Daily Archives: May 13, 2021

WoW Classic Character Clone Unlocks will now be $15

I guess people were furious or rioting or something, because it isn’t often that you get to see Blizzard change course in front of a live studio audience.  They aren’t SOE/Daybreak after all. (Though there is the Holly Longdale connection, so maybe a link?  The Norrath team was prone to making changes based on community feedback.)

Through the Dark Portal

Earlier this week I was on about how the price of a character clone unlock as part of the WoW Classic / Burning Crusade Classic seemed kind of pricey at $35.  It felt, to me at least, like an item that would have price elasticity, meaning a lower price might actually sell enough more that it would end up in greater profit overall for Blizz.

Blizzard seems to have taken to that idea, or responded to customer complaints, or something, because earlier today they announced a reduction in the price in the forums:

Salutations, WoW Classic players! We’d like to inform you about a course correction we’re making.

When you log in to WoW Classic after the patch next week, each of your Classic characters will choose between staying in Classic Era (version 1.13) and progressing to Burning Crusade Classic (version 2.5). For those who want to play a character in both versions, we’re offering a service to purchase a character clone in the other version of the game.

This service – providing a player with a second copy of a character in a different game – is new for us. Our original concept of the value of this service was largely based on how we price other optional items and services. We want players who choose Classic Era realms to feel as though their choice comes with the possibility that they’ll be able to build relationships and guilds with other players they can count on.

However, over the last week or so, we’ve gotten a very large amount of feedback from the community, and we’ve decided to lower the price. A lower price will likely still accomplish our goals with the new service, while allowing many more players to explore the option of playing characters on both Classic Era and Burning Crusade Classic realms.

After careful consideration, we’ve decided to lower the price of a cloned character in WoW Classic to $15.00 USD ($20.00 CAD, $20.00 AUD, $24.00 NZD). You’ll see the lower price in-game when the service becomes available next week.

As always, we deeply appreciate the passion and thoughtfulness of the WoW community. We play WoW alongside you, and we can’t wait to join you next week on Classic Era realms, in the Burning Crusade Classic pre-patch, and as we step through the Dark Portal with you in June.

Thank you very much,

– The World of Warcraft Development Team

A course correction indeed!

That still doesn’t mean I will use the service.  I plan to move forward into The Burning Crusade and there are only so many hours in the day.  But it is now far much more likely that I could, as the price isn’t quite the barrier it once was.  I thought the $10-20 range was a better plan, and they landed right in the middle of that range.

CCP Changes to Nullification and Warp Core Stabilizers hit the Test Server

CCP has finally announced their plans for interdiction nullification and warp core stabilizers.  Long under discussion, the proposed changes, slated to be launched with the Great Escape update, are now available on Singularity, the EVE Online test server.

In Testing

PvP focused players have long complained about missing kills due to various defensive mechanics.  Previously CCP nerfed ECM into uselessness for individual pilots.  Now the nerfbat is being brought to interdiction and warp core stabilizers.

With the upcoming change, interdiction nullification, which gives certain hulls immunity from warp disruption bubbles, will be removed as a default attribute from fleet interceptors, luxury yachts, and strategic cruiser propulsion subsystems.  Instead, nullification will be available via a new low high slot module. [Changed to high slot with May 17 update.]  On the upside, the new module will be available for more hulls, with the list currently being:

  • Interceptors
  • Blockade Runners
  • Covert Ops
  • Deep Space Transports
  • Luxury Yachts
  • Strategic Cruisers
  • Tech I and Faction Frigates
  • Stealth Bombers
  • T1 Industrials [added 5/14]

Stealth bombers (which were added to the list after it was posted initially) strike me as a ship class not really needing another buff, especially when the primary defense against them is dictor bubbles, but I suspect that this is the “more ships dying is better” thread that tends to influence CCP.  We’ll see if they make it to the final patch. [Edit: Stealth bombers removed with May 14 update linked at the bottom of the post.]

Meanwhile, frigates in general (also added later) are really opening up a door.  I can imagine anybody flying a battleship with implants will now have a getaway frigate in their escape bay.  But with bombers nullfied and hull prices now sky high, it is possible nobody will be flying battleships anyway. [T1 frigates removed with the May 17 update, linked in the addendum at the bottom of the post.]

On the downside, the new module is active and has a short cycle, staying active for 10 to 15 seconds depending which version you choose (Tech I, compact, restrained, or Tech II) with a 150 second reactivation timer.  In addition, the new modules will come with 50% targeting range and scan resolution penalties when fitted.

Hulls that previously had nullification by default will receive a role bonus that reduces the targeting range penalty by 50% 80% and boosts the activation cycle by 100% 80%.

Finally, shuttles will get nullification interdiction, something that has long been asked for.  If they could also get an align time under two seconds they might even get used.  The current 2.2 second align makes them quite catchable.

Then there are war core stabilizers which, like the new interdiction nullification modules, will need to be activated to provide their bonus, running with a 20 second activation cycle and a 150 second cool down.  As with the other modules the penalties, 50% reduction to targeting range, scan resolution, and drone bandwidth, will be in effect when the Tech I module is fitted, with reductions in those penalties with higher meta modules.

Both of the module sets will also be limited to one per ship, so you won’t be able to pile on multiples for extended effects.  But the warp core stabilizers, at least on the test server, all have a strength of 3 when activated, which is enough to get you away from any solo frigate tackler most days. [Changed to 2 with May 14 update.]

