Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New Pics for Halls of Relflection

So, in this fight, you run from Arthas right? how bout some screenies on what it looks like?
Credit goes to MMO champs, for their hard work of pressing the printscrn key

My Current Works and Tier 10 bonuses

As a vivd player to the World of Warcraft, I sometimes lose myself in the moment of Player versus Player, or even Raiding content (also occurs when the girlfriend also gets into her raiding moments) so i forget to post :)

For the most part, I have been dumping time into leveling my Priest, which is 77 as of tonight, and hopefully 80 by the weekend, I have some time, so I'm not in a rush, but I can't wait to get into a RMP team for arena (Rogue/Mage/Priest)
oh well, i have a couple for you tonight, including tier 10 bonuses:

Tier 10 Set Bonuses

Death Knight

* Item - Death Knight T10 Tank 2P Bonus - Increases the damage done by your Death and Decay ability by 20%.
* Item - Death Knight T10 Tank 4P Bonus - When you activate Blood Tap, you gain 12% damage reduction from all attacks for 10 sec.
* Item - Death Knight T10 Melee 2P Bonus - Your Obliterate, Scourge Strike, and Death Strike abilities deal 10% increased damage.
* Item - Death Knight T10 Melee 4P Bonus - Whenever all your runes are on cooldown, you gain 3% increased damage done with weapons, spells, and abilities for the next 15 sec.


* Item - Druid T10 Restoration 2P Bonus - The healing granted by your Wild Growth spell reduces 0% less over time.
* Item - Druid T10 Restoration 4P Bonus (Rejuvenation) - Each time your Rejuvenation spell heals a target, it has a 2% chance to jump to a new target at full duration.
* Item - Druid T10 Balance 2P Bonus - When you gain Clearcasting from your Omen of Clarity talent, you deal 10% additional Nature and Arcane damage for 6 sec.
* Item - Druid T10 Balance 4P Bonus - Reduces the cooldown on your Eclipse talent by 6000.
* Item - Druid T10 Feral 2P Bonus - Your Swipe (Bear) and Lacerate abilities deal 20% additional damage and the cost of your Rip ability is reduced by 10 energy.
* Item - Druid T10 Feral 4P Bonus - Your Enrage ability no longer decreases your armor and instead decreases all damage taken by 12%, and the periodic damage done by your Rake ability can now be a critical strike.


* Item - Hunter T10 2P Bonus - Your Auto Shots have a 5% chance to cause you and your pet to deal 15% additional damage for until cancelled.
* Item - Hunter T10 4P Bonus - Your Shot abilities deal 4% increased damage to targets afflicted with Viper Sting, Serpent Sting, or Wyvern Sting.


* Item - Mage T10 2P Bonus - Your Mirror Image ability also causes you to deal 15% additional damage for 10 sec.
* Item - Mage T10 4P Bonus - Your Hot Streak, Missile Barrage, and Brain Freeze talents also grant you 12% haste for 3 sec when the effect of the talent is consumed.


* Item - Paladin T10 Holy 2P Bonus - The cooldown on your Divine Favor talent is reduced by 60 sec.
* Item - Paladin T10 Holy 4P Bonus - Your Holy Shock spell causes the next Holy Light you cast within 10 sec to have 0.3 sec reduced cast time.
* Item - Paladin T10 Protection 2P Bonus - Your Hammer of the Righteous ability deals 20% increased damage.
* Item - Paladin T10 Protection 4P Bonus - When you activate Divine Plea, you gain 12% dodge for 10 sec.
* Item - Paladin T10 Retribution 2P Bonus - Your Seals and Judgements deal 10% additional damage.
* Item - Paladin T10 Retribution 4P Bonus - Your melee attacks have a 4% chance to reset the cooldown on your Divine Storm ability.


* Item - Priest T10 Healer 2P Bonus - After your Pain Suppression and Guardian Spirit talents expire on your target, they grant your target 10% increased healing received for 10 sec.
* Item - Priest T10 Healer 4P Bonus - Your Flash Heal spell has a 15% chance to reset the cooldown on your Circle of Healing and Penance Spells.
* Item - Priest T10 Shadow 2P Bonus - The critical strike chance of your Shadow Word: Pain, Devouring Plague, and Vampiric Touch spells is increased by 5%.
* Item - Priest T10 Shadow 4P Bonus - Reduces the channel duration and period of your Mind Flay spell by 51%.


* Item - Rogue T10 2P Bonus - Gives your melee finishing moves a 13% chance to add 3 combo points to your target.
* Item - Rogue T10 4P Bonus - Your Tricks of the Trade ability now grants you 15 energy instead of costing energy.


* Item - Shaman T10 Restoration 2P Bonus - Your Riptide spell grants 20% spell haste for your next spellcast.
* Item - Shaman T10 Restoration 4P Bonus - Your Chain Heal critical strikes cause the target to heal for 25% of the healed amount over until cancelled.
* Item - Shaman T10 Elemental 2P Bonus - Your Lightning Bolt spell reduces the remaining cooldown on your Elemental Mastery talent by 1 sec.
* Item - Shaman T10 Elemental 4P Bonus - The cooldown on your Lava Burst ability is reduced by 15 sec.
* Item - Shaman T10 Enhancement 2P Bonus - When you activate your Shamanistic Rage ability you also deal 12% additional damage for 15 sec.
* Item - Shaman T10 Enhancement 4P Bonus - Each time the beneficial effect of your Maelstrom Weapon talent reaches 5 charges, you have a 15% chance to gain 20% attack power for 10 sec.


* Item - Warlock T10 2P Bonus - The critical strike chance of your Shadowbolt, Incinerate, and Corruption spells is increased by 5%.
* Item - Warlock T10 4P Bonus - Each time your Immolate and Unstable Affliction spells deal periodic damage, you have a 15% chance to gain 12% spell haste for 10 sec.


* Item - Warrior T10 Protection 2P Bonus - Your Shield Slam and Shockwave abilities deal 20% increased damage.
* Item - Warrior T10 Protection 4P Bonus - Your Bloodrage ability no longer costs health to use, and now causes you to absorb damage equal to 20% of your maximum health. Lasts until cancelled.
* Item - Warrior T10 Melee 2P Bonus - When your Rend and Deep Wounds abilities deal damage you have a 2% chance to gain 20% attack power for until cancelled.
* Item - Warrior T10 Melee 4P Bonus - You have a 20% chance for your Blood Surge and Sudden Death talents to grant 2 charges of their effect instead of 1 and for the duration of the effect to be increased by 100%.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

An old memory

I found this on a forum in the archives...good classic WoW stuff

Halls of Relfection - Preview of 3.3.0 5 man

Here's some info for Halls of Reflection, very cool stuff

Have a look at the map for Halls of Reflection.

Tunnel with two bosses, Marwyn and Falric, then a big room at the end with another boss. Arthas. But THEN leading out that room is a long section of map leading to nothing really. Some kind of ledge?

What if the Arthas fight IS a type of chase scene, and you fight Arthas along the map leading to the ledge where you are extracted out, because Arthas is too rough? 5-manners still get an Arthas battle, that will be epic in focus. But you don't kill Arthas, you fight to escape him.

Here's some more pics of HoR

And finally, here's some weapon pics, one of Shadowmourne, and the other of some shield

Friday, October 2, 2009

3.3.0 PTR Patchnotes

Here's the PTR notes!

World of Warcraft PTR Patch 3.3.0

The latest patch notes can always be found at http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/patchnotes/


* Icecrown Citadel
o The Forge of Souls, the first wing of the 5-player dungeon, is currently available for testing.
o Additional Icecrown Citadel dungeon and raid content will be made available in future test builds.
* Dazed: Creatures attacking a player from behind can no longer cause players level 1-5 to be dazed, and have a reduced chance to cause players level 6-10 to be dazed.
* Copied Test Realm characters will no longer be copied with their achievement history in order to better facilitate the character copy process.

