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Starym

7.8.0 Patch Notes, Classic B.net, Textual BlizzCon

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It's that time of year again, when Blizzard spill a lot of their secrets for no apparent reason, giving us a REALLY deep look into what's coming next. One thing we can say for sure, all these leaks/announcements are definitely real and definitely not a joke. First off we have a very careless post on the forums with the WoW 7.8.0 Alpha patch notes, confirming Legion is going to be a looooong expansion. Also, apparently we're still trying to kill Kil'jaeden in 7.8, how many Sunwells can a demon walk out of?! Trigger warning: the section on legendaries is far too close to reality for comfort.

Blizzard LogoOrnyx (source)

**ALPHA DRAFT** WoW 7.8.0 Patch Notes (DO NOT PUBLISH)

[[Note to community team: when you write the intro paragraph for this, include some flavor text about Mecha-Arthas, and maybe do some foreshadowing about an upcoming conflict with Vol'jin Prime.]]

New & Updated Features

New Zone: The Underneath

  • Very strange things are happening in Duskwood, and it's up to you to investigate the disappearance of a local boy.
  • Team up with an all-star cast of heroes, including a mysterious girl, several of the boy's friends, and the boy's mother (as portrayed by the wonderfully talented Onona Windrider).
  • The story plays out in eight chapters, which you can experience at your own pace, but we know you're just going to binge them all weekend anyway.
     

Story and World

  • Corrected an issue causing Dadgar's name to incorrectly be presented as "Khadgar."
  • The Armies of Legionfall have been successful in their mission to defeat the Burning Legion. Azeroth is finally safe, from all enemies, forever. Now's a good time to brush up on your general chat skills.
  • To better express the core story of the Legion expansion, all World Quests will now include harpies shouting at you about whatever it is you're doing.
  • Increased the damage dealt by lava and similar environmental hazards to be juuuuust enough to kill you before you can jump out.
     

Raids

  • Players must now have the achievement "Ahead of the Curve: Kil'jaeden" in order to zone into the Tomb of Sargeras raid.
  • Developers' notes: We've heard extensive feedback from players about the inconvenience of manually screening group applicants based on their achievements. We hope that by automating and enforcing these requirements on our end, we can streamline the process, so that players can more quickly organize raid groups and begin working towards their ultimate goal of defeating Kil'jaeden.
  • Additionally, players will not be able to enter any raid instance without having first completed the Maw of Souls dungeon at least 500 times on Mythic Keystone difficulty.
  • Mythic difficulty raids have been retuned around a new group size of 21.2 players. We feel that the extra 1.2 players will allow an extra layer of depth that we could not have achieved with round integer values.
  • We're pleased to announce that the award for Best Opera Performance goes to... Westfall Story!
  • Portals to Dalaran have been added to each room in the Tomb of Sargeras raid. This should make changing talents much more convenient for those of you who are still too cheap to buy Tomes of the Tranquil Mind.
  • [[Hey, encounter designers: have we adjusted Onyxia's Deep Breath ability lately? Can someone check?]]
  • We've introduced the rest of Withered J'im's family to the World Boss rotation, including Withered J'ane, Withered J'ethro, and Withered J'steve.
  • I'm sorry, no... there's a mistake. Wikket, you guys won Best Opera Performance.
  • Added a series of achievements unique to Raid Finder difficulty:
    • Developers' notes: Not all players are motivated by powerful set bonuses and striking armor sets. Some want the lasting prestige of achievements, and while we offer countless achievements that are specific to other difficulties, there have never been achievements that are only available through Raid Finder. That ends here.
    • Raid Finder: Darkbough - Defeat Il'gynoth without ever accidentally damaging his Eye with a Nightmare Ichor's explosion.
    • Raid Finder: Tormented Guardians – Defeat Cenarius without engaging any of the hostile creatures in the corrupted Moonglade.
    • Raid Finder: Rift of Aln – During the Xavius encounter, loot at least two Legendary items from the Overflowing Loot Chests hidden in the mists of the Rift.
    • Raid Finder: Arcing Aqueducts – Defeat at least 1000 Crystalline Scorpids before defeating Skorpyron.
    • Raid Finder: Royal Athenaeum – Stun 24 other players with one explosion from Arcanic Release.
    • Raid Finder: Nightspire – Defeat Tichondrius after having dealt more total damage to Tainted Bloods than to Tichondrius himself.
    • Raid Finder: Betrayer's Rise – Successfully avoid being caught in any of those scary-looking pink bubbles that pop up.
  • After careful consideration, Odyn has admitted that beating his champions nearly to death immediately before sending them to battle in Helheim was perhaps not the wisest course of action. As such, the Odyn encounter in Trial of Valor has been replaced with a written exam.
     

