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30Nov/110

Siege of Wyrmrest Temple Complete

Siege of Wyrmrest Temple

Siege of Wyrmrest Temple

Just completed the Siege of Wyrmrest Temple trough Raid Finder, the run took me less than an hour, and first impressions are not really good. I found the difficulty way under-tuned for the ilvl requirement.

Morchok:

Morchok was very easy, stack on the crystal when needed, hide behind a pillar when he casts Black Blood of the Earth, VERY easy, specially in Raid Finder. Got myself a new shiny epic too, Petrified Fungal Heart.

Warlord Zon'ozz:

Half the time I didn't even know what is going on, it's pretty much a tank and spank, every minute or so big heals needed, nothing hard about this boss AT ALL. Again, managed to get myself a new shiny epic, Tier13 Gloves this time, happy times.

Yor'sahj the Unsleeping:

Tank and spank with occasional oozes spawning, Purple ooze being the priority. Isn't healing intensive, so was a chill fight.

Hagara the Stormbinder:

I DIED! Yes, indeed I did. But I have a good excuse, I tried saving a few guys! What amazed me was that nearly half the raid died, 3 people were brought back up with 2 healers staying dead. Boss was burned down from 20M like nothing. Which kinda made me wonder, should it really be that easy, I found the new heroics to be slightly more harder. I guess it's really about people following the guides given by either Raid Leader or someone else with boss knowledge.

--

Overall, I am not impressed, especially for the gear you can obtain. This is not a review and what not, just my first impressions of Raid Finder, we will see what happens when the rest of the bosses are open. Farewell till then =)

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30Nov/110

Patch 4.3: Hour of Twilight Wallpaper Now Available

Originally Posted by Blizzard
To keep your desktop décor current, every Tuesday (roughly) we feature a new downloadable Diablo III, StarCraft II, or World of Warcraft wallpaper image on our community sites.

This week's no exception, as we now have the official World of Warcraft Patch 4.3: Hour of Twilight wallpaper available for you to dress up your setup. Enjoy!

@Blizzard

30Nov/110

Raid Finder: iLvl Requirements and Older Raids

Originally Posted by Nakatoir
Why is the ilvl requirement for the Raid Finder so high?

The Raid Finder is designed to allow players who don't often have the time to commit to a regular raiding schedule a chance at seeing the latest content. With that said, we don't want players who might fall into this category to skip the new five-player dungeons altogether for the Dragon Soul raid, hence the high item level requirement.

Raid Finder is below normal and Heroic modes in terms of rewards and difficulty, but the new tier of five-player dungeons should still be stepping stones into the raid.

It shouldn't take the average player "hundreds of hours" to gear up for the Raid Finder version of Dragon Soul, as the Dungeon Finder will quite quickly ramp up your power and gear score.

Why has this feature not been implemented for the older raids?

Implementing the Raid Finder was actually quite a monumental technical feat. We want all future raids to be designed with this third difficulty incorporated, but it'd take quite a bit of time and resources to retrofit the feature into previous raids. In an ideal world that would've happened, but the patch would not have come out this year. And that wasn't an investment we felt would really be ideal in the grand scheme of things.

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30Nov/110

World of Warcraft is Now Available in Portuguese (Brazilian)

I wrote about World of Warcraft Portuguese Server Is Coming couple days ago, and now it's officially here.

The Hour of Twilight is upon us! Today’s maintenance is over and all the content included in Patch 4.3 is now available. But we have some more news for you: we’re glad to announce that the Portuguese (Brazilian) localization of the game client is now available for your enjoyment!

So how can you use this new language option? Don’t worry – it couldn’t be easier, and it can be done either via the World of Warcraft Launcher, or directly from the login screen in-game. Let’s look at both of them in detail:

Selecting from the World of Warcraft Launcher

Selecting from the World of Warcraft Launcher
  • Start the World of Warcraft Launcher
  • Click on “Options” in the menu bar, and then click on “Game Preferences”
Game Preferences

Game Preferences

  • Select “Portuguese (EU)” from the menu in the lower left corner, and then click on “OK”
  • Wait for the Launcher to download the language data
  • When enough data has been downloaded you can start the game by clicking on the “Play” button

Selecting from the Login Screen

Selecting from the Login Screen

Selecting from the Login Screen

  • Start World of Warcraft
  • Click on the “Options” button
  • Click on “Languages” on the left of the menu, and then select “Português (Portugal)” from the menu and click on “Okay”
Login Screen

Login Screen

  • Click on “Quit” and then restart the game

By following either one of these procedures you will be able to enjoy World of Warcraft in your chosen language!

