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Vengeance Hotfix and Starlight Ink Trades
2012/10/08 at 3:10 PM
A hotfix will be applied to adjust how Vengeance stacks for tanks of all classes:
Vengeance should now ramp up more quickly. Avoidance will now grant Vengeance based on the average damage of the avoided NPC auto-attack, instead of just refreshing existing Vengeance. This does not apply to enemy special attacks.
This will be noted in the next hotfix update, but we wanted to let you know immediately, as this change will be applied sometime today.
Beginning after the maintenance on Tuesday, October 9, ink traders will be converting from accepting Blackfallow Ink to accepting Ink of Dreams and Starlight Ink will become available for purchase. If you’re still holding on to your Blackfallow Ink, your time to trade it in is running short.
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New Ghostcrawler Blog: Bloody Mitigation
2011/08/31 at 3:57 PM
A few weeks ago, we had
a small debate
about what the best tank was on Wowhead's forums. It got brought up time and time again that death knights had some issues, despite being an amazing class for PvP and PvE DPS. Many players, even those like myself who don't tank, just felt that they were an extremely situational tank that was worse on more fights than they were better--such as Heroic Ragnaros.
Ghostcrawler seems to be on a similar wavelength, choosing this blog to explain the DK model more in-depth and tanking as a whole as well as his plans for the class and role in 4.3.
The end result is that 4.3 will have some major changes for DKs as well as tanks in general. Blizzard isn't done refining how tanking happens, particularly cooldown management and mitigation itself.
What Active Mitigation Actually Means, and the Future of the Blood Death Knight
We recently buffed tank threat significantly and suggested that we would fill in any potential lost gameplay with new gameplay. What I meant by that was that if tanks don’t need to hit their buttons to generate threat, they may realize they don’t need to hit most of their buttons at all, and just stand there waiting until the right time to Shield Wall. Going a GCD or two without using a combat ability is fine with us. Standing around much longer than that gets boring quickly.
What we proposed is that tanks should ideally want to hit their buttons because it keeps them alive. I didn’t elaborate on that too much except to say it would feel more like the Blood DK method of tanking, which prompted some players to state that they didn’t like the DK model, or to point out that the DK model is not just active but reactive. Fair enough.
To better explain what we meant by that we need to define active mitigation. We define it as hitting buttons regularly that have a meaningful impact on your future mitigation. You should occasionally alter your rotation depending on what is going on in the fight, but you should still mitigate regularly and not save everything for the really big, predictable hits. DKs have a little of this, but Death Strike is ultimately a heal, which is a response to damage, not damage prevention. I also think the DK model gets a bad rap because of some other mechanical problems, which aren’t really problems with active mitigation per se. So let me go into a bit more hand-waving about what active mitigation could mean for other tanks, and then I’ll share a little DK info.
Some Active Mitigation Models
Here are three different models for why hitting buttons can matter to tanks. It's easy to come up with alternative models, and none of these are perfect, nor are we ready to announce which is the one we’re going to try first. But these ideas can get some discussions going.
Model One: Tank DPS matters
This one really isn't active mitigation per se, but it is a way to make pushing buttons matter. We have berserk timers or other DPS checks on a lot of our encounters. Typically tank DPS isn’t taken seriously on these fights, which is a little puzzling at first glance. Yes, the tank may not be able to match the Enhance shaman for damage done, but also consider that the Enhance shaman would absolutely love it if she could improve her DPS by a paltry 3K. That 3K may be enough to meet that DPS check. Note that I’m not talking about tanks being able to beat out skilled DPS players; I think most of us agree that would be a little bizarre. But that doesn’t mean tank damage has to be a non-factor either. Sure, the Feral tank may be doing 16K DPS to the shaman’s 30K, but 3K is 3K.
