Thursday, 16 January 2014

Azeroth in 5 :: January 15th, 2014 TRANSCRIPT

This is Azeroth in Five for the seven days up to Wednesday, January 15th, 2014.

There's been plenty of information on upcoming Expansion changes this week from Blizzard. Details have been revealed on how vanity items, the fun on use trinkets and that have increasingly filled player's bags during Mists of Pandaria will be considered for inclusion in the upcoming in-game storage 'Toybox' feature. Rygarius took to the forums with a hugely comprehensive list of items that had already been considered for the new storage medium, prompting individuals to come forward via Twitter with further additions they believed should be earmarked for consideration. Also discussed were wide-reaching changes to many aspects of PvP mechanics, including crowd control, diminishing returns, and the manner in which gear stats work differently depending on different situations and locations, which also has relevance for PvE players.

Holinka's tweets and forum posts dealt with the outright removal of certain forms of crowd control, and that all current mechanics encompassed in this category would be considered for retirement. However, Holinka stated that there are no plans to adopt a 'single' mechanic for diminishing returns as exists in games such as Star Wars: The Old Republic. There is also the possibility Blizzard will dismiss base resilience and battle fatigue as part of these changes. Finally, Lore waded into the PvP debate yesterday by announcing that gear in Warlords may well be tailored to fit specific environments: PvE gear would be better in PvE instances and against monsters one might encounter alongside enemy players, whilst PvP gear would remain better in PvP Environments and against players encountered in the world. All three Blizzard employees followed up these announcements with subsequent forum posts and qualifications via Twitter to address player concerns on the subject, with the ever-present caveat that all details are subject to change before Warlords is released.

There have been two rounds of in-game hotfixes applied this week. Most notable: Balance Druids in Moonkin form and Shadow Priests in Shadowform have seen their armour values increase from 60% to 100% whilst all abilities that are used in PvP to reduce the casting speed of enemy players were nerfed from a 25% reduction to 10%. There has been an increase in phishing attempts via email linked to fake Warlords Beta entry, and Blizzard have warned players to be on their guard, as no beta has yet been formally announced. A new callback-based Customer Support System was introduced in both the US and EU, linked to the website, allowing players to schedule a Customer representative to contact them about in-game issues. There was also a welcome announcement for players on several North American realms with high queue times at login, who will be offered Free Character Migrations starting next week.

In game design news, there was more from Chris Robinson, Blizzard's Senior Art Director, on the state of character models for Warlords, with hints of both new skins and hairstyles for perusal. Players were informed via Twiter that this current work in progress should be available to view within the next two weeks, (but it is not clear at present as to the form this reveal would likely take.) There are also some indications of potential changes to professions from several sources, including the possibility that Archaeology may be about to undergo a reboot similar to to the one afforded to Blacksmithing back in Patch 5.2.

Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas made his Debut on Twitter this week under the guise of WatcherDev (all one word) where he began discussing game design, proposed ideas and hinted via a Tweet that Blizzard may yet consider increasing the cap on Flex Raiding from 20 to 30 people. Meanwhile, Senior Blizzard Game Designer Jonathan LeCraft, TheCrafticus on Twitter, sent out an interesting request to the player base for individuals to propose new species of battle pets to be considered for inclusion in Warlords: suggestions he received included peacocks, boars, miniature versions of Hunter's Spirit Beasts and, perhaps not surprisingly, corgis.

In server news, the US saw rolling restarts at 5am Pacific standard time on Tuesday. The EU Realms will be offline from 5am CET Wednesday and services should be available again at approximately 11.00am CET. A number of English, French and German realms have also been successfully merged overnight, however the PvP Realms Bloodfeather and Kor’gall plus Burning Steppes and Executus will require more time to complete and have subsequently been rescheduled.

There is no Seasonal Event running this week in game, but this is a reminder that the Lunar Festival begins on January 20th.

And now, the regular Battleground Reminders: Call to Arms, Alterac Valley runs until January 15th. Call To Arms, Silvershard Mines runs from January 16th until January 20th. Call to Arms Warsong Gulch begins on January 21st.

This has been Azeroth in Five for the seven days up to Wednesday, January 15th, 2014.

No comments: