogrify.
Mailing an item strips its transmogrification.
Placing an item in Void Storage strips its transmogrification.
Vendoring an item strips its transmogrification.
The displayed enchant will be that of the currently equipped item.
There may be individual items that are excluded from being transmogrified on the basis that they were originally added to the game as absurdities. (examples: a weapon that looks like a fish, or a chest piece that is invisible)
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4.3 Preview: Hour of Twilight 5-man
2011/09/19 at 5:16 PM
Hour of Twilight
The final stage in this series of dungeons is set in the present-day Dragonblight, now under a full invasion by the Twilight's Hammer. Players must escort Thrall and the Dragon Soul safely to Wyrmrest Temple, where the assault on Deathwing is to commence. But the Twilight's Hammer forces are numerous, and their leadership remains strong. Those attacking the temple are commanded by a man known very well for the strength of will he's offered Alliance citizens. Now with his own will broken, he preaches only Deathwing's cataclysmic vision for all life on Azeroth.
Excerpts from the Dungeon Journal
Horde and Alliance assaults against the Twilight's Hammer have slaughtered many of the cult's fearsome elemental ascendants. One exception is Arcurion, a formidable water ascendant tasked to slay Thrall and retrieve the Dragon Soul. Should this twisted elemental being succeed, nothing will be able to stop Deathwing from ushering in the Hour of Twilight.
Former blade-for-hire Asira Sunbright was initially leery of working for the Twilight's Hammer, but the cult's generous payments quickly won her over. In time, she succumbed to the corruptive influence of her dark employers, even going so far as to take on the name Dawnslayer. As one of the cult's deadliest assassins, Asira has been called upon to exterminate Thrall and his comrades.
Archbishop Benedictus is the revered leader of the Church of the Holy Light. For years, his wise guidance has been instrumental in seeing humanity through bleak times. Yet beneath his apparent benevolence lies the shocking truth that Benedictus has pledged himself to the eradication of all life on Azeroth through the agency of his dark master... Deathwing.
This world has already lost too many good people. While inhabitants of Azeroth have been betrayed by their most trusted leaders and advisors, others have betrayed their own ideals and morals in search of a higher, albeit calamitous, cause. The time has come. You must act on behalf of the Dragon Aspects as a minister of war, battling the twisted future echoes of today's greatest leaders, subverting ancient armies of the Highborne and Burning Legion, and risking your very life to make certain the Twilight's Hammer doesn't intercept Thrall's most coveted possession. Your mission will take you beyond the bounds of time. You'll see Deathwing's preferred outcome for Azeroth -- an outcome through which even he won't survive. You'll witness the event that began the first Sundering of the world, 10,000 years prior to the Cataclysm.
All of this you'll do to bring back into existence what would appear to be a simple disk… an object all but forgotten over the ages. This is the beginning of the last stand against Deathwing.
Stay tuned for a preview of the patch 4.3 raid: Dragon Soul.
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4.3 Preview: Well of Eternity 5-man
2011/09/19 at 1:44 PM
Well of Eternity
Ten thousand years in the past, the night elven capital city of Zin-Azshari was a magnificent, sparkling metropolis. Situated on the shores of the Well of Eternity, Zin-Azshari was where the aristocratic Highborne first opened a portal into the Twisting Nether and invited the Burning Legion to invade Azeroth. Under the command of the night elven queen, Azshara, the Highborne now pour their energies into the portal, preparing it for the terrifying and glorious entrance of the titan Sargeras.
With a gateway to the past now open, Nozdormu will transport players to Azshara's palace, where you'll witness one of the most catastrophic events in the War of the Ancients, dating back 10,000 years. While assisting the much younger Tyrande and Illidan in a battle against the Highborne and Burning Legion, players will need to steal the Dragon Soul hovering above the Well. With so many of Azshara's most empowered wizards locked in ritual and pouring their magical energies into the turbulent depths of the Well, retrieving the Dragon Soul will require victory over some lethal foes.
Excerpts from the Dungeon Journal
Like many of his fellow Highborne, Peroth'arn swore allegiance to the corrupted Xavius in exchange for gifts of demonic power. As a master of fiendish magic and recipient of the satyr curse, Peroth'arn stands outside Azshara's palace in defense of the Burning Legion, ready to destroy those hoping to disrupt the entrance of the Dark Titan, Sargeras, into Azeroth.
