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Warcraft Recap: Dev Watercooler, Hotfixes, Azeroth Choppers + More!

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Check out the latest Dev Watercooler and the Azeroth Choppers winner!

This week's World of Warcraft Recap includes a great new Dev Watercooler post, detailing the upcoming changes to secondary and minor stats in Warlords of Draenor. The post reviews which stats will remain in the expansion and includes details on new stats, including Multistrike, Versatility, Indestructible, Leech and more! Blizzard have also released a few new hotfixes, including a drop fix that should make Flex Raiding Shamans happy! In case you haven't been following the Azeroth Choppers series, the final episode has been released and Blizzard has put together a great recap video to help get up to speed. The finished bikes have been revealed, and a winner is crowned! Based on how cool the inv_misc_key_06.jpgMechano-Hog is, I definitely can't wait to see the winning bike in-game! Check out this news and more in this week's Warcraft recap!





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Latest 5.4.8 Hotfixes - June 3 & 4


The latest live server hotfixes have been posted, including just three changes. Shamans rejoice, because an important fix has been published that will now ensure that the inv_misc_enggizmos_18.jpgKor'kron Shaman's Treasure, which contains the Shaman-only transmogrification set, will now properly drop on Flexible Raid difficulty! Less major changes include a change to the Justice Point gain from Non-random Normal Scenarios, which will now only award 30 Justice Points on completion instead of 70. Blizzard has also made it so the Ethereal Soul-Trader can no longer be summoned in Arenas or Battlegrounds.

Blizzard Icon 5.4.8 Hotfixes: June 3 & 4


June 3 & 4


Raids, Dungeons and Scenarios
  • Queuing for a non-random Normal Scenario now awards 30 Justice Points on completion (down from 70 Justice Points).
  • Siege of Orgrimmar
    • Resolved an issue where Kor'kron Shaman's Treasure was not dropping in Flexible difficulty.
Battlegrounds and Arenas
  • Ethereal Soul-Trader can no longer be summoned while in an Arena or Battleground.




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New Dev Watercooler - Stat Updates for Warlords of Draenor


Blizzard have posted an excellent new Dev Watercooler entry which details the latest developments and decisions regarding planned changes to secondary and minor stats (such as Haste, Expertise, Mastery) in Warlords of Draenor! The post also provides information about new minor stats being added in the expansion, including Multistrike, Movement Speed, Leech, Versatility and more! The stat system is being dramatically overhauled in order to provide the best possible gameplay experience, so be sure to check out all of the upcoming changes!

Blizzard Icon Dev Watercooler – Stat Updates for Warlords of Draenor

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In this Dev Watercooler, we’d like to give an update on secondary and minor stats in Warlords of Draenor. A lot has changed since we first revealed our plans at BlizzCon, so this blog will not only cover the latest developments related to what we’ve already discussed, but also go into detail on some new changes we’ve got in the pipe.

Secondary Stats


Existing Secondary Stats: Hit, Expertise, Dodge, Parry, Crit, Mastery, Haste, Spirit

As we announced at BlizzCon, we’re retiring Hit, Expertise, Dodge, and Parry. Hit and Expertise weren’t really providing very interesting gameplay, and Dodge and Parry are being replaced with Bonus Armor. Check out the Patch Notes for further discussion on why we removed these stats.

The other secondary stats—Crit, Mastery, Haste, and Spirit—work well and will be sticking around. One important note is that Spirit will only appear on items for specific slots (fingers, neck, back, and trinkets) and will give a much stronger benefit than it does today. Healers will prefer items with Spirit for those slots, but otherwise will use similar gear to everyone else.

New Stat: Multistrike
A new stat in Warlords of Draenor, Multistrike grants your spells, abilities, and auto-attacks additional chances to activate. If you’ve been following along since BlizzCon, you may remember that in our early plans, your Multistrike chance would split between two rolls and effectively have a 200% cap. We’ve since changed that to make it more clear and intuitive: the full chance is given to both rolls, with a 100% cap.

