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Cataclysm: Flexible Raid Lock System in 4.0.1

Blizzard has announced a new update to the Cataclysm raid dungeon lockout system which allows flexibility to guilds and PUGs. You can do a 25-man Marrowgar up to Saurfang attempt, and later a 10-man Blood Queen attempt and you will get the same loot in both type of raids. The way players are individually saved has changed too and you can check it out in your raid info tab.

Bashiok posted a very extensive explanation of how this dungeon lockout system works. More details after the break.

[BLUE]Almost six months ago we announced that Cataclysm raids were being redesigned to make both raid sizes the same difficulty, drop the same quality of loot, and exist in the same lockout. This evolution in raid philosophy is built on the belief that the size of your raiding group should be a choice based solely on what’s more fun and enjoyable for you, and that you should not have to complete the same raiding content twice in a week to maximize your character’s progression. These systems are the culmination of a great deal of design and player feedback from the last few years. With the release of the 4.0.1 patch, the new Flexible Raid Lock system will debut in Icecrown Citadel and The Ruby Sanctum.

With the Flexible Raid Lock system, instead of being locked to a specific raid size or raid group, each character will have the opportunity to defeat each raid encounter once a week. You could kill Lord Marrowgar and Lady Deathwhisper with a 10-player raid on Wednesday, join a 25-player raid to kill Festergut and Rotface on Thursday, and then lead a completely new 10-player raid to kill The Lich King on Friday. Every raid has a list of encounters associated with the zone. For example, Icecrown Citadel has twelve encounters. After you defeat Lord Marrowgar, you can open up your character’s raid information dialog and see the list of encounters in Icecrown Citadel with Marrowgar marked as defeated. You may no longer fight Lord Marrowgar with any raid size or difficulty until the weekly raid reset for your region occurs.

Another key change is that if you join someone else’s raid in progress, you are no longer locked to that raid after merely zoning in. Your raid status will only change when a boss is defeated, at which point it will be updated to reflect the state of the instance in which you are currently participating. So, let’s say you have killed the first four bosses of Icecrown Citadel, and you then join a raid that has defeated the first four encounters, as well as Festergut and Rotface. The dialog that displays upon entering Icecrown Citadel will show that the raid has defeated 6 of 12 encounters. If you help them defeat Professor Putricide, then you would be marked as having defeated not only Professor Putricide for the week, but also Festergut and Rotface. If instead after joining the raid you then proceeded to wipe ten times to Professor Putricide, you could leave the raid with only the first four bosses marked as completed.

To help communicate to players which bosses are dead in the raid leader’s raid, there is new functionality to link in chat a list of the encounters the raid has defeated. So before you join a raid, you can see what they’ve already defeated. If a raid leader advertises in chat that she needs another healer for an 8/12 Icecrown Citadel run, you can see precisely which bosses are still available to fight. If you were only looking for that one item from Queen Lana’thel that never drops for you and this raid already defeated her, you will know not to join that raid.

Let’s look at another example of the Flexible Raid Lock system. A guild schedules three nights for 25-player Icecrown Citadel raiding on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. On Wednesday, the raid defeats Lord Marrowgar, Lady Deathwhisper, Icecrown Gunship Battle, and Saurfang. On Thursday, five people cancel their raid attendance due to real life emergencies. The raid leader knows that if he cancels Thursday raiding, there’s little chance they’ll have enough time on Saturday to defeat the other eight bosses in Icecrown Citadel. So he splits the remaining 20 Thursday raiders into two 10-player raids. Each new raid enters Icecrown Citadel and defeats Rotface, Festergut, Blood Council, and Valithria Dreamwalker. The next Saturday with all 25 players online, they reform as a 25-player raid and enter Icecrown Citadel once more. Only Professor Putricide, Queen Lana’thel, Sindragosa, and The Lich King remain. After a tough fight, the Lich King falls and everybody celebrates. Without the Flexible Raid Lock system the entire raid probably would have missed out on a night of raiding, and likely would not have reached the Lich King.