The songs of Queen Azshara's beauty, majesty, and power are too numerous to count, but it was her vanity that drove the Highborne to summon the Burning Legion. She now watches her most trusted magi empower the portal where Sargeras will be brought into Azeroth, content to let multitudes of her servants die in advance of the Dark Titan's arrival.
Mannoroth and Varo'then
Varo'then, head of Queen Azshara's personal guard, and Mannoroth, the pit lord whose blood will corrupt the entire orc race, stand as the last line of defense against those hoping to bar Sargeras's entry into Azeroth. Though both Tyrande and Illidan have fought bravely thus far, the fate of Azeroth will be decided at the Well of Eternity's very brink.
The task at hand requires nothing short of total success. In order for Thrall and the Dragon Aspects to rally heroes of the Horde and Alliance to defeat Deathwing, you must steal the Dragon Soul from the distant past. However, the tragic events which took place at the Well of Eternity must ultimately come to pass, leading to the Great Sundering, the creation of the Maelstrom, and the loss of countless lives.
Stay tuned for part three of our patch 4.3 dungeons preview: Hour of Twilight.
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4.3 Preview: End Time 5-man
2011/09/19 at 11:09 AM
Cho'gall, once a key executor of the nihilistic Twilight's Hammer's vision, has been struck down. Lady Sinestra, consort of Deathwing and mother to the malevolent black dragons Nefarian and Onyxia, has fallen at the hands of great heroes. Ragnaros, lord of the realm of fire in the Elemental Plane, and Al’Akir, baron of the realm of air -- both mighty arbiters of Deathwing's destructive ends -- have themselves been purged. But even with so many of Deathwing's servants now vanquished, he freely roams the skies of Azeroth, wreaking havoc on the land and its people. It's in these darkest of hours that the forces standing against Deathwing must carry out a desperate plan to put an end to his devastating twilight flight.
The other Dragon Aspects, with allegiance from Thrall, have devised a dangerous and unorthodox strategy to bring Deathwing down once and for all. But to do so, they must acquire the Dragon Soul from a pivotal moment in the distant past... and they're going to need your help. In patch 4.3, level-85 players will gain access to three new Heroic-difficulty five-player dungeons, embarking on quests to aid the Aspects and other familiar faces in a fight against Deathwing, the Twilight's Hammer, ancient armies of the Burning Legion and Highborne... and even time itself.
Much like the experience in the five-player content of Icecrown Citadel, players must quest through these dungeons sequentially to unlock access to them in the Dungeon Finder. You'll also be afforded the opportunity for all-new epic loot, including new dungeon sets. While these sets aren't broken down by class and contain no set bonuses, they offer cohesive aesthetic looks for each armor type: cloth, leather, mail, and plate. These set pieces can be taken from the grasps of defeated bosses in each of the new Heroic dungeons.
Now read on for a taste of what lies ahead and -- interestingly enough -- behind you in the first of these three new dungeons: End Time.
One of an infinite number of potential outcomes, this timeway depicts the desolate future of Azeroth should its defenders fail to stop Deathwing. In this bleak future, Nozdormu has identified an anomaly that bars access to both the past and the Dragon Soul: a powerful creature from out of time, living alone amid time-twisted echoes of the past.
In order for Nozdormu to provide you the ability to travel back in time to a point before the Dragon Soul was hidden by Malfurion Stormrage from anyone who’d seek its power, you must first go to a distant and desolate future to discover the anomaly blocking the past. You'll find yourself in a very different Dragonblight, stripped of its snowy landscape, with little more than ruins of the once-great dragonshrines. Wyrmrest Temple itself stands only as a reminder of Deathwing's madness -- what's left of his scorched remains is impaled atop the structure.
Before you confront the creature disrupting Nozdormu's access to the past, you'll first be called to fight any two of the following four ostensibly familiar leaders, chosen at random each time you play through End Time.