I polled all of the class designers who raid Heroic content (which is all of them, I believe) and only one had ever given his tanks a hard time for low DPS. Sometimes it’s just not possible because of the fight dynamics. In other cases it is, but as a community, we tend to not focus on tank DPS. We sometimes ask healers to Shadow Word: Pain, even though the contribution is trivial. Go figure. Maybe we assume tanks already have enough on their plate. Maybe they really are prima donnas and we don’t want them to /ragequit. (I kid.)
One potential downside of this model is that it's just the old threat rotations but with the emphasis on DPS rather than threat per second. Ultimately, we want tanks to feel like their rotations are related to tanking and that they aren't just doing a DPS rotation with the occasional long cooldown. Another is that it makes not only stats like hit and expertise desirable, but also crit and haste, which aren’t typically on plate tanking gear. We want to make tank itemization more interesting than just “stack mastery,” but we don’t want it to be baffling either.
Model Two: DPS buttons provide mitigation
This is the model that several players in the community have predicted will be our approach, and the idea has some merit. Under this model, imagine that a warrior wants to hit Shield Slam because it makes his next Shield Block larger. Imagine Revenge procs a short parry buff. Devastate and Thunder Clap already have roles applying debuffs. This model we think could feel pretty intuitive. One downside is that each individual button might feel less impactful and make the experience less visceral. Shield Block feels awesome because when you push it, the damage numbers go way down, and you feel “safe” for the duration. If you replace one slice of that pie with Revenge and Shield Slam, then everything gets watered down. If the rotation is very simple, then it feels like passive mitigation; if not then it’s a stressful juggling act. Another potential downside is that keeping up multiple buffs and debuffs can be tedious. Rather than it feeling like a bonus to get those procs, it can feel like a penalty whenever they’re not up. Even if you are hit and expertise capped, sometimes you have to move away from the boss to avoid a fire ring, or you need to leave to pick up an add. If you can’t bank the mitigation benefit, then the risk is you feel like you don’t really have control over your survivability.
Model Three: DPS buttons build up resources
This model lets you bank the benefits. Imagine you have to build up a resource to use on short-term cooldowns. We couldn't include the Shield Walls and their ilk here, because an "oh snap" button needs to be available immediately and not in the future once you've earned some resources. But weaker cooldowns such as Shield Block and Holy Shield could certainly work this way. Imagine the paladin tank needs Crusader Strike to land to generate Holy Power, and can then decide to spend that Holy Power on Holy Shield Block or Word of Glory. Neither of those would have a cooldown in this design, so more hits landing will always be better -- it's not just a matter of hitting enough to have 100% uptime. (You'd probably also need the ability to save Holy Power more than you can today so that there was less pressure to spend a cooldown as soon as it became available.)
The choice can then become whether to use Holy Shield Block or Word of Glory. Holy Shield Block is probably your first choice, but if you screw it up or the damage is magical, or you need a reactive button instead of an active one, then Word of Glory might be a better choice. Either way, there shouldn’t be any simple answers. (As a counterpoint, deciding to spend that Holy Power on threat instead of mitigation is just never going to be interesting -- smart tanks will always use it to survive, as we saw before Protection had a Word of Glory cooldown.)
As an aside, the Feral druid's mitigation is arguably the most passive right now, and we’d want to change things like Savage Defense to be active buttons under this model. One downside of Model Three is the risk that the rotation could be too formulaic: AAAAB, for example. It could also be asking a lot of tanks -- rather than just hitting buttons to generate threat, tanks would need to pay active attention to managing a resource. No more infinite rage just for getting beat on. We want tanking to be fun, and we think that needs to include a certain degree of risk of failure for not playing well, but that doesn't mean it needs to be frustrating. Challenging and frustrating don't need to go together.
Again, these aren't the kind of changes we will hotfix in. It's going to take a lot of thought and a lot of feedback from players to get things feeling right. As a comparison, we still stand behind the mana adjustments we made for healers for Cataclysm. We think the healer gameplay is more engaging than it was at the end of Lich King, but that's obviously very subjective and took a lot of getting used to, even for seasoned players. We'd like to introduce the tanking changes more smoothly, but we still want to introduce them.
