Posts Tagged ‘Maps’

Patch 4.1

Patch 4.1

There’s been less Patch 4.1 talk and news this week, not much less, but still not quite as much as the mountains of updates and reveals we were seeing last week. We’re about to take a look at the new updates, new items we’re set to be looting in the newly redone Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman instances, a few new maps that were added for some older content and a few smaller extras.

Patch 4.1 Public Test Realm Notes – March 15

New patch notes have just hit the Public Test Realms with some interesting new changes. Atramedes, Nefarian, and Cho’gall all got a couple nerfs, several persistent ground effects now display different visuals for hostile and friendly players. The following spells have the same visual effects for friendly players, but new alternate visuals for hostile players: Ring of Frost, Consecration, Desecration, Wild Mushroom, Flare, Ice Trap, Power Word: Barrier, Smoke Bomb, and Hand of Gul’dan. As a general rule, the alternate effects have a red tint or hue indicating they are created by an enemy player.

And, perhaps one of the biggest, and to me weirdest changes is that Colossus Smash now ignores 50% of armor in PvP but still ignores the 100% armor in PvE. This was done after Blizzard’s developer answers said that they did not want to make two rule sets for the game, for PvE and PvP. Oh well, I guess the changes do make sense, though. You can read the full March 15 Patch notes below!

Patch 4.1 Public Test Realm Notes – March 15 – Official

Zul’Gurub & Zul’Aman Item Lists

As you all probably know by now, due to all the talk, good and bad, the upcoming patch 4.1 marks the return of the classic Zul’Aman and Zul’Gurub raids as 5-player Heroic dungeons. These instances are set to feature item level 353 epic quality loot and, well, we’ve just been given a bit of a preview of what kind of items to expect, thanks to MMO-Champion and Wowhead. The items have apparently just shown up in the latest batch of PTR data and they’ve all been posted for our viewing pleasure! The only sad thing about all of this is that the items are not yet implemented as drops, nor do any of them have any unique models just yet. This is where everyone will start wondering what Blizzards plans are… are we just going to be seeing some recolored versions of the previous ZG and ZA items? I can think of a great many people that would have a great many complaints about that.

If you’re keen to see how beefy those items are and which of your items you’ll probably be replacing soon, check the links below! And as usual, keep checking back here soon for more! ūüėÄ

Patch 4.1 – Zul’Aman and Zul’Gurub Items on PTR– Wowhead

Zul’gurub and Zul’aman Loot List – MMO-Champion


New Maps In 4.1

Next up, it seems like Patch 4.1 will add the last wave of missing dungeon maps to the game by updating all the Burning Crusade content! Yes, most TBC 5-man dungeons and raid instances now feature a shiny new map. Along with that, the latest PTR build also included the maps of Zul’Aman and Zul’Gurub and the updated map for Baradin Hold, which features a brand new boss wing. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that the next arena season is only set to start with Patch 4.2, so we probably won’t be exploring that new wing for quite some time! So if you’re keen to check those new maps out, you know exactly where to look, I gotta say, it is great seeing some of those old dungeons getting some love, let’s just hope Blizzard don’t decide to remake them, next.

Patch 4.1 Updated TBC & Zul Maps – MMO-Champion

Patch 4.1 Exras

As a few 4.1 extras you can read about how the Blood Elves and High Elves are set to unite against Zul‚ÄôAman, you can read all the complaints that players have about the recycling of content that is taking place and all the blue responses to those complaints. Zarhym replied with the following – There definitely is not a hard and fast rule about updating existing content. If we feel revamping existing content makes sense in the current state of the game and lore — and we think it will be fun — sure, it’s a possibility. You definitely shouldn’t expect this every patch though. In the grand scheme of World of Warcraft’s history, we’ve reintroduced very little existing content per patch and expansion. He also just reminded everyone that there wasn’t a singular art team working on all the Blizzard games. Diablo III and Heart of the Swarm will not slow down production on any of the World of Warcraft updates or patches. Good to hear, again! Next up, one of the latest beta builds of Patch 4.1 on PTRs added a new mount model, the Winged Lion Mount! MMO-Champion reports that we don’t have any information on this mount for the moment, and it does look like a very early version of the model but hey, it’s a lion with wings… Lastly in the 4.1 extras, you can read what Blizzard had to say about the changes made to the Ragnaros model, you know, those legs. In short we were told that the problem is we have no context or perspective on the model we’ve seen but a static image of. There’s more to it, obviously, so read all about all those extras below, if you wish.

WoW PTR 4.1 (13726) Blood Elves and High Elves Unite Against Zul’Aman РBlizzPlanet

Blues On Recycling Content – MMO-Champion

Blues On Ragnaros’ Legs – MMO-Champion

Winged Lion Mount – MMO-Champion

Why GhostCrawler Stooped Posting On The Forums…

What I will call a concerned fan, or fellow World of Warcraft player, recently posted an open letter to Ghostcrawler pretty much thanking him for, during the Wrath era, giving us as the players of their most epic and intricate of games, a view into the development process and for caring enough to read, listen, and impart. Sadly for the fan, or I guess all of us, there was no response from Ghostcrawler himself, but Bashiok did step in to enlighten the masses. he basically just said that the forums have always been about players talking to players and that they don’t want to foster the expectation that everything will get a blue response if the poster tries hard enough. Bashiok says that while Ghostcrawler added a lot to the forums, the North American forums, he says that he is sure Blizzard can reach more players, especially those in all the other regions of the world, through their blog posts or concerted Q&A’s.

