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Blue Posts Round-up: Feb 12

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The latest round-up talks about the current situation in PvP, Heirlooms in 7.2, the Balance of Power quest line and improved developer communication.

The Current Situation in PvP

A Live PvP Q/A is coming in March. The devs are happy with Mage/Rogue comps in Arenas, but they will be buffing other classes too, so there is more strong comps.

Blizzard LogoLore (Source)

Regarding overall class balance: in Arenas, we're overall pretty happy with it at the moment. We've been hearing a lot about the prevalence of Rogue/Mage comps lately, and may end up making some changes, but we're more likely to focus on buffing some underperformers than specifically nerfing anyone right now. To put it another way: Rogue/Mage is (and should continue to be) a strong comp, we just want to make sure there's a good number of other strong comps as well.

We made some changes not long ago to Random BG matchmaking to help with healer balance, and have been very happy with the initial results. There's still some edge cases we're looking to iron out (specifically, we're sometimes seeing games where one team has 2 healers and the other has none), and so we're still working on some additional improvements. So far, though, there's been a very noticeable difference overall.

Lastly I'll mention that we're planning another PvP-focused Live Dev Q&A, probably sometime around early to mid March. We'll get a proper announcement out once we've finalized all the details.

No Heirlooms in Patch 7.2

There are currently no plans to make leveling faster via heirlooms come Patch 7.2.

Blizzard LogoLore (Source)

Will 7.2 add the ability to upgrade heirlooms to 110?

No.

Balance of Power Drop Rate

The drop rate of Corrupted EssenceCorrupted Essence will be increased in the future.

Blizzard LogoAerythlea (Source)

Personally i would like it if they would upgrade the drop chance on the friggin essences from EN
Switched character in november (was a feral druid and the RSI just wasnt worth the output) But now ive had 2 essences drop per full EN heroic clear. Just make it 100% from EN heroic that way even alts can speed it up a tiny bit
.

Good news, we're looking into increasing the drop rate of Corrupted EssenceCorrupted Essences in the future, to avoid having players stalling out for too long on this step. I don't have an ETA right now, but it's definitely something on our radar.

Improved Dev Communication

PTR communication has been terrible during Patch 7.1.5 and with 7.2, Blizzard has made a few steps toward making it better. Lore talks about what has been achieved so far and what still needs to be done. Stealth changes were also discusseds as being something unintentional. 

Blizzard LogoLore (Source)

We've been working extremely hard to improve communication. I'm sorry that you're not seeing all of it, so here's a short off-the-top-of-my-head rundown of what we've done in just the past month:

1) Increased Blizzard presence on the PTR forums at least 10-fold compared to 7.1.5
2) Added the Class Development forum to discuss changes that aren't necessarily tied to the PTR
3) More than tripled the frequency of responses via @WarcraftDevs compared to the 7.1.5 timeframe
4) Re-introduced the PTR Patch Notes
5) Started posting PTR Development Notes to give insight into what each build is bringing
6) Made significant changes to Community team structure, and formed a team dedicated entirely to developer communications (on the PTR and Class Development forums, that's Kaivax and me)
7) Revamped several of our internal feedback delivery processes to make sure that when you post something, the developers see it
8) Significantly increased the rate of communication between our Community and development teams, so that CM's can be much more informed on the changes to the game (and take on more of the burden of communication ourselves)

On the list to still do in the next month or so:
1) Significantly increase CM presence on the forums, now that we're more able to answer questions ourselves
2) Begin posting more direct requests for feedback, as 7.2 development has begun to reach a state where we're testing more than just stability (I'll be posting a thread asking for 7.2 Artifact Trait feedback later today)
3) Dramatically increase the rate of live developer Q&As as we get closer to 7.2 release (similar to what we did leading up to Legion launch)
4) Explore new methods for communication, especially for complicated topics like Class Balance or often-overlooked topics like RP, both of which don't fit well into a standard live Q&A
5) Improve our internal knowledge tracking resources so that everyone posting in blue text is on the same page (this sounds a hell of a lot easier than it actually is at a company the size of Blizzard)

Again, I'm really sorry and disappointed that the work we're doing isn't always coming across to you. I'm confident that things will continue to improve, especially as we grow more accustomed to our new processes. A huge part of this is also identifying pain points - you're absolutely right that there are several specs that deserve answers, and we haven't been doing enough to say "yes, that's an issue, we'll talk about it" or "no, we disagree, for these reasons."