Excerpts from the Dungeon Journal
Echo of Sylvanas
Spawned from shattered timeways and cloistered within the Ruby Dragonshrine, a maddened fragment of the Forsaken's leader, Sylvanas Windrunner, waits restlessly. Having lost everything and unable to find peace, this tormented echo aches for a chance to unleash her dark fury at anything still living within these barren, time-twisted wastes.
Echo of Tyrande
Once high priestess of Elune and leader of the night elves, this time-twisted fragment of Tyrande Whisperwind now wanders the desolate future of Azeroth. Enveloped by eternal midnight, she is forever separated from the comforting light of Elune and torn by questions about why her goddess did nothing to put an end to such madness.
Echo of Jaina
The tormented fragment of Jaina Proudmoore has been split and infused within the shattered pieces of her staff. To restore balance to the timeways, this echo must be defeated. However, the devastating magical power possessed by the once-proud ruler of Theramore is hardly lost to her time-havocked spectre. In this future Azeroth, she is only divided, and waiting....
Echo of Baine
Enraged by his failure to protect the world and, most importantly, the Horde, this time-ravaged shade of Baine Bloodhoof lingers within the ruins of the Obsidian Dragonshrine. Although he's still as powerful as the tauren high chieftain from the present, within this shattered future Azeroth, this guilt-ridden echo is little more than a discordant vessel of unquenchable malice and anger.
These long-dead heroes are mere echoes of their former glory, further warped by the corruptive force of time. Their presence here is a great mystery, even to Nozdormu. Once these shades have been laid to rest, the maniacal figure blocking Nozdormu's vision will be revealed at the Bronze Dragonshrine. None of the Dragon Aspects could have predicted what entity would have such power to interrupt the sight of the Timeless One… the ability to create a new and infinite dragonflight. Only by destroying a mysterious dragon known as Murozond will you give Azeroth's protectors the opportunity to avoid the potential outcome to which your eyes bear witness.
Stay tuned for part two of our patch 4.3 dungeons preview: Well of Eternity.
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Tom Chilton Explains 4.3's 5-mans: Endtime, Well of Eternity, and Hour of Twilight
2011/09/19 at 1:02 AM
The NDA for interviews with Blizzard was lifted at midnight tonight PST and interviews are cropping up everywhere about 4.3 and the Deathwing encounter. The first one is
Joystiq's interview with Tom Chilton
. While it tells us a lot of old information, in particular stuff about transmogrification and void storage, it also tells us a lot of new information.
Like, you know, the three 5-mans and what their stories will be. And exactly how Deathwing's fight will unfold.
According to Chilton, Deathwing is a different sort of boss. " doesn't just kind of sit around....He doesn't have a throne to chill on, just waiting for people to show up and throw down the gauntlet." Instead, players must come to him and chase him; first through the three 5-mans, then later through the 10/25-man raid instance itself.
The first instance is called "Endtime"
and it sends players into the future to see what Deathwing's victory means."And so you go into this grim vision of the future," says Chilton, "and essentially demonstrate to Nozdormu that this is what's going to happen if you don't send us back to the Well of Eternity after the Demon Soul to be able to have a chance against Deathwing."
The second instance is called "Well of Eternity,"
where players go back in time to see Thrall grab an item called the Demon Soul in order to use it against Deathwing himself.
"You fight bosses like Azshara and Mannoroth." (Source:
The third and final instance is called "Hour of Twilight,"
where players escort Thrall to Wyrmrest Temple and the battle begins.
"So at that point, you get to Wyrmrest Temple, and that's where the raid essentially starts. You take on six different bosses, they're all Deathwing's minions, and eventually, you take on Deathwing himself."
From there, the battle changes drastically--to a format World of Warcraft has never since seen. Players chase Deathwing across the world and end up landing on his back.
Chilton explained to Joystiq: "He starts to try to escape, he's getting away to rebuild strength and get himself healed, you're peeling off his armor plates, and all of these different lava creatures that spawn out through his armor plates." He also hinted to a mechanic where players have to try to stay in place while fighting on his back. Finally, Deathwing falls off into the Maelstrom, where the final showdown takes place; players fight on islands surrounding the vortex.
