BASHIOK CLARIFIES PET BATTLE XP HOTFIX

Overnight, Blizzard rolled out a hotfix on all servers nerfing the obscenely high XP people were gaining from winning pet battles. You can no longer level characters to 89 in a matter of hours by hanging around capital cities battling level 1 pets.
Bashiok explains how and why they implemented the nerf.
Bashiok
We’re in the process of updating the hotfixes blog with the recent changes to Pet Battle XP, but wanted to provide a bit more insight into why the changes were made and how XP is calculated.
All buffs to player XP (heirlooms, enlightenment, guild bonus etc.) were bugged, these where hotfixed to work as expected.
General player XP from pet battles was tuned too high, these numbers have been balanced accordingly.
Player experience is granted based on a number of factors. These are player level, number of pet opponents, maximum pet opponent level and the level disparity between opponents pets and your pets.
Our philosophy is that player XP from pet battles should be, in general, somewhat slower than normal questing.

source
While almost everyone agrees that it was not in the game’s best interest to allow the ridiculously speedy leveling players were taking advantage of, the nerf at first seemed excessive. Whereas one could get 28K for winning a level 1 pet battle at level 60, this morning the same character got 900 to 2000. But as Bashiok describes above, the XP now scales appropriately according to level of the player and the pets in the battles.

I’ve been experimenting and I agree that they have succeeded in making pet battles slower than questing, but not a complete waste of time. If you are questing in a level appropriate area, taking time out to battle the wild pets in the same zone is definitely worth doing to add variety and experience to your endeavors.

Also, heirlooms, XP buffs, guild bonuses all still affect pet battle player XP, so do go take a ride on the Darkmoon Faire Carousel before you test the hotfix for yourself.

Did you take advantage of the insane leveling XP? I did only for a few levels. A grind’s a grind, after all, and there are new islands to explore. 

THE HISTORY AND ORIGINS OF THE MOGU, KNOW YOUR LORE

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You’re playing the game, you’re fighting the bosses, you know the how — but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.
Of all the creatures in Pandaria, none have been quite so mysterious as the mogu. From day one they were presented as one of the villains in the saga of Pandarian history — and although the days of the mogu empires were long over, their legacy lived on. Mogu architecture, mogu statues, mogu ruins, they all littered the landscapes of where we leveled. To the pandaren, the mogu were a threat, but one that had long since died out, leaving the race as little more than scary tales to tell the children at night.
Until Mists of Pandaria, and the arrival of the Alliance and Horde. With the sudden uprising of the mantid, the release of the sha, and the frightened movement of the yaungol, the pandaren had more than enough to contend with. The sudden explosion of mogu activity was just another addition to the pile — and the appearance of the Zandalari as allies made the reappearance of this ancient threat even more dire.
But who are the mogu? Until patch 5.2, that mystery hadn’t been fully defined. And it still may not be fully defined, but at least we have a slightly clearer picture.
Please note that today’s Know Your Lore contains some spoilers for patch 5.2 Lorewalkers content.

The origin of the mogu
The origin of the mogu is cleared up on the Isle of Thunder, where several Lorewalkers’ scrolls can be found that fill in some details of the mogu’s vague history. While we’d been originally told that the mogu just happened to learn how to harness the powers of Titan artifacts and technology, this isn’t really the case at all. The mogu were, originally, Titan constructs — similar to those found in the Storm Peaks or Uldum. They were created to protect the land, and at some point, affected by the Curse of Flesh.
One Lorewalker scroll points at mogu legends of an age of golden light, when order was brought to a world of chaos. Supposedly, the mogu walked among the Titans, creatures of stone, and shaped the mountains and valleys of Pandaria. This puts them in the same rank as the Earthen, the Titan creations that eventually evolved into the dwarves and troggs we know today. According to this scroll, the mogu called their titan master “The Storm.” He was their keeper — which sound suspiciously like Ra-den, the final boss in the Throne of Thunder.
But there’s contradictory evidence for this. Another Lorewalkers scroll is a poem, a legend that stems from the earliest known days of history. It’s been passed down again and again throughout mogu culture, and if read correctly, it explains a lot regarding the mogu, their origins, and their original purpose. The tale is called Shadow, Storm, and Stone. Rather than present it in one front, let’s look at each section of this tale and try to figure out what it all means.

