Tagged: Beta

As we slowly move towards the release of Warlords of Draenor there’s still some videos from our youtube channel to take a look at WoD! Next we’ll take a look at the tier 3 perks of the Gladiator’s Sanctum and the Barracks!

WoD Beta: Gorgrond and Spires of Arak Horde Outposts

As we slowly move towards the release of Warlords of Draenor there’s still some videos from our youtube channel to take a look at WoD! Next we’ll take a look at the horde outposts in Gorgrond and the Spires of Arak.

Welcome back to WoD: TBC 2.0! Last time I covered my experiences as I leveled through Draenor. Today we’ll be taking a look at max level content, mechanic/philosophy changes and the general world.

Max level content

This is the one part of WoD that worries me. Now of course it’s still in beta, so not everything is in yet. However I am very concerned as to how much and how long max level content will last. Let’s look at what we know for WoD:

  • Heroic Dungeons (Don’t forget you’ll need to acquire silver in the Proving Gronds to queue for it)
  • Challenge modes, doing the daily will give you a chance at a LFR quality piece of loot
  • Raids with a difficulty for everyone. LFR, Normal (flex), Heroic (normal) and Mythic (heroic). If you are in a dedicated raiding guild you’ll be doing these om specific nights in the week.
  • Reputations, still not fully in the game but it does not seem like there will be that many, nor is it known yet how you will level the reps and what their full rewards will be.

These are the natural sources of content you will go through to gear your character. They are expected, what other sources of fun are there?

  • The open world of Draenor. 7 time-lost proto drake style mounts are being added so you can farm those. Hopefully they won’t be the only cool max level things you can find in Draenor.
  • Daily Quests, or rather just 1 quest. Every day you’ll be able to earn 800 Apexis Crystals via a daily that starts in your garrison. You’ll have to go to a max level area and kill stuff (or interact with items) until the progress bar reaches 100.
  • Your Garrison and it’s related quests. You will want to level up your buildings, get their rewards and get profession materials from your herb garden and mine. The medium and large buildings have some pretty cool rewards. The stables, for example, lets you train at least 6 new mounts to add to your collection!
  • Weekly story quests, the quest content is the big winner of the expansion and blizzard knows it. We’ll have weekly story quests to keep us busy at max level as well, the question is if these will be different from the extra garrison quests or if they are the same thing. For example you’ll have to help a dwarf in your garrison out as an alliance player, once you’re done with the series you’ll be able to use a mole machine in your garrison to get to Gorgrond quickly.
  • Professions, you will want to level these to max in the new expansion like you do every expansion. The question is how will it provide lasting end game content? Will professions be improved? You’ll need more materials and materials from other professions to craft your items. You will also be able to upgrade your crafted items with your profession. Other than that, time will tell if it plays out for the better.

When you look at the list there is actually a lot to do. The question is will it last for longer than a month or two? If blizzard finds a way to make it last Warlords of Draenor will be one of, if not the best expansion in WoW history.

Feature/Mechanic Changes

When you have a 10 year old game you’re going to see some things turn ugly. Which means they need to be cleaned up, and that certainly happens in WoD.


Bag space is such a major issue for those that have played a long time or are just collectors. MoP added to the problem with all the toy items that became available through quests, rares and the timeless isle. The toy box should have been a feature of MoP but thankfully is one in WoD. I did not keep all MoP toys because of said bag space issues and I was still able to put about 40 toys into the toy box. But it did not stop at 40 new bag spaces!

Two surprises were added in WoD. First of all a reagents tab was added to your bank. Allowing you to store lots of reagents and materials in your bank. Add to that that a lot of mats will stack up to 200 instead of 20 and you’ll be able to craft new items while the reagents are still in your bank!

The second surprise was an additional void storage tab, allowing you to put away a lot more transmog items. This was done though because some things were pushed back. So let’s move on to the wishlist which has those pushed back items among them.

First off the heirlooms collection tab has been delayed. This was something that was supposed to be in WoD and would be quite useful for altoholics among us. I really hope this is one of their priorities as I do feel it should have been in WoD, considering the 6 month delay it had.

The transmog system that was teased will also not be in at launch. Now this was something that was only an added bonus and I’m not surprised that it is delayed. But with my many armor sets I hope to see this feature ASAP.

And finally, along with it the tabards need cleaning up. Tom Chilton has said in his past Gamescom interviews that these would likely be solved along with the new transmog system.

