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WoW Factor: Why can’t Blizzard stop messing with everything?

It’s funny to me that people had such an aggressive reaction to the changes coming to Hunter pets and damage formulas in Battle for Azeroth. The latter in particular should be both invisible and completely immaterial for actual play; the only real change is that they now use weapon damage on abilities which were previously disconnected from weapon damage, but these formulas have always taken into account, say, the difference between two-handers and dual-wielding options. The former is, at its core, an opportunity to make pet families relevant again after most of the pets of Legion were more or less difference in appearance only, which is a far cry from the days when your choice of pet was significant.

To make it clear if it’s remotely ambiguous: Yes, these are changes I support and ones I think are good for the game on a whole.

And yet all of this does prompt a pretty salient question about World of Warcraft because even if these are intelligent choices, the weapon damage issue has existed for ages now. The time for fussing about with Hunter pets was also ages ago. It’s a big change to functionality being tossed into the mix more or less out of the blue with no other prompting, and that raises the question that’s been relevant ever since Cataclysm rolled around: Why is it that Blizzard can’t stop messing with everything?

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World of Warcraft previews its upcoming Legacy loot mechanics

For all the good that World of Warcraft‘s level scaling has brought to the game, it has made farming for old appearances slightly more difficult. Now that the game’s dungeons are all synced to drop personal loot, it can be hard to farm things that you can unlock but wouldn’t drop under the game’s personal loot restrictions. Good news, then; when Battle for Azeroth rolls around, a new style of loot will be put into place for legacy loot in content that you outlevel by a significant margin.

Any dungeons or raids that you enter while at least 10 levels above the “designed” levels will activate Legacy loot; every boss will drop as many items as possible, and all loot can be freely traded between party members when things drop. Loot is split between players, however, so if a boss drops four things for a two-person party, both players will get two items. It should make for an easier time getting cosmetics and farming for them, so that’ll be a welcome change – especially with a whole new expansion’s worth of stuff to farm for transmog purposes.

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See how World of Warcraft’s art has evolved with Battle for Azeroth’s critters

Ever since its launch back in 2004, World of Warcraft has never boasted the most cutting-edge graphics and polygon counts. This was intentional, of course, as to keep the MMO available to a large of a crowd as possible, and Blizzard compensated with a colorful and creative art style.

Yet the game hasn’t remained stuck in 2004. The art style and detail has improved over the years, and with the higher system requirements for the upcoming Battle for Azeroth expansion, World of Warcraft is taking the opportunity to upgrade some of its more lackluster models to a higher fidelity.

Nowhere is this as apparent as with the game’s critters and creatures. YouTuber Bellular put together a video showing the art evolution between old and new beasts, some of which are truly shocking in their difference. Check it out below!

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Global Chat: What is the population of Guild Wars 2?

Does it matter how many people are playing your MMO? For some, yes, it does. It’s at least of passing interest to others, especially if players are looking for a “healthy” title or want a large number with which to impress their friends and argue that this MMO is besting another.

So don’t be too surprised that there is an effort to figure out what Guild Wars 2’s (undisclosed) population is at the moment. In An Age challenges one community estimate of 3.3 million players by looking at the available evidence and financial reports.

“Here’s my gut check: Guild Wars 2 probably has about 1.5 million monthly ‘players’ and many times less people who actually log on when there isn’t a holiday event/Living Story taking place,” he argues. “Ultimately though, I think Guild Wars 2 is actually uniquely well-positioned to survive regardless of whether it consists of a million actives or three million tourists.”

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World of Warcraft is using new damage formulas in the Battle for Azeroth alpha

It’s going to be easy to ignore new formulas in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth for a little while. After all, you’re dealing with a big across-the-board numbers squish along with a new expansion, so you’ll probably be focusing more on your individual abilities feeling like they do the right amount of damage per hit. But there’s been what appears to be a pretty major under-the-hood change in the game’s damage calculation. Whereas previously abilities that didn’t use your weapon didn’t care about weapon damage, it appears that everything in Battle for Azeroth uses weapon damage as an important component of its overall damage.

How does this affect you? From a moment-to-moment standpoint, it might not, but it does important work in addressing the disparity between classes like Warriors and classes like Monks. Most Monk abilities were not weapon strikes, so weapon damage didn’t actually affect their overall damage heavily and more attack power was the only real factor; by contrast, most Warrior abilities scaled with weapon damage all along. Going forward, if both classes scale based on weapon damage, it means that they’ll both need to assign roughly the same amount of weight to getting better weapons. It’s not something you’d notice unless you paid a lot of attention to damage formulas and specific gear importance, but it’s still an interesting change.