I just wanted you to be aware that this is absolutely a priority for us, for the WoW development team, and for Blizzard as a whole. We've been working our butts off to make it happen. I'm sorry it hasn't happened as quickly as all of us may have liked, or possibly in the way that everyone was expecting, but I do think we've improved fairly dramatically since 7.1.5, and we will continue to do so.

After over a year of feedback from people talking about how much people dislike Vulnerable, we should never see a tweet like this one from Muffinus:

To clarify this - Muffinus is a great guy who does a lot of really important work on WoW, but is not on the class design team. What you saw in that tweet was him just trying to find out what the issue was so that he, as a swell dude who wants to help, could ask the class devs about it. It was very much not "the guy who makes Hunters didn't know what Hunters were upset about."

Also a quick suggestion to add to new patch notes: Stealth Changes. NEVER DO THIS. EVER. We will find them and call you guys (the devs) out on them. Please do document ALL changes, even if it's a 0.01% change; at least put them in an "extened patch notes" that are readily available.

This is absolutely, categorically, unfailingly and without exception, NEVER intentional. Most commonly, it happens because something simply got missed (see my previous note about revamping internal communication processes). Other times, it happens because a simple bugfix has unforeseen consequences.

I just wanted to be clear that "lets nerf this spec and just not tell them" is not a strategy we employ. As you said, even if we wanted to, it wouldn't work anyway.

Topic of the thread got derailed a bit and Kaivax came to answer some healer-related questions.

Blizzard LogoKaivax (Source)

Can Healers please receive dev attention? Everything we see, everything we read, all feedback, all dev posts, it is always about DPS. Why do the devs ignore Healer feedback and focus only on DPS?

You totally read my mind. I've lately been asking this same question.

The answer seems to be kind of simple: with activities like healing or maintaining aggro or crowd control, a spec either has the capacity to do enough, or it doesn't. There's a sort of binary "working or not working" aspect to it. Yes, healing is much more complicated than activating a taunt every time it's up, but in general, you don't see many healers pointing at healing meters and feeling bad. They have the capacity to do enough healing. Also, there's constantly a cap on how much effective healing you can do.

But there are some concerns, and we're keeping an eye out for them here and elsewhere. I've observed discussion among our class designers about all six healing specs at some point over the last month, and of course, it was abundant during development of patch 7.1.5 (November and December).

Here are some threads in this forum that we've been following:

https://us.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/20753355673

https://us.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/20752552599

https://us.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/20753336110

https://us.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/20753246437

https://us.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/20753215956

Chiming in, this is the kinda stuff I want to see more of. Curious choice of threads though.

I have huge lists of threads I keep an eye on for various reasons in notekeeping docs that I refer to when corresponding with different groups of designers. Those were just the most-recent five links in a long list.

Incidentally, that includes threads from our EU forums.

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      Upper Karazhan - Each boss has their own element making them difficult, however Shade and Mana Devourer can get messy and require extra coordination to kill.
      Lower Karazhan - Overall I don’t feel that this dungeon is exceptionally difficult, however the Mounted Strike can chunk anyone in melee range of Attumen the Huntsman, and unless you have a comp to cheese Garrotes, Moroes can get sketchy quickly.
      Eye of Azshara - The only two scary bosses in here are Lady Hatecoil, and Wrath of Azshara. Although not too difficult the winds pushing players around is obnoxious and can get very dangerous very quickly.
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      The Arcway - Getting left side at the beginning of they key makes the timer much more relaxed and makes it the easiest key, unfortunately we did not get left side on our timed 27. What makes this key particularly difficult is Ivanyr, Nal’tira, and the large amount of time that Advisor Vandros takes up.
      (Least difficult) Court of Stars - Overall the trash is not too difficult, and mainly only the second boss is frightening as the damage caps early on the last boss, and the first boss is straightforward.
      Shakib: Lower-arcway-vault-court-upper-eye of azshara-blackrook hold-cathedral-darkheart-neltharion-halls of valor-maw-seat.
       
