A couple of questions came up regarding the Monk ability, Zen Pilgrimage. This ability allows monks to travel to the Peak of Serenity in Pandaria, and on re-use, returns the player to their previous location. Death Knights, understandably, were asking for the same to apply to their Death Gate, which takes them to the Ebon Hold, and unceremoniously abandons them there. Monks, conversely, were bemoaning the confusing effect of the ability if they don't use it a second time, and hearthstone back instead. The devs said that both concerns were reasonable, and that they would look into rectifying the issues. WoW Insider thinks that Monks are missing a trick with what could essentially be a second hearthstone!
Hunters queried whether the increase in available pets might lead to more stable space, which, to the consternation of sentimental beast masters everywhere, was met with a resounding "No." There was also some discussion of the hunter ability Scatter Shot being dodgeable, while a rogue Blind wasn't. Rogues and hunters work very differently, rogues are reliant on expertise and positioning to avoid being dodged or parried on a plethora of other abilities, so the devs didn't really feel this was a valid comparison.
Rogues arose again, bundled with elemental and enhancement shaman, in a question about their poor performance in PvP. The devs again dodged the question of rogue DPS, saying that they were planning to fix "major outliers" first. For more PvP information, do check out our analysis of the recent Dev Watercooler.
These also received some attention, with a reconfirmation that the "too many instances" limit would not be removed. The Devs noted, as should players, that leaving the instance in a Challenge Mode is not necessary, the leader can simply reset the challenge from the drop-down menu. The Devs also confirmed that leaderboards would not be reset, unless a serious exploit made it absolutely necessary, and that challenge mode mounts would not be account wide.
The PvP discussion is extensive. Firstly, the devs confirm that, despite complaints, they will not be moving the PvP vendors. Personally, I don't see why they should. Yes, they're a bit out of the way, but it's good that they become PvP hubs themselves. Also, with the speed of flight paths, it's a moment's work to get there.
As far as PvP balance, there was discussion of discipline priests, with the exciting promise that Focused Will would be making a return, to increase viability. The changes to Glyph of Gag Order have been well received, but led to a further discussion of blanket silences. The questions ask whether further blanket silences should be removed, to which the answer was simply that they are subject to diminishing returns, as are all elements of CC. The devs assert that CC is fine, as Ghostcrawler said in his PvP Blog, but that it's possible that diminishing returns aren't set up and communicated sufficiently clearly. This does seem a reasonable assertion, and some addition to the standard UI which indicated diminishing returns or displayed it would be welcome. It's hard to remember what DRs with what else, for example!
Also mentioned were some changes to conquest points. The devs, disappointingly, confirmed that they had no intention of reverting the recent change to the conquest cap. They did, however, add that they were looking at "new, exciting ways to earn conquest", such as finding it in a chest. What's frustrating about this is that before the "bug" was fixed, the way players earned conquest was just fine. Nobody wanted other ways to do it, if anything people would have preferred for the arena cap to be increased to meet the battleground cap. The devs also add that they are looking at vanity items and "other cool things" for players to spend extraneous conquest on. Given the conquest glut at the end of last season, this will be a welcome change!
Blizzard's team yet again confirmed they are working to keep burst damage manageable, something which they radically failed at for the early part of this expansion. PvPers live in hope, with the exception of those on the receiving end of the nerf bat!
Dungeons and Raids
The Raid Finder was, inevitably, a key topic for the dev Q&A. Players' complaints about the random nature of Raid Finder loot drops, low drop rates, and the likelihood of getting duplicate items were met with a repeat of the same response we've heard before. Loot is random, and you may get duplicates. They did note that some items are incorrectly flagged, so if you receive something that isn't useful for your spec, do submit a ticket detailing the item and your spec.
Another problem addressed was the high occurrence of players entering Raid Finder runs which had already killed earlier bosses. Elegon has been noted as a particular problem for this, and the devs asserted that the system does its best to put players who have already complete the end bosses into a fresh run, but agree that more could be done to improve the system.
Lastly, players voiced their concerns about the change to Valor acquisition rates. Previously, in Wrath and the early part of Cataclysm, Valor was earned only from the first heroic dungeon completed every day. That then changed to the first 7 heroics per week, to allow players who couldn't log in every day not to miss out on the points. Now, with Mists, a new system is in place where the first heroic of the day awards 80 valor, and every subsequest one awards 40. This feels like a return to the previous system, but the devs assert that it isn't. It does allow more flexibility, letting players run heroics on one day to reach the cap if they wish, or to log in every day, but it's fairly clear why players feel it's a return to the old system. The devs have no intention of reverting it.
Daily quests got some feedback from the devs. Yet again, they clarified the point that dailies are not a requirement set by the game to progress, although they can offer additional rewards. Dailies, they say, are a choice, not a requirement. There's also a reminder about the change to Lesser Charms of Good Fortune, where they revert to a currency in Patch 5.1. There was new information about justice points, which players rightly complained were hard to acquire due to the changes to normal dungeons. The devs mentioned that this was a reasonable complaint, and that justice points could be dropped from scenarios. This seems like a good idea, given that players aren't currently particularly motivated to run scenarios due to the lack of loot.
The main concerns addressed were the pet battle music, which some players don't find enjoyable, especially those who are doing a lot of pet battles. There is some intelligence on the track selection, but an option exists to specifically switch the pet battle music off. Pet battles will not be going cross-faction in the specific duels, which makes sense given PvP duelling. And lastly, collecting all the pets from old raid bosses will award a Mr. Bigglesworth!
Naturally, many questions were fielded about this new feature. Blizzard is really just repeating a lot of the information we knew already from Rygarius' posts, apart from confirming that they are at least examining the potential for working on the world PvP issues caused by large groups of high level players ganking at low level quest hubs. This sort of behavior ought to be frowned upon by all PvPers, picking on lower level players is rather unsporting.
Additionally, the devs commented on an issue that's commonly attributed to CRZ, but actually relates to technology implemented to help throttle the amount of data that's sent to players' clients. If players move at speed, this can cause NPCs to seem to disappear and reappear. This is nothing to do with CRZ.
Blizzard have, to the excitement of lovers of cities that aren't Stormwind and Orgrimmar, confirmed that they may consider putting Pandaria portals in those cities. It ties in with their philosophy of putting players out in the world, rather than confining them to their bases.
They've also added that the new wyvern and gryphon models that are coming in 5.1 are not replacements for the taxis, rather they are completely new mounts that players can earn through the new factions that are being introduced. Players will have the chance to earn the new mounts without armor through a quest chain.
Lastly, the devs talk briefly about the growing need to continue their internal discussions about how best to improve the inventory system as a whole. They assert to be busy looking at ways to improve general qulality of life, and add that the continued feedback has been helpful.
Do check out the full Q&A at Wowjuju!
Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.