Archive | March 2013

Diablo 3 Director Regrets Building an In-Game Market

I don’t play many video games.  But I do play Diablo, ever since those far away days around 1997 when a few coworkers and I used to play at night, using the office LAN.  With Diablo III, my professional and recreational interests collided once again, because Diablo III included an auction house where players could trade items for either cash or game gold

For those of you who do not choose to spend weekend hours clicking madly on demons so that you can collect an ever-expanding variety of virtual magic hats, let me explain that this is a big departure.  In previous versions of the game, you could sell your stuff to in-game merchants (who would often turn around and sell you more magic hats).  To sell items to another player, however, you had to go to eBay or another marketplace, and auction it off.  Then once you’d paid up, the two of you would meet up in multiplayer mode, and you’d drop your magic hat so that they could pick it up.

Diablo III changed this.  It created an auction house that was integrated with the game client, so that you could go sell your own magic items to other players.  Transactions could happen in either cash or game gold.  And Blizzard takes a 15% cut of the real-money transactions; the commissions that used to flow to eBay now accrue to them.  Meanwhile, the merchants in Diablo III seem to have been designed to steer you to the auction house.  It used to be that they’d pay, say, 50 gold for a regular warhammer, and sell the thing for 200.  Now they’ll pay 12 and sell it for 312.  The markup is so absurd that it’s barely worth borrowing picking up anything except special magical items.  As with previous games that have experimented with trading systems, I expected this to offer a wealth of interesting new economic tidbits.

Well, here’s the first:  Jay Wilson, the director of Diablo III, regrets including the auction house feature.  Somewhat to my surprise, he says the problem is not with the real-money auctions, but with the ones that trade for game gold.  ormer Diablo 3 Game Director Jay Wilson admitted during a talk at GDC 2013 in San Francisco that both of Diablo 3’s Auction Houses “really hurt the game.” Wilson said that before Blizzard launched the game, the company had a few assumptions about how the Auction Houses would work: He thought they would help reduce fraud, that they’d provide a wanted service to players, that only a small percentage of players would use it and that the price of items would limit how many were listed and sold.

But he said that once the game went live, Blizzard realized it was completely wrong about those last two points. It turns out that nearly every one of the game’s players (of which there are still about 1 million per day, and about 3 million per month, according to Wilson) made use of either house, and that over 50 percent of players used it regularly. That, said Wilson, made money a much higher motivator than the game’s original motivation to simply kill Diablo, and “damaged item rewards” in the game. While a lot of the buzz around the game attacked the real money Auction House, “gold does much more damage than the other one does,” according to Wilson, because more players use it and prices fluctuate much more.

It sounds like Diablo III is having a problem with its money supply.  Again, to rehearse for those who are not Magic Hat Warriors, you get gold by finding it in chests or other hidey-holes, or by killing demons.  The higher the difficulty you play on, the more gold you get.  But the game’s gold drops are not calibrated for a stable price level and reasonable pace of economic growth; they’re set to help you survive, by enabling you to repair your armor and buy health potions or better weapons.  And what do you get when monetary growth is not calibrated to underlying growth in the real economy?  Wild fluctuations in the price level.

Diablo III wouldn’t be the first to have these sorts of problems.  In 2002, Everquest players found a way to almost literally mint money, and the resulting inflation nearly brought the virtual economy to Buy Diablo 3 Gold.  The best solution that massively multi-player online role playing games have found is to create “money sinks”: very expensive items that you can only buy from the game itself, not other players.

And what did I see when I logged in to check on some prices for this blog post?  New “plans” for special items that I can have the blacksmith make.  Those plans cost $1.5 million in game gold.  For reference, I, now playing through the third act of the hardest difficulty level, have about 10,000 in game gold right now.  That’s on the low side, of course.  But 1.5 million is very, very high.

So Diablo III may have found a way to control the price swings.  At least, until people start using their expensive new plans to mint even more pricey armor for the auction house.