Now Multistrike grants your spells, abilities, and auto-attacks the chance to activate up to two extra times at 30% of normal effectiveness. For example, if you have 55% Multistrike and cast a Fireball that does 1000–1100 damage, you’ll have two separate 55% chances to automatically follow with another smaller Fireball that does 300–330 damage. That means every time you cast Fireball, you have a chance to see one big-damage Fireball, and then two smaller-damage Fireballs leave your hands in quick succession.

New Stat: Bonus Armor
Throughout the game’s history, some items have had bonus armor on them, which made them more attractive to tanks. After we removed Dodge and Parry, we wanted to replace these stats with a new tank-specific stat, and Bonus Armor fit the bill nicely. As with Spirit, it’ll only show up on rings, necklaces, cloaks, and trinkets. It’s clearly valuable to all tanks, and will be tuned to be much stronger than other secondary stats. Tanks will want to use items with Bonus Armor for those slots.

Retiring Stat: Amplify
We tried out Amplify on trinkets in Siege of Orgrimmar, and at BlizzCon we announced that it’d be a stat in Warlords of Draenor. The intent of Amplify was to multiply the effects of your other secondary stats. However, as we continued development, we found that Amplify had some design problems. In particular, we determined that it would quickly become the absolute best stat for everyone. On top of that, even if we were to apply heavy diminishing returns, the stat still wouldn’t have an interesting effect on your gameplay. For those reasons, it’s no longer going to be a stat in Warlords of Draenor.

Retiring Stat: Readiness
Readiness was another stat that we tried out on Siege of Orgrimmar trinkets. This one looked solid at first. Cooldown reduction is a great concept, the idea was well received, and although there were some balance issues, they seemed solvable. However, as we continued development, we hit a snag. Readiness works great in small quantities on the scale of a trinket or two, like in Siege of Orgrimmar. However, when we expand that to a point where you could potentially have Readiness on all of your character’s gear, problems arise.

Using a damage-dealing (DPS) class as an example, most of the stat’s value comes in letting you use your temporary burst-damage cooldowns (Arcane Power, Vendetta, Recklessness, Dark Soul, etc.) more often. Most of those cooldowns increase damage by 20%–30% while active, which is substantial for a temporary burst ability, but doesn’t compare well against secondary stats. If you stack a lot of Crit and can reach 30% Crit from gear, that’s more or less a 30% passive increase to damage. If secondary stats are equal, you should be able to stack Readiness instead, and get a damage increase that’s similar (or at least close). But how do we give you a 30% damage increase from letting you use a +20% damage cooldown more often? And once you get to 100% uptime, then what?

We experimented with many potential design changes but never found a version of Readiness that really felt good, so we’re going to shelve it for now, at least as a common secondary stat. You may still see it pop up occasionally in small quantities, such as on a trinket.

New Stat: Versatility
The removal of Readiness left some space in our itemization plans and room for another stat to take its place. It’s important to offer players plenty of different secondary stats so that you have a wide variety of interesting and compelling gear to choose from. To that end, we’ve been working on a new secondary stat called Versatility. Versatility is pretty simple: 1% Versatility grants a 1% increase to your damage, healing, and absorbs, and reduces the damage you take by 0.5%. It’s a straightforward, obvious upgrade to your primary role’s performance, but also gives significant boosts to secondary role performance and survivability. The healing increase it provides does work on self-heals, such as Recuperate, for example. We won’t be tuning it to be anyone’s highest throughput secondary stat, but it’ll be close, and it’ll give you a nice boost to how versatile your character is in the process. It’ll be especially attractive to hybrids who want to feel more “hybridy.”

Minor Stats


Most gear that drops in Warlords of Draenor has a chance to have a random bonus in addition to its normal stats. We call these “minor stats,” and they provide a small but useful bonus to your character.

New Minor Stat: Movement Speed
The first of our minor stats is Movement Speed, which, as you can probably guess, increases the speed that you move by a small amount. Previously, movement speed increases came from enchants and various class abilities, but otherwise never directly came from gear. The Movement Speed minor stat will stack with all other sources of movement speed, but we’ll be keeping the maximum benefit you can get from it fairly low—we want it to feel like a fun bonus when you get it, but not a large increase to character power.