After that Bashiok just lists all the reasons that the blog posts actually work better, and he makes a lot of sense while doing so. (But let’s not fool ourselves, the World of Warcraft forums are never, ever and easy place to post, let alone be taken seriously!) So if you want to know why Ghostcrawler has not been quite as active on the World of Warcraft forums as he was back during Wrath of the Lich King then I guess these blue posts will be worth a read for you.

Where’s GhostCrawler? – MMO-Champion

Ask The Devs

Ask the Devs – Answers #1 & Questions #2

The answers are in from Blizzard’s last installment of Ask the Devs, and a new questions thread is now available, this time around they want PvP questions. When posting your question, please keep in mind that each edition of Ask the Devs is now focused on a specific topic as noted in the thread title and, to make things that little bit easier it would probably be better just to stick to the topic. The anwsers provided to all the questions asked in the first installment of the Ask The Devs Q&A were indeed quite interesting and diverse covering everything from Updated Textures: Will We Ever Get Any? To the Northrend and Outland leveling flow, to even asking if anything was going to be done about World PvP, as many feel it is quite dead right now. Yeah, there really is a lot more than I can possibly mention here, so, if any of you are keen to read all those questions, you know where to look!

And, as I mentioned, remember to get those PvP themed questions in for the next round!

Ask the Devs – #1 – Official


But Really, I’m Number One

The latest image from the guys over at the Daily Blink. This one is for all those mages out there, definitely made me chuckle!

The Daily Blink РBut Really, I’m Number One РThe Daily Blink

Banshee Queen

Art Updates

Time for a few new World of Warcraft art updates! The Blizzard Fan Art Section has been updated with a whopping ten new pieces of fan artwork set within the Warcraft universe, quite a few of which are of the always attractive Banshee Queen, so that’s a bonus. We’ve also been treated with four new official pieces in the official Wrath of the Lich King art gallery. These updates are, as usual, well worth getting, or at least looking at, in full size. Check the links below!

Blizzard Art Gallery Update – Official

New Warcraft Fan Art – Official

As a little art extra you can also check this amazingly cool Murloc Space Marine fan art out. This was created by Jorge Jacinto from over at Deviant ART and CDHub. Very cool!

Aren’t You Murlocs A Little Short For Terran Space Marines?– Kotaku

Wow Smalls

World of Warcraft Smalls:

Poll: Reel Serious Options – Official

New Player Tips: We’re Going To Need A Bigger Boat – Official

The Razer Switchblade concept slithers its way to GDC 2011 – WoW Insider

Site Updates: New Profiler Features, Custom Stat Weights and Reforging!– Wowhead

Site Updates: Anvil and Forge Tracking, Polls for Premium– Wowhead

Blizz Blues – Ep 9 – AndroBots in Ya’lls BGs!– Wowhead

Cataclysm Leveling Flow Guide: 1-60– Wowhead

This Woman Used Japan’s Tragedy to Troll The Entire Internet– Kotaku

World of Warcraft: Wolfheart (Richard A Knaak) On Oct 11, 2011– BlizzPlanet

World of Warcraft T-shirts Super Colossal Sale Ends 3.17.2011– BlizzPlanet

GDC 2011: J. Allen Brack on Cataclysm– BlizzPlanet

2011 PAX East: Cryptozoic Entertainment & WoW TCG: Worldbreaker – BlizzPlanet

Blizzard Products 2011 Release Dates List– BlizzPlanet

PST Episode 20 – YouTube

The Weekly Marmot – Dealing with RNG – YouTube

Death Knight Solo Yogg-Saron Kill – YouTube

The MMO Report – Guild Wars 2 at GDC – G4TV

World of WarCraft Blue Posts:

…On Botting in WoW – MMO-Champion

…On Heroic Leap – MMO-Champion


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Ladder Map Changes

Along with the release of Starcraft¬†II: Wings of Libery¬†Patch 3.1 on the PTR, which I will be covering extensively in my next Pulse Episode,¬†there were a few changes made to the ladder map pool. Let’s have a look at them!

Blizzard adds and subtracts multiplayer ladder maps РShacknews

Patch 1.3.0 Now Available on PTR РStarcraft II Community Site

These stealth changes removed¬†quite a number of maps from the ladder¬†map pool, but, there were also quite a few fun looking additions.¬†It is worth noting that the ladder¬†maps that were removed can still be played via custom games, the maps are there, just not in the ladder map pool.¬†Blizzard also¬†says that they plan to add “a couple more new maps to the official ladder¬†rotation in the coming weeks, including a user-made 1v1¬†map that is currently being featured in the Global StarCraft League.”¬†I am rather curious to see which of the GSL¬†maps they are thinking of adding, but¬†I guess any of them would be a great asset! Rather than leave us asking why certain maps were removed, Shacknews¬†posted a¬†detailed listing of the changes with included commentary on each decision, which can be found below, courtesy of Shacknews.