Bloody Death Knights
The risk of talking about one particular spec in a blog is then everyone will wonder when BM hunters or Disc priests are going to get "their" blog. It's not going to work like that, but since I referenced the DK tanking style so much in the previous tanking blog, I feel like it's appropriate to go into a little more detail about what we don't like about DK tanking (and how we’re going to fix it) so that all tanks have a better idea of what the future might hold for their own character.
One of the fundamental tensions in DK tanking is deciding whether to spend a rune on diseases (which offer necessary tanking debuffs) or save the rune for Death Strike. Our hope was that choosing how to spend the resources would be interesting. A rogue for example has to decide on whether to spend resources on Slice and Dice or Eviscerate (or a number of other things). In reality though, we don’t think this decision has been a fun one. You feel cheated if you refresh diseases and then need to Death Strike a moment later, and you feel like a bad tank if you just neglect diseases. For 4.3, we’re going to give Blood DKs a 30 second Outbreak, so they will never have to manually apply diseases to a single target. Yes, that can lead to even more Death Strikes but we think adding a fun alternative to Death Strike is not the kind of thing we can easily change for 4.3.
I feel the need to point out that we’re not just being lazy here. We understand that many players get really worn down by constant class design change, especially mid-expansion, even if they end up improving the experience overall. Deciding when to make serious changes and when to wait is a major challenge of MMO game design. I’ll try and explore this more in a future blog.
We originally designed this talent to encourage DKs to not sit on their runes, and it worked fine for that. However, the current model of Death Strike, which we also like, is that the timing of the Death Strike matters a great deal, encouraging you to… you guessed it… sit on your runes. We’re just going to change Blade Barrier to something more passive (and yes, temporarily more boring) for 4.3.
It sucks when Death Strike misses. "Stack hit and expertise" is an answer to that, but not one that's really viable or even fair given that other tanks will care even less about hit and expertise in the short term. Rather than making Death Strike always hit, we’re going to let it always heal you, and proc Blood Shield, even when it misses. This kind of tweak may very well be an interim solution given that everything I said above was that we want tanks to care about hitting to drive their mitigation. But we don’t think it’s fair to penalize the DK for working the “new way” while everyone else is still working the "old way," and it's too much of a change for 4.3 to apply the "new way" to the other three classes. In the long term, as in the Protadin example above, the rotation can't just be Death Strike, Death Strike, Death Strike... Death Strike.
This change is something we’re exploring but may not pan out, so no claiming we "promised" this *cough*Abyssal Maw*cough*. So…
CAVEAT: this may not come to pass
. What we’re considering doing with Bone Shield is have it mitigate damage spikes. DKs are prone to spikes more so than the other tanks, particularly the paladin and warrior who can "block cap" (I assume most of you know what that entails, if not, a helpful explanation if someone asks in the comments would be appreciated). Death Strike can theoretically handle the spikes, but if you miss (less of an issue with the above change) or time your DS poorly, you might take much higher damage than other tanks from a single hit. Our idea is that Bone Shield would expend a charge to dampen those spikes specifically. If a single attack did a huge percent of your total health, then some of that attack would be automatically lessened for the cost of a charge. Smaller hits wouldn’t spend a charge.
This is an even longer-term change. Death Strike feeling reactive is fun, and one of the things we like about how the DK tanks. Death Striking after a big hit can heal you more than Death Striking before a big hit, so you should ideally pay attention to what the boss is doing instead of just mashing buttons as soon as the runes come up. When you heal a novice DK, you may just notice they take a lot of damage. When you get in sync with a talented DK, you come to know when they are going to Death Strike and recover from big hits. However, sometimes inevitably the tank is going to hit DS too soon and not have it available a second later. Our idea is to somehow turn Blood Shield into more of a pool that you actively try to build and maintain. A system where you’re able to add to a pool of absorption would provide more granularity, which in turn would be more forgiving of errors or streaks of bad luck.