Zumba teacher could get jail in prostitution case

Alexis Wright appears with her attorney, Sarah Churchill, Friday, March 29, 2013 in Cumberland County Court, in Portland, Maine. Wright, a dance instructor accused of using her Zumba fitness studio as a front for prostitution pleaded guilty Friday to 20 counts in a scandal that captivated a quiet seaside town. (AP Photo/Portland Press Herald, John Ewing, Pool)

The dance instructor who used herZumba fitness studio as a front for prostitution faces jail time after pleading guilty in a case that captivated a quiet seaside town known for its beaches and picturesque homes.

The plea agreement, which calls for a 10-month sentence, sparesAlexis Wright from the prospect of a high-profile trial featuring sex videos, exhibitionism and pornography. She’s scheduled to be sentenced on May 31.

Wright quietly answered “guilty” 20 times on Friday when the judge read the counts, which include engaging in prostitution, promotion of prostitution, conspiracy, tax evasion and theft by deception.

“We’re very satisfied with it. It’s an appropriate outcome, given the gravity of her actions,” Assistant Attorney General Darcy Mitchell said after the brief court hearing.

The 30-year-old Wright was accused of conspiring with insurance agent Mark Strong Sr. to run a prostitution business in which she kept detailed records indicating she made $150,000 over an 18-month period. She was also accused of using a hidden camera to record sex acts without her clients’ knowledge.

She was originally charged with 106 counts. All the counts in the agreement were misdemeanors, including three counts relating to welfare and tax fraud that were reduced from felonies.

Strong, 57, of Thomaston, was convicted this month of 13 counts related to promotion of prostitution and was sentenced to 20 days in jail. He was originally charged with 59 counts.

The scandal became a sensation following reports that Wright had at least 150 clients, leading to a guessing game of who might be named publicly in the coastal town of Kennebunk. Attorneys who have seen the client list say it included some prominent names. Those who have been charged so far include a former mayor, a high school hockey coach, a minister, a lawyer and a firefighter.

Working together, Strong and Wright represented an unusual pairing.

Wright had attended college classes and ran dance classes for the local parks and recreation program before opening her studio in Kennebunk. But she was also engaging in paid-sex acts in the studio, in her apartment and in her office, law enforcement officials said.

Overseeing the operation and watching the sex acts live on his office computer 100 miles up the coast was Strong, a married father of two who ran a successful insurance agency in Thomaston.

It came as no surprise that Wright would seek a plea agreement because evidence presented in Strong’s trial was so overwhelming. A video played for jurors showed Wright engaging in sex acts with a man who then inquired about her rate before leaving $250 cash on her massage table.

After the man left, the video showed Wright pocketing the money.

There was plenty of electronic evidence because the two kept in touch via text and email and because Wright videotaped the clients and Strong watched live via Skype. Videos showed them speaking openly of ledgers, payments and scheduling.

Under the plea agreement, prosecutors will seek restitution of $57,250 from Wright after she’s released from jail.

Defense lawyer Sarah Churchill said Wright is married and employable, and she expects Wright will be able to enter into a payment plan. Churchill left the courtroom without talking to reporters.

Residents of Kennebunk were frustrated by the media coverage of the scandal.

Names of purported clients trickled out as they were charged, leading to speculation about who else might be on the list. But residents soon grew weary of the media’s attention, especially after it became clear that only a few of clients were locals.

So far, 66 people have been charged as clients, York County Deputy District Attorney Justina McGettigan said. The state will continue to pursue charges against additional people identified on Wright’s ledger if the evidence is strong enough to prove the charges beyond reasonable doubt, she said.

Things have largely returned to normal in Kennebunk. On Friday night, a free dance was being held at Wright’s old Pura Vida Studio, where Zumba continues under new management and a new name, Danceworks.

Jeremiah Ouellette, manager of New Morning Natural Foods Market, across the street from the fitness studio, said residents have put the prostitution episode behind them.

“I think people have really lost interest,” Ouellette said Friday evening. “People really don’t care anymore.”

Boys’ basketball: Alex Copeland is ready for travel ball season

The spring and summer travel ball season is about to begin in high school basketball, and one young player to watch is junior to be Alex Copeland of Studio City Harvard-Westlake.