Not keen to read it all? No problem! ūüėÄ

Firstly, let’s have the quick and dirty version. I will be looking at the added 1v1¬†and 2v2 maps extensively below, so check that out too!

 Changes to 1v1:

1v1 Maps Carrying Over:

  • (1) Scrap Station
  • (2)Xel’Naga Caverns
  • (4)Delta Quadrant
  • (4)Metalopolis

1v1 Maps Removed:

  • (2)Blistering Sands
  • (2)Jungle Basin
  • (2)Steppes of War
  • (4)Lost Temple
  • (4)Shakuras Plateau

1v1 Maps Added:

  • (4)Backwater Gulch
  • (4)Slag Pits
  • (4)The Shattered Temple
  • (4)Typhon Peaks

Changes To 2v2:

2v2 Maps Carrying Over:

  • (4)High Orbit
  • (4)Monlyth Ridge
  • (4)Red Stone Gulch
  • (4)Scorched Haven
  • (8)Tempest

2v2 Maps Removed:

  • ¬†(4)Arid Wastes
  • (4)Tarsonis Assault
  • (4)Twilight Fortress
  • (4)War Zone

2v2 Maps Added:

  • (4)Gutterhulk
  • (4)Khaydarin Depths
  • (4)Omega Sector
  • (4)Ruins of Tarsonis

That may well suffice for many of you, but those that want the reasoning behind the additions and removals, the full details can be found below!¬†I am only going to be posting / talking about the 1v1¬†changes as that is what the general populace cares about the most, you can ‘read more’ below to see the details behind the 2v2¬†/ 4v4 and FFA changes, too.

Detailed Changes To 1v1

1v1 Maps Removed:

(2)Blistering Sands

We wanted to reduce the number of rush maps in general, and Blistering Sands was one of them. On top of that, Blistering Sands matches resulted in too many all-in games due to the rocks into the main base. The frequency of all-in roach/speedling, 4 warpgate push, or even mass marine/marauder stimpack push by breaking the rocks was a bit too high, so we decided to pull this map from the ladder.

(2)Jungle Basin

Jungle Basin has a few traits that make it extremely favorable for Terran, so we decided to remove it from the ladder. These include:

  • It’s possible to set up siege tanks right below the main base of your opponent and harass his natural expansion while preventing his forces from leaving his base.
  • Too many choke points everywhere on the map made it difficult for Zerg to deal with marines, marauders, or siege tank-based skirmishes.
  • Difficult access to second expansion

High ground right in from of the ramp leading down to main. Setting up units at both this high ground as well as part of the low ground was too powerful, especially for Terrans that use siege tanks.

(2)Steppes of War

Again, we wanted to reduce the number of rush maps, and Steppes was the most rush-friendly rush map we decided to cut. It’s not that we don’t like rush maps, but we have learned over the course of season 1 that two-player rush maps are generally more one-sided than four-player rush maps. For the ladder map changes, the rush possible maps we’ll have will be four-player maps only.

(4)Lost Temple

Problems of Lost Temple:

  • If one side controls one of the center watch towers, there’s no alternate ground-based route to half of the map, meaning it’s too easy for the game to become a stalemate with each side taking half of the map.
  • Small islands in the corners were problematic in that they were difficult to assault as each of the three races. We noticed it’s possible to hold out at one or both of these islands and drag on a game for longer than needed. It was also problematic in that in some matchups, these islands were just free expansions that almost never get attacked, which is not what we wanted in an expansion.
  • The choke point by the natural expansions were too small; it was possible to block them off easily using only a few buildings.

(4)Shakuras Plateau

This map we decided to remove for a different reason. There isn’t a huge problem with this map, but we felt there aren’t enough interesting features of this map. The natural expansion is easy to take and defend; there are only two possible attack paths only one of which is generally used, and main bases aren’t easy to harass. For a change, we wanted to replace this relatively plain map with something new.¬†

1v1 Maps Added:

(4)Backwater Gulch

Backwater Gultch

Backwater Gulch has a familiar main to first expansion layout. Early game play on this map should feel familiar and there probably aren’t too many early game threats or difficulties in terms of gimmicky strategies you need to worry about. The second expansion, however, features a high ground area that is accessible by two ramps, meaning it can be easily harassed. The center area has two watch towers as well as two high yield expansions that will be difficult to maintain, and the key to victory in some games could come down to how long you hold one or both of these center expansions.

(4)Slag Pits

Slag Pits
Metalopolis was one of two favorite maps across the different skill levels of players. We decided to introduce a very similar map, but slightly more macro heavy. We took out Shakuras Plateau, which was a very plain macro map, and added this map instead. Some of the key features of this map are the low ground high yield expansions, the 2 lines of shrub area that can be used to position units, as well as the low ground watch tower that watches over all of the low ground center.