Dungeons

  • We're thrilled at the positive response we've seen regarding the Mythic+ system in Legion. We're expanding on that general concept with the following game modes:
    • Mythic -
    • Mythic ×
    • Mythic ÷
    • (Mythic - x) = (22 + y) ÷ 7. Solve for Mythic.
  • Added several new Mythic Keystone affixes:
    • Flocking: Your party will be periodically attacked by Seagulls, which will immediately stun the tank and kill the healer.
    • Organic: Has no noticeable effect on the dungeon itself, but it's probably a lot healthier.
    • Squeamish: Every time an enemy dies, all players will be totally grossed out and have to look away for a minute to catch their breath.
    • Forgetful: We don't actually remember what this one does, sorry.
  • Corrected an issue that would cause the Grand Challenger's Bounty cache to occasionally give you an item for a slot where you weren't already wearing a Legendary.
  • It's the Eye of Azshara. It's the thrill of the fight.
  • The Ready Check feature has been updated to be more consistent with the overall theme of Legion.
    • When prompted, players will now be asked if they are prepared.
    • They may then choose to respond with either "I am prepared" or "I am not prepared."
       

Holidays

  • To help further express the overall vision for Micro-Holidays as fun, low-impact events, we've added some new categories, including Mini-Holidays, Nano-Holidays, Smallidays, and Un-Holidays.
  • Winter Veil has been cancelled this year. You know what you did.
  • A new Micro-Holiday has been added: Create Your Own Holiday Day.
    • This new Micro-Holiday allows you the freedom to celebrate anything you can imagine!
    • As soon as you log in, you'll notice a clean slate available to you – no holiday NPCs, no decorations, nothing to stand in the way of you and your imagination.
    • Gather your friends, and celebrate! Or don't! Use this non-Holiday Holiday to do whatever you like.
       

Artifact Weapons

  • New interface option: Use scientific notation for displaying Artifact Power costs for Artifact Traits.
    • Developer's note: You're going to need this.
  • Artifact Knowledge can now be researched to 9000. We're not sure what will happen to Artifact Power levels if that gets any higher.
  • Someone pointed out that the words "Artifact" and "Relic" mean basically the same thing, so we've simplified these two systems. You can now put Artifacts in your Artifacts.
  • New mechanic: Artifact Talents
    • In addition to your Talents, Honor Talents and Artifact Traits, you can now choose among several Artifact Talents.
    • [[What do these actually do?]]
  • We've been seeing a lot of feedback from some players who are concerned that they won't be able to earn every Artifact Appearance available to them, particularly on their alternate characters. To correct this issue, you can now earn infinite Artifact Appearances.
     

Changes

Legendary Items

  • Your base chance to receive a Legendary has been increased by 30%, but your luck now increases at a 50% slower rate. We're pretty sure this is better but we're honestly just guessing at this point.
  • We've made several other improvements to the Bad Luck Protection system. As such, it has been renamed "Mediocre Luck Protection."
  • We've added a chance for Legendaries to drop when performing the following activities:
    • Fishing
    • Taking flight paths
    • Dancing on a mailbox while AFK
    • Asking Dadgar about the future
    • Nomi
  • As part of our continued efforts to balance Legendary items, they can no longer be repaired. This way, we're pretty sure it'll just work itself out eventually.
  • Many commonly-used addons have been reclassified as Legendary. You may only use two of these addons at any time.
  • We've thoroughly interrogated Sephuz, but he just won't break. We remain confident that we can one day learn his Secret.
  • Cord of Infinity has been redesigned again. It now grants Mage Armor a new, unique icon.
  • Anger of the Half-Giants is very sorry and didn't mean what it said about you. Anger of the Half-Giants is just going through some tough times right now and is having trouble controlling its temper.
  • In addition to its current effects, Prydaz, Xavaric's Magnum Opus will now invite you over for dinner more regularly and send you polite text messages every few hours asking how you're doing. Please, it just wants you to like it.
  • [[Note to designers: How have we not made a Legendary S.E.L.F.I.E. Cam yet? Or did we do that already? We may have done that already.]]
     

Professions

  • Some players reported that Nomi's research was occasionally granting recipes. We were unable to reproduce this behavior internally, but believe we've fixed the issue causing it to happen. Please continue to report this clearly unintended behavior if it should continue.
  • As part of our ongoing efforts to reduce unnecessary complexity, Herbalists have been given an ability that just creates gold.
  • The recipe for Frost Oil no longer requires Dadgar's Whiskers.
  • The recipe for Azsuna Frittata has been removed from the game.
    • Developer's Note: While we still believe in the core philosophy behind Azsuna Frittata, it wasn't exactly problem-free, and as the initial craze has now passed, we feel removing it is the right choice.
  • Posting auctions of tradeskill materials in stack sizes of 1 now has a chance to delete a Legendary item. If you have no Legendary items, it will delete your character instead.
  • No changes have been made to Prairie Dogs.
     