Login Screen

Login Screen

Divirta-se!

30Nov/110

Raid Finder Questions & Answers

Originally Posted by Blizzard

The new Raid Finder system is now live with patch 4.3.  While we’ve shared some details already, we wanted to provide you with this primer on what players can expect from the new system before taking on one of the most epic bosses Azeroth has ever seen.

Q.Who is Raid Finder for?

A. Raid Finder is primarily intended for players who don’t already raid consistently. These are players who may not have had the opportunity to take part in raid content due to scheduling conflicts, playtime constraints, limited access to other raid-capable players, or a lack of experience with higher-end content. These players may want to experience World of Warcraft’s raid content and storyline without being able to commit to the additional time investment of a raiding guild. The Raid Finder is also a great way to quickly and easily gear up alternate characters without having to worry about raid lockouts.

Q. What size raid group will the Raid Finder support and why?

A. Raid Finder will match players up to form a 25-player raid. This allows for a more forgiving experience should errors be made by individual players. Raid Finder groups should be a fun way to experience raid content without feeling too punishing to inexperienced raiders.

Q.What is the Raid Finder difficulty level?

A. Players who take part in Raid Finder groups can expect a similar difficulty level to the Baradin Hold Cataclysm raid.

Q. Are there any character or item level requirements to use the Raid Finder?

A. Yes. You will need to be level 85 with a minimum item level of 372.

Q.What type of loot and items can I expect to get?

A. The items that can be earned are a lower item level than those found in Normal mode Raid Dungeons. Weapons will only be available from Deathwing himself.

Q. How does loot distribution work?

A. All Raid Finder groups determine loot distribution using the “Need Before Greed” system. Unlike Dungeon Finder, players who are identified as rolling need on an item that fits their primary role will be given loot priority over those who play a different role. You can read more about item distribution and loot roll rules here. While Raid Finder raids aren’t locked, players are only eligible to win loot from a boss once per week.

Q. How do I use Raid Finder?

A. You can access Raid Finder through the ‘Raid’ button in the menu at the bottom of the default user interface.

Q. How does Raid Finder populate the raid? Can I invite my friends?

A. Raid Finder will populate the raid with other players who enter the Raid Finder system. Each Raid Finder raid will include two tanks, six healers, and seventeen damage dealers. As the raid is assembled, the Raid Finder will attempt to balance the group according to armor type, which should help ensure a healthy mix of melee and ranged DPS. There are no additional invite capabilities for the raid leader or other members of the raid, however, groups of players are able to queue together, either as a party or a raid, should they wish to raid together.

Q: Does Raid Finder support Real ID friends?

A: With patch 4.3, you can invite Real ID friends to a party and then queue together for the Dragon Soul raid using Raid Finder. You can't, however form a raid with cross-realm Real ID friends before joining the Raid Finder queue. While not currently supported, this is something that we’re interested in implementing in a future update.

Q. What raids are available?

A.The Dragon Soul raid dungeon will be available in the Raid Finder and has been split into two wings. Players will be able to access the first wing at the release of patch 4.3. Deathwing will become available approximately one week later.

Q. Why aren’t older raids available on Raid Finder?

A. Raid Finder is being used to help players access the most current content and tier gear available within the game.  Additional options for the system may be considered in the future.

Q. Can I earn any particular currency with Raid Finder?

A. Players can earn up to 500 Valor points per week (250 per wing) while utilizing Raid Finder.

Q. How often can I enter the Raid Finder system?

A. Each boss within the Dragon Soul raid can be killed once per week for a chance at loot. Since there are no raid locks, skipping a boss will not impede your ability to attempt that boss in a future raid.

30Nov/110

Blizzard Holiday Dessert Contest 2011

Originally Posted by Blizzard

Most people enjoy the holiday tradition of sharing a meal with family and friends -- and delicious desserts are a big part of the reason why. This year, we're hungry to see you spread holiday joy from your kitchen by cooking up sweet culinary creations -- and finishing them off with a Blizzard touch.

Simply prepare and decorate a Warcraft, StarCraft, or Diablo-themed dessert. Take a picture of your creative confection and submit it, and you might just find something special under your tree from Greatfather Winter!