While players can freely move between raids of different sizes in normal difficulty, there are some additional rules for Heroic difficulty. If a 10- or 25-player raid defeats a boss on Heroic difficulty, then those players may now only raid additional Heroic encounters with that specific raid. If your Heroic 25-player raid defeats the first four bosses of Icecrown Citadel on Heroic, then they may not split up into two 10-player raids and continue to fight in Heroic difficulty. You may also not join someone else’s raid if they have defeated a Heroic encounter.

But let’s say you are a member of a Heroic raid in Icecrown Citadel, and after killing Lord Marrowgar on Heroic you have Internet connection issues that prevent you from raiding for two nights. During those two nights, the rest of the raid kills everything. Without the Flexible Raid Lock system, you would be done with raiding Icecrown Citadel for the week. Ouch. With the Flexible Raid Lock system, you can join someone else’s raid as long as they are doing Normal difficulty. This would at least give you the opportunity to earn your Justice Points for the week. If this raid attempted to switch to Heroic difficulty for Icecrown Gunship Battle with you in the raid, the raid leader would receive an error message stating that she cannot change to Heroic, because someone in the raid (i.e., you) is already locked to a different Heroic instance.

All of the new Cataclysm raids will feature the Flexible Raid Lock and Dynamic Difficulty systems, and when the Cataclysm occurs the other Wrath of the Lich King raids will also have these features. It’s important to note that this system doesn’t affect Heroic dungeons, they will work as they always have. We look forward to feedback for this new system after 4.0.1 is released. As a reminder, Icecrown Citadel and The Ruby Sanctum are the only two raids that support the Flexible Raid Lock until the Cataclysm occurs.[/BLUE]

Cataclysm Beta: Guild Wipe in Patch 13117

Really hope you took screenshots of your Beta guild members because with the recent patch guilds have been wiped in order to implement new changes in the guild system. Otherwise, feel free to create a new guild and hopefully some people will catch up, or simply start from scratch.

There are plenty of beta testers to recruit, and more players keep getting beta invites as we speak. I have met a few in-game who just got the invite and will gladly join a guild for guidance and support on where things are and what to do.

Blizzard Quote:
There is some maintenance going on right now for the beta realms that will wipe all existing guilds in beta. Several things have changed with the guild system since it was first avaialble and we want to ensure that all testing efforts from the beta realms are with guilds that started from a good place.

New guilds can be made after the maintenance has ended.

We’re sorry for any inconvenience this has caused. – source

Cataclysm Beta: Stormwind and Orgrimmar Portals Fully Operational

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Beta patch Build 13117 was deployed in beta servers. It’s a bit over 100MB in size, no big deal. Portals at the Valley of Wisdom (upper level) and northwest of Stormwind Keep are now available: Uldum, Vashj’ir, and Mount Hyjal. Up until now, only Twilight Highlands and Deepholm were available. Now all five are open for use.

Players taking the Vashj’ir portal at the Valley of Wisdom are transported to the Tenebrous Cavern (Horde) or Darkbreak Cove (Alliance) in the Abyssal Depths. The Uldum portal in Orgrimmar takes you to Ramkahen (next to Prince Nadun). The Mount Hyjal portal takes players outside the Nordrassil Inn.

J!NX T-shirts $7 Off Promo

J!NX extended The Return of the Super Colossal Sale promotion until October 4 at 11:59pm.

In this promotion, fans get the deal of $7 off all t-shirts (including World of Warcraft, Starcraft II and Diablo III). Offer is not valid with any other discount or promotion.

Blizzad Drops the Banhammer on 5000 StarCraft II Players

Blizzard Entertainment has dropped the Banhammer on 5,000 Starcraft II players who did not listen to the recent warning concerning cheats, third-party software, and exploits.