There you have it. When we're ready for the 4.3 PTR, you’ll hopefully see some of these DK changes in place. The blog we wrote that dove into our thought process for the 4.2 patch notes ended up being the most positively received blog that the class team has ever done, so we’ll definitely do one of those again for 4.3. As I mentioned, more active mitigation will probably wait for farther in the future. We might talk about how we decide on when a change is more appropriate for a hotfix, patch, or full expansion in the next developer blog. While it might be short on upcoming class changes, hopefully it will still prove interesting to some of you.
Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street is the lead systems designer for World of Warcraft and he probably listens to your podcast.
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News Round Up: Hotfixes, Dev Watercooler, and Dragonwrath Questline
2011/08/16 at 3:55 PM
Major changes to threat today were hotfixed in. And when we say major, we mean
--basically it's a non-factor from this point on.
Threat generation for all tanks has been increased to 500%, up from 300%. This applies to
should no longer be generated when damage is fully absorbed by damage shields. When the shield breaks from damage or damage is partially absorbed, the amount of Vengeance generated is equal to the full amount of damage taken (including the damage absorbed.)
More information can be found in our latest
Dungeons & Raids
has come into a larger supply of PvE gear than he previously possessed.
s should now be nigh impossible for a single player to kill.
The first six bosses now have an increased chance of dropping a
on Heroic difficulty.
Baleroc should now always choose
the first time he casts Blades of Baleroc.
Beth'tilac now does slightly less damage on normal difficulty.
The explosion damage radius of each Magma Meteor just before Lord Rhyolith should now more closely match their spell effect visuals.
es should no longer emit plumes of smoke while they are dormant.
should no longer knock nearby players back.
lines are now 30 yards long, down from 40 yards, on normal difficulty.
Rhyolith now activates volcanoes less often on normal difficulty.
Stepping on an active volcano now removes 16 stacks of armor, up from 10, on normal difficulty.
All threat generated in this encounter has been reduced in Heroic difficulty.
Son of Flame
should now be immune to silence effects.
have all had their damage reduced slightly on normal difficulty.
Players should now be able to keep the
buff from the quest
Welcome to the Machine
Dev Watercooler - Threat Level Midnight
One of the fun things about working on an MMO is that the game design will evolve over time, and you have the opportunity to make changes to reflect those design shifts. (And yes, we know that it can sometimes evolve too quickly).
Back in December, I wrote a blog post about our vision for how threat should work. Since then, the game and the community have continued to progress and the designers have found ourselves changing our minds about the role of threat. Enough that we’re planning to apply a hotfix this week to change how threat works.
Why have threat?
Threat’s role, just so we’re all on the same page, is to make fights more interesting. Tanks spend a lot of effort staying alive, but they aren’t under immediate threat of death one-hundred percent of the time. Plus, their staying alive is also dependent on their healers and other external cooldowns. We have always been concerned that if threat was not a big part of tanking gameplay that tanks might get bored just waiting around until it was time to use a cooldown. Likewise, if DPS and healers had no risk of being attacked themselves then the sense of danger facing a powerful creature could erode. Furthermore, every character’s toolbox includes some cool survival and utility abilities and the game feels more shallow if those are exclusively used for PvP. It’s fun for a mage to Frost Nova an attacker and Blink away. It’s fun for a hunter to Feign Death. Yes your life would be a lot easier without threat mechanics, but our goal isn’t to make fights as easy as possible. Our job is to make fights fun. Having too much to manage might not be fun, but it’s also not fun to be bored.
That’s been our traditional argument for threat needing to matter. Here is the case against it:
Why not have threat?
As I said in the previous blog post, it’s not fun to feel throttled. It’s not fun for the Feral druid to stop using special attacks in order to avoid pulling aggro. It’s fun to use Feint at the right time to avoid dying, but it’s not fun for Feint to be part of your rotational cooldown. We want you to spend most of your effort trying to overcome the dragon or elemental, not struggling against your own tank.