New Minor Stat: Avoidance
Another minor stat, Avoidance, has previously only ever been used for a few prominent class pets. It reduces the damage you take from area-of-effect (AoE) attacks, though compared to the pet version, the Avoidance minor stat will come in much smaller quantities. The goal is to soften the blow of AoE attacks a bit, but not allow you to just stand in the fire.

New Minor Stat: Indestructible (previously Sturdiness)
We called this one Sturdiness when we announced it at BlizzCon, and its original effect reduced durability damage that you take by a small amount across your whole character. Since then, we’ve renamed it Indestructible, and changed it to cause that specific item to not take any durability damage. We think the change will make the stat more intuitive while providing a similar overall benefit.

New Minor Stat: Leech (previously Lifesteal)
Lifesteal is another minor stat that has been renamed and slightly redesigned since BlizzCon. Our original plan was for it to convert a percentage of your damage done to self-healing. We’ve extended it to work for healers as well, causing an extra percentage of all of the healing you do to heal you as well. With that change, the name was no longer fitting, so we’re renaming it Leech.

Proposed Minor Stat: Cleave
We announced Cleave as a minor stat at BlizzCon, but have since run into some problems with it. Most importantly, it was of situational value to DPS classes,always valuable to healers, and had very little value to tanks. As a result, we were concerned it would cause items that would otherwise be equally appropriate for a healer and a DPS class to be viewed as “healer gear,” which isn’t our intent. We’ve shelved it for now, though we have some ideas about how it might show up occasionally in specific cases.

The Complete List
In summary, here’s a complete list of our planned secondary and minor stats in Warlords of Draenor:
  • Secondary Stats
    • Haste: (Unchanged) Increases attack speed, spell casting speed, and some resource generation
    • Critical Strike: (Unchanged) Increases your chance to critically strike, dealing double damage
    • Mastery: (Unchanged) Increases the effectiveness of your specialization-specific Mastery
    • Multistrike: (New) Grants two chances for your damage and healing effects to fire an additional time, each at 30% effectiveness
    • Versatility: (New) Increases damage and healing, and reduces damage taken
    • Spirit: (Unchanged, healer-only) Increases mana regeneration rate
    • Bonus Armor: (New, tank-only) Increases your armor
  • Minor Stats
    • Movement Speed: (New) Increases your movement speed
    • Indestructible: (New) Causes the item to not take durability damage
    • Leech: (New) Causes you to be healed for a portion of all damage and healing done
    • Avoidance: (New) Reduces your damage taken from area-of-effect attacks.
As you can see, we have a lot of exciting changes and additions in the works designed to give you a variety of intuitive and interesting gearing options. We’ll be keeping a close eye on how these are playing out in our alpha and beta testing, and we’ll continue to refine and adjust as needed. As always, we look forward to hearing your constructive feedback!




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WoD Character Viewer Updated


With the most recent reveals of the updated Female Gnome and Tauren Male models, Blizzard has updated their 3D character model viewer to feature all of the currently revealed race models! You can new view Male Orc, Male and Female Dwarf, Male Tauren and Male and Female Gnome models. Blizzard has revealed details of updated Female Night Elf and Draenei models, but these are not available at this time. We've also seen a few reveals of new textures for Undead Males and Females, so hopefully we'll see a few new models in the coming weeks! Our friends over at MMO-Champion have been keeping the Alpha version of WoWDB updated as well, so you can use their 3D Model Viewer to check out the new model animations and try on armor! Looking forward to finding out how awesome you're going to look? Check it out!

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Guardian Cub Battle.net Shop Pet To Be Retired Soon


If you were putting off buying the adorable inv_pet_wingedlion.jpgGuardian Cub in-game pet from the Battle.net Shop, Blizzard says you're running out of time! Blizzard has announced that the pet will "head into hibernation" in "approximately two weeks (no sooner than June 18)." The pet will put into the Blizzard Archive, whatever that is, so don't miss out on your chance to buy this pet before it is removed from the shop. This is the first pet to be retired from the Battle.net Shop and will hopefully not indicate the start of a trend of retiring Shop items. The pet has not been discounted, and is sold for $10.00 USD or 10.00 EUR, plus applicable taxes.