Classes: General

* Default Equipment: Starting weapons are now more uniform. Rogues now start with a pair of daggers equipped. All other classes except shamans start with a 2-handed weapon equipped and the required skill already known. Shamans start with a 1-handed weapon and a shield, as they benefit more from the shield than they would from a 2-handed weapon.
* Glancing Blows: The mage, warlock, and priest classes no longer have an increased chance for their melee attacks to be glancing blows; and the damage penalty due to their glancing blows is the same as for other classes.
* Health and Mana Regeneration: These regeneration rates have been increased by up to 200% for low level characters. As a player's level increases, the regeneration rates gradually reduce, returning to normal rates at level 15.
* Spell Mana Costs: These costs have been reduced for almost all lower level spell ranks. In general, if a spell decreased in cost with a higher level rank in patch 3.2.0, that spell now has the decreased cost at all ranks. In addition, spells learned before level 20 with reduced cast times and/or durations have even further reduced mana costs, proportionate to their reduction in cast time or damage.

Races: General

* Racial Attribute Bonuses: These bonuses have been recalibrated to even out the amount of starting health on the various races. All races start with a standardized level of stamina, except for orcs, dwarves, and tauren who now start with 1 extra point of stamina. For each class, bonuses and penalties to all attributes have been adjusted so that each race has an equal attribute total.

Death Knights

* Rune of the Stoneskin Gargoyle: There is now a 1-handed version of this rune in addition to the current 2-handed rune.
* Talents
o Unholy
+ Night of the Dead: Now reduces the damage your pet takes from area-of-effect damage by 45/90%, but no longer applies to area-of-effect damage caused by other players.


* Pets
o Avoidance (passive): Now reduces the damage your pets take from area-of-effect damage by 90%, but no longer applies to area-of-effect damage caused by other players.


* Misdirection: Redesigned. Instead of having finite charges, it now begins a 4-second timer when the hunter using Misdirection performs a threat-generating attack, during which all threat generated by the hunter goes to the friendly target. In addition, multiple hunters can now misdirect threat to the same friendly target simultaneously.
* Talents
o Beast Mastery
+ Intimidation: If the hunter's pet is in melee range of its target, the stun from Intimidation will now be applied immediately instead of on the pet's next swing or attack.
* Pets
o Avoidance: Now reduces the damage your pet takes from area-of-effect damage by 30/60/90%, but no longer applies to area-of-effect damage caused by other players.


* Talents
o Arcane
+ Arcane Empowerment: This talent now also grants 1/2/3% increased damage done by the mage's party or raid for 10 seconds after the mage gets a critical strike with Arcane Explosion, Arcane Missiles, Arcane Barrage, or Arcane Blast. This effect is exclusive with Ferocious Inspiration and Sanctified Retribution.
* Pets
o Avoidance (passive): Now reduces the damage your pets take from area-of-effect damage by 90%, but no longer applies to area-of-effect damage caused by other players.


* Pet
o Avoidance (passive): Now reduces the damage your pet takes from area-of-effect damage by 90%, but no longer applies to area-of-effect damage caused by other players.


* Dual Wield: Rogues now know this ability upon logging into the game at level 1.
* Stealth: This ability no longer has multiple ranks. While active, the single rank of this ability (available at level 1) allows rogues to move at 70% movement speed.
* Vanish: For the first second after this ability is used, neither Vanish nor Stealth can be broken by taking damage or being the victim of a hostile spell or ability.


* Fire Nova Totem: This totem has been replaced with a new spell, Fire Nova, which is available at the same ranks as the old Fire Nova Totem. Existing characters will automatically learn this new spell in place of the totem. With a Fire Totem active, shamans will be able to use Fire Nova (fire magic) to emit the same area-of-effect damage as the old Fire Nova Totem from the active Fire Totem, not consuming the totem in the process. Fire Nova will activate a 1.5-second global cooldown when used and has a 10-second spell cooldown. The caster must be within 30 yards of the totem to use this ability, but does not need to be within line of sight of the totem.
* Talents
o Elemental Combat
+ Improved Fire Nova Totem: Renamed Improved Fire Nova. This talent now provides an additional 10/20% damage to the spell and reduces the cooldown by 2/4 seconds.


* Pets
o Avoidance (passive): Now reduces the damage your pets take from area-of-effect damage by 90%, but no longer applies to area-of-effect damage caused by other players.
o Summon Imp: This ability is now available from the trainer for level 1 warlocks and no longer requires a quest to learn.


* Victory Rush: This ability is now trainable at level 6.
* Talents
o Protection
+ Damage Shield: This ability will no longer trigger any chance-on-hit effects from the warrior or the opponent it damages.

User Interface

* Quest Tracking Feature
o This system is currently under development and is not fully functional.
* Looking For Group System
o This feature is undergoing several improvements and is not available for testing at this time.
* For additional notes on Lua and XML changes please visit the UI & Macros forum.


* A new feature has been added to the D3D graphics engine to improve texture management (particularly for Windows XP users). This is currently enabled by default on the public test realms. For more information please visit our Test Realm forum.


* Enchanting
o Black Magic: This enchantment now sometimes increases haste rating for the caster rather than inflicting the caster's target with a damage-over-time effect. It is also now triggered by landing any harmful spell rather than inflicting damage with a spell.


* Glyphs
o Death Knights
+ Glyph of Icy Touch: Instead of granting additional runic power, this glyph now causes Frost Fever to deal 20% additional damage.
o Shamans
+ Glyph of Fire Nova Totem: Renamed Glyph of Fire Nova. This glyph now reduces the cooldown of Fire Nova by 3 seconds.

Bug Fixes

* Druids
o Rejuvenation: Rank 15 of this spell was providing a 15-second duration. It has been correctly reduced to 12 seconds.
* Mages
o Flame Strike: Some ranks of this spell had an incorrect cast time of 3 seconds. All ranks now share a 2-second cast time.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Icecrown Citadel: The Frozen Halls

I was killing time on some time and noticed this post by blue
Icecrown Citadel: The Frozen Halls


Icecrown Citadel will feature a massive five-player dungeon sprawling across three wings of the citadel's foundation. While the Lich King's attention is focused on the Argent Crusade and the Knights of the Ebon Blade ripping through the front gates, players will be tested as they assist Jaina Proudmoore (Alliance) and Sylvanas Windrunner (Horde) in infiltrating the citadel through an alternate entrance.

An epic quest line will present adventurers with the task of weakening Icecrown Citadel's forces, requiring that players defeat the challenges in each dungeon wing before venturing into the next one. Normal and Heroic versions of the dungeon will be accessible to players, although each wing will be considered a separate instance; therefore, on Heroic difficulty, each wing will have its own separate lockout timer. All-new rewards -- including item level 219 (normal) and level 232 (Heroic) loot -- will be offered to those who destroy some of the Lich King's most formidable allies.

The Forge of Souls
Serving as the first wing in this expansive dungeon, the Forge of Souls will quickly put players to the test of carving through the Scourge stronghold into deeper, more treacherous locations. Jaina will command Alliance forces, and Sylvanas will direct Horde forces. The goal is to ruin the twisted engines known as soul grinders found in this portion of the citadel, and then players can advance -- that is, if the Horde and Alliance forces can overcome the foes who confront them.

Bronjahm, the Godfather of Souls (lol): An instrument of reckoning, Bronjahm watches over the engines in the Forge of Souls. He must be killed if the soul grinders are to be destroyed.

The Devourer of Souls: As the chief operator of the engines found in this wing, the Devourer stands guard over the souls stolen by the Lich King.

Pit of Saron
Accessible only to those who have laid waste to the Forge of Souls' unholy operations, the Pit of Saron will bring Horde and Alliance forces deeper into the Lich King's domain. Players who venture here will immediately be confronted by the lord of this lair, Scourgelord Tyrannus. But defeating him will not be as easy as it seems. Before they can present a threat to Tyrannus, the adventurers, instructed by their leaders, will need to free enslaved allies who have been trapped by the Scourge. Until that happens, Tyrannus will leave all adversaries to his minions, workers of the citadel's mines. Perhaps the challenges here will lend clues as to the whereabouts of the Lich King's private chambers outside of the Frozen Throne, deep within the Halls of Reflection.

Forgemaster Garfrost: A master of Scourge weaponry, the forgemaster hauls stocks of saronite ore and other precious materials to the cold forges where the mechanisms of death are born. With a host of rime weapons and exotic alloys at his disposal, it could get cold in here.