PvP

  • With the release of Patch 7.8.0, Legion Season 1 titles will be redistributed once again for the last time we totally swear.
  • By popular request, PvP vendors have been added. Head to your nearest capital city if you would like to purchase some PvP.
  • Several new PvP Brawls have been added:
    • Arathi Bluster: It's your favorite point-capture map, but with the Violent Winds effect from Eye of Azshara active. Don't get blown away!
    • Eye of the Volcano: We've taken the gameplay you know and love from Eye of the Storm and placed it in the center of an active volcano. Hope your lava jumping skills are up to scratch!
    • Warsong Belch: Available only during Brewfest, you'll rise to the challenge of capturing the flag while all players are forcibly inebriated!
    • Strand of the Really Ancients: Travel back in time to an era before engineered weapons and break through those huge doors with just your bare fists. Hey, you wanted longer battlegrounds!
  • Implemented a new feature that automatically adjusts PvP stat templates for a given spec whenever a popular streamer complains about it on Twitter.
     

Classes

  • [[Community team: remember to go through this list and randomly remove a few changes before you post this.]]

Death Knight

  • We've heard some concerns from the Death Knight community about the location of their Order Hall, and a general desire for a change of scenery. As such, Acherus has been relocated to Silithus.
  • Several Death Knight talents have been retuned:
    • Will of the Necropolis now has a 35% chance to activate. It been renamed to Might of the Necropolis.
    • Abomination's Might now has a 50% reduced chance to activate. It has been renamed to Abomination's Maybe.
    • All Will Serve now only has a 30% chance to summon an additional minion, and has an additional 20% chance to summon no minions at all. It has been renamed to Some Could Possibly Serve, If They Feel Like It.
  • Wraith Walk's tooltip has been updated:
    • It now reads, "Causes the Death Knight to immediately become inextricably lodged within the nearest crack or crevice between them and their target."
    • Functionality unchanged.
  • Death Grip can now be recast within 10 seconds to put that thing back where it came from, or so help me...
  • Rime has been removed, for reasons.
  • Glacial Advance has been updated to advance even faster than scientists previously predicted.
  • Breath of Sindragosa now makes you suffer as your pathetic magic betrays you.
     

Demon Hunter

  • We've automated the character naming process to get players interested in trying the Demon Hunter in-game quicker. You'll automatically be given a traditional Demon Hunter name, such as "Skillidan" "Chillidan" or "Ìllïdåñ"
  • We've expanded the Demon Hunter ability set to include several other iconic Demon Hunter abilities, including:
    • Drain Soul
    • Chaos Bolt
    • Soulstone
    • Ritual of Summoning
    • Unending Breath
  • We're happy to announce an expanded version of Fel Rush! We hope you enjoy Fel Rush The Rock: Arcatraz Edition.
  • New Talent: The Floor Is Lava:
    • You may now jump continually in the air. In fact, you have to. Touching the ground will result in immediate, painful death.
  • Last Resort will no longer incorrectly cut the Demon Hunter's life into pieces.
  • The inventor of Demon Hunters' Sigils has declared, long after the fact, that they're actually supposed to be called "siggils". Please stop saying "sijil" with the soft "g". Seriously -- this drives some people crazy and they're going to correct you for the rest of your life.
  • All character customization features, such as Transmogrification and the Barber Shop, have been disabled for Demon Hunters. It's not like you can actually see what you look like through those ridiculous blindfolds, anyway.
  • The Honor Talent "Awaken the Demon Within" has been removed. The Demon Within is already pretty woke.
     

Druid

  • Guardian Druids are now immune to damage.
  • Balance Druids have had their primary resource redesigned once again, with a different take on the Balance Bar system used in Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor:
    • This new and improved version of the Balance Bar is instead called the Balance Beam.
    • The Balance Beam uses motion controls, along with a specially-designed peripheral, to determine the Druid's efficiency based on their gymnastic performance.
    • As you spin and twirl around the Balance Beam, a team of judges will grade your performance. The higher your score, the more damage you deal.
    • Balance Druids looking for an additional challenge may choose the "Uneven Bars" talent.
  • Worgen Balance Druids can no longer cast Full Moon, because of what happened last time.
  • As Infected Wounds no longer reduce the enemy's healing taken, we've also removed the effect that caused them to crawl within the enemy's skin.
  • All Druids can once again cast Cyclone, but only on other Druids.
  • Moment of Clarity now causes Feral Druids to be mentally taken out of the fight. It's like everything just totally made sense, man.
  • Savage Roar is now 15% more savage.
     

Hunter

  • To avoid confusion with Demon Hunters, the Hunter class has been renamed to "Shooty Stabby Outdoorsy Types."
  • Hati had puppies! You can attempt to control them like other pets, but there's a good chance they'll just chew on your furniture instead.
  • New glyph added for A Murder of Crows: A Whole Lot of Pepes
  • Ducks may now be tamed as pets.
  • New Ability: Aspect of the Chupacabra:
    • Causes you to transform into some kind of dog-lizard and attack nearby livestock.
    • Cannot be used while the Hunter has a goat pet active, to prevent mishaps.
    • Gives you... a bonus to... cacti? Or something?
    • [[To be honest, I'm not even sure what a chupa-thingy is, I just like the name. It's got a ring to it.]]
  • Arcane Shot, Multi-Shot, and Sidewinders now generate so much Focus that Marksmanship Hunters can't even see their whole world crumbling around them.
  • Vulnerable replaced by new effect: Triggered
    • Your target is offended that you'd even point that thing at them.
    • How dare you?
       