Chilton also spoke to Eurogamer about this fight, saying: "Once you get to the Deathwing encounter it takes place, at first, at Wyrmrest Temple, where Thrall uses the Demon Soul to essentially take a shot at Deathwing and wound him. At that point you get onto a gunship and you para-drop from the gunship onto Deathwing and you fight Deathwing on his back, essentially peeling off his armour plates trying to expose him and make him weaker. Once you've weakened him enough to where you've got him essentially wrestled to the ground--he's flying towards The Maelstrom, trying to get away, a lot like he did much earlier when he escaped and tried to gather his strength once again. You wrestle him down and then you fight the final, corrupted version of him, where all the horrible corruption that has affected Deathwing is all coming out, and it all comes to an end there in The Maelstrom."
Here are the first three official previews as well as the raid preview::
4.3 Preview: End Time 5-man
4.3 Preview: Well of Eternity 5-man
4.3 Preview: Hour of Twilight 5-man
4.3 Preview: The Dragon Soul Raid
Epic Gems, The Dragon Soul Raid, and More
Our sister site,
, spoke with Ghostcrawler as well and have a sizable interview with him.
To sum it all up:
GC gives an explanation of why they nerf content and how they manage to design raids knowing few players will see them.
Epic gems are coming.
There will be eight bosses in the new raid called The Dragon Soul; bosses will "come at you" and you will "feel like the ones attacked."
The LFR tool will be an easier difficulty, used just for the tool, making there three difficulty levels for a raid: LFR, normal, and heroic. (
As we reported earlier last week from The Escapist
Players will get unique achievements in the LFR--in other words, you can't form achievement groups in LFR.
LFR will not share a lockout with other raids and you will be able to do them multiple times per week; theoretically you could queue for Firelands, beat it, and then get another LFR Firelands the next day.
A while back it was mentioned that there would be a legendary in patch 4.3. A lot of us have been kind of expecting an agility one-hander. Anything new on that front?
GS: Yes, you're right! It is a pair of agility one-handers, and they are, in fact, daggers, and they are Rogue-only.
Rogue-only, interesting. So, a Legendary for just one class.
GS: Yeah. Yeah, we haven't done anything like that before, but we thought it would be fun to try to tie the weapon's proc and the quest line itself to rogue mechanics. Like, we know that the person on the quest will be able to stealth and pickpocket and they'll have combo points, and they'll be able to slowfall, and we thought it would be fun to really tailor things to the rogue specifically.
It always causes a ton of controversy when people are like “Oh, I was expecting... it's time for the Feral legendary” or whatever. It's a really hard thing to balance, and hopefully, eventually, we'll get around to giving everyone a legendary, but we don't want it to be too predictable, that takes some of the fun out of it. We try to keep players on their toes a little bit.
One more thing I should mention is that the mechanics are such that Combat rogues will be able to use the two daggers just as fine as well.
Okay, so regardless of spec, if you're a Rogue you're gonna want these things.
GS: Yeah, exactly.
A few weeks ago, tank threat generation was given a huge buff, the idea being that the tank rotation would be refocused on survivability at a later date. Should tanks be expecting those changes in patch 4.3?
GS: No, no... they're pretty severe changes and I was scared if we put something that major into 4.3 some players would love it and some would really hate it, to change something on them that dramatically right in the middle of content. So that's something we'll probably save for a future expansion, but it's definitely something we've been thinking about a lot.
What made you decide to push the threat hotfix before the rest of the changes could be implemented?
We had decided a while ago that we were going to make a fix to threat in 4.3. We were just getting really frustrated by all the tales of... it's funny, because the community really latched onto this as a Dungeon Finder fix but we always viewed it as a problem we were seeing players having in raids, and even heroic raids, where no matter what the tank was doing, someone, perhaps a DPS Warrior or Death Knight, was creeping up on them and then we'd have to have Hand of Salv rotations and things like that, and we were talking about “Okay, what threat dump are we going to give the DPS Warrior?” and it just made us sit down and say “You know what? Is anyone really having fun with this system?”
I mean, really good tanks that are good at keeping threat were having fun, but anytime they were losing threat, it was not fun for them, and it certainly wasn't fun for the DPS to have to always feel throttled and have to, you know... I remember this Feral Druid who said “I can't attack Al'akir for 16 seconds because if I do, I'll pull threat off of the tank” so he would just sit there and do nothing for a while. And we were like, you know, that doesn't really fit the model everyone's trying for now, which is pop Bloodlust on the pull, and everyone pop their trinkets right away on the opening...