Krick and Ick: Zombies serve as mindless muscle in the Pit of Saron's mines, stockpiling metals for Forgemaster Garfrost, and Krick -- a devious leper gnome -- supervises the operations from atop Ick, Krick's ghastly means of transportation.

Scourgelord Tyrannus: Tyrannus is a terrible force who will no doubt demonstrate his powers to those brave enough to enter the Pit of Saron. The scourgelord must die if players hope to make their way into the third and final wing of this dungeon.

Halls of Reflection
With Jaina and Sylvanas leading the way, adventurers who make it as far as these frigid halls will quickly recognize the weapon that lies ahead: Frostmourne, the corruptive, legendary device of the Lich King himself. The Lich King's private chambers are within reach, although they may be the death of anyone who ventures there.

Falric and Marwyn: Captains for Arthas Menethil in life, Scourge commanders for the Lich King in death, Falric and Marwyn will be summoned to the Halls of Reflection for one purpose: destroying all intruders.

The Lich King: Sylvanas, thirsty for vengeance against the corrupted prince who sentenced her to an existence as an undead monstrosity, and Jaina, eager to find a flicker of Arthas's soul locked somewhere within the Lich King, have brought their hand-picked allies to this final confrontation. Arthas's true power may only now be discovered. Is there any hope in this mission, or does only death await?

I would be a terrible poster if I forgot the pics

There we go, I don't feel as bad now

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Breakdown - 3.2.2

3.2.2 Patchnotes in scope

Well, 3.2.2 is here, with some changes to the way things are looked at, a new instance to kill time in, some new PvP changes, and of course, class changes. This patch came out officially on September 22, 2009, so let's take a look at the changes, and see what it all means.

* The Brood Mother Returns

Can't say we didn't see another remake with Naxx being tossed back in the mix and all, good choice by blizzard in my part, with some new changes, so it isn't quite the old same stuff, but for kicks they remade the level 60 gear to be a remix of level 80 gear with some old style effects, including lifestealing for 100-180 on polearms, and +10 resist stats on gear. There is of course the bad remake, so it's now a 22 slotter, very nice, and a low low low chance for a 310% speed Brood of Onyxia (drake) to drop...very nice. It'll be a somewhat easy encounter, with just the straight boss encounter, like the old remake, but remade for some fun (something like VoA).

* Armor Penetration Rating: The amount of armor penetration gained per point of this rating has been reduced by 12%.

Not a total loss, but it'll mean people either need to add an extra gem to make up for the loss or just not worry about it as much, for rogues, and blood dks, ArP (armor penetration) is pretty big, so maybe it'll bring them a bit more in line with other specs on those classes

* Players level 11 and higher will always see a daily Battleground quest

Good change, since it used to be 50ish or higher. Nice to see them cater to people while they level, collecting honor and marks.

* [Frost Presence]: The damage reduction granted by this ability has been increased from 5% to 8%.

Blizzard has this policy, Nerf hard, Buff in increments. After taking away so much mitigation, Death Knights are finally getting some back, 3% is still 3% on paper.

o [Gnaw]: This death knight ghoul ability now has a 1-minute cooldown.

It was a great ability for PvP, putting it on a one minute cooldown does bring it in line with other stuns, though hunter pets have a 45 second cooldown on some of those abilities.

+ Heart Strike: Secondary targets of Heart Strike now take half as much damage.

A solid hit to the blood spec, as Heart Strike is the cookie cutter rune dump, it'll still be, but you can bet frost spec dual-wielding will see some numbers up against blood.

+ Vampiric Blood: Cooldown reduced to 1 minute and duration reduced to 10 seconds.

Bringing it in line with the revamped unbreakable armor and Bone Shield, Blizzard spent so long making the three trees look and feel different, that now their finally putting solid caps on all abilties in all three trees, so they do not have random cooldowns.

+ Unbreakable Armor: Cooldown reduced to 1 minute and changed back to granting 25% additional armor while active instead of flat damage reduction based on armor. The amount of strength granted has been reduced to 10%.

A good change back to the start, and having it on a 1 minute cooldown with 20 second uptime means DKs will be using this 1/3 of the time, with the glyph of unbreakable armor still increasing the armor by +20%

+ Bone Shield: This ability now has 3 charges instead of 4. Cooldown reduced to 1 minute.

3 charges does hurt PvPers through intial burst, but the 1 minute cooldown from two minutes is a great change.

+ Dirge: This talent no longer grants additional runic power from using Obliterate.

Do not look for unholy DKs to keep using Obliterate in their rotation after this.

+ Moonkin Form: This form now also reduces the damage the druid takes while stunned by 15%.

With the previous change to owlkin frenzy, this makes PvPing moonkins look a tad stronger.

+ Predatory Strikes: This talent now also causes the druid's finishing moves to provide a 7/13/20% chance per combo point to make the next Nature spell with a cast time below 10 seconds instant cast.

Yes, this is a PvP booster, get it to proc, and instant cast even a healing touch. Not a bad upgrade at all.

+ Infected Wounds: The debuff generated by this talent no longer stacks and instead causes the full effect with a single application.

Another PvP change, for the better, since a Warrior's hamstring is a single stack/full effect

+ The Beast Within: The duration of this talent has been reduced to 10 seconds. In addition, hunters with this talent will do 10% additional damage at all times.

Could see more of these guys raiding, look for BM hunters to have less uptime burst and more overall damage output.

* [Arcane Blast]: The buff from using this ability now stacks up to 4 times instead of 3, and each application increases mana cost by 175% instead of 200%. In addition, the duration of the buff has been reduced to 6 seconds.

Extra stack, less time, cheaper cost, a well rounded change.

+ Missile Barrage: The effect from triggering this talent now removes the mana cost of Arcane Missiles. In addition, the chance for Arcane Blast to trigger this talent is now 8/16/24/32/40%. All other listed spells continue to have a 4/8/12/16/20% chance to trigger it. This talent no longer has a chance to be triggered when spells miss.

* [Righteous Fury]: The bonus threat from Holy spells caused by this talent has been reduced from 90% to 80%.

Don't look for Paladins to miss much here. They won't be losing threat any time soon.

+ Judgements of the Just: The reduction in cooldown to Hammer of Justice provided by this talent has been reduced to 5/10 seconds instead of 10/20 seconds.

+ Touched by the Light: This talent now provides 20/40/60% of the paladin's strength as spell power instead of 10/20/30% of the paladin's stamina.

A PvP hit for sure. It's common to see Prot specced Holy PvP geared Paladins in Arena and BGs, this cuts their Spellpower, so it's not a simple single Flash of Light cast to fully heal someone anymore.
+ Seal of Command: This ability now chains to strike up to 2 additional targets when it is triggered by an attack that can only strike a single target.

Crusader Strike just got a new friend, works with Exorcism too.

+ Twisted Faith now grants spell power equal to 4/8/12/16/20% of spirit, up from 2/4/6/8/10%.

Shadow Priests have spirit, now there's more reason to stack it, 20% is a strong number, meaning 1k spirit is 200 Spellpower, not a bad bump if I say so.

* [Fan of Knives]: The damage done by this ability has been reduced by 30%.

FoK will still be spammed in AoE fights, it just won't put rogues as number 1 for dps in the AoE department.

+ Throwing Specialization: This talent no longer causes Fan of Knives to interrupt spellcasting.

PvP hit to FoK and Rogues, won't affect PvE at all, but it does hurt Rogues in BGs.

* [Flame Shock]: The duration of all ranks has been increased by 6 seconds.

This will be in a rotation with an extra shock before it, 6 seconds is a perfect increase.

* [Lava Burst]: This ability no longer ever consumes a Flame Shock debuff off of the target.

All the more reason to use both Lava Burst and Flame Shock in the same rotation.

+ Critical Block: This talent now grants a 20/40/60% chance to block double the normal amount instead of 10/20/30%.

A nice buff for Warriors. Though they aren't the ones to stack block (Paladins are) the chance to block double is not a bad way to push Warriors to pick up a new shield or some extra block gear.