(4)The Shattered Temple

Shattered Temple

The Shattered Temple is a newer version of Lost Temple that’s more balanced. Improvements to Lost Temple found in this map include:

  • Wider center area
  • Watch tower changed to only cover a part of the center of the map. It’s possible to sneak units around the corners of the central area without getting detected by the watch tower.
  • Rocked off islands. This creates an alternate attack route, and reduces stalemate situations that islands cause.
  • Larger choke point by the expansion makes it more difficult to block off.¬†

(4)Typhon Peaks

Typhon Peaks

  • This map has a lot of the fun traits of previous maps. Rocks by on the sides of the map are positioned similarly to Scrap Station to reduce rush distance in vertical start locations. The center has two watch towers and provides the main attack path like in Shakuras¬†Plateau, and the second expansion is similar to the setup of Xel’Naga Caverns. Even though this map is brand new, players will be able to utilize some of their existing strategies that have been used on other maps, and potentially combine them to fit the unique play style of this new map.

Phew, that’s the 1v1¬†out of the way. As I said before, no word yet on which GSL¬†map Blizzard were thinking of using, but hey, a little mystery is always fun! Let’s check the 2v2 changes out. (Once again, remember, if you want to see the full size images, check the gallery out¬†over at Shacknews!)

Detailed Changes To 2v2

2v2 Maps Removed:

(4)Arid Wastes

Team play maps where your base is too far from your ally tend to favor race compositions that can use mobile armies. This is the reason why we will avoid having maps like Arid Wastes in the team play ladder in the future.

(4)Tarsonis Assault

This map has a similar feel to Scorched Haven or Monlyth¬†Ridge. The main difference is that distance to future expansions are very far. We wanted to remove 1 of these 3 maps since they’re similar in style, and Tarsonis Assault was the worst one out of the three.

(4)Twilight Fortress

This map is an extremely macro heavy map we wanted to try. The game play on this map is very different, and the average length of games on this map was too long so it is being taken out of ladder play.

(4)War Zone

War Zone suffers from similar problems as Arid Wastes. It’s near impossible for certain team setups to help each other, and in team games, we want to have maps that are more team play based.

2v2 Maps Added:



Like Scorched Haven or Monlyth Ridge, this map has a center area between the two allies where each player can safely expand. However, the main difference is that there are rocks blocking off the back of the main bases, meaning harassing either players’ main base is possible. In terms of main attack routes, there are 5 different attack paths to your opponents, meaning that control of the two watch towers is key to success on this map.

(4)Khaydarin Depths

Khaydarin Depths

This map was first showcased during Blizzcon¬†2009 even before the retail game launched. This map features an easily defendable high yield expansion in between you and your ally. However, this expansion is blocked off by destructible¬†rocks, meaning you have to choose when to break this rock vs. when to attack or defend vs. the opposing team. Controlling the center of the map gains you access to most of the center of the map, but there are still back door routes around to the opponents’ bases by breaking one set of destructible rocks.

(4)Omega Sector

Omega Sector

Omega Sector is a two-player version of the popular 3v3 map Arakan Citadel. The start locations are very similar on both maps, and side expansion areas are a bit more easily accessible by the opposing players. This map has a possible three paths to attack, and although the center is the fastest route, the other two routes will be used very frequently because there are no watch towers overlooking them. As with Arakan Citadel, your ally is slightly far away from your base, so consider this when placing your first production structures.

(4)Ruins of Tarsonis

Ruins of Tarsonis

Ruins of Tarsonis is a more-balanced version of War Zone, which is being removed from the map pool. The biggest downside of War Zone was that it was near impossible to assist your ally if you didn’t have a mobile army. However, with the shared choke points on this map, it’s now possible to play as any race combination without obvious disadvantages. In the mid/late game however, there are back door attack paths leading to your second expansion areas, so be sure to defend those locations as well.

Well, I can totally understand why some of these were removed or changed because, as an avid 2v2 player myself, I can tell you that I have had quite a few problems on quite a few of the maps. But hey, I can’t wait to get in there and try these new maps!

I don’t really see the need to cover the 4v4 or FFA map changes, additions or removals, so if you feel you need to know what happened there, check the post linked below. Remember, instead of reading all of this, you can watch it all in video form above. Remember to like it, favourite it, share it and subscribe! ūüėÄ

Blizzard adds and subtracts multiplayer ladder maps РShacknews

Patch 1.3.0 Now Available on PTR РStarcraft II Community Site

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Patch 1.2.1

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty patch 1.2.1 is now live! So if you’re on the SEA, or US servers, you are probably playing this version already. There wasn’t really anything major in this patch, though, and the saddest part is that we didn’t even get the new ladder maps. A few matchmaking optimizations were made, that silly  bug that caused the zerg creep to kill the foliage on certain maps has been fixed and a couple of other, slightly random changes are fixes were made too. But, as I always say, a patch is a patch and I’m happy for it. If you’re interested in all the fixes and changes made be sure to check out the full patch notes below and enjoy Starcraft II, minus a few bugs!

Patch 1.2.1 Now Live – Starcraft II Community Site

‘Read more’ to see the full patch notes!