Button Bloat Reduction

Every class and spec are going to have some spells removed to reduce the button bloat on your action bar. This was needed. It really was… The bottom line is you’ll have to get used to it and you won’t agree with every change. I don’t think they should have removed scare beast for hunters, but it’s still gone and I’ll mourn the loss. I can’t speak for all classes but when it comes to hunters they’ve streamlined the specs. They did however fail at making each spec feel different enough. Although with all the pushbacks, delays and possible cuts from WoD it’s not really surprising.

Stat squish

Stats are finally being squished in WoD, reducing player health and stats. (Relatively speaking you don’t lose any power compared to current/old content) A breath of fresh air, and at the same time they seem to be inflating numbers pretty quickly. Player health was doubled due to PvP reasons and as a PvE player it annoys me greatly. The player health will inflate back up to rediculous numbers quite quickly with 4 tiers of gear in raids and that means another squish will be needed within a few years. Blizzard needs to find another solution for PvP in my opinion so that we don’t have these rediculous numbers again so quickly. Just for reference: At level 90 my hunter had 90k health, at level 100 with 3 crafted items, a few garrison reward items and the rest quest items he has 180k.


Garrisons are a huge part of Warlords of Draenor, almost everything is connected to it. There’s even a building with PvP objectives (Gladiator’s Sanctum).  For everything Garrisons you should check out our guides for both buildings and followers. There are so many elements to the Garrison that in this review I’ll take a look at the best and/or worst points. For the grand overview, if it hasn’t been released yet, we will soon have a brand new overview/guide for everything related to the Garrisons. They are quite the fun addition to WoW. From the leveling of your followers to later earning gear for them it’s fun to have your own personal army.

The 20 follower limit, to be frank, takes the fun out of collecting them a bit. It feels like a punishment for collecting ‘em all. Once you collect follower #21 you will be unable to send them on anymore missions until you put one on inactive. Once a day you’ll be able to reactivate one for a gold cost. The feeling of collecting your own private army is great until you reach the cap.

The profession buildings are a nice bonus, however you can’t make all the profession items with it if it’s not one of your primary professions. You’ll be able to create the materials for that profession and the first stage of the crafted items for it. (The epic items you can craft with professions will have 3 stages of item level.) The rest, such as mounts and bags you will still have to do with your own character’s professions. An advantage of having both the profession and the building is being able to speed up your material production greatly.

The invasions are alright, if you’ve sent a lot of followers on missions they get harder. Followers that had to stay at home will help you defend the garrison which is quite fun because you’ll see the element of your own private army come back in the defense of your garrison.

Some buildings seem to be close to mandatory. As it stands right now the Salvage Yard is by far the best way to gear up your followers. Other thant hat there’s only the occaisional item reward from a mission to gear up a follower. Whether this is good or not is really up to Blizzard. Is it their design intent to need the Salvage Yard to be able to gear up your followers the quickest? If so then that’s something we’ll just have to live with. They’ve already stated that it is their intent you have to make hard choices as to which buildings you choose to build, so this could just be a part of that.

As far as endgame content out of the Garrisons go, it seems to be mainly the weekly(?) garrison story quests and the one daily quest for apexis crystals. Outside of that the main gameplay seems to be leveling up followers, gearing them and earning things like gear from them. An added mention should be the quests/achievements to get tier 3 Garrison buildings if you haven’t already gotten them.

Overall the Garrison is fun, you will want to keep logging in to send your followers on new missions. At the same time if you can’t log in throughout the day, that’ll be ok too. New missions come in slowly so as long as you log in atleast once or twice a day (with a good chunk of time between them) you’ll be able to keep up with leveling up your followers. The use of the profession buildings feels quite limited if it’s not for one of your character’s primary professions but from tweets that seems to be the intent of the developers.

With a lot of the resources being put in to the Garrisons for WoD the challenge for Blizzard will be to keep them interesting for endgame content for the long run, and I certainly hope they succeed in doing so.

Rare spawns and events

While you level up in Draenor you will come across many many rare mobs. On average there’s about 20 rare mobs per zone, if not more. (Be sure to check our location guides for them) They’re a good distraction from regular quests. And that’s pretty much that’s all there is to say. It’s worth exploring the zones and look for rares that might be hidden away and they just make leveling up more fun.