Overall, not a bad patch, I only touched on important things, and I decided not to go into bux fixes or professions changes, Classes were enough for me to hit on.
On that note...



Ready, Set, Raid - Raid Stacking

Stacking up - making a full raid

Alright, so I decided to address this issue, because, people seem to have quarrels over trivial things like, which buff is superior to another buff of the same type from another class, and who is on refreshment duty. Couldn't say people are not entitled to their own opinion, but for the sake of the article, let's pretend that not everyone knows of every buff/debuff out there

What is this stack you speak of?

So, we all know, that in a 10/25 player raid, some classes give out party or raid wide buffs...some give +10% to attack power, some give melee or caster haste, and some increase spell damage on a target, with an occasional increase to critically striking the target. But what really makes a good raid stack? Pure melee with melee buffs? Or does a caster party sound more your style?

When raid stacking, the first thing to understand, is not bringing in too many of one class/buff. For example, bringing in four balance druids does give a 5% critical hit increase, and gift of the wild...but in the end, you only need one balance druid to get the same job done. Same goes for shamans providing Bloodlust. But on the other hand, having multiple of the same class gives out more buffs, like paladins, that can give blessing of might, an increase to attack power, and blessing of wisdom, an increased mana regeneration buff, and also give out blessing of kings, a +10% to all stats buff. All three at once, with no hassle. In fact, each of those three paladins could be a different spec, meaning in a raid you could have a protection paladin for tanking, a retribution paladin for dps, and a holy paladin for healing the tanks.

All in all, raid stacking is making sure your raid gets the most out of the classes played, making the raid easier and lets all the players bring something to the raid other then their classic role.

Different name - same effect

Sometimes it just happens that some buffs overwrite, or cancel out other buffs. A shamans mana spring totem can negate the blessing of wisdom from a paladin, while a warriors battle shout can overwrite a paladins blessing of might, and a death knights horn of winter can be overshadowed by a shamans totem of strength. There is almost no way around this, as some stacking of buffs would make the player able to be reliant on themselves and skill, and just buff every buff they can, in order to clear content.

Just because some overwrites others, doesn't mean that a warriors battle shout should always be used over a paladins blessing of might. What happens if the warrior dies? The paladin would be able to continue giving a raid buff, with a minimal dps loss and no buff loss. Sometimes having another class with a similar buff can prevent a dps, or mana return loss.

Buffing - Making good, better

Buffs a critcal to making a raid just that much better, from a fortitude buff, to a Paladin's Kings buff, everythiing improves with raid wide buffs, and it wouldn't be fair to name off raid wide buffs given out during a fight if I didn't name buffs given out before it all goes down. So, here are the buffs that can be given out to the raid.

There are thirty or so different categories into which buffs and debuffs fit. Here you will find a comprehensive list of the changes made broken down by category and which spells/talents are in that category.

In each category, you can only benefit from the most powerful spell granting that effect. For example, Fel Intelligence grants spirit and intellect, both weaker than Arcane Intellect and Divine Spirit. If a player has Fel Intelligence and receives a stronger Arcane Intellect buff, he will gain the intellect value from Arcane Intellect and the spirit value from Fel Intelligence.

In most cases, fully-talented players will have exactly equal power on the strength of these buffs and debuffs. Fel Intelligence is an example of where one ability is weaker than others. The buffs in the "Increased Spell Power Buff" category are also not all the same potency, as they scale and grow in radically different ways. In virtually every other case, however, the buffs are equal. This means, for example, that fully-talented Battle Shout and Blessing of Might now grant the exact same amount of attack power.

As for Mana Batteries, each time they trigger the mana regeneration effect, 10 people in their raid group will receive a buff which causes them to regenerate 0.25% of their maximum mana each second. This buff, Replenishment, will be given preferentially to raid members with the lowest mana, but will re-evaluate which raid members receive it each time it is fired. Replenishment is provided by Shadow Priests, Survival Hunters, and Retribution Paladins.

Finally, there is Heroism and Bloodlust to affect the entire raid. However, all affected raid members will be unable to cast or benefit from Bloodlust/Heroism for 10 minutes after the intial use (unless there is a wipe, in which case, it's a 5 minute cooldown on the cast itself).

Complete turnaround

When making a raid, composition is key, making sure you don't end up missing buffs while still filling 10/25 spots can be hard, but that's what part of raiding is about, making the raid work, fluently, and when that happens, going into progression content is that much easier. So remember, bring the player and the class, and you can reap the rewards when players get extra damage in, don't run out of mana, and live that much longer. With that...



Wednesday, September 23, 2009

another new pic

another easy night, did this in about ten minutes, meant to do something with the outline on the leafs, but i did the trunk, so it worked well in my opinion

Onyxia's Lair Strat

So, here's a strat from wowhead.com, on how to make this fight easy

Phase 1: The Old Stuff

Phase 1 is absolutely identical to the original fight. It lasts from 100% health to 65%, and consists of Onyxia utilizing basic dragon abilities - Flame Breath (heavy hit in frontal cone), Cleave (hitting up to 10 targets), Tail Sweep (with a large knockback), and Wing Buffet (frontal cone knockback). Basic skills will get you through this phase easily - tank Onyxia with your back towards a wall, to avoid knockback from Wing Buffet. DPS and Healers should be position at Onyxia's sides to avoid both Tail Sweep and the frontal baddies. The tank might need some heavy heals, as the spells hit rather hard, and some cannot be resisted/mitigated. Other than that, you should be fine here.

Phase 2: The New Stuff

This is probably the hardest part of the fight. There are two (categories of) things to watch out for - adds and Onyxia's new spells. Note to melee DPS - you can attack Onyxia even while she is airborne, as long as you stand underneath her.

There are two kinds of adds spawning during this phase - Onyxian Whelps and Onyxian Lair Guards. The whelps will spawn in packs of 40 (20 on each side ). The first pack will spawn seconds after Onyxia lifts off in the air, and a pack will hatch every ~90 seconds after that while in this phase. While it is good to have a tank on them, try to AoE them down as soon as possible, as you want to mitigate overall damage and keep your mobility - you'll need both. The Lair Guards are new NPCs added in the 3.2.2 version of Onyxia - they resemble the old Onyxian Warder, but are significantly more dangerous. The guards will spawn more frequently than the whelps (approximately every 30 seconds), and will spawn in pairs (possible a pair from each side?). They don't have too much health, but have really high melee damage output through abilities like Cleave, Fire Nova, Flame Lash (which reduces fire resistance), and Ignite Weapon (17.5k/25k extra fire damage to targets in melee range). It is good to have a tank on them, but it is better to kill them from afar. Keep your melee DPS away from them at all times.

The other thing to watch out for are Onyxia's spells. Her Fireballs are something you should just heal through - although it is advised that you spread out, as the missiles do damage in a 10 yards wide area. /range on DBM is your friend again. And, of course, there is the Deep Breath...

Deep Breath is now on 100% random cast intervals - which means that DBM, or BigWigs, or whatever boss mods addon you use won't be able to warn you in advance. You will however see a raid warning/emote "Onyxia takes a deep breath". As soon as you see that, you need to forget about anything else you are doing, locate Onyxia, figure out which way she is facing, and get behind her quickly. Deep Breath is very unforgiving.

Phase 3: No need to STOP DOTZ

Phase 3 starts when Onyxia's health reaches 40%. At this point she will land permanently and cast a raid-wide fear, accompanied by lava eruptions. Raid wide damage, with extras for the tank - nothing you haven't seen before. Unlike the original version of the fight, Onyxia will no longer wipe aggro between phases, which means that your tank from Phase 1 should be the first person she goes to in Phase 3.

Throughout this phase Onyxia will continue to use all of her abilities from phase 1 (Flame Breath, Cleave, Tail Sweep, Wing Buffet), alongside with Bellowing Roar (3-second fear) and Eruption (AoE during the fear). Whelps will continue to spawn as well, but they won't be nearly as many as in Phase 2, so a few of your ranged DPS should be able to handle them quickly.

Note: If a player gets close to the eggs, at any point of the fight, the nearest whelps will hatch.