Tanks are busy
I’d also argue that our encounters aren’t really boring these days. We ask tanks to do a lot -- everything from picking up adds, to moving bosses around, to staying out of fires, to providing interrupts, in addition to the classic tank roles of staying alive and generating threat.
Threat stats aren’t fun
We put threat stats (hit and expertise for the most part) on tanking gear, because without those, tanks would be limited to choosing from among mastery, dodge, and parry. (In the current state of itemization, you are rarely choosing more Strength, Agility, Stamina, or armor.) Druids can’t parry, and even for the plate users, there is a tight relationship between dodge and parry, and even mastery for the warrior and paladin. That gets us dangerously close to the old model of stacking a single uber stat (like Stamina or defense), which makes gearing choices too simplistic for tanks. Did something drop? Okay, put it on. (Contrast this to a DPS caster who might want more or less hit or might favor haste over crit, etc.)
We want threat stats to be interesting, but the reality is that they aren’t. Any decent tank will usually choose survivability stats over threat stats. Back in the day when taunts and interrupts could miss, you could argue hit was marginally useful. But in a world where hit is really just for generating threat, it isn’t very exciting and tanks get understandably emo when we put too much on their gear. (DKs are somewhat of an exception in a good way -- more on that in a sec.) We do see some players try and get excited about threat stats or even proud of their ability to generate threat, but overall we feel like threat stats are a trap, and it’s usually the case that improving your survivability will have a better net impact on your group’s progression.
We don’t need a more complex UI
We have threatened for years (see what I did there?) to build in some kind of threat tracking tool into WoW. But is that really good for the game? Do we really need yet another UI element for players to look at instead of looking at the actual game world? We know many raiders in particular use third-party threat mods today, but that has really been borne out of necessity rather than a sense that watching threat is super compelling gameplay. (When we say “super compelling gameplay” you can mentally replace that with “fun.”)
I know this bullet will be a point made by players critical of this change, but I would feel remiss in not bringing it up. We want it to be a positive experience when Dungeon Finder matches experienced players with newer players. The skill and gear of the former can help make up for that of the latter. Who better to teach you boss mechanics than players who have done the fights before? Even better, the gear of a veteran tank can make up for the less powerful gear of a beginning healer (which doesn’t necessarily mean a noob -- it could be the alt of a very experienced raider).
However, this system fails and often spectacularly so when it’s the tank who is the undergeared player. Even if a competent healer can keep the undergeared tank alive, the fully raid-geared DPS spec is going to constantly be on the verge of pulling threat. That’s not an issue of skill. It’s just numbers. It’s also not a problem that is easy to overcome for either the overgeared DPS or the undergeared tank -- it’s just not a lot of fun for anyone.
So now what?
Given all of that, and watching how tanking has unfolded in Cataclysm, we’ve gotten over the concept that threat needs to be a major part of PvE gameplay. We have therefore decided to buff tank threat generation in a hotfix this week to where it’s generally not a major consideration. We expect the community to gradually stop using threat-tracking mods as players realize they don’t need them.
It’s an important distinction that the concept of “aggro” will still exist. If a DPS spec attacks an add the second it shows up, then the creature is going to come at her. However, if a tank gets an attack or two on a target, then the target should stick to the tank. Worrying about who has the creature’s attention should generally only be a concern at the start of a fight or when additional creatures join the battle. Worrying about a warrior or DK (the classes with nearly non-existent threat dumps) creeping up on tank threat after several minutes will almost certainly not be an issue any longer. (And if it is, we’ll have to make further adjustments.)
We like abilities like Misdirect. It’s fun as a hunter to help the tank control targets. We are less enamored of Cower, which is just an ability used often to suppress threat. We like that the mage might have to use Ice Block, Frost Nova, or even Mirror Image to avoid danger. We don’t like the mage having to worry about constantly creeping up on the tank’s threat levels. The notion of aggro (who the target is attacking) is a keeper. The notion of threat races (who is about to pull aggro) is going to be downplayed from here on out.