Conclusion for initial WoD Experience

It’s no secret that I favor The Burning Crusade when it comes to WoW expansions, and as you can tell by the title I feel like this is TBC 2.0. WoD feels like a breath of fresh air, where leveling has become a lot more fun and significant. The storyline is good when leveling and the world feels more dynamic just due to the addition of the rare mobs and events. The garrison initial experience is very enjoyable but it shares the concern I have for max level content: Will it last? If it does, we’re going to be in for a great expansion. If not, we’ll probably continue to see a decline in subscription due to the lack of content longevity.

Upcoming Tank Squish

One thing we missed in reporting was the Tank Squish announced over a week ago, so incase you missed it there are some changes coming to tanking on the beta!

Quote from: Blizzard
This post was originally made by Celestalon, posting here for extra visibility:

Hey all. I’ve briefly mentioned this in tweets, but wanted to provide some more concrete info here for you. In an upcoming build, we’re making some major changes to tanks.

But don’t freak out, tanks, this is for the better. It’d be very easy to see datamining of these changes and think the sky is falling; don’t be deceived! If you do the classic “scroll to my class, read datamined changes to my class only”, you’ll be sad and angry. And I’ll be sad that you’re sad and angry.

The core issue that we’re aiming to solve is with the power level of tanks’ defensive abilities. And I don’t mean their gameplay. Their gameplay is great, especially Active Mitigation; that’s not changing. I mean their total defensive effectiveness. Health, damage reduction (flat, percentage, random avoidance, etc), passive and active, cooldowns, etc.

Tanks have gotten a lot of power creep. A tanking specialized character should be better at tanking than a non-tanking specialized character, obviously. But by how much? 3x? 5x? 10x? It’s gotten to be more like 50x or even 100x. Fun fact as a point of comparison: Most of the Mythic raid bosses (first raid tier) we’ve been testing deal tank damage roughly equivalent to what Heroic Lei Shen (second raid tier) did, after accounting for the squish and level difference. Some even more.

So, what are we doing about it? We’re effectively doing a squish to tanks defensive effectiveness, and to dungeon and raid mob damage to tanks. This list is going to sound like a big pile of nerfs, but it’s important to understand that it’s not. It’s happening to *all* tanks, and mob damage is coming down as well, to compensate.

Additionally, before anyone points it out, yes, some of these changes affect the defensive effectiveness of non-tanks. We didn’t forget that; this was done consciously, because we think these changes should be made anyway, or we’re considering other changes to compensate them if necessary.

Here’s a summary of the actual changes (please post this around, and discuss this, not the datamining which will paint a very skewed and incomplete picture):

  • Creature damage has been retuned. In particular, the damage of creatures intended to be tanked in dungeons and raids has been drastically reduced to offset the below changes.
  • The amount of Armor on Plate, Mail, Shields has been reduced significantly.
  • Many tank abilities that increase maximum health have been reduced in effectiveness: Guarded by the Light, Stance of the Sturdy Ox, Bear Form, Empowered Bear Form, Blood Presence, Veteran of the Third War, Shadow of Death (Enhanced Death Coil), Ursa Major. In most cases, the magnitudes of these effects have been reduced.
  • Many tank abilities that passively reduce damage taken in some way have been reduced in effectiveness: Unwavering Sentinel, Improved Defensive Stance, Mastery: Critical Block, Defensive Stance, Sanctuary, Guarded by the Light, Stance of the Sturdy Ox, Bear Form, Blood Presence, Primal Fury. In most cases, the magnitudes of these effects have been reduced.
  • Many tank abilities that provide Active Mitigation have been reduced in effectiveness: Shield Block, Shield Barrier, Shield of the Righteous, Mastery: Divine Bulwark, Bastion of Glory, Guard, Stance of the Sturdy Ox, Shuffle, Savage Defense, Pulverize, Frenzied Regeneration, Tooth and Claw, Death Strike, Rune Tap. In most cases, the frequencies or magnitudes of these effects have been reduced.
  • Many tank abilities that provided long-cooldown temporary defensive buffs have been reduced in effectiveness: Shield Wall, Last Stand, Demoralizing Shout, Divine Protection, Guardian of Ancient Kings (Protection), Fortifying Brew, Barkskin, Bristling Fur, Survival Instincts, Might of Ursoc, Bone Shield, Dancing Rune Weapon, Icebound Fortitude, Vampiric Blood. In most cases, the durations of these effects have been reduced.
  • Resolve has been changed to no longer scale with Stamina, only incoming damage over the last 10 sec, and its scaling rate changed.
  • Resolve % = 100 * MAX(0, 8.5 * (1 – e^(-0.045*DamageMod)) – 1)
  • DamageMod refers to the % of a basic equal-level creature attacking you that you’ve had directed at you over the last 10 sec.