Taunt works

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

3.2.2 patchnotes

Here's some 3.2.2 enjoyment for you all to enjoy, I'll do a breakdown this week in addition to something productive



* The Brood Mother Returns
o After years of lurking in her lair battling the many brave adventurers who travelled from afar to challenge her, Onyxia returns to commemorate World of Warcraft's five-year anniversary.
+ Onyxia has been scaled to offer new challenges to level 80 players and is now available for testing in 10- and 25-player modes.
+ Adjustments have been made to the encounter to keep it fit for modern raiding, but the fundamental experience of fighting the Brood Mother will remain, as will the horror of the Deep Breaths!
+ Some classic items Onyxia offered level 60 players will have their stats adjusted appropriately for level 80 players.
+ [Brood of Onyxia], a very rare 310%-speed mount modeled after Onyxia herself will be available for the luckiest of challengers.
* Armor Penetration Rating: The amount of armor penetration gained per point of this rating has been reduced by 12%.

PvP Battlegrounds

* Players level 11 and higher will always see a daily Battleground quest, as the quest giver will only offer daily quests for a Battleground in which a player is eligible to participate according to level bracket (i.e. players levels 11-20 will always be offered a Warsong Gulch daily quest, while players levels 11-50 will be offered either an Arathi Basin or a Warsong Gulch daily quest, etc.).

Classes Death Knight

* [Frost Presence]: The damage reduction granted by this ability has been increased from 5% to 8%.
* Pets
o [Gnaw]: This death knight ghoul ability now has a 1-minute cooldown.
* Talents
o Blood
+ Heart Strike: Secondary targets of Heart Strike now take half as much damage.
+ Subversion: Now also increases the critical strike chance of Scourge Strike by 3/6/9%.
+ Vampiric Blood: Cooldown reduced to 1 minute and duration reduced to 10 seconds.
o Frost
+ Threat of Thassarian now also causes Rune Strike to use both weapons when dual-wielding.
+ Unbreakable Armor: Cooldown reduced to 1 minute and changed back to granting 25% additional armor while active instead of flat damage reduction based on armor. The amount of strength granted has been reduced to 10%.
o Unholy
+ Bone Shield: This ability now has 3 charges instead of 4. Cooldown reduced to 1 minute.
+ Dirge: This talent no longer grants additional runic power from using Obliterate.


* Talents
o Balance
+ Moonkin Form: This form now also reduces the damage the druid takes while stunned by 15%.
+ Typhoon: The daze duration has been increased from 3 seconds to 6 seconds.
o Feral Combat
+ Predatory Strikes: This talent now also causes the druid's finishing moves to provide a 7/13/20% chance per combo point to make the next Nature spell with a cast time below 10 seconds instant cast.
+ Infected Wounds: The debuff generated by this talent no longer stacks and instead causes the full effect with a single application.


* Talents
o Beast Mastery
+ The Beast Within: The duration of this talent has been reduced to 10 seconds. In addition, hunters with this talent will do 10% additional damage at all times.
+ Bestial Wrath: The duration of this talent has been reduced to 10 seconds.


* [Arcane Blast]: The buff from using this ability now stacks up to 4 times instead of 3, and each application increases mana cost by 175% instead of 200%. In addition, the duration of the buff has been reduced to 6 seconds.
* [Arcane Missiles]: Casting this spell while both Missile Barrage and Clearcasting are active will cause only Missile Barrage to be consumed.
* Talents
o Arcane
+ Missile Barrage: The effect from triggering this talent now removes the mana cost of Arcane Missiles. In addition, the chance for Arcane Blast to trigger this talent is now 8/16/24/32/40%. All other listed spells continue to have a 4/8/12/16/20% chance to trigger it. This talent no longer has a chance to be triggered when spells miss.
o Fire
+ Combustion: This talent now also increases the critical strike damage bonus of Fire spells by 50% while it is active. In addition, Living Bomb periodic ticks will no longer interact with the count or the charges on the talent.


* [Righteous Fury]: The bonus threat from Holy spells caused by this talent has been reduced from 90% to 80%.
* [Seal of Corruption] and [Seal of Vengeance]: These seals will now only use the debuff stacks generated by the attacking paladin to determine the damage done by the seal and by the judgement.
* Talents
o Protection
+ Ardent Defender: This talent now reduces damage taken below 35% health by 7/13/20% instead of 10/20/30%.
+ Blessing of Sanctuary: This blessing now grants 10% strength in addition to its current effects. Also, the strength and stamina bonuses from this blessing will no longer be lost when Blessing of Kings is removed.
+ Judgements of the Just: The reduction in cooldown to Hammer of Justice provided by this talent has been reduced to 5/10 seconds instead of 10/20 seconds.
+ Touched by the Light: This talent now provides 20/40/60% of the paladin's strength as spell power instead of 10/20/30% of the paladin's stamina.
o Retribution
+ Seal of Command: This ability now chains to strike up to 2 additional targets when it is triggered by an attack that can only strike a single target.


* Talents
o Shadow
+ Improved Spirit Tap: Mind Flay periodic critical strikes now have a 50% chance to trigger this talent.
+ Twisted Faith now grants spell power equal to 4/8/12/16/20% of spirit, up from 2/4/6/8/10%.


* [Envenom]'s scaling has been increased from 7% to 9% of attack power per combo point.
* [Fan of Knives]: The damage done by this ability has been reduced by 30%.
* Talents
o Assassination
+ Master Poisoner: No longer increases the Deadly Poison application rate following a successful Envenom and instead now provides a 33/66/100% chance of preventing Envenom from consuming Deadly Poison.
o Combat
+ Throwing Specialization: This talent no longer causes Fan of Knives to interrupt spellcasting.
o Subtlety
+ Honor Among Thieves: A 1-second cooldown is now enforced on how often a rogue can gain combo points from his party via this talent.


* [Flame Shock]: The duration of all ranks has been increased by 6 seconds.
* [Lava Burst]: This ability no longer ever consumes a Flame Shock debuff off of the target.
* Talents
o Enhancement
+ Earthen Power: No longer causes Earthbind to pulse a persistent snare immunity aura. It does still remove snares from allies as an instant pulse, but there is no lingering immunity. Earthen Power now also brings Earth Shock's melee attack speed reduction up to -15%/-20% (with 1 or 2 points in it, respectively).
o Elemental
+ Shamanism: Your Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning spells gain an additional 3/6/9/12/15% and your Lava Burst gains an additional 4/8/12/16/20% of your bonus damage effects.


* Talents
o Arms
+ Sword Specialization: Now has a 2/4/6/8/10% chance to proc an extra attack, up from 1/2/3/4/5%.
o Protection
+ Critical Block: This talent now grants a 20/40/60% chance to block double the normal amount instead of 10/20/30%.

Dungeons & Raids Shadowfang Keep

* Wailing Guardsman: Screams of the Past will no longer have multiple applications on a target. Recast time has been increased.


* Increased the cooldown on Immortal Guardians' Drain Life ability in the Yogg-Saron encounter.


* The Achievement " Iron Dwarf, Medium Rare (25 player)" now requires 25 kills, down from 50.
* The Frostwolf Howler and Stormpike Battle Charger Achievements will now be awarded when a player learns the respective mount spells.


* The blacksmiths of Orgrimmar grew tired of running to the rear of the city to craft items and have installed a new anvil & forge at the General Store in the Valley of Strength.
* Engineering
o The [Mind Amplification Dish] no longer changes the appearance of your helmet.
* Inscription
o Added a recipe for Runescroll of Fortitude. This item grants a stamina buff equal to the highest rank of Power Word: Fortitude (untalented) to all players in the raid. Does not stack with other stamina scrolls and Power Word: Fortitude.
* Leatherworking
o Added a recipe for Drums of Forgotten Kings. These drums increase all stats by 8% for all players in a raid. Does not stack with Blessing of Kings.
o Added a recipe for Drums of the Wild. These drums grant a buff equal to the highest rank of Mark of the Wild (untalented) to all players in a raid. Does not stack with Mark of the Wild.