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Azeroth Choppers Final Episode, Recap and Winner Announced!


The eighth and final episode of the Azeroth Choppers webseries has been released, and the winner has been revealed! I'm not going to spoil it, but it probably will come as no surprise. Both bikes look absolutely excellent and Blizzard will reveal details about the in-game version in the future. If you haven't been following the show, Blizzard have also made a series recap available which will get you up to speed and ready for the final episode! Also, be sure to check out awesome behind-the-scenes videos showing off more of the build process of these epic bikes!

Episode 8


Series Recap


Alliance Behind-the-Scenes


Horde Behind-the-Scenes

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    • By Starym
      With the Classic beta now out it seems every related article somehow manages to spark the eternal war of "Vanilla was the best WoW sucks now" and "lol nostalgia goggles, Vanilla sucked, enjoy your two weeks of Classic". I have to say, even though I understand the principles behind the battle and the reasons people behave and talk this way... I actually REALLY don't get it on a deeper level.
      I've been playing the Classic beta a little (and I do mean a little, the new Diablo season has me in its grips hard) and I can't see what the big fuss is about. It's Vanilla. That's what it is, that's what it was, that's what was expected and that's what we're getting. Sure there are bugs, upgrades some people didn't want and upgrades other people did want but didn't get, but in the greater scheme of things that's such a small part of the whole, it's barely worth talking about. So why are some people so insanely intent on ruining others' fun?
      Ok, so read the sentence above and tell me which WoW you think I was talking about?
      Because the thing is, that sentence applies to both sides and it drives me crazy. Most comments about either Classic or Battle for Azeroth end up in mud-slinging matches for no real reason other then one side is being negative about the other side's favorite version of WoW. And the funny thing is, there are way, WAY more commonalities than differences in there, after you remove the ego of "my WoW is/was better yours sucks". In the end, no matter what anyone says, they are talking and arguing and fighting about it because they care about WoW.
      To get back to Classic for a bit, this is what I think is happening. Players who prefer the old ways (and full disclosure, I'd count myself among them, but to a smaller degree than most) complain/talk about the negative sides of modern WoW and Battle for Azeroth in general. While they do this they also talk about how things were better before and often mention Vanilla as a reference point. People who enjoy BfA now feel attacked by this and so they retaliate. Hence, liking Classic means you either have nostalgia goggles on or have no idea what you're talking about and will hate the same things you say you want 2 weeks after you start playing it. It's an amazing thing, where literally each side is doing to the other what they feel is being (wrongly) done to them. I feel like writing this is the most redundant thing I've ever done, and yet I also feel that it needs to be said, because it seems some people just don't get what they're doing, or at least I hope they don't (some do and are doing it on purpose but there's trolls everywhere so there's no point in even discussing them).
      But let's actually talk a bit about Classic, shall we?
       
      Nostalgia?

      I was actually a warrior in Vanilla, but the lure of 2h Windfury is too strong
      Well, yes.
      Logging in for the first time, being welcomed by THAT login screen and THAT music... You can't not be taken back if you've played Vanilla, and especially if you've played 2 years of it non-stop all day every day. I probably stayed 10 minutes in character creation just because of the music alone (and trying to get my character looking exactly as it did back then - although I wasn't a shaman then). The whole intro experience was especially amazing for me since the Tauren starting zone was my first encounter with WoW in the EU beta, and a little bit of that spark did return. But is that all Classic has to offer? A trip back in time when we were wowed by the game for the very first time?
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      Difficulty or Tedium?
      The main topic for Classic at the moment would be whether the game is actually harder or just has more redundant activities you have to do before doing the stuff that's really fun. This is actually a good discussion to have, and not just for WoW, but gaming in general. The main sticking point for now, as most people are on (relatively) low levels is the breaks between killing mobs, especially for mana users. In the beginning it's actually refreshing having to think about what you can and can't pull, not just running into a bunch of mobs and killing them in *insert current optimal time to kill Blizzard determined is the most fun*. The food/drink breaks after a few (or even one) mobs provide time to actually look around the scenery and the mobs you're facing, and while there isn't much strategy involved at these levels, you still at least pretend to plan out how you're going to get to that quest mob without being killed by the 4 random ones surrounding them. Not being able to pull whatever mob you want, and actually having to check what mobs are there when you don't have interrupts yet (casters tend to be a nightmare) is definitely more difficult in a real way than what we have today. As a caster, having to actually think about which spells to use based on mana cost (and perhaps even using lower ranked ones) is definitely more difficult and requires more engagement with your character than we have in modern WoW.