Mage

  • Aluneth can now be added to your ignore list.
  • The Artifact Traits "The Storm Rages" and "Let It Go" have been removed from the game, along with the Frozen Orb ability, because seriously that movie came out like 4 years ago and we're tired of hearing about it EVERY SINGLE DAY.
  • Cone of Cold never bothered me, anyway.
  • Conflagration has been removed from Fire Mages and given to Destruction Warlocks instead. We're not entirely sure how it got there in the first place.
  • Arcane Missiles and Arcane Explosion have been given a visual update! They're now slightly more purple.
  • Mages now have +10% bonus to Class Fantasy.
  • Mages who open a portal to Northrend Dalaran after finishing a Legion dungeon run will be immediately and permanently banned from the Internet. Yes, the whole thing.
     

Monk

  • Brewmasters who attempt to use Ironskin Brew, Purifying Brew, and Fortifying Brew too regularly will now be cut off and asked to call a taxi.
  • Crackling Jade Lightning damage reduced by 30%.
    • [[Note to class designers: this is a preventative measure to prevent Windwalkers from being too strong once they figure out our secret DPS rotation]]
  • Keg Smash has been removed. Seriously, that's just wasteful.
  • Storm, Earth, and Fire renamed Earth, Wind, and Fire. This spell now chases the clouds away throughout the month of September.
  • As part of an effort to present a more fun and lighthearted image to younger audiences, Mistweavers have replaced Essence Font with Comic Sans.
    • After using Thunder Focus Tea, Comic Sans will be replaced with Papyrus instead.
  • Teachings of the Monastery has received some new curriculum, and will now be focusing on Common Core.
  • Resuscitate no longer requires mouth-to-mouth contact on Undead players.
  • Dark Side of the Moon has been reworked so that it now lines up better with that old movie you're watching.
     

Paladin

  • Choosing the Unbreakable Spirit talent will now cause the Paladin to never stop chasing their dreams, Titus.
  • After casting Tyr's Deliverance, any offline or out of range party members will be left a note indicating that they may collect their healing from the Paladin Order Hall between 8 and 10 PM.
  • We made some changes to the Cavalier talent, but we won't bother explaining them to you. They're probably too complicated for you to understand.
  • Lay on Hands will now properly respect the target's personal space.
  • We've accidentally scrambled the names of various abilities using the words "Divine," "Protection," "Hammer," "Holy," or "Blessing."
    • We're not entirely sure what Hammer of Protection or Blessing of Divine Holy are, but they're probably pretty good.
  • The errant letter 'e' has been removed from the names of the talents Bacon of Faith, Bacon of the Lightbringer, and Bacon of Virtue.
  • Luminescence renamed to something that's an actual word.
     

Priest

  • Discipline Priests have returned from an extensive off-site training session at Nar'thalas Academy. They are now 100% more Disciplined.
  • Divine Hymn now summons a panel of celebrity judges who might, if you cast it really well, ask you to be on their team. This is what you've been dreaming of your whole life!
  • Shadow Word: Death has been given a name more befitting its effect. It's now called Shadow Word: One More Step On The Unwavering Road To Oblivion.
  • Holy Priests who choose the Apotheosis talent and then never activate it even once through the entire boss fight will now be disconnected from the game for a week. I mean, really. Ugh.
  • That tentacle that Priests can summon now also spawns the other nine, making for a total of ten tickles, as intended.
  • We've outsourced the rest of this section to the Shadow specialization.
    • Hope is an illusion.
    • Embrace the void.
    • Your heart WILL EXPLODE.
    • NYARL'FGWTH!
    • AIGN RYOGL THO'GOTHAYL U'THRGAL!
    • rez pls
       

Rogue

  • Rogues will now shoot arrows more slowly.
  • New Ability: Spectral Sight Cloak
    • When activated, makes the Rogue invisible to Spectral Sight.
    • [[Reminder for the class team: Don't forget to give Demon Hunters a "Spectral Sight Cloak Sight" ability 2 days before releasing the patch. Otherwise we won't be able to add "Spectral Sight Cloak Sight Cloak" in 7.8.5.]]
  • Dirty Tricks is now a TV show that looks behind the scenes at what magicians really do for a living, starring Mike Rowe.
  • Outlaw Rogues may now also shoot the deputy.
  • Corrected 73 more "rouge" misspellings in chat. Someday, we'll get them all.
  • The Assassination ability Vendetta now causes the Rogue to go on a decade-long quest of revenge.
  • Several Outlaw Rogues have been arrested. Turns out renaming the spec was a pretty big tip for local law enforcement.
  • Shroud of Concealment now posts a zone-wide yell when a member of your party moves outside the clearly-marked boundary, is spotted by an enemy, and then tries to tell you that they weren't even close. Stop lying, Todd.
     