* The Black Heart: This item's animation has been changed and no longer resembles Hand of Protection.
* Death Knight Tier-9 Tanking 4-Piece Set Bonus: Now decreases the cooldown on Vampiric Blood, Unbreakable Armor, and Bone Shield by 10 seconds instead of 20.
* Druid Tier-8 Healer 4-Piece Set Bonus: The amount of healing this set bonus grants on the initial cast of Rejuvenation has been reduced by 50%. In addition, this set bonus no longer has strange interactions with Harold's Rejuvenating Broach.
* Glyphs
o [Glyph of Bone Shield]: This glyph now grants 1 additional charge instead of 2.
o [Glyph of Flame Shock]: Redesigned. This glyph now makes [Flame Shock] periodic damage able to be critical strikes.
o [Glyph of Mind Flay]: This glyph no longer reduces the magnitude of the movement reduction on the [Mind Flay] victim.
o [Glyph of Scourge Strike]: Redesigned. This glyph now causes [Scourge Strike] to extend the duration of Frost Fever and Blood Plague by 3 seconds each time Scourge Strike is used on a target, up to a maximum of 9 seconds.
o [Glyph of Typhoon]: This glyph now increases the range on [Typhoon] by 10 yards in addition to its current effects.
o [Glyph of Unbreakable Armor]: Now increases the armor gained from [Unbreakable Armor] by 20%.
o [Glyph of Vampiric Blood]: The glyph now increases the duration of [Vampiric Blood] by 5 seconds instead of 10.
* [Libram of Obstruction]: The buff to block value from this relic is now exclusive with the buff to block value from Libram of the Sacred Shield; it is impossible to have both buffs at once.
* [Libram of the Sacred Shield]: The block value buff from this relic has been increased to match its item level.
* Relics: All buffs provided by relics (idols, librams, totems and sigils) now share an exclusive category such that gaining a buff from one of these items will remove all other buffs gained from items in this category.
* [Totem of Quaking Earth]: Attack power value increased to 400.

User Interface

* Battleground Queuing
o Players may now only queue for no more than two Battlegrounds at a time.
o The dialog box for entering a Battleground match has been changed to reflect the following options: "Enter Battle," "Leave Queue," and "Minimize."
o The time a player has to enter a battle when selected has been reduced to 40 seconds when not already in a Battleground and 20 seconds when in a Battleground.
o Players already in a Battleground can now choose "Enter Battle" for a new Battleground under any circumstance (i.e. while dead, in combat, falling, etc.).
o A new Battleground will not launch until the maximum number of players on each side are in the queue (i.e. 40 players per side for Alterac Valley).
* The size of the Focus Frame can now be adjusted via the Interface Options menu.
* Mail System Auto-Complete Feature
o The inline auto-complete feature for the mail system has been added back into the game. The mail system will now have both the pre- and post-3.2.0 auto-complete features available.
o Added a label to notify players that the Tab key will allow players to navigate through the character names listed via the auto-complete feature.
* For additional notes on Lua and XML changes please visit the UI & Macros forum.

Bug Fixes

* Death Knight
o Rune of Razorice: The frost vulnerability granted by this enchantment will now increase the damage done by Frost Fever as intended.
* Druid
o [Balance of Power]: Misleading tooltip reworded. The tooltip previously reported an incorrect value for the increased chance to hit with spells. The actual benefit of the talent is unchanged.
* Hunter
o [Master's Call]: This ability now correctly removes the snaring component of [Infected Wounds], [Frostfire Bolt], and [Slow].
o Trap Mastery's (Survival) tooltip now states the correct amount of snakes summoned.
* Mage
o [Arcane Missiles]: Ranks 12 and 13 will now properly cause players to enter combat.
* Paladin
o [Hand of Freedom]: This ability now correctly removes the snaring component of [Infected Wounds] and [Frostfire Bolt].
* Priest
o [Divine Aegis]: Ranks 1 and 2 now work with [Holy Nova].
o [Glyph of Power Word: Shield] now correctly uses the Priest's spell critical chance instead of the target's.
* Rogue
o [Vanish]: This ability now correctly removes the snaring component of Frostfire Bolt.
o Honor Among Thieves: This talent will now work properly again if two rogues with different ranks of the talent are in the same party.
* Shaman
o [Grounding Totem] will now properly protect against the [Death Grip] spell.
o [Lava Burst] can no longer deal critical damage to targets who are immune to critical strikes (due to, e.g. Roar of Sacrifice, Blessed Resilience).
o [Lightning Shield]: This spell will no longer set off some trinkets when it is cast.
o [Stoneclaw Totem]'s pulses will no longer break stealth on nearby hostile units.
o [Thunderstorm] and [Shamanistic Rage] can no longer be used while Frozen, Cycloned, Sapped, or Incapacitated.
* Warlock
o [Demonic Circle]: This ability now correctly removes the snaring component of [Frostfire Bolt].
o [Fel Armor]: This spell was unable to set off trinkets and other effects. That has been corrected.
o When using [Shadowbolt] or [Incinerate] while having Backlash and Backdraft active, only Backlash will now be properly consumed.
* Coliseum Trinkets: Some spells that should have triggered these trinkets will now trigger them (such as [Holy Nova] and [Fel Armor]).
* Death Knight Tier-9 DPS 4-Piece Set Bonus: Now grants the correct chance for disease damage ticks to be critical strikes.
* Hunter Tier-9 2-Piece Set Bonus: Critical damage from Serpent Sting will now work properly with the [Mortal Shots] and [Expose Weakness] talents.
* [Lightweave Embroidery]: This tailoring item enhancement will no longer trigger from the periodic healing granted by the warlock spell [Fel Armor].
* Mote of Flame: Corrected a typo in the tooltip.
* Paladin Tier-9 DPS 2-Piece Set Bonus: Now grants the correct chance for Righteous Vengeance ticks to be critical strikes.
* Shard of Flame: Corrected a typo in the tooltip.
* [Val'anyr, Hammer of the Ancient Kings]: Healing from [Prayer of Mending] now triggers the shield from this item. In addition, a bug was corrected which would cause the shield points to be overwritten rather than stack up as intended

WoW Hands Down

An Inside Look At The Universe Of Warcraft


Thursday morning's GDC Austin keynote was met with a large crowd as Blizzard Entertainment's J. Allen Brack and Frank Pearce took the stage to offer a detailed look into the inner workings of the genre-dominating World of Warcraft.

Introduced by BioWare's Rich Vogel, the two men completed a three-part series run by GDCA on the inner workings of the gaming powerhouse.

Vogel introduced the two with word that they'd be focusing on the company's operations, and Brack began by separating the "universe" of World of Warcraft (its design, production, and implementation) from the in-game universe of barbarian shamanism and magical power. He admitted that the company tends to hold things fairly close to the vest, but today their intent was to share some of the 'behind the scenes' elements rarely considered by company outsiders.

World of Warcraft was launched on a foundation of 10 years of Warcraft RTS games. Brack noted the first appearance of the yellow exclamation point in the Warcraft III title, and the RPG-focused elements of the Orc Campaign in the Frozen Throne expansion.

The World of Warcraft team, which split from Warcraft III, was actually working on a squad-based RPG called Nomad prior to their shift in focus. The game featured haunting alien imagery, but it was something that they ultimately couldn't find a voice for. After months of pre-production struggle, they set aside Nomad and began work on WoW; "What would we do if we wanted to start a project today?" was the question they asked. The answer: an MMO.

Management, Programming, Art, and Production

Within the World of Warcraft team, there are some 30 department leads. There are three tiers of management, with France Pierce (Executive Producer) on top. Production Director Brack and Game Director Tom Chilton are below him, and below those two men are arrayed 8 lower-level managers. Brack notes that they try to structure the teams around the people, and not the other way around. They feel strongly that employee strengths should dictate organizational structure, and as a result all reporting structures within the company vary by team.

Each team on the game aims to be made up of 5-8 people. They break that regularly, Brack admits, but that is the goal. The programming department currently consists of 32 people, and envelopes systems, tools, gameplay, server technologies, and UI. Brack singled out the tools team as a critical component of this group. They make tools not only for the developers, but for customer service as well. Blizzard has an expectation of a long life for World of Warcraft, and so they see these tools as products to be fully-supported in-house. These tools go through their own proofing process, with certification dictated within the company. Their UI team is a cross-disciplinary team with artists, LUA programmers, and C++ developers all collaborating on the game's front end. In all, the programming team is responsible for some 5.5 million lines of code.