Source: Wowhead

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World of Warcraft explains hunter pets in Battle for Azeroth while datamining unearths more secrets

We’re not going to blow anyone’s mind by stating that pets are pretty central to the experience of playing a Hunter in World of Warcraft. You can eschew one altogether as Marksmanship, but they’re still pretty darn important. The developers have put together a long post discussing the mechanical changes coming to hunter pets with the Battle for Azeroth expansion. No, you won’t be able to choose your pet’s specialization any longer, but that’s because all three specializations are now meant to simultaneously tank while solo and provide DPS through other means, while pet-specific abilities are becoming more varied and potent across the board.

But there’s plenty to discuss even outside of official announcements as datamining has uncovered what appears to be broadcast text for the siege of Lordaeron and the attack on Teldrassil (i.e., the events that kick off the expansion as a whole). There are also new bits of datamining suggesting that First Aid may be rolled into the Tailoring profession, as well as a new mount that strengthens the hints of a mag’har allied race for the Horde. All unannounced thus far, of course, but still exciting fuel for speculation.

Source: Official Site, Wowhead (1, 2, 3)

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 157: Lunar Valentines

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin overdose on candy hearts as they look at Valentine’s Day in MMOs — as well as the Lunar New Year. From expansion alpha testing to a new MMO launch to unifying a game globally, it’s a pretty upbeat and positive week of podcast chatter.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth jacks up its system requirements from Legion

The old joke that World of Warcraft can run on just about anything including your toaster is no longer true. Let’s just say that if your toaster is planning to install Battle for Azeroth later this year, it had best be one of those super-advanced internet toasters with wifi and bagel convection technology.

This is a long-winded way of saying that the system requirements for the upcoming expansion are a significant step up from Legion, so you might want to check your machine to make sure you’re good to run it when it arrives.

The biggest changes is the requirement of a 64-bit OS, 4GB minimum for RAM, 70GB of hard drive space, and a step or two up in graphics cards. Blizzard Watch makes the good suggestion of running Dxdiag on your system to make sure that you meet at least the minimum requirements for the future.

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World of Warcraft starts Battle for Azeroth alpha testing

Blizzard is getting prepared.

Blizzard Watch reported that the studio has started World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth alpha testing this week. The test is smaller in scope, both in population (friends, family, media, and content creators) and in content scope.

Right now, the studio is focusing the alpha test on the zones of Drustvar (Alliance) and Nazmir (Horde), and the dungeons of Atal’Dazar and Freehold. Even if you’re not a part of this test, you can still check it out, as Blizzard has no NDA on the alpha and in fact encouraged testers to share their adventures with the community.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 156: Downfalls and uprisings

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin mull over the fate of MOBAs, investigate Alganon’s nebulous state, talk about why subscribing to an alpha test might not be the smartest thing in the world, and more!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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World of Warcraft adjusts classes and offers advice on unlocking Allied Races

So, do you have your allied races for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth unlocked yet? Possibly not. Heck, you might be wondering how you’re even supposed to do that, since as prestige races they’ve got some requirements loaded on the front end. Thankfully, the developers have assembled a guide showing off what you’ll need to do in order to build reputation and get the achievements. It’s going to take some play time and some effort, but thankfully you’ve got the time before the expansion actually launches.

Meanwhile, the promise that no king rules forever has come true with the latest wave of class adjustments, toning down Affliction Warlock damage and healing. Fire Mages and Beast Mastery Hunters, meanwhile, have gotten all of their damage tuned up, so those specs can get on with the business of eyeing the throne of the DPS charts. Or… considering it, depending on the next expansion.

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Leaderboard: Did you preorder WoW’s Battle for Azeroth expansion?

Last week was a flurry of excitement over World of Warcraft’s Battle for Azeroth’s preorders – and the news that the game will probably launch that expansion in September. In fact, so many people were lining up to buy it (and get immediate access to perks) that many players, including some of our writers, were put into multi-hour wait queues.

Were you among them? Are you sold on the expansion’s features? Did you preorder WoW’s Battle for Azeroth expansion? To the polls!

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World of Warcraft hasn’t told us how it’s going to handle Battle for Azeroth retail CE upgrades

This past week has been a flurry of activity among World of Warcraft fans as they raced to pre-order the Battle for Azeroth expansion and unlock all of those new allied races. But one pressing question has been left dangling by Blizzard in this whole pre-order frenzy: How will the studio handle any player who wants to upgrade a digital pre-order to a physical collector’s edition?

So far, Blizzard isn’t saying other than that information on this will come out. You know. Eventually. This has worried some players who are getting flashbacks to the mess that was Legion’s pre-order. Back then, there were some who had to buy the pre-order for the bonuses, then make a separate purchase for the physical CE, and then petition Blizzard for a refund. Blizzard wouldn’t grant straight-up refunds but instead allowed these players to gift their second copy to a friend.

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