So anyway, long story, once we decided we were gonna make the threat change, we were like, you know why should we wait? Let's just do it now and try to fix some of the problems players are having in Firelands.
Okay, so it was kind of a “People aren't having fun with threat right now, so we'll just get rid of this right now, and then give tanks something extra to do a little bit later on, but right now we need to solve this issue.”
GS: Yeah, and as you know, the truth is that good tanks weren't really having to struggle too much. You know, if you fail to press your Shield Slam or Crusader Strike at exactly the right millisecond, you're probably not going to lose threat anyway, so I don't think we're really taking away a lot of gameplay. We were taking away a lot of gameplay that, you know, once upon a time might have been interesting, or everyone was kinda holding on to the theoretical idea of what “threat fights” could be, but it just hadn't really been a very exciting mechanic for a long time.
Any major class changes we should be expecting in 4.3?
GS: We are going to do a kind of a raid melee buff across the board. We're gonna take the attack power buff and have it apply more to melee attack power than ranged attack power. On a target dummy melee and ranged DPS is pretty comparable, but in the encounters over and over, melee players come to us and are like, “Why am I here? We could do better with another Hunter or Warlock.” And we're sensitive to that, so we want to make sure that melee feel like they have a place, and we're gonna do that by making sure that, when situations are optimal for them, when they have, say a Baleroc fight or something where there's not a lot of movement, not a lot of adds, that the melee really shine on those fights, because we know there will be plenty of other opportunities for everyone else to shine.
Right, it's always been kind of a battle of balance where when melee is stronger than ranged, then there's “the melee fights” when there's not much movement. How do you guys approach that theoretically in terms of trying to balance out movement in encounter design when you're trying to figure out if a spec needs a buff or not?
GS: We actually do model DPS rotations on the move. We have... we can cheat a lot more in the game than we let players do. We can do crazy things with automation that we prevent players from doing. So, it's easy for us to test out pretty simple movement, like “how much damage can you do while moving, while pursuing a boss?” It's a lot harder to replicate all the mechanics that go on in a fight like, say, Majordomo where you're running in and running out, and in those cases we rely a lot on raid parses that come out from actual players, so we can see “Well, the Ret Paladin looked good when he was up against a Warlock on a static boss, but on a fight like this, they're just falling behind.”
Will we be seeing epic gems in 4.3?
GS: Great question, and yes, you will! The way we're hoping to set it up, and we kind of have this working but things could change before we go live, is when you kill a boss on normal or heroic mode, each player gets a geode, and when they open the geode there's a chance they may find an epic gem inside. If not, it'll have blue gems or something like that. We really want it to feel like an individual reward, and not something that the raid leader gets to have fun in deciding who gets the gems, or they all go to the guild bank or something. We really want it to feel like an individual reward.
They'll be somewhat rare. It may take the entire content cycle before someone has replaced every red gem they have, but they won't be so rare that you won't see them.
How is that going to work with profession bonuses? Blacksmithing with its extra sockets, assuming that you could get ahold of a full set of epic gems, seems like it would all of a sudden become the best profession.
GS: I think the epic gems are like 10 stat points over the current ones, so it's a nice boost, but hopefully it won't push everyone towards Blacksmithing.
So you'd only end up with like 20 extra Strength as a Blacksmith.
GS: Yeah, something like that.
So recently, Ragnaros has been hotfixed, and now there's the big tier-wide hotfixes coming up as well. What's the thought process that you guys use in determining when bosses should be nerfed? How do you come to the conclusion that, say, “X amount of guilds have killed Ragnaros, we need to nerf him. X amount of guilds are still working on Heroic Shannox, we need a zone-wide nerf”?
GS: We gather... I would call it a staggering amount of data on boss kills and number of attempts and things like that. We look a lot at how many new kills have there been for a particular week, like okay this guild couldn't kill Shannox before but killed him this week. The flows to those curves tend to be pretty steep at first because, you know, the really talented guilds roll in and kinda clear everything quickly, and then they start to slow down over time as you might expect, you know, not everyone gets a new boss kill every week, and then at some point they really start to plateau, and that is, the raiders now are just not moving. And we know that we risk losing raiders. They may not unsubscribe, but they may just stop raiding any time they hit a brick wall for too long.