He was a second-team all-Mission League selection. He averaged 8.4 points and had high games of 23 points against Alemany and 19 against Loyola. He’s also very quick, which he  GW2 Gold  needs to be just to keep pace in his family, because his twin sister, Shea, is a track star at Harvard-Westlake.

Is It Legal To Sell Your Old MP3s

Say you buy a textbook in another country, where textbooks are cheap. Then you bring the book back to the U.S. and sell it at a profit. Did you break the law?

No, you didn’t. In a ruling that came down yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a student who had his friends and relatives buy textbooks in Thailand which he later re-sold in the U.S. on eBay.

The ruling was a key moment in something called the “first sale” doctrine, which says that, if you buy something that’s copyrighted, you’re allowed to “sell or otherwise dispose” of it without the permission of the copyright owner.

The publishing industry was, not surprisingly, unhappy with the decision. The Association of American Publishers put out a statement that said:

The Court’s interpretation of the ‘first sale’ provision of US copyright law will discourage the active export of US copyrighted works. It will also reduce the ability of educators and students in foreign countries to have access to US-produced educational materials, widely considered the world’s gold standard.

The ruling means “you can’t have the ghost of copyright following the object around and policing it, ” said Jason Schultz, a law professor at UC Berkeley who filed an amicus brief on behalf of the student. When I talked to him yesterday, he told me the case has important implications for interpreting “first sale” doctrine in the digital world.

A literal case in point: If you buy a song off of iTunes, can you turn around and sell it to someone else?

There’s a company called ReDigi that’s basically a digital version of a used record store. You can sell them your old mp3s, and you can buy “used” mp3s that other people have sold.

Capitol Records is suing ReDigi for copyright infringement. The complaint alleges that “ReDigi makes and assists its users in making systematic, repeated and unauthorized reproductions and distributions of Plaintiffs copyrighted sound recordings.”

ReDigi says what it’s doing is perfectly legal under the “first sale” doctrine.

The company argues that you own the songs, and you should be able to resell them just like you can a physical CD. It says its technology can ensure compliance with copyright law, first by verifying that you legally own a song, and then by removing all traces of the song from your computer and synced devices once you decide to sell it.

Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling only covers physical copies of copyrighted works, and its implications for digital resale are unclear. But Schultz says the ruling could sway the judge in the ReDigi case.

“The decision says first sale is really important and has always been part of law. I think it will push him to find a way for ReDigi to work, to find a way forward for them that copyright allows,” Schultz said.

Of course, Redigi isn’t the only company planning for the new digital resale future. Both Apple and Amazon recently applied for patents which would allow users to resell digital content like e-books, music and movies to other users. According to the NY Times, both patents call for the seller to lose access to the file after the transfer has occurred.

Patch 5.2 Hotfixes: March 29

Patch 5.2 Hotfixes: March 29

Runescape gold

Here you’ll find a list of hotfixes that address various issues related to the recently released World of Warcraft patch 5.2. Hotfixes are updates we make on our end without requiring you to download a new patch. Some of the hotfixes below went live the moment they were implemented, while others may require your realm to be restarted to go into effect. Please keep in mind that some issues cannot be addressed without a client-side patch update. We will continue to update this list in the days to come as additional hotfixes are applied.

Patch Information

  • Patch Notes
  • Known Issues
  • Technical Support & Troubleshooting

March 29

  • Classes
    • Mage
      • Tier-15 Fire/Frost 4-piece set bonus should now properly increase Frostbolt’s chance to activate Fingers of Frost effect.
    • Priest
      • Tier-15 Discipline/Holy 4-piece set bonus should summon a Golden Apparition that now heals for the correct amount and can activate Divine Aegis.
    • Rogue
      • Combat
        • Blade Flurry now has a range of 8 yards, up from 5 yards, and will only hit targets that are within the Rogue’s line-of-sight.
  • Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
    • Ji-Kun’s Feed Young ability should now be slightly easier to intercept.
    • To the Skies!: Fixed an issue where the Hail of Arrows debuff not being removed after defeating Beastmaster Horaki.
  • Items
    • Enchant Weapon – Glorious Tyranny can no longer be used on other player’s weapons and will cause bind-on-equipped items to become soulbound.
    • Lightning-Imbued Chalice now has a greatly increased chance to generate Infinite Power.