Warp core stabs go to 3 now

CCP has added that they are looking to add the ability to activate these modules when a ship is still under its “gate cloak” so that there isn’t the awkward time delay that could get you caught simply because the attacker lives in London and you live further afield, proximity to the game’s data center being a long proven game advantage.

As I complained a couple years back, the discussion about these mechanics still come with the assumption that warp distruptors, war scramblers, and warp interdiction bubbles are fine as absolute mechanics, it is only when defenses become absolute… or in the case of ECM, simply too effective…  that people complain.  That continues.

Anyway, I suspect these changes will go through as announced with only minor tweaks.  The warp core stabilizer change likely won’t have an impact on me personally, as I cannot remember the last time I fit one on anything besides an industrial.  Having nullification interdiction on a blockade runner could be handy however, though I have gotten by with the MWD cloaking trick for ages now.  Scouting and moving without nullification though… or with a long wait on an activation timer when you have to move through bubbles on both sides of every gate… is going to become tiresome quickly.  But the game changes and we either adapt or move on.

Addendum May 14:  Changes have already been made based on feedback and testing.

  • Entering warp no longer deactivates the Interdiction Nullifier modules
  • Removed Stealth Bomber group from being able to fit the new Interdiction Nullifier modules.
  • Added Tech I Industrial groups to be able to fit the new Interdiction Nullifier modules.
  • Adjusted the bonus on Interceptors, Yachts, and T3 Cruisers to 80% penalty for reduced target range and reactivation delay.
  • Added the new attribute for allowing WCS and Nullifier modules to be activated while under the effect of a stargate cloak.
  • Updated the bonus texts for the Victorieux Luxury Yacht, Malediction, Imp, Whiptail, and T3 subsystems.
  • Fixed an error with a ghost attribute on the Restrained Interdiction Nullifier.
  • Updated the attribute text for the Drone Bandwidth penalty to show the percent reduction.
  • Correct the expected reprocessing materials from Interdiction Nullifier modules

In addition, unmentioned in the thread (that I saw), the warp core strength for the warp core stabilizers was changed from 3 to 2, so now a frigate with a point and a scram can still tackle you.  So that screen shot above is already out of date, though that is to be expected.

Addendum May 17:  Some more changes have come in.

  • Interdiction Nullifier modules are now a High-Slot module.
  • Tech I Frigates have been removed from the list of ships that can fit nullifiers.
  • Fixed an issue with ECM burst jams not correctly disabling nullification when using the modules.

Burning Crusade Launch Load Test Round One

As I mentioned in the previous post, Blizzard was planning a server launch load test for Burning Crusade Classic to go along with the flood of beta invites they sent out.  The idea was to roll up a fresh server and get everybody to log in and try to get through the dark portal.

When the hour hit, 11:00 Pacific / 14:00 Eastern / 19:00 UTC, I logged in and picked the new server, it being the only one available, copied over my level 60 hunter again, and logged in.  I was back in Ironforge, where he sits in live WoW Classic, so had to fly on down to the Blasted Lands and the Dark Portal.

Landing there, I rode with a pack of others towards the portal.  The server was setup as a PvP server, so I was determined to ride on through the inevitable crowd at the portal looking to gank.  But when I hit the portal it was apparently out of order, so I ended up in the scrum forming around it.

Traffic control at the gate

Everything was very laggy at that point too.  It was a good ten count to get anything to respond.  And it was only when I was in the thick of that when I realized I had not set my spec, so I opened that up to try and pick… but like everything else, it was 20 clicks behind on anything you wanted to do.  Even dying was slow.  I saw I had zero health for about a minute before I actually got the notification asking if I wanted to release… and it took even longer for me to actually fall over and the screen to go to the dead gray.

Eventually I was back at the graveyard and running to the portal again with the other victims of the fight.

Corpse run time

I got back into my body and tried to rush the portal, but it wasn’t letting anybody pass, so it was just that run through to hit the wall routine.  Comedy gold, except for the fact that I died again.

Corpse pile at the portal

Then, as I was running back they put out a server message saying they were going to disconnect everybody so we could load up the system with a mass login hit.

The dread mass-loing

So offline things went.  I logged back in, got in a short queue… maybe 85 deep when I landed, which amounted to less than a minute of waiting, which made it the most responsive aspect of the test… and then was foundering about trying to get back to my corpse and healed up.  I spotted a bunch of alliance players trying to gather around the edge of the portal, out of line of sight and joined them.

Another line? This reminds me of the WoW Classic launch

However the Horde was wise to this and there were a few players off to the side of the portal on the hill picking people off, myself included.  Again, it was a long wait to die, fall over, and actually be dead.

Then we got another message indicating that the test was over.

All done here

Further announcements went up about the beta servers being up again and the test was pretty much over.  The whole thing ran about 30 minutes.

I must admit that I didn’t go through the dark portal on the day it went live back in 2007.  The instance group, which only kicked off in September of 2006, was around level 40 and still doing Razorfen Downs.  So while I was able to log into WoW on launch day with only a modest queue, I have no feel for how things at the portal were.  Certainly being on a PvP server made the test more chaotic, but the whole thing made me wonder if Blizz is up to a launch like this again.

The battle of the portal

I’ll give tomorrow’s test another try to see how they’re doing, but the laggy behavior in the regular beta and the way things played out at the portal is not inspiring me with a lot of day one confidence.  But at least I will be on a PvE-RP server.  We’ll probably all queue up for the portal for real when the time comes, just like we did before.