      If you could change a few dungeons which would they be and how would you change them?
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      Shakib: Court of stars: The rng on the buffs is interesting and cute at low lvl keys but becomes frustrating when you need a perfect buff combination (on top of having people change professions just to maybe have it up during your 1 run) to finish a key in time. I think in m+ it should either be a set combination of buffs or just disable all of them just like we saw in the MDI.
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      Which is your favorite and least favorite dungeon to run?
      Darkee: My favorite is Upper with Court being a close second. Least favorite is easily Blackrook.
      Marvink: My favorite dungeon by far is Court of Stars. I despise Halls of Valor (I’m look at you Hyrja).
      Mittbitt : My favorite dungeon to run is currently Vault of the Wardens. I enjoy the layout of the dungeon and how it allows me to optimize my cooldowns. My least favorite dungeon to run is Upper Karazhan, I do not enjoy the bosses, nor the tuning for the dot on Mana Devourer.
      Shakib: Favorite dungeon is hands down Lower Kharazan. There’s nothing I love more than pulling big and lower is a goldmine of huge trash packs. Turns out dh’s are also quite strong at doing exactly what I love :). (Seat is really close behind.) My least favorite dungeon has to be Neltharion’s lair. Even though it is a pretty straight forward dungeon there’s something about the environment and the mob type that just gets to me.
       
      What are the easiest affixes and do they vary from dungeon to dungeon?
      Shakib: I would say that the Sanguine, Volcanic, Fortified set of affixes is the easiest for 12 out of the 13 available dungeons. The one that stands out as not a “harder” dungeon but just much slower. A LOT of time gets wasted during the scavenger hallway. I would say that the easiest set of affixes for Blackrook Hold is Teeming, Quaking, Fortified, the pulls are usually really big pulls so adding a couple mobs here and there doesn’t slow you down as much as people may think in there, at least not as much as Sanguine.
       
      Are there some affix combos you just will not get out of bed in the morning for?
      Darkee: Teeming Explosive is a bad joke. Explosive in general is just not fun. It doesn’t help that monks deal 50% less damage to them during our main cd, and our main cd is up at the start of every big pull. I just don’t play unless I have to during Explosive.
      Jdotb: Obviously some of the affix combinations are particularly disgusting, but we’ll run keys most every day regardless. We’re fiends. At the very least, affixes like Bolstering and Tyrannical make you appreciate the Volcanics and Fortifieds.
      Marvink: Bolstering, Explosive, Tyrannical. Not my cup of tea for that amount of trash management, and marathon boss fights are never fun.
      Mittbitt : I will always get out of bed for some mythic plus regardless of the affix combos, however the affix combo that least excites me is Bolstering, Grievous, Tyrannical.
       
      What do you think of the current affixes as they are now? Which should be changed or even removed completely and are there any you’d like to see added in BfA?
      Jdotb: Tyrannical is the big offender at the moment. You don’t have to dive very deep into the analytics to see that all the highest keys are on Fortified weeks. The 40% hp on Tyrannical is the problem - it just makes the bosses take waaaaay too long. The damage bump is fine where it’s at, but the hp buff needs to be cut to at most 25%, maybe even 20%. Bosses are already the hardest parts of high keys because of scaling; making them do more damage AND live almost half again as long is insurmountable.
      Bolstering is probably a bit too punishing. If you screw up, you can’t really undo it without wiping. If the Bolstering buff had a duration (maybe 10-15s) or a cap (maybe 10 stacks) it would be a lot more palatable.
      Explosive starts to feel a little overwhelming on high keys because the orb health scales with the key level so instead of just requiring a global cooldown, the orbs now need people to focus them for several casts.
      Volcanic is a joke now that probably needs to be reworked. It isn’t threatening and half the time it doesn’t even require you to move.
      Quaking for the most part is ok but can be devastating on boss fights where you absolutely need your Prydaz, Xavaric's Magnum Opus shield up to live through certain mechanics. There isn’t a way to play around that currently. If Quaking always did damage to your hp pool directly instead of eating shields, I think it would improve the affix a lot.
      Mittbitt : I feel that Tyrannical needs some tuning, possibly by dropping the hp that bosses receive and beefing up trash more. However, Tyrannical boss hp and abilities get out of control much sooner, and honestly are the least enjoyable mythic plus weeks where we typically farm 20-24 keys.
       