Here are the specific changes you’re likely to see:
Hotfix: The threat generated by classes in their tanking mode has been increased from three times damage done to five times damage done.
In an upcoming patch: Vengeance no longer ramps up slowly at the beginning of a fight. Instead, the first melee attack taken generates Vengeance equal to one third of the damage dealt by that attack. As Vengeance updates during the fight, it is always set to at least a third of the damage taken in the last two seconds. It still climbs from that point at the previous rate, still decays at the previous rate, and still cannot exceed the current maximum.
You could argue that once threat is very easy to manage that a warrior tank could just go AFK. In reality, given today’s boss encounters, an AFK warrior would end up standing in the wrong place, missing a tank transition, or otherwise do something or fail to do something that wipes the party or raid.
That said, we ultimately don’t want tanking to be just standing there soaking boss hits and we would like to have more stats on gear that tanks care about. To solve those challenges, we want to shift more tank mitigation to require active management. We’ll still give all the tanks emergency cooldowns like Shield Wall and Survival Instincts. However, we want to move the shorter cooldowns like Shield Block, Holy Shield and Savage Defense so that they work more like Death Strike. Blood DKs have a lot of control over the survivability they get from Death Strike, but as part of that gameplay, they have to actually hit their target. The other three tanks will get similar active defense mechanics. This doesn’t mean everyone needs to use the DK model of self-healing, but they can use the DK model of managing resources to maximize survivability.
Death Strike consumes resources to help the tank survive. We toyed at one point with the paladin Holy Shield being a Holy Power consumer and we think we could do so again. Heck we could make Word of Glory the thing you’re supposed to do with Holy Power, so long as we balanced all tanks around that idea and didn’t feel it infringed too much on the DK mechanic. We could make Shield Block cost rage, and change Protection warrior rage income such that they had to manage rage, the way Fury and Arms warriors now must do. If tanks generated more rage from doing damage and less from taking damage, then hitting a target becomes very important, but for mitigation, not threat management reasons. This is a bigger change than it seems though. We don’t want a model where the Prot warrior ignores Shield Slam, Devastate and Revenge (since threat isn’t a big deal) in order to bank all rage for Shield Block (because survival is). Imagine a rage model where you always had enough rage for your core rotational abilities (they could be cheap or even generate rage), so that you could funnel most of your rage into Shield Block when survival mattered and Heroic Strike when it did not. Redesigning Savage Defense to make it a rage sink is an even bigger change, but we think there is an opportunity there to make the rotation more interesting for druids (and all tanks really). Their rotation would help them achieve the goal that usually matters the most to tanks: living.
This is the kind of design for which we’re really going to need a lot of feedback once it hits. We can implement and verify empirically how much threat a tank generates, but it’s hard for us to replicate the experience of all of the various raiding groups and dungeon parties out there. We invite you to try out the immediate and eventually the long-term changes when they are available and let us know how they feel. Do you miss the threat game? Are you bored when tanking now? Conversely, with the changes, is tanking more fun for you? Does this new implementation of Vengeance feel better? Some systems design calls we can make just by processing numbers, and some are more squishy and involve a lot gut checks and wishy-washy “but how does it FEEL?” language. Messing with this kind of thing is definitely somewhere in the middle.
Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street is the lead systems designer for World of Warcraft, and lead eater at the dinner table.
I've been on this questline for some time now and i honestly don't understand it. you have a dragon who hits like a truck and summons adds that hit even harder, if you don't interrupt the adds you die and you cant run from them. If you get hit by the dragon's breath, its over and to top it all off the boss has 1.9m hp. Seriously blizz? i understand its a legendary quest but come on you made it next to impossible for any class without an abundance of self heals. doing this on an affliction lock i can barely keep hp to get him to 1m hp left before i run out of defensive CDs and die, not to mention i'm in almost full 378 gear. On another note why is there an ability that needs to be dispelled? You made this game you should realize that not all casters have even a dispel let alone an offensive one to dispel the boss so why the hell is this even a mechanic?