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Blizzard Custom Maps

Aiur Chef, StarJeweled, and Left 2 Die Beta Testing

Aiur¬†Chef, StarJeweled, and Left 2 Die, the three new Blizzard-made custom games for StarCraft¬†II, are now available for beta testing on Battle.net. Sadly, as of posting this, only on the¬†North American¬†Battle.net, but, we were told that they would come to EU soon, probably within the day. Blizzard tell us that while these custom games are still under development and¬†they don’t yet have a release date to share, they wanted to give everyone the opportunity to test them out and give feedback before they’re officially released. Sounds great! To help get¬†us started, Blizzard gave us a quick summary of each custom game as well as some basic instructions on how to play them. Read the official announcement below and get testing right now! ūüėÄ

Beta Test Aiur Chef, StarJeweled, and Left 2 Die РStarcraft II Community Site

Heaven’s Devils: Lost Transmissions Part 4

Part 4 of 4. Heaven’s Devils: Lost Transmissions reveal previously unreleased communications between UNN reporters Max Speer and Michael Liberty. As I keep mentioning, each broadcast offers a glimpse into the maneuverings of both the Confederacy and the outlaws James Raynor and Tychus Findlay, formerly of the Heaven’s Devils. So if you need to catch up on the previous entries or want to check this latest one out, you can do so in the links below or over at the Official Starcraft II Community Site.

Heaven’s Devils: Lost Transmissions Part 4¬†– Starcraft II Community Site

Top 200 Lists

The Top 200 lists have been updated once again and you can find the North American, European, Korean and South East Asian lists below, enjoy!

Tournament & Event News

Tournament & Event Smalls:

Sjow Takes IEM

The Intel Extreme Master Event in Kiev, Ukraine, has concluded with the European terran SjoW taking the win. He faced off against and despatched White-Ra, or Duckload-Ra in the finals with a score of  3 to 1. The games were pretty good and SjoW was definitely on form the weekend, only losing a total of 2 maps throughout the tournament. If you want to read more about the event or see the full results, check the links below!

Season V European Championship Finals StarCraft II Playoffs – ESL

In some more IEM news, the four players that managed to qualify for the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship last weekend are being joined by one more. Up-and-comer mOOn-GlaDe will face off against well-known chinese player Loner for that the spot on January the 27th. The winner does not only get a place in the world championship, but also $1,000 paid travel expenses and accommodation during the finals, great stuff. Read more about their upcoming encounter below!

mOOn-GLaDe to battle Loner for IEM spot РGosuGamers 


This February, FnaticMSI PLAY will begin its first venture into Starcraft with its inaugural tournament! Yes indeed, this maiden Starcraft II Tournament is set to take place on Sunday, the 6th of February and sports a pretty decent set of prizes valued at $3000. Anyone with a European Starcraft II account can compete and well, everyone should, why on Earth not!? So if you want to sign up or just read more about the event, check the link, or list below. Enjoy!

When: Sunday February 6th, 2011 at 19 CET 
Check-in: Sunday February 6th, 2011 – from 18:00 until 18:45 CET
Format: Single elimination, max 256 players, games BO1 until Ro8, then BO3 until Grand Final
Who can play: Anyone with an EU Battle.net account 



GSL News

News in the world of the GSL¬†has been a little calmer than usual recently. Pretty expected, if you ask me, with the¬†grand finals coming up this weekend and nothing but the Up & Down matches happening at the moment, I guess a lot of the players, and fans, are getting a bit of a break. For those that didn’t know, the finals are set to be between two terran¬†players, MarineKingPrime¬†and IMMvp, gonna be great! So yes, that said that doesn’t mean there’s no news! There have been a few upsets with the whole Up & Down, Code-S to Code-A thing. As far as I can tell, big name players such as Polt.Prime, TSL_Rain and Maka.Prime are all getting dropped down to Code-A. Players moving up, from Code-A to Code-S, or those that are just staying in¬†Code-S¬†include the following names KyrixZenith, FOXLyn, oGsInca¬†and oGsTheWind.

Yes, I may have missed a few or misread a few because it is all just so confusing. But, that doesn’t make it any less exciting! You can read all about the Code-S to Code-A to Code-S games¬†below, enjoy!¬†

[R&S] GOM Code S/Code A Jan 2011 РTeamLiquid

[GSL] Up & Down Matches Groups A & B РTeamLiquid

[GSL] Up & Down Matches Groups C & D РTeamLiquid

[GSL] Up & Down Matches Groups E & F РTeamLiquid 

In one last bit of GSL related news, below you can also read about the upcoming GSTL or Global Starcraft Team League, all the teams participating and the times and dates for those matches. Check it out!

GSTL Information РGOMtv

Community News

Community Smalls:

TSL.FruitDealer Interview

Thisisgame has the next in their series of Starcraft II pro gamer interviews up, this time they have a nice long talk with the one and only FruitDealer! (If you missed the previous one with MarineKingPrime you can also find that below!) He talks about a great many things including the state of the maps currently in the game, how weak zerg feels right now and his big plans for winning the GSL again. A great read for any FruitDealer fan or zerg user out there. Check it out below!