March 27

  • Classes
    • Druid
      • Tier-15 Feral Druid 2-piece set bonus should now work correctly with Savage Roar while Glyph of Savagery is active.
    • Monk
      • Tier-15 Brewmaster Monk 2-piece set bonus should now correctly increase Stagger by 12%.
      • Fixed a situation where Tier-15 Mistweaver Monk 2-piece set bonus could cause Renewing Mist to heal more than intended.
      • Charges of Mana Tea, Tigereye Brew, and Elusive Brew will now be removed after the Preparation buff wears off in Battlegrounds.
    • Paladin
      • Fixed an issue where Word of Glory or Eternal Flame did not work when both Divine Purpose and Tier-15 Protection Paladin 2-piece set bonus was present.
    • Priest
      • For Discipline Priests with Divine Aegis, Prayer of Healing criticals should now heal for the correct amount.
      • Power Word: Solace should now correctly have a chance to activate item and enchantment effects.
    • Shaman
      • Chain Heal now heals for 20% more.
      • Healing Rain now heals for 20% more.
      • Restoration
        • Earthliving Weapon now heals for 20% more.
  • Creatures
    • Itoka’s Strange Metal Ingot can now be looted by multiple players.
    • Oondasta’s health had been reduced by 50% .
  • Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
    • Throne of Thunder
      • Fixed an issue where bracers with a random secondary stat may be awarded to the wrong role through Raid Finder or bonus roll.
      • Fixed an issue where zone drops were incorrectly disenchanting into Haunting Spirit.
  • Items
    • Big Bag of Zandalari Supplies is now soulbound.
    • Dragonmaw, Reborn now has a bonus to spellpower.
    • The Drakefist Hammer, Reborn now has a bonus to spellpower.
  • Bug Fixes
    • Tyrannical Conquest achievement should now be correctly tracking a character’s Conquest gains.

March 21

  • Classes
    • Warlock
      • Demonic Gateway should no longer despawn when the casting Warlock moves far away.
  • Quests
    • Crumbled Chamberlain: Statue pieces now do not despawn when looted, allowing other players to loot the statue piece as well.
    • Stone Cold: Fixed an issue where players were unable to interact with Grave Guardian statues.
  • Creatures
    • Oondastas for everyone! Oondasta now respawns much more frequently.
    • Exchange Guards have resumed their stance of not interfering with players engaged in Horde/Alliance hostilities(PvP combat).
  • Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
    • Throne of Thunder
      • Gastropod should now favor attackers that are at range.
      • Reduced the amount of creatures in the area leading up to Ji-Kun in Raid Finder.
      • Fixed an issue where players winning a bonus roll after defeating Iron Qon on Heroic mode could receive a non-heroic version of the tier token.
      • Fixed an issue where damage from Lei Shen’s Crashing Thunder, Lightning Whip, Overcharge and Discharged Energy was not being reduced by Feint.
      • Twin Consorts
        • Reduced the health of Suen and Lu’lin in 25-player Heroic mode.
    • Icecrown Citadel
      • Fixed an issue where Master Looters were unable to assign Shadowfrost Shards to another player.
    • Temple of Ahn’Qiraj
      • The Prophet Skeram has loot again and no longer creates illusions for now. He’ll be back to normal in a future patch.
  • Items
    • Increased the cast time to perform the ritual for summonable bosses using Shan’ze Ritual Stones on the Isle of Thunder from 2 seconds to 5 seconds.
    • All uncommon(green) item drops from the Isle of Thunder should now be disenchantable.
    • Darkmoon Whistle should no longer cause other players to drop out of stealth.
    • Essence of the Breeze should now only usable while on the continent of Pandaria.