The art department is currently sitting at 51 people. Technical artists, character artists, environmental artists, dungeon artists, prop artists, animators, and concept artists are all lumped into this group. The prop team Brack calls out as a new group, a team dedicated entirely to creating wheels of cheese, torches, and other accoutrements to make a place within the game world feel 'alive'. Overall the art department is responsible for some 1.5 million assets.

Pearce moves on to the Production department, only 10 members strong. They're overseeing of all the other departments, and view themselves more as support than management per se. They aim for low ratio of employees to producers, to ensure that every Blizzard employee is getting somewhat individual attention. Creative teams to not report to producers, he pointed out. Team leads, instead, take up leadership roles within individual departments. The art lead, for example, still creates art. Creative employees report to the men and women that best understand their individual process. In turn, producers and leads collaborate to ensure that everyone understands their role. Leads are not forced into management/leadership roles they aren't comfortable with. Pearce notes the importance of what he called 'succession planning.' Producers help each team to understand who would be tapped in the future to take on a leadership role should the current lead step down, as well as plot out the future careers of individual employees. Overall production has managed 33,000 tasks in the last ten years.

Design, Cinematics, Sound, and Platform

The design department, some 37 members strong, came up next. Class designers, profession designers, itemization designers, level designers, event designers, encounter and lead designers are all grouped here. Brack points out the multi-disciplinary nature of the level creation team. They use WoWEdit to incorporate art assets and create the zones in the game. The events team is responsible for not only holidays like Hallow's End, but also static world components like the city of Dalaran and the new and popular Argent Tournament. Over the years, the team has created some 70,000 spells and some 40,000 NPCs.

The cinematics group was the next to be pointed out by Pearce. Machinima sequences, teasers, and the amazing pre-rendered cinemas that make Blizzard games kick off with a flash are all created in this group. As a talented group of artists, they also use this group to direct the creation of sword replicas, statues, and other physical objects. The group is 123 people strong, and Pearce notes that they could actually spend a whole talk just talking about how cinematics is organized.

The in-house sound department was next on the block for Brack. Handling sound effects, music, voice casting and recording are all partner projects with this team. The group's audio director is a talented composer, and has ended up composing a number of pieces for the game. There are over 27 hours of music in World of Warcraft currently, and Brack jokes that fully half of some patches for the game are audio files.

Platform services was the next group detailed, incorporating technologies for all of the games across the company, Macintosh development, QA, localization, and QA for in-house elements. There are some 245 people in this department, one of the largest in the company. Brack drilled down into the QA group, noting their sometimes inglorious role to test every patch and gold master. The size of their workload continually grows. World of Warcraft kicked off with some 2600 quests. They added 2700 quests in the Burning Crusade expansion and another 2350 quests in the Wrath of the Lich King drop. A total of 7650 quests in the game makes it very challenging to maintain and track all of the game's content. The QA group has tackled some 180,000 bugs since the game launched.

Localization, Technical Services, International Offices, and Online Services

Localization translates and culturalizes World of Warcraft into 10 different languages, and Pearce notes that there are actually more people playing WoW outside of the English language servers than inside. The capability to do all of this work in-house is incredibly important, and as a result they have no 'partial' localizations. It's not just translation and localization, they view a new language as an ongoing commitment to all the players on those servers. They actually have a dedicated producer working with this group to ensure that they have all the resources they need. Choosing to launch in a new language is a decision they don't make lightly, and Pearce points out that this group currently tracks 360,000 text strings and some 2 million words.

The technical services group is dedicated to getting every patch to the players. Patch 3.1 pushed some 4.7 petabytes of data to the players. Brack points out that they actually have to do some 10 patches for any given patch they do because of the numerous languages they support. QA has to test every patch they release, and there are actually 126 types of patches (streaming, universal, incremental) that all have to be updated and supported. A monumental task, Brack says.

The Blizzard Online Network services group is Pearce's next focus. A huge group, they have data centers from Texas to Seoul, and monitor over 13,250 server blades, 75,000 cpu cores, and 112.5 terabytes of blade RAM. He points out the picture of the GNOC in their slideshow, a data core that even has televisions tuned to the weather stations. They use those to ensure that conditions of the data center are up to their standards; with only a staff of 68 people they ensure connectivity across the globe for the numerous WoW servers.

International offices handle local market conditions, games that are released in other countries, and the occasional censorship issue prompted by a government. They also handle local marketing as well, ensuring it meets with regional sensibilities. There are hundreds of people in all these offices across the globe. Brack went on to talk about the customer support staff, a group with 2,056 game masters, 340 billing managers, and a host of other background staffers. These tireless staffers also work from locations around the world, ensuring that any local variations in culture (or the game) are respected.

Pearce then focused on the Online Services team, a group that includes the important gaming service Battle.net. Pearce gave a quick overview of the many new features coming to the service such as Battle.net-wide friends, integrated billing, and a number of other new features. Online Services specifically handle login technologies and billing elements for World of Warcraft. There are now 12,000,000 Battle.net accounts, and they look forward to the eventual seamless integration of that community and the WoW community.

Web, Community, PR, et al

The Web team was Brack's next group to discuss, a team responsible for managing a host of websites, online stores, the WoW Armory, and promotional materials. The mobile technologies team at Blizzard is grouped under this umbrella as well, and Brack calls out the mobile armory and the mobile authenticator as products they've previously released. They currently manage some 900,000 web files.

The corporate applications team is the company's internal tools team for activities "around" the game. They work to do fraud prevention, maintain bug tracking, keep a look out for upcoming trojans and spyware, maintain the internal wiki, and are responsible for the WoW team's internal data mining. This is the group that ensures the designers know exactly what is popular and what isn't in the game. Pearce jokes that the achievements system has been especially popular with WoW players and to date the players have unlocked some 4,449,680,399 rewards.

The PR and community teams were Brack's next focus, the groups responsible for public interaction. The PR team has helped to ensure some 10,000 articles have been written about World of Warcraft, while the community team acts as a liason between the players and the team itself. The 66 members of the community team ensures that civility is maintained on the game forums, and produce the always popular "blue posts".

The eSports group is responsible for all of the Tournament-related activities. Their budget includes prize money, travel arrangement money, and venue arrangements, and they ensure that professional gamers are tied directly into the WoW/Blizzard organization. To date they've hosted almost 1640 events. The events team proper is responsible for organizing BlizzCon, getting employees to events like AGDC, and coordinating with other consumer conferences. Brack notes the new addition of streaming viewers via DirecTV this year, and the explosive acts of Jay Mohr and Ozzie Osborn. With streaming viewers, BlizzCon had 100,000 participants this year.

Marketing, the next group on the docket, handles box creation, web campaigns, TV commercials, partner promotions (such as WoW-themed Mountain Dew), and in-game promotions like refer-a-friend or the scroll of resurrection. They're obviously very successful, as their commercials have seen over 10,000,000 views since Blizzard's television advertising campaign began. Licensing, a related group within the company, handles novel publishing, comics, strategy guides, the upcoming WoW magazine, apparel, plushies, action figures, games, and endless other tie-ins. Their role is to pair the right products with the right brand, and to date they've helped to release 400 products with Blizzard properties.

The creative development team is the hub for the company's history. They have two full-time lore historians, keepers of blizzard's past. They are the liaisons with the novelists, work to create shared art resources, act as an archive for every piece of art that's been created for Blizzard Entertainment, and currently maintain 100,000 art assets. Pearce takes a moment to note that the World of Warcraft team also has the capability to tap into the resources of other development groups within the company. He singles out the StarCraft 2 team as helpful for getting the original game out the door. Strike teams from these other groups are also helpful in evaluating World of Warcraft content without the connection that the team members already have, impartial observers for new content.

Brack notes that WoW also taps all of the other 'background' departments in the company. Finance, Human Resources, Facilities groups, the legal team, and of course the IT team all support the massive undertaking that is World of Warcraft.

