4/21 Alpha Build Design Notes

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Game Designer
#1 - April 21, 2016, 10:04 p.m.
Blizzard Post
Hey all,
We have another alpha build going up today. This build includes a variety of revisions and bugfixes all around.

Notable changes focused on classes:

  • New Zone: Suramar!
  • This zone is now open and ready for testing. Please give it a try and let us know what you think!
  • New Dungeon: Court of Stars!
  • This dungeon is now open and ready for testing. Please give it a try and let us know what you think!
  • Class Status – We’ve made many iterations based on feedback and testing. Here are some highlights:
  • Blood Death Knights – Significant revision to core rotation and many talents, to create better gameplay.
  • Windwalker Monks – Further Storm, Earth, and Fire revisions to allow it to become the primary DPS cooldown.
  • All Monks – Healing Elixirs revised to allow active use if desired.
  • Retribution Paladins – Revisions to level 100 talents to make them more competitive.
  • Balance Druids – Stellar Flare revised to simplify its use.
  • Mistweaver Monks – Essence Font revised to add more interaction with other abilities.
  • Restoration Shamans – Unleash Life returned as a talent.
  • All Priests – Masochism and Desperate Prayer revised to be more competitive.
  • Restoration Druids – Cultivation and Abundance talent locations swapped.
  • PvP Talent Status – We’ve also revised several PvP talents:
  • Fire Mages – Burning Determination redesigned.
  • Frost Mages – Burst of Cold, Dense Ice, and Ice Form revised.
  • Havoc Demon Hunters – Imprison revised.
  • Outlaw Rogues – Thick as Thieves replaced Tricks of the Trade.
  • Warlocks – Casting Circle and Essence Drain added.
  • Artifact Trait Status – Nearly all traits are implemented at this point; only a few remain non-functional, or to-be-redesigned. (Tuning is still yet to come, of course.)
  • Havoc Demon Hunters – Fury of the Illidari revised.
  • Restoration Shamans – Gift of the Queen revised.
  • Windwalker Monks – Strike of the Windlord revised.
  • All remaining temporary talents have been replaced.
  • World Quests Updated – Revisions to existing World Quests, and many more added.
  • Order Hall Campaigns – We’re ready to test the campaigns (including Missions) for a couple additional classes:
  • Demon Hunter
  • Mage

Thanks, and we look forward to your feedback!

Also, check out the design notes from the previous build, if you haven't already as well: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/20743224163
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Game Designer
#13 - April 21, 2016, 10:29 p.m.
Blizzard Post
We're targeting next Mon/Tues for raid testing this week. Details to follow tomorrow once we're satisfied with build stability.
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Game Designer
#23 - April 22, 2016, 1 a.m.
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Max-level players in this build may notice an important new Artifact feature. The researcher/scribe NPC in your Class Hall will offer you a quest to retrieve a set of tomes from around the world. Once these are recovered, you can instruct your researcher to work on deciphering these tomes. Each step of research will require some Order Resources (which are primarily obtained through World Quests), and will grant increased "Artifact Knowledge."

Increasing Artifact Knowledge permanently increases your rate of Artifact Power gains, and this bonus applies to all artifact weapons your character may possess. (And no, Artifact Power items obtained at a lower Knowledge level won't automatically update, so hoarding items for future use won't benefit you.) This system is key to the pacing of overall artifact progression, and to making it easier for players to maintain multiple artifacts if they so desire. For example, at Knowledge Level 7, you would be earning Artifact Power at over triple the base rate. Thus, if you wanted to switch to a spec you hadn't yet tried at that point, you'd find yourself very quickly able to get that artifact up to par with your primary one.

As your scribes progress through their translation and research, you will fill in pages of a great tome in your Class Hall that provides more backstory and information about your artifact (this is not yet fully hooked up for some classes). Finally, in the live game, the speed at which your researchers can work will increase as the expansion progresses, allowing latecomers or alts to catch up on their artifact progress.

The tuning of the experience and Knowledge curves is still in flux.
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Game Designer
#25 - April 22, 2016, 1:42 a.m.
Blizzard Post
04/21/2016 06:28 PMPosted by Ningjiing
Does this apply to leveling quest artifact power gains as well as those, atm, give by far best artifact power gains. Right now I see myself avoiding every quest that gives AP tokens until like 2-3 weeks in and getting a massive amount of AP.

A number of non-repeatable sources of power will not be affected by Knowledge for this exact reason - notably level-up quests and treasures. The goal here is a system where the right way to play is to just... do stuff that you enjoy, accruing Artifact Power along the way.