Shaman

  • [[shower thought: do we really need this section? Let's talk Monday. I vote we cut it entirely.]]
  • Shaman who pronounce the name of their class incorrectly will no longer be allowed entry to their Order Hall.
    • Also, people who say "Shamans" are just the worst.
  • Overcharge now has a 100% chance of occurring when you take your car in to the shop.
  • Sentry Totem has been returned to the game.
  • Just kidding. We're actually removing some other totems.
  • Spirit Walk has been re-routed around that construction zone that seems like it's never going to be finished.
  • Ancestral Vision is now 10% less creepy when you're doing things in the bathroom.
  • Hailstorm now seems to happen a lot more frequently than you recall in this part of the world.
  • Shaman in Ghost Wolf form will now be regularly assured by nearby NPCs that they're good dogs, Brent.
     

Warlock

  • Felguards have stopped playing their records backwards.
  • Rain of Fire will now correctly create a downpour of both rain and fire. In some cases, this will result in a beautiful rainbow. Other times, the rain will extinguish the fire and nothing will happen. That's just, like, the cycle of life and stuff.
  • Unstable Affliction has had its functionality extended to more accurately suit its unstable nature. You can no longer predict exactly what Unstable Affliction is going to do. Sometimes it heals the target. Sometimes it takes 9 seconds to cast. Sometimes you'll just explode. Good luck!
  • All talents named "Grimoire" have been renamed "Book", with the exception of the Shepherd Grimoire. We couldn't find a good place for it in the Warcraft movie, so we just killed it off in the first 20 minutes.
  • Cataclysm now deals damage equal to 1200% of spell power (was 1000%), and is remembered 20% more fondly than it was about four years ago.
  • Shadowfury has been replaced by Nightfury, which must be trained extensively, and is kind of toothless.
  • Power Trip now causes Warlocks to automatically kick guildmates who disagree with their thoughts on loot distribution.
     

Warrior

  • Weapons and shields equipped by Warriors will now lose durability every time they hit a target, and will break entirely once their durability reaches 0.
    • Developer's Note: This change will better emphasize the core Warrior fantasy as the appointed knights of Azeroth. Note that you'll probably want to bring several weapons to each boss encounter. Of course, if you run out, you could always just grab a random skeleton's arm or something.
  • The talent "Double Time" has had its name simplified to "Charges." Warriors who take Charges still gain another charge of Charge, andCharges' charges of Charge will charge faster.
  • Whirlwind now has an additionaOpportunity Strikes when you least expect it!
  • MORTAL COMBO! Dana-nana-nana-nana-nah-nah.
  • Bladestorm is now 15% scarier when you didn't think to bring an umbrella when you left this morning.
  • Morale Killer now sometimes fails to reduce the cooldown of Demoralizing Shout. Why do you have to be so negative all the time, anyway?
  • Carnage now covers the Warrior with venom, causing them to deal increased damage to those weird spider-men in Suramar.
  • Bloodbath now covers the Warrior with blood, causing a strong sense of déjà vu.
  • Warpaint now covers the Warrior with paint, causing them to continue beating this dead horse.
  • Blizzard is now hiring! We're looking for someone with fresh, new ideas.

Then we have a perhaps "too soon" joke, uh, I mean not joke, real announcement, about "Classic Battle.net", which kinda hurts when they just recently retired the name from the launcher.

FxNVWzi.jpg

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More from April leak day, a brand new way to attend BlizzCon, in case you didn't/won't get your ticket in the 0.456 seconds they will be up for sale. There's also a sample of your attendance experience up already, so head on over there and click Attend Now!

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Hearthstone wasn't to be left out:

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And finally, and probably the best of the bunch, Blizzard caved to popular demand and added the most crucial new announcer for StarCraft 2:

Placeholder for tweet 848091935122219008
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26 minutes ago, Starym said:

The Ready Check feature has been updated to be more consistent with the overall theme of Legion.

  • When prompted, players will now be asked if they are prepared.
  • They may then choose to respond with either "I am prepared" or "I am not prepared."

 

This should actually be done

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5 hours ago, Starym said:

By popular request, PvP vendors have been added. Head to your nearest capital city if you would like to purchase some PvP.

lol'd

Also, the community at MMO Champion is still able to talk shit about Blizzard over these notes. Somehow.

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  • Players must now have the achievement "Ahead of the Curve: Kil'jaeden" in order to zone into the Tomb of Sargeras raid.
  • Developers' notes: We've heard extensive feedback from players about the inconvenience of manually screening group applicants based on their achievements. We hope that by automating and enforcing these requirements on our end, we can streamline the process, so that players can more quickly organize raid groups and begin working towards their ultimate goal of defeating Kil'jaeden.

this is way, way, way, way too real

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7 minutes ago, Calysia said:

Waaaaay too much reading for an April Fools joke. "Might" take the time to do so but doubtful.