We understand that these changes will sound scary, but ask that you keep an open mind and try to comprehend the complete picture. Tuning may be pretty rough for a few builds as we iterate on these changes, so please be patient.

I’ll try to answer questions as I have time, but please understand that we’re all extremely busy trying to finish and polish things over here, so time is limited.

Thanks, everyone!

Watcher On Healing In WoD

Quote from: Blizzard
Our target for both healing and dungeon tuning is something of a middle ground between Mists and Cataclysm. It’s important to note that healer balance is not yet final, and damage output in our dungeons (especially pure melee damage on tanks, in light of recent mitigation changes) is still being adjusted. So in terms of the raw numbers, we’re not quite there yet. The most helpful thing testers can provide is actionable feedback with regard to specific encounters (also specifying difficulty and which spec you were playing). We’re listening and making changes on a daily basis.

That said, I’d like to help clarify our goals with respect to both healer gameplay and dungeon tuning. Healing in Mists, especially in raids and especially later in the expansion, suffered from three major problems: 1) the power of healing relative to player health pools meant that injured players could be topped off almost instantly; 2) mana became increasingly irrelevant as a constraint, with many healers actively reforging out of Spirit; and 3) “smart heals” accounted for a very large portion of healing done, meaning that for some healers their targeting decisions were almost meaningless.

Now, some might be thinking, “so you’re saying healers were really strong – that sounds great to me!” The problem is that when healing was in that state, the only way we could kill someone in a raid or dungeon was with massive damage, fatal if the healer didn’t react instantly; it led to sudden spike deaths, punished latency, and made healing more like whack-a-mole and less like a series of tactical decisions. And in raids, as soon as maximizing throughput becomes all that matters, healing risks turning into a rotation performed irrespective of the encounter or the incoming damage.

Our goal is not to make healing more difficult. Note that nowhere in the above did I say that a problem with Mists healing is that it was too “easy.” We want to slow down the pace a bit, and for the challenge in healing to lie more in making decisions about spell usage and targeting, and less in twitch-reaction and sustaining a DPS-style rotation. This also means that the cost of a mistake is not a dead player, but rather a more injured one, giving you a chance to fix your error.

In Cataclysm, fresh 85s had very little mana regen, and if they attempted to heal a dungeon the way they’d been accustomed in late Wrath (e.g. lots of Flash Heals), they’d quickly run out of mana. In Warlords, players have significantly higher base regen, and less available Spirit from items, so that you’ll start off with a much deeper mana pool than is usually the case as a new max-level healer, while avoiding the problem of mana becoming irrelevant once in endgame epics.

In Cataclysm, nearly your only efficient heal was also your smallest, and it was easy to run yourself out of mana and feel helpless as you watched your group die; in Warlords even if you are running on fumes mana-wise, you can still sustain a steady stream of Greater Heal or Healing Touch or the equivalent. You aren’t helpless.

Now, as for dungeon difficulty, one of the challenges in adapting to new dungeons at the start of an expansion has been the contrast between players’ habits at the end of the last expansion when they massively outgear every dungeon, and the different approach required when undergeared and running a dungeon for actual loot drops instead of currency. The ability to recklessly pull multiple packs of mobs at once and cleave everything down is something that you earn and grow into as your gear and knowledge of the content increases – that’s never been the intended dungeon gameplay when the content was brand new, even for our “easy” dungeons in Wrath or Mists.

Normal dungeons should be pretty easy. Some of them aren’t quite there yet. But you should feel confident that you can push the “Dungeon Finder” queue button and land in a random group with a high chance of success. If you don’t feel that way about a given Normal dungeon (especially a level-up dungeon), please let us know why not. We have a solid chunk of level 100 Normal dungeon content that everyone should be able to jump into when they hit max level, and Normal dungeon loot will be sufficient to qualify you for Highmaul LFR when that unlocks.

Heroic dungeons will be somewhat more challenging, which is the reason for the Silver Proving Grounds requirement to random-queue for them. We’re not looking to recreate Heroic Stonecore or Grim Batol or The Arcatraz, but there’s a middle ground where mechanics can still matter.

Finally, it’s also worth noting that in beta, we’re scaling players down to pretty much the lowest possible level and item level at which you could be running a given dungeon. Nearly all groups in the live game will be better-equipped, but we need to make sure the content is viable at the minimum threshold.