Now, if you're Paragon, and you don't mind making 300 attempts, that's one thing, but a lot of raiders don't have that staying power. They're willing to wipe on a boss for a few weeks, but not for months and months and months for a boss that's early on in the tier. So once we start to see those boss kills fall off, we go in and selectively nerf things that players are having trouble with. We kind of want everyone to feel like they have finished Firelands before 4.3 comes out. That doesn't mean that every guild in the world needs to have killed Heroic Ragnaros, but we do want them to feel like they were making steady progression, and it wasn't like “Well, we killed 7 bosses, then we did 1 boss on heroic, and then we couldn't ever kill that second boss on heroic for 4 months.” I mean, that isn't fun, so we try to make sure that everyone feels like they're always making some level of progress.
So, with these nerfs coming into place... I know you guys don't like giving out dates, but should we at least be expecting to see a 4.3 PTR soon? Personally, my guild is 6/7 heroic. Should we be expecting several months of just one boss to work on, and then just farming the instance?
GS: Obviously it's going to depend a lot on when 4.3 comes out. Our hope is that we can make our patches faster and faster than we've done in the past. So, smart players might see that we're nerfing Firelands now and think that means that Firelands is coming to a close soon, but usually our patches are on PTR for a while, so there should be plenty of warning based on how the PTR is going of when that will actually end.
I have a theory about the Deathwing fight. It's been kind of alluded to a bunch, but never really spelled out, so I'm hoping you can help me out here. It seems like the idea is that the Deathwing encounter is actually going to be multiple encounters, and you'll be facing him at different points.
GS: You're on the right track. So, Deathwing is basically two bosses in this raid. He's boss number 7 and boss number 8. Boss number 7 is the fight where you fight on his back, so you're having to deal with him, and he's obviously there in the fight, but he's not sitting around breathing fire on you or things like that. Boss 8 is the final showdown with Deathwing, and this fight as well has many many phases. The first thing you do is fight one of his... so, back up a little bit. At this point, Deathwing is definitely hurting a little bit. His armor is falling off, all the raw corruption inside is kind of exploding out of him, and he's now something halfway between a dragon and an old god minion. He's kind of... we call him “C'thulhu Deathwing” at this point.
So you're fighting like, a tentacle, and then once the tentacle is down you fly kind of Skywall raid-style to a next island, and now you're fighting one of his claws, and then you move to another one and you're beating down a wing. And he's attacking you this whole time; he's spitting fire at you, he's breathing, he's got this big scorpion tail that he's jabbing you with, but he's so large that you're just knocking down a piece at a time until finally you've beaten every single part of him, if you're awesome enough to do that, and defeated him once and for all.
Awesome! So there's encounter number 7, that's on his back, and then encounter number 8 is hopping around through different parts and fighting off Old God corruption as well as bits of Deathwing. So there's 6 other bosses before that?
GS: Yes, that's correct.
Okay, so total of 8 encounters in 4.3.
GS: Yeah. The first several bosses are around Wyrmrest Temple. At this point, all of Deathwing's forces, from the old god minions to the Twilight Hammer, to the Twilight and Black Dragons, are all attacking Wyrmrest, and the players are on a strike team to kind of... this giant elemental comes lumbering across the landscape and you guys gotta take him out before he breaks Wyrmrest down. And you do a little bit of that for a while. Then, the forces actually get to Wyrmrest itself, and... I believe boss 5 is a gigantic Twilight Dragon that's flying around the top of Wyrmrest breathing on you while the players are defending the Dragon Aspects and trying to kill this dragon.
From there you get onto a gunship and are chasing Deathwing, and the High General, the commander of all the military forces of the Twilight's Hammer, comes down Rend and Gyth style and leaps off his drake to fight you on the gunship. And then you go on to the Deathwing fight, and then you go on to the Maelstrom fight.
Awesome! That sounds absolutely amazing.