      Me after 1 plainstrider
      However, after a while the novelty of it wears off and you do start getting a little bored of all the eating and drinking (and wondering why your character isn't getting to Kul Tiran levels of fat), especially if you hop on to BfA for a bit in between. The difference is huge and once you're used to just slamming into 5 mobs and downing them quickly it can get a bit boring to just pull 1 mob at a time and then wait and wait. The really low levels aren't that different between live and Classic in terms of gameplay however, as the small amount of abilities means combat isn't exactly the most exciting thing in either. On live you get past that pretty quickly, but it takes a while longer in Classic (especially if you're playing solo).
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      A simple truth
      The simple truth behind all of this bickering and squabbling is that there really isn't a bad way to enjoy a game. You like the feeling of Classic taking you back to your young(er) days and that rush of falling in love with WoW for the first time? You like the slower pace of both combat and leveling? You like that the social aspects of the game take a front seat? Good, enjoy it! You prefer modern WoW and BfA with it's tons of improvements, smoother design and more player-friendly features? Great, enjoy it! It doesn't matter whether you prefer modern WoW or Classic or WotLK or whichever your personal high-point was (it was Burning Crusade and Legion for me), you're not wrong. You literally can't be. No matter what anyone says in all these heated discussions, they care about WoW, in whatever form they prefer it. So why can't this be enough of a commonality for us to have a civil discourse?
      I wanted to talk more about Classic here and my experience with it, especially relating to my Vanilla days, but somehow I kept writing about this rift that's forming in the WoW community. I can't seem to shake it, and for all the many, MANY times WoW was diagnosed as "dying" (and never did/never will), this one actually worries me. Some people have worried that Classic servers will split the community because BfA and Classic can't play together and few people will have the time to play both, but I'm worried it will REALLY split the community on a more philosophical level. At the moment WoW is back to being the most watched game on Twitch, beating out Fortnite and the rest, so shouldn't this be a happy moment for all of us that care about the game? Regardless of whether you enjoy BfA, or are holding on for the next expansion to fix things, or can't wait for Classic, can we at least TRY to keep things civil? We can disagree all day long, and I'm the first to put my opinions out there, but just don't accuse people of being... whatever it is you think they are. Argue facts, discuss calmly (or well, at least try to), and if you see the other person isn't doing the same, just politely stop talking to them. It's that simple.
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      What is Classic really like and why is it causing such a rift in the WoW community?
    • By Stan
      Venturebeat interviewed J. Allen Brack and he talked about Classic WoW, Diablo Immortal, and Blizzard games in general.
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      Interview Highlights
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    • By Stan
      When it comes to Classic, Blizzard's goal is to provide an authentic Vanilla experience, but they also needed to come up with technology to handle many players at launch, which is similar to sharding. While the use of this technology will be limited to the first month following launch, many players are questioning this decision and wouldn't like to see layering in the game at all.
      Sharding
      Before we talk about layering, it's important to talk about the sharding technology used in modern-day World of Warcraft. When a zone in the game becomes overpopulated, players will be seamlessly moved onto a different shard, which is essentially another instance of the same zone. It is important to note that you will still be able to play with your friends, because you are moved to the same shard when you create a party.
      Sharding should not be confused with phasing, where a zone gets substantially altered due to in-game changes (think talking to Zidormi to visit various zones before and prior to these kind of changes), like Tirisfal Glades or Darkshore.
      Advantages of Sharding
      Sharding eliminates server load and realm stability. Cross-realm sharding is here so that players are evenly distributed across realms and helps combat underpopulation. Sharding at launch is vital to ensure a stable launch of an expansion. Starting zones would be filled with millions of people and that would turn even accepting a quest into a nightmare. Disadvantages of Sharding
      Sharding causes a lot of problems, especially in Battle for Azeroth with War Mode on and when players join parties to take down world bosses. There are multiple reports of entire raids sharding away. Blizzard's Stance on Sharding in Classic WOW
      Community Manager Lore talked about sharding in the Classic Demo back at last year's BlizzCon, where they believe some form of sharding may be helpful at launch.
      Blizzard (Source)
      As you've noticed, the Classic Demo does have realm sharding. This is to let as many people as possible experience it without technical issues such as server capacity or spawn density getting in the way. 