Making the World Work

As an organization, World of Warcraft utilizes 20,000 computer systems, 1.3 petabytes of storage, and more than 4600 people. "Operating an online game is about more than just game development." Pearce hopes that the importance of these non-development groups is obvious, especially given the explosive growth of the company over the last five years. "World of Warcraft has completely changed the organization", and it wouldn't have been possible without the departments that they'd singled out.

Friday, September 18, 2009

new pic - eye for an eye

Again, a whole ten minutes
I like the shading I did, I was aiming for something animeish, but a phone really doesnt do well zoomed out on a 3" screen...still, not too shabby on the shading imo

Thursday, September 17, 2009

quick drawing up, and a funny wow pic

when we were messing around in ulduar last night, we had a priest die one some trash...needless to say, seeing the undying die, gave me a laugh

i got bored before writing the article on tanking, so i doodled this...dont know why the hell i used the darkening tool like i did, but it looked cool on my phone

RolePlay - Tanking the tanks

Being the Wall

Tanks are at first thought, a wall that stops a boss or encounter from crashing into the raid and killing everyone. A second thought, pretty much proves that, a tank has the sacred duty of being the only line of defense to the raid. But unlike a normal concrete wall, the tank can move, become more resilient, or even interrupt a boss, plus, they can die. First off, this isn't an article on healing, that'll be for another day, this is more about the tank.

Tanks do not have it easy. Anyone thinks they can play a tank, but there is a fine line between being a good tank, and a terrible tank. Although it can be taught, tanking is really a first-hand experience. Any good tank can give advice, but without practical application, and learning individual play styles, tanking can seem daunting.

Where do tanks come from?

Traditionally tanks are a select few classes spec'ing (with talent points) into their protection trees to gain extra survivability talents that will allow them to live longer in boss encounters. Protection Warriors, Protection Paladins, Frost Death Knights, Feral Druids, can all be tanks. To note, Death Knights can use almost any talent tree to pick up survivability talents, but Frost or Blood seem the most traditional as Unholy has become more the PvP talent tree, and Blood has lost some mitigation and stamina bonuses over time since their release.

Tanks, usually aim for gear with "Defense" stats posted on it. "Defense" increases some natural avoidance abilities (more on those in a minute) as well as decreases the chance for the tank to be critically hit. By reaching an amount of 540 at level 80, tanks become "uncrittable" meaning bosses and mobs can no longer deal extra amounts of damage to them. Feral Druids are the exception, as they can spec into a talent that makes them uncrittable for 3 talent points. Generally Defense gear should go to tanks if seen as an upgrade, because, having a better geared tank means that wall between the boss and raid becomes that much harder to knock down.

Pure Avoidance - the legit way to not get hit

Avoidance is when a tank dodges, or parrys an attack from a boss, and in return takes no damage. It's percent based, meaning there is a percent chance the tank gets hit, as well as a chance the tank does not get hit. Avoidance is a loved thing. It means less mana consumed from a healer, and the fight can proceed with damage and mana saved. Sometimes, that breather can allow healers to catch up on the tanks life bar and even top him off, making sure the tank is fit for the next major attack from a boss. Pure Avoidance is dodge, and parry. Both work about the same, but come from different stats. Dodge, comes on gear usually with defense, but also comes from Agility, while Parry, comes on gear usually coupled with defense, and also comes from strength as well. Those two stats help a tank survive even the most deadly of bosses, just by dodging or parrying their melee attacks. Pure Avoidance is something aimed for by any tanking class, except for Feral Druids who cannot acquire parry stats.

Blocking...a damage mitigation story

Block is another stat given to most tanking classes (Druids do not get block, but instead Savage Defense, where when the Druid critically strikes they get a buff that reduces the next hit taken by 25% of their attack power). Death Knights do not get Block, but can also spec to take less damage by entering their frost presence for straight damage mitigation. Block, in a nutshell, is when the tank uses a shield and when successful, mitigates some damage from the boss attacks. Warriors and Paladins get block from their shields used, and as the stat posted on their shield, when they do block an attack, damage mitigation occurs for the amount listed. However, block also falls under a percent chance, making it a percent to happen or not happen. Paladins and Warriors alike can spend additional talent points to increase block chance, and Paladins can use an ability coupled with some talent points to increase their block chance by large numbers (60%). Block, can be acquired from gear like parry and dodge, and is often stated with them. The shield block amount is how much damage is absorbed when the block occurs.

Health Pools - How much can i take?

Health, is important to any player, it means how much you can absorb without biting the dust, or dying in quintessential terms. Health for a tank is more important, as they are taking a majority of the damage done by the boss (some rare cases, but I am not going to indulge upon them at this time). Having a large health pool, means you can take bigger hits, or even multiple hits in a row before death occurs. Some bosses do abilities a tank just can't dodge, so that's where their health pool comes into play. Or say they don't get a dodge or parry off, again, to the health pool the damage goes. HP comes from stamina, which is overabundant on tank gear, coupled with dodge, block, and parry (not all gear contains all bonuses, it's a mix and match game). Tanks with higher end gear will 99% of the time have higher health pools then tanks just starting to tank. Health is the end all stat for a tank, either they take the hit and live, or take it and die, having a higher number is always a good thing, but it doesn't mean giving up pure avoidance for it all the time either.

A Balancing Act - To be hit or not to be hit

So, you have some gem slots (for gems that can provide additional bonuses for your stats) open do you? Sometimes, too much of one thing means losing out on another...meaning you could have a hugh pure avoidance, but lack in health, and when that pure avoidance doesn't stop two attacks in a row (remember it's percent based) you could be in trouble. But the same could be said about health, gemming, enchanting, and aiming for high stam gear could be bad if the boss hits you multiple times in a row and your healers call out that they are running low on mana (always a bad thing). The best thing, is to find your middle road, and roll with it (somewhere between 50% or higher avoidance can be good as long as you have a good amount of health to back it up [try not to count block as pure avoidance since it doesn't negate a hit, and isn't always up to block to begin with]). It might be hard to start with, but when you get multiple pieces of gear for the same slot, you can judge which helps more (just make sure to stay around the minimum required 540 defense number).

Aggro - Making threats and keeping them

Tanks are walls because they can take hits, and dodge them sometimes...but they can also be the stopper between a boss and the rest of the raid because they can force themselves inbetween so. Threat, occurs when a tank uses abilities that cause threat, and does more threat then the other raiders. Every player produces threat (unless otherwise noted on abilities). Whether healing or dpsing or tanking, everyone produces threat, some more then others. A Paladins Sacred Shield doesn't produce as much immediate threat as a Priests Power Word: Shield. A tanks abilities, usually produce a large amount of threat per second, or tps, that, as long as they remain on top, keeps the boss focused on them. When dps starts doing more tps then the tank, then the boss moves to that dpser and kills them, number one on the aggro chart means the first (and sometimes only) target the boss focuses on. Aggro, threat, is the same in terms, threat is produced off of abilities, and aggro is the result. So tanks, keep up their respective threat making rotations and keep aggro focused on them.

Situational Modifiers - Run away little girl

It's no small feat for a tank, they have to make some choices while tanking, more personal choice then anything, but none-the-less, a choice. If a boss has a cast bar on an ability, tanks can choose, one of three things, try to move out of the way, eat it, or interrupt it. These choices aren't available all the time, or even at the same time. Sometimes a boss might cast an aoe that can't be interrupted, be can be moved out of the way from, or just taken as damage. Of course, there are times when damage can't be avoided, or interrupted, but has to be taken. And then there's the only option to interrupt it where moving or eating it cannot be options. But tanks must do the research of every boss encounter and learn what options are open to them. By knowing the fights before hand, a tank can respond accordingly to every ability, and prevent less damage, overall.


What's above in the post, is a general overview of what tanks must look at before each raid, during, and afterwards. It's alot more work when people actually stop to think about it. When it unfolds during a fight though, it seems like a blur, and in minutes, everything is over, and either the raid lived or didn't. For the record, I respect tanks, they have to worry about stats and put them into practice on every encounter, pulling out all the stops.

If you want to be a tank, I highly recommend tankspot.com to get in depth videos of all encounters and explanations for them. elitistjerks.com also has some great spec/rotation/gear recommendations updated with the latest theorycrafting.

-whew, enough to type for now

-pwrtoppl is out