We will handpick three of the most inventive, hearth-warming, or funny entries to win awesome prizes:

First Place

  • Wilton Ultimate Decorating Set
  • Marauder StarCraft II Gaming Keyboard
  • Banshee StarCraft II Gaming Headset
  • Spectre StarCraft II Gaming Mouse

Second Place

  • Marauder StarCraft II Gaming Keyboard
  • Banshee StarCraft II Gaming Headset
  • Spectre StarCraft II Gaming Mouse

Third Place

  • StarCraft II Zerg Edition Messenger Bag

We're waiting to see what delightful, dazzling, and delicious submissions you whip up. The contest begins on November 29. If you're ready to put on your apron and get cooking, you can find the contest rules here.

30Nov/110

Void Storage Cost (25Gold) Explained

Zarhym got an answer as to why Void Storage is so "expensive".

Originally Posted by Zarhym
Void Storage provides you with extra space to store items you've used for Transmogrification, or items you might one day want to use for Transmogrification. The idea is to give players a different type of inventory space specifically designed for deep storage of gear.

Players have asked for more inventory space to store gear they love -- whether because it was difficult to obtain, or because the look is too good to throw away -- for mostly nostalgic reasons. Now, with Transmogrification added to the game, this is more of a necessity given that holding onto old gear sets isn't just for keepsake.

But, Void Storage isn't a secondary bank. It's meant for long-term storage of gear so you can hold onto the aesthetics you like, in the event you want to use them for Transmogrification in the future, without worrying about your bag and bank inventory.

That much extra storage space per character is actually a lot of additional data storage on our end. This is why enchants and gems are stripped from items placed in Void Storage, as it's much less data to recall when the extra storage space is only holding onto item IDs.

In any event, the idea wasn't just to give everyone a ton of extra storage space. We want there to be some sort of decision on the part of the player on whether or not to place eligible items in Void Storage. This is why there is a cost associated with each deposit. When all is said and done, you have 80 new slots of space to store the gear you're not using anymore, just in case you want to use any of it for Transmogrification in the future.

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29Nov/110

Void Storage Guide

Void Storage is a new feature being rolled in patch 4.3 in World of Warcraft to add long-term storage. It’s an à la carte method of storage where you pay as you go, for each deposit and withdrawal, as an incentive to put something into storage and leave it. Void Storage strips away all of your gems, enchants, and other item modifications in an attempt to reduce server overhead and then keeps it locked away until you’re ready to pay for a withdrawal.

Void Storage Guide

The basic premise is this; you’ll have an 80 slot bag for long-term storage where each deposit or withdrawal into or from will have a cost per item. If you place an item in that has modifiers on it (enchants, gems, etc.) they will be stripped. Then your item will sit in storage forever, until you pay the fee to pull it back out.

You’ll have a confirm dialogue available for your deposits/withdrawals. So you can drag what you want to put in or take out from it then confirm, along with your payment. How much does Void Storage cost? Well, no one knows at the moment, but we can assume it will be reasonable and/or level based.

Void Storage is a permanent long-term storage solution, so all of the items placed into it are meant to stay in it for a long time. Think of it like a Certificate of Deposit where you’re penalized for withdrawing money from it early.

What good is Void Storage? Well, it’s for saving long-term items, especially items you want to use for transmogrification at some point and anything that has any collectable value. You might not ever equip your first set of gear, but it’s sitting there in storage taking up all of your space.

Void Storage

Void Storage

The basic premise is that you’ll use your bank for what it’s needed for: storing things that you need or use on a somewhat frequent basis. Like crafting materials, PvP armor sets, and consumables while your long-term storage will hold items that you probably won’t ever need to use again but don’t want to give up or sell.

Long-Term Storage Controversy

Of course, there are a few things wrong with anything that Blizzard does these days when it comes to the vocal minority. A lot of players are up in arms over the fees included, especially since it strips your enhancements whenever you place the item into storage. On the flip side, anything that sucks gold out of the economy is a win/win for everyone since it lowers prices on items across the board.

The counter argument is that you are placing items into a storage that you shouldn’t need to use again for a long time, meaning more inventory space but if you should ever need the items they are available for you. Without Void Storage we’d all be sitting around with half of our inventory as mail messages and funny quest items we never use.

Others feel that this is a mediocre approach to the issue that has plagued players since launch – inventory space. Some players feel that the limits on inventory space are insane and adding in a crazy storage system that actually charges you to use is beyond silly and suggest having special inventory space for cosmetic items, like the aforementioned silly quest items or turning some items (like the Rainbow Generator) into spells.

Another oddity is that the storage slots come in sets of ten, meaning that you might have to unlock more slots with an upfront gold cost (especially with the language “up to 80 slots”). Many players already afraid of high gold costs don’t want to end up having to pay their hard earned gold for the privilege to use this service.