The beast of seven heads
Fumed seven breaths.
The land wept shadow
And the swarm blackened the sky.
Supreme was the ancient one;
None dared waken its wrath.
This section of the legend is obviously speaking of Y’shaarj, the old god whose death brought about the Sha that haunt Pandaria to this day. This legend may very well be the only piece of recorded history Azeroth has about the time before the Titan’s arrival, the time when the Old Gods ruled the world with chaos and destruction. Also mentioned are the mantid — the swarm — who were revealed as ancient followers of the Old God to anyone who gained exalted reputation with the Klaxxi.
Until the coming of the Storm.
First came thunder, then came Stone.
The thunder Storm’s voice,
The Stone his weapon.
This is where we get into a little speculation. There is no doubt in my mind that the Stone referred to here are the mogu — they were the stone constructs of the Titans. But we have two other distinct entities referred to here: the Storm, and the thunder. While some may assume that Ra-den, the mysterious boss at the end of the Throne of Thunder is the Storm mentioned here, I don’t think that’s the case. It doesn’t fit with the hierarchy, the order that the Titans follow. 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF HEARTHSTONE, HEROES OF WARCRAFT

Yesterday at PAX East 2013, Blizzard unveiled their first free-to-play game, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. The upcoming title is a digital, collectible card game akin to Magic: The Gathering Online, but designed to be easy to learn and accessible to a larger audience. The game is currently being demonstrated on the showroom floor at PAX, and I was able to play it a couple of times yesterday afternoon.
When starting up my first game, I expected to find Hearthstone confusing because I’ve never played Magic: The Gathering or any other strategy card game (e.g. Pokémon TCG, Yu-Gi-Oh!) before. I am vaguely familiar with some of the terminology of MTG, having spent most of my life around hardcore players, but I don’t really know the rules or how the game is played. That unfamiliarity didn’t seem to get in the way of Hearthstone, though. Within two turns I understood my resource system, and also how to play and use cards. By the fifth turn I felt like I understood all the basic mechanics of combat. Then, by the time my seventh turn came around, I was cursing paladins for being overpowered and itching to play another game.
I credit my ability to quickly grasp the mechanics of Hearthstone to the game’s animations. The animations do so much more than making the game visually interesting, they make it easy to understand. For example, cards that are exhausted for the turn display “zzz…” as a sign they are resting. Also, when a paladin plays his Divine Shield card, an actual golden bubble appears around the protected card and stays there until it’s destroyed. Everything in Hearthstone is really obvious, and that’s great because it allowed me to focus on my strategy from the very first game I played. It’s not like StarCraft 2, where I spent months just trying to understand and control the game; with StarCraft 2, I’d been playing nearly six months before I was able to apply any strategy beyond “build stuff.”
After losing my second game (though not as badly as the first) I started to realize that I really wanted to build my own deck. I kept seeing my opponent play cards that I wanted to use, while my own deck seemed to be filled with junk that only staved off my inevitable demise. A lot of that was probably bad luck, but given the opportunity to build my own deck I’d definitely take a different approach to whatever stupid Anduin was doing. (Did I mention I irrationally hate Anduin?) 