MarineKingPrime.WE Interview РTeamLiquid

TSL.FruitDealer’s Interview¬†– TeamLiquid

miniWHEAT Learns To Play Starcraft II

A new series had been started up by a big name in the Starcraft¬†II community that you all probably know, djWHEAT. In the series titled ‘miniWHEAT¬†learns to play StarCraft¬†2’ we see¬†djWHEAT’s¬†5 year old¬†son¬†start his StarCraft¬†2 career, trained by his father. The first episode of the series, GENESIS, was released this past¬†weekend and it is a definite¬†must watch, if only for miniWHEAT’s crazy banter throughout. Check it out above!

miniWHEAT Learns To Play StarCraft 2 РEpisode 1 РYouTube

Thank God For Day[9]

Yet another Day[9] inspired song for all of you to listen to and appreciate today, and I gotta say, I¬†hope the fans never stop producing amazing content such as this. This one¬†definitely took a lot of time and work, and it’s pretty catchy too! Check the video out above and find all the information, lyrics and even a mp3 download link below, enjoy!

DAY[9] TRIBUTE SONG/VIDEO – “Thank God For Day[9]” – YouTube

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Ghostcrawler Talks Tanking

Ghostcrawler Talks Vengeance

Ghostcrawler, the Lead Systems Designer on World of Warcraft had some very interesting information and explanations on the new tanking mechanic, Vengeance, in a recent blog post on the new World of Warcraft community website. Vengeance is a new passive ability that all tank specced classes receive. This ability converts damage taken into an attack power bonus to make sure that tanks can cope with the ever-increasing dps of our characters.

During the¬†blog post¬†¬†admits that as with all new mechanics and additions in Cataclysm there is¬†a lot¬†tweaking still to happen to Vengeance. Blizzard are still desperate trying to walk the line, trying to keep the balance between the difficulty and fun of tanking. Read the full thing below, if you’re a tank I am sure you will enjoy it!

A very nice paladin player asked me recently about Vengeance. She had concerns about the mechanic, which made me realize that we haven’t done the best job of explaining to players exactly what Vengeance is supposed to accomplish.

Vengeance is a new passive ability gained by choosing one of the tanking talent trees: Protection for warriors and paladins, Blood for death knights, or Feral for druids. When a tank with one of these talent specs takes damage, she gains an attack power bonus based on the damage taken. This bonus can’t exceed 10% of her health.

Vengeance was designed for a single purpose, which is to make sure tank threat scales as other players improve their gear. Imagine a raid of reasonably geared level-85 characters. In the absence of Vengeance, the tank might generate about 50% of the damage of a DPS character. With the tank‚Äôs threat modifiers this should be sufficient for her to generate enough threat to keep her targets stuck to her (unless something unusual is going on in the encounter). The problem is that in later tiers¬†the mages¬†and rogues in the raid accumulate gear that continues to increase their damage, while the tank chooses gear that increases her survivability. Tanks will pick up some threat stats along the way, but as their survival is almost always a necessary condition for victory, they choose gear accordingly. In later tiers, instead of doing 50% of the damage of a DPS class, the tank might start to slip to 30% or less of a DPS character’s damage. Now threat becomes an issue. Threat needs to be an important part of the game — I‚Äôll try to explain why we think so in a future blog. However, it isn‚Äôt our design intent for threat generation to get much harder in the third tier of content relative to the first.

So that’s what Vengeance is supposed to be. Here is what it’s not supposed to be. Vengeance is not supposed to solve the threat problem completely. A tank shouldn’t be able to just auto-attack and let Vengeance do the rest. Vengeance isn’t a replacement for the tank generating enough initial threat to get the targets to stick to her. She shouldn’t need to rely on Vengeance in the first six seconds of combat. It’s there to prevent the warlock from slowly creeping up on her threat in the middle of the fight. (If this has never happened to your raid, it’s possible that the huge threat transfer potential of the rogue Tricks of the Trade and hunter Misdirection masked how dicey threat really was for you, but those abilities were redesigned for Cataclysm.)  In fact, you shouldn’t need Vengeance at all in the first couple of tiers of Cataclysm content. If a lucky dodge streak causes Vengeance to fall off, and that means that you can’t generate enough threat, then either our numbers aren’t tuned correctly, or you need to L2tank.

Vengeance also isn’t supposed to make you scared to attack a tank in PvP. Tanks have enough benefits in PvP, such as being hard to kill and control, especially in Cataclysm when Rated Battlegrounds provide them with a role where they can defend flags or towers. Players generally don’t hit hard enough to trigger the full effect of Vengeance, unless they are all ganging up on one tank, at which point someone in the group should have the ability to dispel it (Vengeance is treated as an Enrage effect for dispel purposes).

Vengeance is a new mechanic, and like many design changes, it may take some tweaking to get right. Maybe it takes too long to stack up or falls off too easily. Maybe it does too much of the tank’s job for her and ends up producing a generation of lazy tanks. Threat is a tricky thing to balance. If it’s too easy to maintain, then the tank isn’t having fun. If it’s too hard to maintain, then nobody is having fun.

Believe it or not, we want tanking to be fun.

