You guys Game of Thrones season four starts tomorrow and I am so ridiculously excited about that so have a metal cover of the theme song. Yes. Questions!
Am I right in thinking that the less focus on cooldowns and procs of spells (and simply fewer spells) will allow for wider and crazier raid design? Eyes off the keyboard and on the encounter.
Obviously we don't know the answer to that just yet, but I'd like to think it's a yes. Right now a lot of the raid game (for me anyway) is keep your eyes locked to your feet and, if you happen to have one, the addon that tracks your cooldowns. As a raider, it often feels like the hardest encounters are the ones that have a million different things happening at once that you have to do on top of keeping track of all of those cooldowns -- and it's not a matter of encounter difficulty so much as it is difficulty in keeping track of too many things at the same time. That ... doesn't really make for a lot of fun factor.
What I'm hoping for is that with this streamlining process, we'll see a lot more variety in raid design that pushes the limits of what the encounter itself can do, not necessarily what the player can keep track of. So it's more of a game about the encounter itself, and less about paying attention to addons. We can hope, anyway! I'm optimistic.
So "Alpha has started" ... but has anyone actually received an invite yet? Or is it just taking a long time to download the new file format?
Alpha isn't an invitation kind of thing -- right now, it's very limited. However, it's a take-home alpha, which means that those that have been given access can do so from home. Because of this, the files are being hosted on public servers. That's why datamining websites can get the client and dig up the data. They aren't flagged to play the game yet.
How exactly do the sun and other objects work in the skyboxes? I had assumed it was just a stationary part of them that would change based on the zone you're in, but I've noticed that whenever someone puts the "sunset" item down in the Shrine, when you step in or out of it, you can actually watch the sun move up and down in the sky, cartoon-style. It got me wondering if the sun is a separate entity from the skyboxes (which I admittedly know almost nothing about).
There used to be this wonderful thing called the WoW Camera Tool or something along those lines, that would let you mess with the in-game camera and apply filters, change skyboxes, all kinds of weird stuff. I used it every now and again for screenshots. The skyboxes were simply files you could load -- flat images that had varying bits of animation for each different skybox. It was pretty cool, honestly! I think what's going on with the stones is that setting down a stone may change that skybox to one that has the sun in motion. Once it's worn off, that skybox fades out and you're left with the original.
Keep in mind, however, this is all pretty much conjecture -- I don't work with these things. It may be something as simple as a phase change!
This may be a stupid question. What are we supposed to do in Draenor when we have to move? It looks like most classes will be reduced to ONE spell that they can cast while moving. For example my Disc Priest. He is supposed to just spam Shield every time he moves? This is interesting game play?
Cast instant spells, or move quickly and cast when you're where you need to be. Keep in mind we don't know what the dungeons and raids in Draenor are going to look like yet. Encounters aren't likely going to be the same as we've seen in Mists. In Mists, things were designed around everyone having the ability to cast and move. In Warlords, they'll be taking the removal of movement while casting into consideration.
Can we truly say that Alpha has started when no one has been invited yet and there is no alpha client available?
Yes. Mostly because it's Blizzard's call to make, and they've made it. The client is available, dataminers have been working busily at pulling information from it.
Are we getting the increasing 5% debuff in SoO? I know developers said that this time the increasing power would come from item upgrades, but with 4-6 months to go before WoD, Blizzard might be desperate enough to keep interest up.
We haven't heard anything about that yet. At this stage in the game, I doubt it. Encounters seemed to be tuned pretty smoothly, and those that were a little out of balance in terms of difficulty were smoothed out and adjusted. Blizzard is keeping an eye on raid progression though -- I imagine if they feel it's necessary to do so, they'll add it, but for now they seem to be content to adjust encounters individually, rather than add some kind of buff or debuff to the entire raid.
Q4theq. I'm trying not to get upset or rage-y here; this is alpha after all. Still with hunter's mark removed and the changes to Ambush and backstab, along with other tweaks, I can't help feel we've lost what few advantages we had against rogues. Is there hope?
Absolutely! Keep in mind this is only the first round of what are bound to be endless changes and tweaks. Nothing is finalized. They'll be watching to see how various classes perform, and making the necessary adjustments as the alpha goes on. The patch notes we saw are by no means final. This is pretty much what alpha and beta testing are for -- to test the changes that have been made and tweak them where necessary before the expansion goes live. Don't worry.
Q4tQ: This is a dumb question but was the wait for Sunders actually supported by the math? While I have nothing to back me up but I always thought it was dumb to just sit there and wait for sunders. I always thought it would be better to attack but wait until you blow your best abilities/cool downs until 3 sunders happened.
I raided in vanilla. The main reason you waited for three sunders was because at that point you knew the tank had hit the boss enough times that 20-30 DPS exploding on said boss at the same time wouldn't pull threat off the tank. Theoretically. Threat back then was a really shaky thing -- one wrong crit by a DPS at the wrong time would result in one very dead DPS. It was far, far better to be safe than sorry. As healers, we generally had to hold off on flinging any big heals at the start, too, because that could pull threat off the tank just as easily -- and man you bet I had my Fade hotkeyed and ready to smash at the beginning of the pull if I needed to.
Is the new file format Blizz is using going to give Blizz some privacy and defense against dataminers?
Nope! It's just to speed up the transfer of information. Theoretically, it should cut down on load times and patch times, because those files are loading faster.
Q4TQ: What happens if you Level 90 Boost a level 1-12 Pandaren? If you haven't selected a faction yet, will it still port you to the Vale? If so... to which Faction's HQ? If not... would your level 90 stay on the Wandering Isle?
It asks you to choose a faction when you boost a pandaren character. You'll be placed at your faction's capital city (Stormwind or Orgrimmar), and your hearthstone will be set to that location. No getting back to the Wandering Isle, sorry!
Q4TQ: Has there been any indication that the Warlock Green Fire quest chain is being removed or changed in patch 6.0 or beyond? I can't seem to find any note of it and I am worried that it will all go *bamf* before I get around to doing it on my lock...
The green fire quest will stay in the game, and will not be scaling by level. Celestalon mentioned it quite some time ago on Twitter!
@Warrodk Stay current level.- Celestalon (@Celestalon) January 19, 2014
Have questions about the World of Warcraft? The WoW Insider crew is here with The Queue, our daily Q&A column. Leave your questions in the comments, and we'll do our best to answer 'em!