It's honestly one of my favourite days of the year, I love looking through the patch notes for WoW especially, as reading between the lines, it looks like a way for the team to blow off a bit of tongue in cheek steam. If you want a little less fluff to read however, start from 'Dungeons' onwards, but the Class changes parts are generally always the best. :) 

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actually going through more of these made me laugh pretty hard, i liked the aluneth can be put on ignore one. of the three artifacts that can talk to you aluneth is the only one that regularly speaks to me, and it won't shut up ever. i love it :D

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On 4/1/2017 at 1:54 PM, Starym said:

To better express the core story of the Legion expansion, all World Quests will now include harpies shouting at you about whatever it is you're doing.

#DED

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      It may not be the Diablo 2 remaster announcement everyone was hoping for (and that Blizzard officially said wasn't coming on the anniversary), but it's a whole lot of great stuff! Check out the full details:
      Diablo 2 Anniversary (source)
      Multiple Great Evils (not just one). Hardcore mode. Gem socketing. Fighting demons outside for the first time. Diablo II has a legacy, and it’s in the bloodstream of every game we’ve worked on at Blizzard since the year 2000.   It taught our artists, engineers and designers about mood and atmosphere, about randomness, and about what makes plate mail dress-up so persistently delightful. For DII’s 20th anniversary, we’re stoking the campfire and reflecting on a game that shaped how we make games.   In the process, we’ve dreamed up some cool stuff, and we hope you’ll check it out and celebrate with us.   To start, watch Baal Runz 101, a video developed by animation sorcerer Carbot Studios that we think is among his funniest work yet—and maybe the truest depiction of battling the Lord of Destruction. Read our Diablo II retrospective, with comments from Blizzard employees who’ve grown up developing, playing, and hanging out in the world of Sanctuary. Follow speedrun record-setter MrLlamaSC on a day-long live speedrun through Diablo II beginning at 9 am PT today. He’ll be playing through the entire game up to and including the Pandemonium event and conquering the “Uber” bosses. Bear witness to the unspeakable evil that is this limited-edition Lord of Terror bust. It looms 9” wide by 7-1/8” deep by 10-1/2” tall–the perfect size to desecrate your computer desk. Diablo’s never looked more terrifying (or more enthusiastic). Log in to Diablo III any time after June 29 to unlock your own tendinous Prime Evil Wings and represent the legacy you forged on Arreat Summit. Baal—as we saw in him in Diablo II—did not have wings, but try to imagine what they would’ve looked like if he did, and if you could’ve fastened them to your hero’s shoulders.
      We’re honored that you’re still enjoying one of our favorite games of all time this long after its release, and we’re grateful to spend a little time reminiscing with you.   Thank you,   The Diablo Team  
    • By Starym
      Here's the 20-year retrospective for Diablo 2, featuring a lot of Blizzard staff sharing their thoughts and memories of the game, including both franchise head Rod Ferguson and Diablo 4 lead Jesse McCree (but unfortunately not featuring some of the original developers, who recently shared their thoughts on a D2 remaster), as well as arguments on why the game has held up for so long and some fun things the community does to make the game more interesting.
      Retrospective (source)
      "Oh, I'd fought sleep for days at a time... For when I dreamt, the memories would return. Memories of the Monastery, and the Evil which had claimed it! Dreams, memories... I couldn't tell the difference anymore." - Marius
       