Blizzard Quote:
We recently took action, including suspensions and bans, on over 5,000 StarCraft II players who were in violation of the Battle.net Terms of Use for cheating and/or using hack programs while playing. In addition to undermining the spirit of fair competition that’s essential to play on Battle.net, cheating and hacking can lead to stability and performance issues with the service. Maintaining a stable, safe, and secure online-gaming experience for legitimate players is a top priority for us, and we’ll be continuing to keep watch on Battle.net and take action as needed.

Faces of Cataclysm: Cho’gall

Blizzard updated the Faces of Cataclysm page by adding Cho’gall among other heroes and enemies. Cho’gall appears in the open world during a quest line given by Garona Halforcen in Twilight Highlands.

You can find Garona at Bloodgulch. After you complete her quests, do the quests sending you to the Maw of Madness, and the red dragonflight quests in the Circle of Life and Grim Batol. This will lead you straight to the Twilight Citadel outdoors after a red drake transports you nearby. There you will pick up again with Garona for a series of quests, and you will meet Cho’gall and his Gronn chosen during a cutscene.

That reminds me of our video interview with Walter Simonson and Louise Simonson who told me at the New York Comic Con 2009 there were plans for Garona in the game. I almost cried when I saw Garona in the Cataclysm beta. I hadn’t seen her since Classic beta 2004 (at Ravenholdt Manor).

Cho’gall is one of the bosses in the Twilight Citadel dungeon. It’s the first time Med’an is mentioned by Blizzard outside of the DC Comics World of Warcraft comic book. Hopefully, we will get to meet the New Council of Tirisfal at some point in this expansion or upcoming ones. Back on February 2009, Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson revealed during our video interview there were plans for Sargeras. It makes sense that the New Council of Tirisfal could be the Argent Crusade faction quest hub of that future content.

[BLUE]Cho’gall’s sordid history is a testament to his unflinching desire to sow chaos wherever his dark influence extends. The first of the ogre magi, Cho’gall rose to prominence in the old Horde as chieftain of the orcish Twilight’s Hammer clan. His dubious loyalties became apparent when he abandoned the Horde during a pivotal moment in the Second War.

In retaliation, forces dispatched by Orgrim Doomhammer slaughtered most of Cho’gall’s traitorous clan, forcing him and his surviving cohorts into hiding. Over the following years, the ogre mage molded the Twilight’s Hammer into a fanatical cult devoted to worshipping the Old Gods — ancient harbingers of the apocalypse. Cho’gall’s obsession with these malefic deities led him to the ruined city of Ahn’Qiraj, where he began efforts to awaken an Old God by harnessing the immense powers of Med’an, the new Guardian of Tirisfal.

Ultimately, Med’an thwarted Cho’gall’s plans, and the scheming ogre mage was thought slain. The Twilight’s Hammer, however, has remained organized, leading to fears that Cho’gall is still alive… and merely biding his time, waiting for the right moment to make his presence known once again.[/BLUE]

Amazon Changes World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Pre-orders Arrival Estimate

Amazon has sent an email to its customers, including myself and Eldorian, to inform the delivery date for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Collector’s Edition has been changed to an Estimated arrival date in January 2011.

    We now have delivery date(s) for the order you placed on August 20 2010:

    “World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Collector’s Edition”
    Estimated arrival date: January 06 2011 – January 10 2011

Amazon updated just a few days ago a similar email placing Cataclysm at November 23. There has been rumors these past days from certain websites the date would be December. And now Amazon says January. Some of these websites even say the Cataclysm expansion has been [delayed].

The fact is Blizzard Entertainment has never issued an official release date for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. These sale companies are pulling dates out of their imagination possibly as a marketing strategy to stimulate pre-orders; or simply to do what normal fellow forum posters do when they want something to be reminded … they bump. In this case, Amazon is certainly getting a lot of attention from gaming sites — including Gamespot. It’s normal for gaming sites to believe these dates, but the truth is Blizzard Entertainment hasn’t issued any release date.