WORLD OF WARCRAFT PATCH 5.3 PTR PATCH NOTES

Hot off the presses tonight is the patch 5.3 PTR Patch Notes. Right off the bat to quell any rumors — there is no indication of when the PTR will be active (other than soon), or when this patch is going to drop.
Some of the highlights of this patch thus far include:
Gold Rush, a new battleground.
Shado-Pan, a new arena.
Major PvP changes. Largest in quite a while.
Battle of the High Seas, Blood in the Snow, Dark Heart of Pandaria, The Secrets of Emberdeep — four, yes not one, not two, not three, but four new scenarios.
Heroic difficulty for scenarios added, awards valor and a chance at Raid Finder quality items.
You can now duel with your pets in dungeons and raids.
Bonus rolls have a progressively better chance at awarding loot if you’ve used them and they turn up nothing.
We can now pick a loot specalization that’s different than our current spec for LFR, Bonus Rolls, and Pandarian quests.
The full patch notes after the break.
Blizzard EntertainmentWorld of Warcraft PTR Patch 5.3
General
Please note: During the 5.3 PTR, not all the content listed may not be available for testing or may only be available during a limited testing window. Keep an eye on our PTR Discussion forum for details.
New Battleground: Gold Rush
In the new Battleground situated in the Valley of the Four Winds, the Alliance and Horde continue their war for Pandaria’s precious resources. While the two factions battle for control over mines, they must also protect their own resources from being stolen and turned against them!
New Arena: Shado-Pan
Gladiator hopefuls have a new location to test their mettle amidst the Kun-Lai mountain tops, in the training grounds of the powerful Shado-Pan. Players must make use of the looming tiger statues and fenced platforms to gain an advantage that will bring victory and glory!
New Scenario: Battle on the High Seas
Help your faction fend off enemy forces in the midst of a battle for naval supremacy on the High Seas.
New Scenario: Blood in the Snow
An agent of Zandalar has infiltrated Dun Morogh and rallied the Frostmane trolls. At Varian’s request, Moira will lead her personal guard against them once the king’s champions have stopped the magical storm protecting Shimmer Ridge.
New Scenario: Dark Heart of Pandaria
Goblin engineers have been excavating in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms to find a mysterious artifact, but all they’ve found is trouble; you have been personally called upon by the Warchief to aid them in their hour of need.
New Scenario: The Secrets of Emberdeep
Infiltrate the Emberdeep Caverns and assist the Gob Squad in investigating a recent disappearance in Durotar.
Heroic Scenarios
A heroic difficulty for Scenarios have been added and are designed to provide challenging content for small groups of well-seasoned adventurers. Completing a Heroic Scenario awards Valor points, and a chance to obtain Raid Finder quality items.
Classes
Death Knight
More information coming soon.
Druid
General
Mark of the Wild had its mana cost reduced to 5%, down from 10%.
Symbiosis: Intimidating Roar had its cooldown increased to 90 seconds, up from 60 seconds.
Hunter
More information coming soon.
Mage
General
Arcane Brilliance had its mana cost reduced to 1%, down from 4%.
Dalaran Brilliance had its mana cost reduced to 1%, down from 4%.
Monk
General
Spear Hand Strike now locks a spell school out for 4 seconds, down from 5 seconds.
Windwalker
Legacy of the Emperor had its mana cost reduced to 1%, down from 6%.
Legacy of the White Tiger had its mana cost reduced to 1%, down from 6%.
Paladin
General
Blessing of Kings had its mana cost reduced to 5%, down from 22.3%.
Blessing of Might had its mana cost reduced to 5%, down from 22.3%.
Priest
General
Power Word: Fortitude had its mana cost reduced to 1%, down from 4.4%.
Rogue
More information coming soon.
Shaman
More information coming soon.
Warlock
General
Dark Intent had its mana cost reduced to 1%, down from 4%.
Warrior
Talents
Vigilance now resets the cooldown on Taunt in addition to its current effects.
Quests
More information coming soon.
Creatures
Oondasta
Shiny Pile of Refuse now has a chance to contain a Primal Egg, and a number of Dinosaur Bones.
Spitfire Beam no longer increases in damage with each jump, deals a flat 200,000 damage(up from 150,000 damage), and jumps to 99 targets (up from 20 targets).
Pet Battles
Dueling for Pet Battles are now available in all dungeons and raids. Enjoy!
Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
Loot Specialization
Players can now choose to receive loot for a specialization that’s different from their current class role. This feature could be accessed by right-clicking on the character portrait and selecting the option from the drop-down list. Loot specialization is available for bonus rolls, Raid Finder, and Pandarian quest rewards.
Raids
Bonus Roll
Protection for bad luck streaks have been added to bonus rolls. Each bonus roll that does not provide loot has a progressively better chance to award loot to the player.
Serpentshrine Cavern
For the Fathom-Lord Karathress encounter, Cataclysmic Bolt now deals 10% of the target’s maximum health plus 500 damage, down from 50% of target’s maximum health, the stun effect is now a Stun mechanic, and can target any player instead of only characters with mana.
Lady Vashj
Coilfang Strider’s Panic ability now activates every 4 seconds, up from every 2 seconds.
Shock Blast’s stun effect is now a Stun mechanic.
Tainted Elementals now despawn after 20 seconds, up from 15 seconds.
Tempest Keep
For the High Astromancer Solarian encounter, Nether Scryer’s Domination spell now has a 2 second cast time, up from instant cast, and can be silenced.
For the Void Reaver encounter, the radius for Arcane Orb has been reduced to 15 yards, down from 20 yards.
Throne of Thunder
Amani’shi Beast Shaman no longer casts Chain Lightning while mounted on Amani Warbears.
PvP
Additional information and explanation for the reasoning behind PvP changes will be available very soon.
All characters now have a base Resilience of 65%.
Resilience has been removed from most PvP gear.
Season 13 Tyrannical gear had their item levels increased to ilevel 496, up from ilevel 493.
Season 13 Tyrannical Elite gear had their item levels decreased to ilevel 496, down from ilevel 512.
Battlegrounds, Rated Battlegrounds, and Arenas now have an ilevel cap. All gear will be scaled down to ilevel 496.
Battlegrounds
More information coming soon.
Professions
Herbalists of low skill can now pick herbs in Pandaria for a small amount of usable material. The yield an herbalist will be able to harvest from each node is determined by skill level.
Miners of low skill can now mine mineral deposits in Pandaria for a small amount of usable material. The yield a miner will be able to harvest from each node is determined by skill level.
Items
The Voidbinders are back in capital cities and shrines.
PvE Item Upgrades
Items upgradable by Valor now require 250 Valor to upgrade per 4 item levels, for a total of 500 Valor for 8 item levels per item. This is retroactive to all items that use Valor.
Items upgradable by Justice now require 750 Justice to upgrade per 8 item levels, for a total of 750 Justice for 8 item levels per item. This is retroactive to all items that use Justice.
PvP Item Upgrades
Malevolent Gladiator’s Conquest (Season 12) items that have upgrades available are still upgradable at their original costs.
Dreadful Gladiator’s Honor (Season 12) items that have upgrades available are still upgradable at their original costs.
No other PvP items are upgradable.
Unclaimed Black Market Containers are now available on the Black Market Auction House. What’s inside? It’s a mystery! When opened, the container has a chance to contain any item that can be available on the BMAH.
Courageous Primal Diamond had its clearcasting effect renamed to “Lucidity” to differentiate it from other spells with that name.