      Crafting a classic
      When we set out to create Diablo® II over twenty years ago, the goals were seemingly simple: fix the biggest issues in Diablo® and expand upon the original game’s formula. And while its developers didn’t set out specifically to turn the action RPG genre on its head or influence game design for an entire generation after it, Diablo II ended up doing just that anyway.
      The development team wanted Diablo II to be bigger, better, faster, and stronger than its predecessor. A story divided in distinct acts with massive, explorable outdoor zones replaced the claustrophobic Tristram cathedral. Five new character classes like the whirling Barbarian and pious Paladin (with two more added in the Lord of Destruction® expansion, the Assassin and the Druid) expanded far beyond the basic Warrior, Rogue and Sorcerer archetypes from the first game. These new classes, in addition to featuring greater gender and ethnical diversity, each feature 30 unique skills to choose from instead of the single shared spellbook from Diablo. Certain abilities like the spin-to-win Whirlwind, the Paladin’s beneficial auras, and the Necromancer’s summoned minions would become staples in many of our games after. Finally, more powerful items, with bigger stat variety than ever, allowed everyone to truly express themselves through their choices in character class, gear, stats, and skills.
      Many of us here at Blizzard have fond memories of playing Diablo II. To us it represents childhood memories, friendships created, endless entertainment, and it inspired many of us to join the video game industry as we grew up. Read some of our favorite tales from the office.
      Blizzard Employees on Diablo II Rod Fergusson – Head of Franchise, Diablo
      What Diablo II means to me is the connection I have with my brother.  He’s nine years older, so growing up I often felt like an only child, especially after he left home for university when I was eight. Over the years since, one of the ways that he and I have stayed connected was through video games.  After all, he was the first person to introduce them to me.
      Flash forward to 2001 and we’re living 1400 miles apart – he’s in Winnipeg, Manitoba and I’m in Seattle, Washington. To stay connected, we’ve decided that every year I’m going to take a long weekend and fly to his place and play video games all day, every day for four days.  That year, the plan was Diablo II.
      The day that I arrive, June 21, 2001 is the day that the Lord of Destruction expansion was released and so we stopped at the store on the way home from the airport to pick up two copies.  For the next four days straight, we did nothing but play Diablo II co-op.  After many hours, much caffeine and very little sleep, we actually finished the main game AND the expansion!
      That bonding experience was so meaningful to my brother and I that we still talk about it to this day.  In fact, when I told him about my taking the job as the Head of the Diablo franchise at Blizzard, he texted me the following – “The Diablo II expansion Lord of Destruction came out on June 21, 2001. On some level that feels like a long time ago but also feels like we just did it. One of my better brother memories.”
      Lance Kimberlin – Product Manager, Battle.net & Online Products
      After the first time I heard (and jumped from) "Ah...Fresh meat!" I was in love with Diablo. I put Diablo II on hold at Babbage’s in 1999 and waited for what seemed like forever to finally receive my copy—Collector’s Edition #23097 of 70000. I still have the box, the disks, and the epic Diablo action figure. How many hours I spent in game? Uh . . . we’d rather not talk about it.
      Jesse McCree - Lead Game Designer, Diablo IV
      I love Diablo II because it's super fun! It came out early in my career and was one of the games that helped me grow as a game designer by leading me to understand the importance of simple but well executed game loops and controls. More than anything, I love the tone and world of Diablo II. It's still an inspiration as a Lead Game Designer for Diablo IV!
      Lily Gardner – Associate Game Producer, Diablo IV
      Putting what Diablo II means to me in concise words that don't amount to a novel may be somewhat difficult, but considering the impact it's had on both my love of games and my career within the games industry (especially here at Blizzard), it would be a shame not to try!
      In my younger years, I certainly was no stranger to games. I grew up watching my dad play games and code on his PC, and eventually transitioned into playing games of my own—from a Sailor Moon puzzle game to The Sims, and more. However, my first introduction to Blizzard was through Diablo II and Lord of Destruction.
      When I look back on the summer before I turned 12, I think of all the memories I made playing as an Assassin—this fierce, female whirlwind of strength and prowess—and exploring spider caverns, marveling at the level of blood and gore, and cursing my lack of foresight and forgetting to stock up on Town Portal scrolls. I also remember cackling endlessly about a certain secret level. . . .
      Much of that fondness for all things dark and demonic, as well as engrossing myself in a game for weeks on end, hasn't faded, and I attribute much of that to Diablo II. Without my experiences in Sanctuary, I may not have ever had the desire to work at Blizzard, or in games, or my somewhat gothic sense of taste may not have ever developed.
      So, thank you to Diablo II and all of the talented, incredible people who made it a reality!
       
      Diabolical influence
      Over the years, elements of Diablo II’s design would find their way into several other Blizzard games, whether because they solved a specific need for that game, or simply because they were just fun to bring over. Warcraft® III included random item drops selected from specific loot tables, and hero units who had experience levels and skill points to be distributed, allowing those heroes to be built to suit the player’s strategy.
      Later in World of Warcraft®, Diablo II’s iconic skill tree system would influence the talent system from the original release all the way through the Cataclysm™ expansion. Diablo II’s influence is palpable in everything from the three different skill trees per character class to the point distribution system, which allowed players to customize their characters and rewarded them for investing points in certain skills by unlocking more powerful abilities.
      Some of Diablo II’s most powerful enemies—Champions and Elites—terrorize the battlefield by challenging the heroes with an unpredictable array of randomized powers. The notion of adding random enemy power increases as a way to further challenge and reward players lives on today in World of Warcraft’s Mythic Keystone Dungeon affixes, Starcraft® II Co-op Commanders, and of course in Diablo® III.
       