      What’s your favorite, least favorite and funniest “trick” you’ve used in the past to get that tier done in time?
      Jdotb: My favorite trick would have to be keeping the cats in the front of DHT from jumping. That made the instance so much less frustrating.
      Least favorite trick is delaying on the second platform of Viz’aduum. He always targets me with the disintegrate so I have to spend a minute or two running back and forth between two spots.
      Funniest trick was probably taunting Ularogg to keep him from going underground (has since been fixed) - if you were successful, he would instantly punch you really hard and probably kill you on higher keys, so the taunt “winner” would usually be the dead guy.
       
      That's it for the first part of this interview, we had to cut it up into two for, well, obvious reasons! Huge thanks to the Mythic + crew for the insightful answers and you check back in a few days when we finish this up with their thoughts on addons, raiding and its impact on M+,  the Mythic Dungeon Invitational, their suggestions for the future of M+ and much more!
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      Call of the Scarab micro-holiday is back with new temporary faction mounts. The event is active through January 23, 2018 and the mounts last for 7 days.
      2018 Updates
      Players who have completed Antorus, the Burning Throne raid need to talk to Rhonormu near the gong to enter the correct event phase of Silithus. The Scarab Lord Black Qiraji Resonating Crystal mount received a brand new model this year. You can find more information here. Two new mounts can be purchased for 1 Abyssal Crest during the event. Ruby Qiraji Resonating Crystal can be purchased from Warlord Gorchuk. Sapphire Qiraji Resonating Crystal can be purchased from Field Marshal Snowfall. The mounts are not permanent and last for 7 days. Blizzard (Source)
      *1/21- The Call of the Scarab Micro-Holiday is now live. Players who have completed Antorus , the Burning Throne and who are in a different phase can speak to Rhonormu near the gong to enter the correct event phase.
      On January 23, 2006, a bloody war was triggered by a simple sound: the banging of a gong. No rallying fanfare, no bloodthirsty yell; just an eerie silence. Those long, uneasy seconds of dread. The calm before the storm.
      Standing shoulder-to-shoulder before the Scarab Wall, no one could have predicted what would happen—an epic ten-hour battle that claimed the lives of thousands of Azeroth’s bravest—or fully comprehended the effect it would have.
      ACTION FIRST, FACTION SECOND
      That’s not to say the battle at the gates of Ahn’Qiraj came as a surprise. When the menace of C’Thun turned into an urgent threat, leaders across the world pored over plans and forged unlikely connections as pressure mounted. Both factions knew war was coming and personal glory was a hubris no-one could risk. Any notion that one army could defeat General Rajaxx and his colossal battalion was soon abandoned as fantasy.
      It was a unique time: scattered armies with varying allegiances were thrown together and faction pride was put aside. Let’s be clear: the battle at Ahn’Qiraj was won purely on the principle “united we stand, divided we fall.”
      WARMONGERING VS. GOLD HUNGERING
      This uneasy alliance was not without its critics. Some showed their disapproval by shunning the war effort altogether, but others expressed opposition through acts of aggression. Rogue elements on both sides, unwilling to stomach this perceived betrayal of their faction, did not sit idle. Just as neutral auction houses became a tool for factions to share resources, they also became virtual battlegrounds. Crucial resources were picked up for next-to-nothing and sold on for personal gain. As with all wars, those who profit aren’t always the brave.