All in all this NEEDS to be nerfed, not a lot but maybe take out the add spawning or lower the damage that it does? Anything really to help the classes without easy self healing.
To be fair, we've heard complaints that this is too hard for X, where X = just about every class/spec. It's supposed to be extremely challenging, harkening back to the feel of the Molten Core item quests, which were also not easy. On the other hand, you have unlimited attempts and time to try to figure it out.
You made this game you should realize that not all casters have even a dispel let alone an offensive one to dispel the boss so why the hell is this even a mechanic?
Warlocks have a good dispel in Devour Magic (Felhunter), though it's understandable that sometimes more PvE-oriented locks don't have as much experience using their pet in this manner.
It may be really hard, but the feedback we've heard from those who have completed it (including warlocks), is that it ultimately brings a major sense of accomplishment. If you want a legendary item, this questline isn't for the faint of heart. But we do wish you luck. ;)
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Ask the Devs #9: Tanking, Next Topic to be DPS
2011/06/08 at 12:29 PM
In Ask the Devs #9, Blizzard covers the topic of tanking. The topics addressed a number of practical concerns and provided insights into how Blizzard perceives the strengths and weaknesses for each tank. Topics included: the role of mastery for each tank, aggro-generating abilities for warriors and druids, the decreasing amount of tanks required in a raid, the OP nature of protection paladins, the possibility of new tank classes--and most importantly, when tanking classes will get a legendary weapon.
Stay tuned soon for the answers to
Ask the Devs #10: Damage Dealing.
Continue Reading »
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Patch 4.1 Dungeon Finder: Call to Arms - Goodie Bags From Heroics!
2011/04/06 at 8:32 PM
Blizzard has just released
details about the latest changes to the Dungeon Finder coming in Patch 4.1! The Dungeon Finder will now detect which roles are in demand (*cough*tanks and healers*cough*) based on queue times. When certain queue times have been reached, a Call to Arms will go out for the desired role and players who queue and successfully complete a dungeon as that role will be rewarded with a special goodie bag (each time)! This goodie bag can contain:
Non-Combat Pet (Including cross faction pets!)
Rare Mounts (Including rare dungeon drop mounts!)
So what do you think? Will this help the Dungeon Finder queue problems? Will this cause more players to utilize dual specs to play their other roles and help out the queue timers? Or will we just end up with healers who can't heal (or won't heal) and tanks who don't have tanking gear? What do you think?
In patch 4.1 we'll be introducing
Dungeon Finder: Call to Arms
, a new system intended to lower queue times. Call to Arms will automatically detect which class role is currently the least represented in the queue, and offer them additional rewards for entering the Dungeon Finder queue and completing a random level-85 Heroic dungeon.
Any time the Dungeon Finder queue is longer than a few minutes for level-85 Heroics, the Call to Arms system kicks in and determines which role is the least represented. In the case of tanking being the least represented role, the "Call to Arms: Tanks" icon will display in the Dungeon Finder UI menu where class roles are selected, and will also display on the UI when the queue pops and you are selected to enter a dungeon. Regardless of your role, you'll always be able to see which role currently has been Called to Arms, if any.