      The secret to immortality
      Today, Diablo II remains popular, and the very dedicated players enjoying it in 2020 continue to find new ways to make it their own. While some prefer the dramatic changes that only the modding scene can provide, others simply choose to creatively engage in Diablo II with self-imposed restrictions. Some variants include:
       
      Naked Fury:
      No gear is allowed in a naked run. No one can pick up any items other than potions. Players agree to rely only on their class skills and teamwork to prevail. Each class brings unique utility that helps the group succeed where a single player would fail. Naked runs usually go up to the completion of the Pandemonium event and the conquering of the “Uber” bosses—all while wearing no items at all!
      Ironman tournament:
      Ironman is simple in concept. Eight players start new Hardcore characters. Everyone plays together until level 9 while only using items they find—no previously found gear allowed. At that point, the team goes back to town, goes hostile on each other, and then duels to the death. Last one standing is the winner.
      Speedruns:
      Different classes and modes (Hardcore or not) in addition to the randomly generated maps and items make Diablo II very exciting to speedrun. World records for fastest completions are broken frequently, as emergent strategies (and a little luck) keep firm records from going unchallenged for long.
      The Holy Grail:
      The goal of the Holy Grail quest is to single-handedly collect every set and unique item in the game (meaning you must see the item drop, no trading allowed!). Since this is mostly a single-player challenge, some players like to use spreadsheets or apps to keep track of already dropped items, while others use mods that add infinite stash capabilities to the game in order to keep every item in their impressive collections.
       
      Evil lives on
      As we look back on twenty years of Diablo II, we see how the lessons we learned from the game have shaped the last two decades at Blizzard, and we expect it to continue to shape how we make new games (especially Diablo games) in the future.
      No matter where you were when it all started, or when you decided it was time to play Diablo II—we’re glad to be able to share these memories with you. Here’s to twenty more years in Sanctuary, where brave souls continue to fight to rid the world of Terror, Hatred, and Destruction—while traversing eerie, dark places, and collecting the shiniest loot. Cheers!
    • By Starym
      After a new rumor that came out a while ago, based on nothing but the 20 year anniversary of Diablo 2's release and the fact that the IGN Summer Game Fest is going on, we actually got an official blue response to that claim stating that there will be no more Diablo-related announcements coming this month! But we did find out there will be some "fun activities" around the anniversary, whatever that means. Some remain convinced that we'll see a D2 remaster announced during the IGN event, again only based on the fact that Blizzard are participating (but they've already announced Mei at the event, so that might have been it.
      Regardless of the actual announcement date, we still don't even know if a remaster is even happening. The most recent (solid) news on the matter was the Vicarious Visions job posting, but that one isn't anything close to definitive either. The best argument for it actually happening is simply the fact that Blizzard have been remastering most of their Classic lineup of games, and D2 is certainly a crowd favorite, so it just makes a lot of sense in general.
      D2 Remaster Announce (source)
      Hey all -
      We don't usually comment on rumors, but before this hype train goes off the rails we wanted to clarify that there are no upcoming Diablo announcements in June. The minions of hell are hard at work getting ready for the start of the next Diablo III Season, bringing you the next Diablo IV quarterly update (very) soon™, and we have some fun activities planned around the upcoming 20th anniversary of Diablo II.
    • By Starym
      IGN had a chat with original Diablo 2 developers Max Schaefer (Executive Producer, co-founder of Blizzard North) and Matt Uelmen (Composer), and while talking about their latest project, Torchlight 3, they were asked about the rumored Diablo 2: Resurrected remaster. First, Schaefer talked about the actual remastering itself, and the technical hurdles it might involve:
      Then the two talked about the mature side of the game, and what they were able to show off since it was pixels (and a more lax era for things like that, with Blizzard being a smaller company), with a concern there would be some pretty hard decisions on how to recreate some of the more mature scenes in current engines. Uelemen also said that as long as it has more violence, gore and nakedness, it would stay true to the spirit of the original.
      Check out the full IGN article, including the full video here!
    • By Starym
      There have been plenty of rumors about a supposed Diablo 2 remaster, Diablo 2: Resurrected being the most recent and most prominent, but we didn't really have any real indications for it other than rumors and supposed anonymous sources. That has changed a little today as two job postings indicate the possibility of a release and seemingly support the original rumor/leak.
      First off there's the original leak which stated that Activision studio Vicarious Visions was making Diablo 2: Resurrected, which would be coming out around the end of the year (modified by the Corona epidemic) and it was based on a leak from an anonymous source. Then we had the weaker of the two indications that it's true recently, as a Blizzard job listing for a "Senior Producer, Live Ops - Classic Games" popped up. It didn't mention anything specific related to Diablo, so it could be any of the Classic games.

      But today we have the bigger indication through another job posting, this time at Vicarious Visions themselves. VV are known for remastering older games, from the Crash Bandicoot series, to one of their current projects, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2. The latter was cited as the reason that the rumor was false, as that was the remaster project VV was working on. The job posting from today, however, is for a QA position which "Must be comfortable with work involving mature themes, including but not limited to content with an M rating.", and the Tony Hawk series definitely isn't M (it's actually T for Teen).
      Obviously this doesn't specifically indicate that the QA tester would be working on Diablo 2, or even a remaster for that matter, but it's now the third major indication that it might be happening, so it's certainly increased our excitement for it.
      So what would you want a Diablo 2 remaster to be? Untouched and as is, just with visual upgrades or can we actually get a functional stash that holds more than 7 items?
      Source 1.
      Source 2.
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