      The sheer scale of that war effort is almost unimaginable when we live in a time of extended storage and fast mail. But back then, backpacks and cloth stacks were smaller. Getting precious resources gathered, sorted, and sent took many hours. And it took several weeks to source bandages, food, and equipment—resources that were in high demand and would soon dwindle.
      THE IMPORTANCE OF REMEMBRANCE
      There are parallels with current events that are impossible to ignore: once more, we Azerothians stand united against the Burning Legion as they wreak havoc across the Broken Isles. We attempt to put aside a complex, bitter history in order to defeat a common enemy. We eye each other suspiciously, even as we fight side by side.
      We would do well, in these dark times, to remember the courage and spirit of those who were there at the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj. We must have long memories if we’re to make quick work of the demon forces we now face.
      From January 21–23 we ask that you join us as we remember the fallen and celebrate the victory. All of Azeroth are invited to a special holiday, ‘Call of the Scarab,’ where we will gather to perform acts of remembrance and share our factions’ pride.
    • By Jovovich
      World of Warcraft - [Horde][US-Arthas]Unhuman - Francais - 2/11M - www.unhuman.ca
      Unhuman est à la recherche de nouveaux visages qui seraient intéressés à joindre ses rangs!
      Forum: http://forum.unhuman.ca/forum/7-recrutement/
      Raiding:
      - [Raid] Undying AtBT: 2/11M, 11/11H, 2soir, Mardi et Mercredi 7hpm à 10h30hpm  (EST)
      - [Raid] Baguettes & Squareheads AtBT: 1/11M, 11/11H, 2soir, Mardi et Jeudi 7h30pm à 10h30hpm (EST)
      - [Raid] Casual as Fuck AtBT: 9/11H, 1soir, Mercredi 7hpm à 10h30hpm  (EST)
      PvP:
      - [PvP] Unhuman RBG: 1800 rating, 1soir Dimanche des 9hpm (EST)
      Communauté:
      - Plus de  450 accounts
      Unhuman est plus qu'une guilde de raiding performante, c'est aussi la plus grosse communauté Francophone sur World of Warcraft US. Depuis sa création en 2006, Unhuman cherche à offrir à ses raiders un environnement de jeu qui favorise la progression et ce avec des joueurs d'excellent calibre. Nous sommes constamment à la recherche de nouveaux joueurs que ce soit PVE ou PVP, mais aussi des masters du Pet Battles, des champions de l'Archéologie ou peu importe ce qui vous branche ingame. Vous êtes donc assuré de trouver ce que vous cherchez chez nous peu importe votre style de jeu.
      Pour toutes questions...
      - http://unhuman.ca/
      - Jovovich-Arthas, Guild Master
      - Falfuris-Arthas, Officier
      - Shockadins-Arthas, Officier
    • By Jovovich
      World of Warcraft - [Horde][US-Arthas]Unhuman - French - 2/11M - www.unhuman.ca
      Unhuman is RECRUITING!
      Forum: http://forum.unhuman.ca/forum/7-recrutement/
      Raiding:
      - [Raid] Undying AtBT: 2/11M,11/11H, 2day, Tuesday and Wednesday 7hpm to 10h30hpm  (EAST)
      - [Raid] Baguettes & Squareheads AtBT:1/11M, 11/11H, 2day, Tuesday and Thursday 7h30pm to 10h30hpm (EAST)
      - [Raid] Casual as Fuck AtBT: 9/11H, 1day, Wednesday 7hpm to 10h30hpm (EAST)
      PvP:
      - [PvP] Unhuman RBG: 1800 rating, 1day Sunday starting at 9hpm (EAST)
       
      Community:
      - More than 450 account
      Unhuman is a performing raiding guild with multiple raid groups, it's one of the biggest, for not saying the biggest one, french community on World of Warcraft US. Unhuman has been created in December 2006 and will continue to live for a long time, Unhuman is trying to give to our raiders everything they need to be focus only on good progression!. Unhuman is always looking for new players of all kind, PvE or PvP, even with Battle pets or Archeologists or anything else you can do in the game....You will be sure to find your way with Unhuman!
      For any question...
      - http://unhuman.ca/
      - Jovovich-Arthas, Guild Master
      - Falfuris-Arthas, Officier
      - Shockadins-Arthas, Officier