Blizzard will release the Cataclysm expansion when it is ready. They can’t place a date when they can’t foresee possible bugs and issues arising after a build. The expansion is currently in beta testing, and none of the 25-man dungeons are available for testing. Many bugs are still found throughout the current build. A lot of content is still NYI (Not Yet Implemented). There’s no way for Blizzard to determine a release date at this point without even hearing beta tester feedback about the 25-man dungeons. The token system conversion hasn’t been implemented.

We can triangulate a “possible month of release (not a date)” by reading the Arena Season 8 ends in October 13th. Arena Season 9 will start a week after Cataclysm ships. That might hint Blizzard has an internal release date goal, but not a final one. Nothing is certain or written in stone at this point. If you hear rumors, and magical proof of a release date — sorry to burst your bubble — but it’s not fact until Blizzard Entertainment makes an official announcement via a press release.

Just ignore it along with those “the end of the world draws near” rumors.

Cataclysm: Elemental Slayer Enchant … WoWs!!!

There are some hot weapon enchants in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm that have beta testers excited for its special effects. It’s unknown to me if they are working as intended or not. The Avalanche enchant is a very luminiscent enchant with frost symbols.

However, the Elemental Slayer Enchant is definitely the biggest, coolest and most psychodelic enchant in Cataclysm. It has a huge radius and the radiance changes color hue constantly.

The Elemental Slayer enchant requires the following reagents: Hypnotic Dust x 5, and Greater Celestial Essence x 1.

Permanently enchant a weapon to sometimes disrupt elementals when struck, dealing Arcane damage and silencing them for 5 sec. Requires lvl 300 or higher item. Video available for different internet connections including 1080HD.

Special thanks go to Gibbygobby for posing for the camera.

No Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm at BlizzCon 2010

PCGamer talked with Starcraft II lead designer Chris Sigaty about Blizzard Entertainment’s plans for BlizzCon 2010. Blizzard won’t be showing Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm at BlizzCon this year. However, they will have a Starcraft II Q&A panel to discuss loose end questions fans may have about the Wings of Liberty single player lore.

Thanks, Max

Blizzard Quote:
“We’re still working on the details [of the expansion],” explains Chris, “and the last thing I want to do is to talk about theoretical things instead of talking about what’s real.”

The Starcraft II team will be delivering a story panel at the show, where fans will be able to ask the team what’s next for Starcraft II. “We will be featuring a Q&A to talk about story,” says Chris, “but that will largely just to tie up any loose ends and questions players have about what was happening during the story. We won’t be going into details about what’s going to happen in Heart of the Swarm.”

After-Party Pre-Screening of The Raid Invitation

Stewart McMichael (associate producer) invites BlizzCon 2010 attendees to a pre-screening event of the film titled “The Raid“. This pre-screening will take place at the House of Blues (across the street from BlizzCon).

When and Where

Saturday, October 23, 2010
9PM – 1AM

House of Blues
1530 S. Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, California
Rose Terrace

Pre-Screening

Join us and mingle with your favorite World of Warcraft fan community personalities.

Famed coast-to-coast DJ, Big Daddy, spins World of Warcraft parody songs along with his unique take on the game’ original score.

Give your take on the most anticipated documentary the World of Warcraft community has ever seen.

About

The Raid will be a film about raiding and what it means to be a raider. We will capture the numerous hours invested by a diverse group of gamers in a complicated and choreographed digital environment, where every contribution weighs on their success or failure. We will watch, in person and virtually, as members strategize, fail, re-strategize, and inevitably find victory in their pursuits. We will sit with them in their homes and seek to understand the value this kind of commitment has in their daily lives, amidst their work, and within their families. We will question them about virtual achievements and their value. We will sit with social experts concerned about the growing issue of internet addiction and seek their opinions. We will question the future of the MMO experience and its place in the global landscape of culture, education, and business. Most of all, we will demonstrate and feel the excitement and energy of this kind of experience, which is so often criticized and misunderstood.

“The Raid” Update – 8.9.10 from blue loon films on Vimeo.

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