      Longer term, we know how crucial it is to the Classic experience for you to see your friends when you walk into Stormwind or when you’re helping them on a quest you’ve already completed. And there should only ever be one Kazzak on a realm, no matter how many people are waiting for him to spawn.

      We’re still looking at how we can best deliver an authentic Classic experience at launch, and in the weeks and months that follow - both in terms of gameplay and community. You won’t see phasing (which is tied to specific quests that don't exist in Classic) or cross-realm zones (which combine multiple realms together) in Classic. However, realm sharding is one of the best tools we have to keep realms stable when hundreds of players are swarming the same initial few zones and killing the same few mobs (like they will be at the launch of Classic). To that end, we do believe that some form of sharding may be helpful, especially in those early days. But we recognize that a cohesive world is critical to WoW Classic and are committed to bringing that to you. Layering in Classic WoW
      Recently, Game Director Ion Hazzikostas talked about layering in Classic WoW. This is a limited form of sharding, invented specifically for the launch of Classic.
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      There will be multiple layers of the same continent at Classic WoW launch, but Ion said the technology is going to collapse few weeks after launch, eventually merging all layers into a single unibody realm.
      Layering for How Long?
      The technology is there only for launch and will fade away in about a month, albeit it's still hard to determine if this is true, but it should definitely be gone before Phase 2 and world bosses become available in Classic.
      Advantages of Layering
      As mentioned before, Vanilla had no dynamic spawns, so people would need to wait for mobs to respawn at Classic launch, which could lead to frustration and an overall unpleasant gameplay experience. Layering will be gone in a few weeks after launch, merging all layers of the same continents into a single realm. Disadvantages of Layering
      You will be assigned a layer at random upon logging in to the game, so before the tech is gone, chances are you won't be able to see the opposing faction's guild which ganked your guildie. It's too early to predict, but we don't know what effect layering is going to have on Classic economy. Sharding Versus Layering
      Redditor Salvage_di_macaroni came up with an image, where he highlighted the differences between sharding and layering. 

      What do you think about layering? Do you not mind at all or would you rather not see it in Classic, because you think it strays away from the authentic Vanilla experience?
      Layering is limited scope sharding invented for Classic WoW. Read on for more details!
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    • By Stan
      Players are currently reporting instances of sharding on Classic Beta. Blizzard confirmed this to be a bug, as they're not planning to use sharding in Classic and they came up with a completely new technology to ensure a smooth launch and an authentic Vanilla experience.
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      Seen a couple instances of sharding happening since the last server restart about an hour ago. Blizz, what did you do?
      This is a known issue that we are actively investigating. Please continue to report these types of mob-behavior if they are happening in other locations.
      They just said it was a bug tho, it’s a beta, this is what we test in a beta.
      This is definitely why we do a beta test. We can also do things like reset the realm at a busy time like 4:30pm PDT to try and find the source of a certain issue where a crocolisk is losing it’s brain due to how multiple processes are interacting and mirroring code to form a cohesive world. There were similar types of issues like this back in 2004 but we wanted to try and resolve this one before the weekend for the folks who are testing.
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