-Greg ‚ÄúGhostcrawler‚ÄĚ Street is the Lead Systems Designer for World of Warcraft and once killed a dinosaur with a spreadsheet.
Ghostcrawler, Blizzard Entertainment (Source)

J Allen Brack Interview

The Guardian has quite an extensive interview up with J. Allen Brack, the Chief Project Manager for World of Warcraft. In the interview he discusses the upcoming Cataclysm expansion and all it entails.  Everything from leveling in the expansion to the new guild additions, subscription rates to Barrens chat. It really does cover a lot and is no doubt a must read for anyone that wants as much World of Warcraft as they can get in this time leading up to the launch of Cataclysm.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm – The Guardian

4.0.3a Hotfixes

Patch 4.0.3a Hotfixes – Gamon & Quest Changes

As I mentioned before the next round of hotfixes have been announced by Blizzard themselves and the November 30 list of hotfixes include a few pretty interesting changes indeed. It seems like Gamon is not done for yet, he has been buffed yet again. He is now immune to all forms of crowd control, uses the abilities Charge and Battle Shout, and wrecks adversaries with his new two-handed axe. Ouch. The other big change that happened here was the reduction to the amount of experience we will be gaining from Classic Dungeons quests. I won’t be posting full patch notes here, I will however just tell you that there were a bunch of general, quest and class fixes and point you in the right direction.

 Patch 4.0.3a Hotfixes РWorld of Warcraft Community Site

New Battleground Brackets

Following the recent region wide battlegroup announcement it seems like Blizzard is not done just yet. There are a bunch of, in my opinion, pretty big changes that have been made to the battleground queueing. Battleground brackets now match up teams more evenly with the new brackets spanning five levels each, except the final bracket composed of level 85 players. Along with that you can now enter Arathi Basin at level 10 along with Warsong Gulch. Eye of the Storm on level 35 and Alterac Valley on level 45. Strand of the Ancients on level 65 and Isle of Conquest on level 75. Lastly, you can only join Twin Peaks and the Battle for Gilneas on level 85. Great changes if you ask me. Definitely going to make things a lot more fun while leveling and I really think having the brackets smaller will also make the games a lot more fun to play. See the full changes below!

New Battleground Brackets – World of Warcraft Community Site

The uneasy armistice between the Horde and Alliance is steadily cracking beneath the strain of Deathwing’s¬†devastating return and the Shattering of Azeroth, heralding a new era of bloody conflict.

The clash between the factions has also never been so hotly contested:  Battleground brackets now match up teams more evenly.  The new brackets span five levels each, except the final bracket composed of level 85 players:

10-14               30-34               50-54               70-74

15-19               35-39               55-59               75-79

20-24               40-44               60-64               80-84

25-29               45-49               65-69               85

Fighters can also join the battle in Arathi Basin, Eye of the Storm, and Alterac Valley at an earlier level than ever before:

Level 10 РArathi Basin and Warsong Gulch

Level 35 – Eye of the Storm

Level 45 РAlterac Valley

Level 65 – Strand of the Ancients

Level 75 – Isle of Conquest

Level 85 РBattle for Gilneas and Twin Peaks

These changes should offer players a more consistently competitive experience in the Battlegrounds as their characters level, as well as provide for more exciting PvP¬†conflict than ever before.¬† Are you eager to try 35-39 Eye of the Storm?¬† How about 45-49 Alterac¬†Valley?¬† Perhaps you’d like to cut your teeth on a 10-14 Arathi Basin.

Let us know what you think in the comments!

Classic Dungeon

Classic Dungeon Level Changes

If you haven’t noticed just yet, the levels of the dungeons in the old world have been tweaked a little. It is in fact not a coincidence that you can now do Scholomance¬†on level 38 or Stratholme¬†on level 46. So to help us prepare for leveling those Goblins and Worgen, Blizzard have given us a rundown of all the instances and their respective levels. So you can read about all of that in the official post below.

The Cataclysm has wrought changes to many facets of Azeroth and the dungeons found across the world are no exception. As many of the zones throughout the world now have new level ranges, the dungeons within their borders have been adjusted to match, and the items that drop within those dungeons have had their stats changed accordingly.

Here’s a list of all 1-60 dungeons and the level range at which each should be explored, followed by the minimum level required for entry in parentheses.

In order by minimum level to enter.