GS: Yeah. We've never done a raid like this before. Our raids have almost always been a long hallway with trash, and then a boss room, and then another long hallway. This one is so different. It's very event driven. It's more scripted than location-based. A little bit like Hyjal, but even then you were kind of like, “Okay, we're in the Human area, and now we're going to the Orc area.” This one is a lot more like the bosses are coming AT you.
So I'm assuming then it's going to be in basically an instanced version of Dragonblight, outside of Wyrmrest Temple?
GS: Yeah, exactly. It's a modified Wyrmrest Temple that's under siege.
So I guess this is kind of an acute question, but... where do we zone in?
GS: No, it's a really good question, something we had to struggle with. We're doing three 5-player dungeons and a raid in this patch, and all the entrances are in Caverns of Time. Even though the raid itself takes place in “the modern day”, it made sense just to be there with the other portals. And since the players are allied particularly with the Bronze Dragonflight through this patch, we thought it made sense just to have that as the entrance to the raid.
Is there anything you can tell me about the 5-man dungeons?
GS: Yeah, they're really cool. Kind of like what we did with Icecrown where they built up to the actual assault on Icecrown Citadel, these are kind of telling the story of how the players get the Dragon Soul, which is this powerful artifact they need to defeat Deathwing. And the way they do it is they go back in time to the War of the Ancients, where Azshara was still a Night Elf, and the demons were coming out of the Well of Eternity, to steal the Dragon Soul. And because they're kind of screwing up time at this point, Nozdormu tells you at the end, “Okay, we totally messed up time, don't worry about it, I'll go fix everything, you guys just take the Dragon Soul and go.”
And then, in the next dungeon, you have the Dragon Soul, you hook up with Thrall, and together you're trying to reach Wyrmrest Temple -- this is another instanced version of Dragonblight -- while all the various minions of Deathwing and the Twilight Hammer, and ultimately the leader of the Twilight Hammer, who we haven't seen yet, try to stop you from doing that. So it'll hearken back a little bit to the Escape from Durnholde style of fight, but of course all new.
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4.3 Preview: Mage Tier 13 Timelord Regalia
2011/09/15 at 11:13 AM
Adventurers will be tested like never before in 4.3 as they take on Deathwing and his minions, emerging with powerful new treasures. Please enjoy this preview of the mage tier 13 set, as well as a visual guide to tiers 1 through 12 for
It’s fun to put a spin on any caster class that moves it away from the usual wizardly archetype, and this set provided the perfect opportunity to do just that. Gnomish clockwork technology is an established part of the Warcraft universe, but it’s not something we’ve incorporated into a tier of player armor before. The combination of moving cogs, quilted fabric, and lots of buckled straps give the set an intriguing "techno-mage" flavor.
Mage Tier 1-12
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4.3 Preview: Shaman Tier 13 Spiritwalker's Vestments
2011/09/14 at 8:06 PM
Adventurers will be tested like never before in
World of Warcaft
patch 4.3 as they take on Deathwing and his minions, emerging from the conflict with powerful new treasures. Please enjoy this preview of the shaman tier 13 armor set, as well as a visual guide to tiers 1 through 12 for
Shaman – Spiritwalker’s Vestments
The best shaman sets are a mix of the animal and the elemental. This tier combines huge wolf-skull shoulder pads, bone fetishes, and fur with glowing shards of amber crystal. The entire set is lashed together with lengths of rope and heavily stitched leather, which lends the set a savage bearing.
Shaman Tiers 1-12
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4.3 Preview: Druid Tier 13 Deep Earth Vestments
2011/09/13 at 11:28 AM
Adventurers will be tested like never before in 4.3 as they take on Deathwing and his minions, emerging with powerful new treasures. Please enjoy this preview of the druid tier 13 set, as well as a visual guide to tiers 1 through 12 for
Deep Earth Vestments
The design called for "phosphorescent mushrooms, reminiscent of Zangarmarsh," so our main concern was avoiding making a helm that looked like a giant toadstool sombrero. We’re always looking to incorporate interesting light sources within a raid set, and bioluminescent vegetable growth certainly provides that. Twisting, organic shapes are often key elements of a druid set, and this tier is no exception, with writhing plant roots providing a frame for the glowing clusters of fungi.
Druid Tiers 1-12
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