No matter how you view it, we’ve all gone without a long-term storage solution in World of Warcraft for a long time now. So if there is anything about the system that you disagree with then you can simply not use it. Unlike your bank, where you have to store items that can’t fit in your inventory, Void Storage is simply a way to help players who hoard everything get some much needed relief.

@TenTonHammer

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29Nov/110

Epic Gems in 4.3: A Critical Analysis

Greetings. I have some thoughts that I would like to share on the introduction of Epic Gems in 4.3. Executive summary: I feel that the introduction is poor, and whatever Blizzard's goal is on the matter it is likely to be undermined by basic player psychology.

Background:

I am an officer and "raid leader" for my guild (see tag). I put raid leader in quotes because my guild is hardly a raiding guild -- we're so casual that the grass in Firelands has time to grow between our "progression" boss kills. I am an elite player in absolutely no way, shape, form, or manner, and from what I can tell my guild will by necessity have to treat epic gems as if they do not exist.

But I'm not writing this post to whine about myself. Instead, I think that the epic gem introduction is ultimately bad for everybody.

Ultimately, I'm arguing from the position that Blizzard has deliberately introduced epic gems in a manner in which they will remain extremely scarce for a long time. As implemented now, the system is a serious throwback to the Burning Crusade, and it ignores the lessons learned from Lich King about the ultimate benefits of gear democratization.

Now, I am basing this post on the assumption that the current source of epic gems -- soley the Dragon Soul -- is going to remain the status quo for some time. Blizzard could make this entire post obsolete tomorrow by raining epic gems from the sky, or whatever.

Epic Gems are Bad for Jewelcrafters:

Right now, Jewelcrafters bear the entire burden of turning epic gems from their raw form into useful cuts. That's the nature of Jewelcrafting, of course, but the traditional "economic" model is that Jewelcrafters should also have the inside track on obtaining those raw gems, namely by prospecting ore. This acts as a kind of compensation for the daily-quest grind for the patterns.

This bargain is subverted with the current epic gem model; jewelcrafters have no better source of gems than anybody else. This means that jewelcrafters are stuck in the position of providing an essential service to the community (that of cutting the gems), but they have no control over the actual bottleneck (the raw gems themselves). It's not the biggest deal, but it's going to put a lot of pressure on jewelcrafters.

The best alternative would probably for jewelcrafters to move to a `commission' model for cuts, but the true development of that is going to be hurt by the raid-centric drops. Just as in BC, progression raiders who are accumulating the most gems will also likely have in-house jewelcrafters to do the cuts. Also, this gives said raid guilds a natural vertical monopoly: they're likely to be the best source of gems at auction, but they have no incentive to provide uncuts when they can do the cut and take the value-add themselves.

Introduction of alchemy transmutes for epic gems and a JC-related transmute (Fire Prism-style) will only mitigate this somewhat. It still ultimately results in jewelcrafters not being the best source of their own materials.

Epic Gems are Bad for non-Blacksmiths:

I'm only going to touch on this point because other threads on the front page have touched on it, but I will summarise.

In the current model a fully-geared Blacksmith is going to get +100 to her main stat from the profession perk (2 sockets), but other professions only provide a net of +80. If this remains unadjusted, it will make blacksmithing the clearly superior raiding profession. If this is adjusted to +100, then while epic gems remain scarce the other professions will have the bonus (+100 for no/little/not scarce cost! Kermit Yayayay!)

Personally, I do not care too much about a net difference of 20 stats, but that is one of the things that makes me super-casual-for-life.

Epic Gems are Bad for PvPers:

I think that the PvP group has been essentially forgotten with this introduction of epic gems. While it will not come to a head for a while yet, this slow introduction of epic gems has the potential to create great problems in the community.

Imagine a reasonably competitive arena player. With the introduction of a new season, her first focus will be to conquest-cap in order to purchase the newest season's gear, and that will provide a significant stat boost. After that's all done -- a matter of perhaps a few weeks depending on the conquest point cap -- the only upgrades she'll have remaining are rare->epic gem conversion.

That's where the problem lies. As implemented right now, there is no PvP-centric way of gaining epic gems. Our arena player's best hope will be that she can purchase gems at auction, but this relies on her server having a vibrant raiding community that will supply them at auction. Also, PvP is not exactly a gold-intensive activity, so she may simply have trouble affording any epic gems -- clearly they will be the most expensive gear modification for some time.