  • The Deadmines – Level Range: 15-21 (10)
  • Ragefire Chasm – Level Range: 15-21 (10)
  • Wailing Caverns – Level Range: 15-25 (10)
  • Shadowfang Keep – Level Range: 16-26 (11)
  • Stormwind Stockade – Level Range: 20-30 (15)
  • Blackfathom Deeps – Level Range: 20-30 (15)
  • Gnomeregan – Level Range: 24-34 (19)
  • The Scarlet Monastery – Graveyard – Level Range: 26-36 (21)
  • The Scarlet Monastery – Library – Level Range: 29-39 (21)
  • The Scarlet Monastery – Armory – Level Range: 32-42 (21)
  • The Scarlet Monastery – Cathedral – Level Range: 35-45 (21)
  • Razorfen¬†Kraul – Level Range: 30-40 (25)
  • Maraudon – Purple Crystals – Level Range: 30-40 (25)
  • Maraudon – Orange Crystals – Level Range: 32-42 (25)
  • Maraudon – Pristine Waters – Level Range: 34-44 (25)
  • Uldaman – Level Range: 35-45 (30)
  • Dire Maul – East – Level Range: 36-46 (31)
  • Scholomance – Level Range: 38-48 (33)
  • Dire Maul – West – Level Range: 39-49 (34)
  • Razorfen Downs – Level Range: 40-50 (35)
  • Dire Maul – North – Level Range: 42-52 (37)
  • Stratholme – Main Gate – Level Range: 42-52 (37)
  • Zul’farrak – Level Range: 44-54 (39)
  • Stratholme – Service Entrance – Level Range: 46-56 (41)
  • Blackrock Depths – Prison – Level Range: 47-57 (42)
  • The Sunken Temple – Level Range: 50-60 (45)
  • Blackrock Depths – Upper City – Level Range: 51-61 (46)
  • Lower Blackrock Spire – Level Range: 55-65 (48)
  • Upper Blackrock Spire – Level Range: 55-65 (48)

Daxxarri, Blizzard Entertainment (Source)

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Starcraft Pulse

Episode 17!  Tournament news is definitely my bane right now. It just seems so hard to find all the winners / runners up of all the various cups and events. Other than that I am really, really appreciative of all the new subs! Enjoy!

‘Continue reading’ for a full list of episodes and extras!


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Cataclysm Beta Build 12875 Part 2

I have to say I did¬†suspect that there would be more changes discovered, I just didn’t realise there would be this many! Here is¬†Part 2 of the Cataclysm Beta Build¬†12875¬†changes. There are quite a few interesting ones here so get comfortable and start reading!¬†¬†¬†¬†

Cataclysm Beta РNew Horde And Alliance Intros

TotalBiscuit has treated us with a video of all of the new Horde and Alliance¬†Intro cutscenes that play when you create your new characters in Cataclysm. The only one missing at the moment is the Goblin one that has not yet been implemented. It’s definitely worth a watch for all the lore buffs out there! See the video below.

Also be sure to check out the other videos in TotalBuiscuit’s Channel, they are sure to entertain!

Cataclysm Glyph Changes

New Glyph Interface

So Blizzard have finally added the new Glyph Interface. It’s looking pretty cool and it seems like it is a lot more user friendly than the way it was before. You can now ‘learn’ glyphs’ once and then you won’t need to ever again. They will be in your spell book for later use, even if you remove them from the slots. I wonder if this will spell the end for the inscription profession? I hope they manage to find something really cool to add to make up for this!¬†See the list of changes below courtesy of MMO-Champion.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

  • The biggest change, Glyphs are no longer a consumable item. You learn them and can swap them at any time after that, without having to buy them again.
  • Prime Glyphs slots have been added
  • All Glyphs are now listed, including the one you didn’t learn yet.
  • You can search for Glyphs, and filter them.

Cataclysm Armor Models

Cataclysm Beta РBuild 12857 Model Updates

Along with this new beta build came a lot of changes that aren’t immedietely¬†visible or documented in the patch notes. Changes like all the cool new models that the guys over at Wowhead have found! You can check their post out for new armor models (Cloth, leather, plate and mail) a few new weapons, mineral veins and I think most importantly, armadillos. See all of that over at Wowhead.com.¬†¬†¬†

New Ghost Wolf Form

The new Arctic Ghost Wolf Form was added in this build. Shamans rejoice! You can see the model here¬†or just follow the link below. Once again, thanks a lot to MMO-Champion for getting that up so quickly! ūüėĬ†

Arctic Ghost Wolf 

Heroic Shadowfang Keep And Deadmines Coming With Cataclysm

As the title says it seems like, contrary to what Blizzard told us before, we will be seeing the Heroic versions of Shadowfang¬†Keep and Deadmines¬†released with Cataclysm. That’s cool! I can’t wait to get back up in Van Cleef’s grill! ūüėÄ See the official quote below.¬†¬†

Heroics are not ready for testing.  

Heroic Shadowfang Keep and Heroic Deadmines WILL be released with Cataclysm. You will not have to wait for a later patch.
Valnoth, Blizzard Entertainment (Source)   

Cataclysm Map Updates

Cataclysm Beta РBuild 12857 Map Updates

Those hardworking guys over at Wowhead¬†have compiled a nice post full of all the new and updated maps in the Cataclysm Beta thus far. It’s really cool to see how some of them have been updated and even cooler to see those old instances we know and love from the top down! Visit the Wowhead¬†post here for more on that or just clicky the link below! There really are a lot of cool maps and it’s definitely worth checking out!¬†¬†¬†¬†

Wowhead Cataclysm Map Update! New Classic / Cataclysm Dungeon + Raid Maps and More!    

More Coming Soon!

I am trying to get previews up of all the new Worgen customization options. Alas, the beta is not cooperating. I am crashing every time I try to create a new Worgen. Hopefully that will be fixed soon so I can get those previews up. Stay tuned for more Cataclysm Beta news!

Thanks again to World of Raids and MMO-Champion for all the updates and news!

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