Call to Arms is meant to lower wait times by offering additional rewards for queuing as the currently least represented role. To be eligible for the additional rewards you must solo queue for a random level-85 Heroic in the role that is currently being Called to Arms, and complete the dungeon by killing the final boss. Every time you hit these requirements (there is no daily limit) you'll receive a goodie bag that will contain some gold, a chance at a rare gem, a chance at a flask/elixir (determined by spec), a good chance of receiving a non-combat pet (including cross faction pets), and a very rare chance at receiving a mount. The pets offered come from a wide variety of sources, and include companions like the
Parrot Cage (Cockatiel)
, but the mounts are those specifically only available through dungeons (not raids), like the
Reins of the Raven Lord
Swift White Hawkstrider
This system is meant to address the unacceptable queue times currently being experienced by those that queue for the DPS role at max level. The long queue times are, of course, caused by a very simple lack of representation in the Dungeon Finder by tanks, and to some extent healers. We don't feel the tanking and healing roles have any inherent issues that are causing the representation disparity, except that fulfilling them carries more responsibility. Understandably, players prefer to take on that responsibility in more organized situations than what the Dungeon Finder offers, but perhaps we can bribe them a little. While this system gives tanks and healers something extra, the incentive is being provided so that we can help players in the DPS role get into more dungeons, get better gear, and continue progressing.
While the gold, gems, flasks, and elixirs are OK incentives, we knew we needed something more substantial. We had briefly considered Valor Points and epics, but decided that wouldn't be working toward the goal of helping DPS players progress, and ultimately wouldn't keep tanks and healers in the Dungeon Finder system for very long. We settled on pets and dungeon-found mounts as they’re cosmetic/achievement items that players tend to try to get on their own, so why not change that up and offer them a chance to get some of those elusive pets and mounts in a way that also helps other players? Even if they don't get a pet or mount, or get one they already have, the gold and other goodies still feel rewarding enough that it won't feel like a waste of effort.
We think it's a pretty solid incentive to get tanks and healers queuing, give max-level players another way to collect the pets and mounts they so desire, and above all, to improve wait times for DPS players sitting in queues. In the case of lower level dungeons, it's actually not uncommon for DPS to be the least represented role, and so if this new system works out and we're pleased with the results, we may consider applying this same mechanic to lower level dungeons as well.
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News Roundup: Blizzard Talks Soulstone, WSG Graveyard Changes, DK Tanking and more!
2011/03/04 at 3:18 AM
In addition to Blizzard's latest statement regarding the recently revealed fact that the
Firelands raid will not come with patch 4.1
, there have been quite a few detailed and informative Blizzard posts lately. Check 'em out!
Latest topics include:
Valor to Justice Points Conversion in 4.2
Soulstone as a Combat Resurrection
An End(?) to Graveyard Camping in WSG
On Preventing Spam Through Chat Limitations
Blizzard's 20th Anniversary Video Contest
Thoughts on the State of DK Tanking
Check out the full Blizzard posts after the break!
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News Roundup: Vengeance Clarified, Cataclysm Sales Record, Razer Switchblade
2011/01/10 at 2:59 PM
Just more of the latest news from the World of Warcraft!
All has been relatively quiet on the Blue front, aside from their
recent post discussing Tol Barad balancing
, though we do have a clarification on the mechanics of the
tanking specialization. Vengeance does not cap at 10% of health, but rather at raw stamina + 10% of
Hey all, I'm hopping in to see if this will help you all a bit in understanding how this is meant to work. Hopefully it will clear up a little confusion.
The Vengeance calculation is working correctly as far as we can ascertain. Vengeance caps at a number equal to Stamina plus 10% of base health, which is lower than 10% of health. When we buffed Stamina late in Cataclysm development, we specifically did not buff Vengeance because we didn’t think tanks needed 40% additional attack power in order to maintain threat or contribute to damage done by the group. The Vengeance tooltip is a little misleading, but in this case we think that’s fine because a more technically accurate tooltip would be quite long. Astute theorycrafters will understand the difference, while most tanks won’t actually be affected by the delta.
In other news, Blizzard shows off the amazing sales of the latest World of Warcraft expansion, Cataclysm, and give a brief but interesting look at the inspiration behind the non-combat pets in the World of Warcraft! Finally, Razer has released an awesome press video of what could potentially be the coolest portable gaming device of all time!
Check out the full posts after the break!
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