So, depending on how dedicated she is to improving gear, our intrepid Arena-er will feel obligated to raid to acquire these gems. This is not good for anybody -- the PvPer will resent being forced to do something she doesn't want to do, the raid will suffer for having someone along who doesn't want to be there, and the raid will further suffer because her epic gems will be earmarked for her PvP rather than raid gear-sets.

Perhaps this falls under "life's tough, deal," but the mid-to-high end arena community is very competitive (and the low-to-mid end thinks that they are). Blizzard knows full well how much of a firestorm erupts over even a perceived imbalance.

Epic Gems are Bad for Casuals:

Perhaps the second most obvious point here, but epic gems are bad for casual raiders. This group (myself included) on the whole underperforms the potential of their gearing, and consequently they could use a `leg up' to see new content. Blizzard has begun to realize this, and that is why the Troll and 4.3 dungeons introduce gear on par with the raid tier recently completed.

This model was developed at the very end of BC (with the introduction of Sunwell gear at badge vendors and the Kara-equivalent gear dropped in Magister's Terrace) and was refined in Wrath.

Here, however, Blizzard is intentionally witholding the `easiest' gear upgrade -- putting a new gem in an already-existing piece -- to those who are already progressing. Blizzard may be putting their hopes on the new raid finder quickly acting as the Robin Hood gear fairy, but I feel that this is overly optimistic.

Qualitatively speaking, it also sends a bad signal to players who are thinking about becoming raiding. If epic gems are only freely available to raiders, then it tells players that they shouldn't bother optimizing their gear unless they are already raiding. I imagine that this is an unintentional signal, but it's still there.

Epic Gems are Bad for Progression Raiders:

If the last point was the most obvious, I think this is the most surprising. The introduction of epic gems is going to be bad in a progression environment, especially for hadcore guilds.

In an environment where every hit point and every mainstat truly matters, it is incumbent on raiders to gear up as much as they can. This introduction of epic gems means that the hardcore raider must obtain as many as she can as quickly as she can.

From there, the problem is obvious. If the best way to obtain epic gems for progression raiding is to raid, then progression raiders must also go through farm-raiding (of Dragon Soul) in order to gear their main characters. This is the reintroduction of the problem of Trial of the Crusader (4 lockouts, one raid) in another form.

Based on some quick wowhead searching, it looks like a fully-geared 4.3 raider will be tricked out with 15 non-meta gem slots, plus any Blacksmith bonus. This will represent more than two full clears of Dragon Soul (@ 8 bosses, one gem per character per boss), since it looks like players won't be able to select their gem colour of choice. The only way to gem 15 slots in a timely manner, thne, will be for progression guilds to additionally hold several farming runs of Dragon Soul in the raid week.

Mind you, this only applies until the mains are geared up and fully gemmed. Then, epic gems go form an epic shortage to nominal vendor trash, as far as main characters are concerned.

In a nutshell, this introduction of epic gems encourages progression raiders to raid reallyreallyreally hard at the start of this patch, but then to taper off as soon as the goal is in sight. This is not the healthy consumption of patch content, this is burnout-style behaviour.

Epic Gems are Bad for Blizzard:

Honestly, I just don't see who benefits from this introduction of epic gems. Ultimately -- when the release of Mists of Pandaria is imminent -- epic gems will be in surplus. People only need a finite number, but they will be generated at a continual (and increasing!) rate over the patch cycle.

The only real effect of this introduction is to somewhat artifically gate the gearing process, but even that is surmountable by the dedicated-enough raid group. It's not even a solution for gear inflation. Ultimately, Heroic Dragon Soul has to be balanced around the best-available gear, and that includes gem slots filled with the purple stuff.

This introduction harms most professions, shoehorns PvPers into an unwanted raid environment, penalizes Casuals, and demands burnout from progression players. I fear this will ultimately create a player base that cannot be satisfied, and this will be a support nightmare for Blizzard.

29Nov/110

Battle.net Authenticator By-Pass Now Active

Originally Posted by Daxxarri
A Battle.net Authenticator can represent an excellent way to add an additional layer of security to your Battle.net account. We appreciate that our players make use of their authenticators, and to help make them more convenient, we’ve introduced the authenticator by-pass. Those of you that have World of Warcraft accounts may already be familiar with how it works: when you log into a Blizzard game from the same location, you won’t always be prompted for an authentication code until you attempt to log in from a different location.

The authenticator bypass is active for StarCraft II, and is enabled by default. Those of you who wish to disable this feature can do so by opting out of the bypass on your Battle.net account management page. If you opt out of the by-pass, you will be prompted by Battle.net for an authentication code each time you log in.

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