March 19

  • Classes
    • Monk
      • Tier-15 Mistweaver 2-piece set bonus should now increase the healing of Renewing Mist by the correct amount.
    • Paladin
      • Hand of Purity no longer reduces the damage dealt by effects that ignore immunities.
  • Quests
    • Captive Audience: Fixed an issue with Rune Prisons that prevented new captives from spawning.
  • Creatures
    • Summonable bosses on the Isle of Thunder now leash back instead of despawning when pulled too far from their spawn point.
    • Zandalari Warbringers are now immune to crowd control and interrupt effects.
    • Fixed an issue where some players may not receive loot after defeating Nalak.
  • Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
    • Mogu’shan Vaults
      • Increased the time before the gate to closes while engaging Feng the Accursed to 8 seconds, up from 3 seconds.
    • Throne of Thunder
      • Council of Elders
        • Reduced the penalty to damage taken from the Shadowed Soul debuff from 5% to 3% per stack on 10-player Heroic mode.
      • Dark Animus
        • Dark Animus will now use its abilities at more consistent intervals.
        • Interrupting Jolt now deals less damage on 10/25-player Heroic mode.
        • Explosive Slam now deals significantly less damage on 10-player Heroic mode.
        • Fixed an issue where Matter Swap could sometimes teleport players beneath the world.
      • Ji-Kun
        • Fixed an issue where Bore Worms would remain submerged.
        • Fixed an issue where Bow Fly Swarms would enter combat while remaining out of melee range.
      • Lei Shen
        • Fixed an issue where players defeating Lei Shen did not receive credit towards the Pinnacle of Storms achievement.
      • Megaera
        • Reduced the damage dealt by Megaera’s breaths and Ignite Flesh on 10-player Normal mode.
        • Reduced the damage dealt by Rampage on 10-player Normal mode.
  • PvP
    • Season 13 Tyrannical weapons had their item levels increased to ilevel 498, up from ilevel 493, to match Season 12 Elite weapons.
    • Season 13 Malevolent Honor gear now gives more Stamina, making them comparable to Season 12 counterparts.
  • Battlegrounds
    • Eye of the Storm: Horde teams are now being awarded the proper amount of victory points when holding 3 towers.
  • Items
    • Ra’sha’s Sacrificial Dagger now has an increased cooldown for its special ability.
  • UI
    • There should no longer be a delay in displaying Isle of Thunder stage progression status on the World Map.

March 15

  • Classes
    • Death Knight
      • Fixed an issue where Chilblains may fail to apply its snare effect.
    • Druid
      • Symbiosis will now cancel properly if the Druid and the target remains separated for a period of time.
    • Hunter
      • Dire Beast summons should now have the Avoidance aura.
    • Mage
      • General
        • Incanter’s Ward is no longer transferred to a Mage who Spellsteals it, but is dispelled from the target.
      • Talents
        • Living Bomb now deals 70% of its damage when used against other players, down from 100%.
        • Nether Tempest now deals 70% of its damage when used against other players, down from 100%.
    • Paladin
      • Divine Purpose should no longer activate from unsuccessful attempts to cast Inquisition.
    • Warrior
      • Glyph of Die by the Sword should now only apply its effect for Warriors that have that it set as an active glyph.
  • Quests
    • Be Raptor: Fixed an issue where the final cutscene may not display correctly. Players should now be able to obtain completion credit and turn the quest in.
    • Liquid Gold: Players should now be able to loot supply crates and complete the quest.
    • Lunk’s Adventure: Rendan’s Weakness: Iron Summit Guards should now join the conga line, allowing players to complete the quest.
  • Creatures
    • Arcanital Mara’kah’s barrier spell now lasts 30 seconds, up from 20 seconds.
    • Players of both factions are now eligible to receive loot from Nalak when at least one of the factions has fully unlocked the Isle of Thunder.
  • Pet Battles
    • Resilient should now properly prevent Critter pets from being stunned by Rupture.
  • Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
    • Throne of Thunder
      • Council of Elders
        • Fixed an issue where the Council of Elders did not always drop 2 items on 10-player normal mode.
      • Durumu the Forgotten
        • Azure Fogs are now no longer able to be damaged by area-of-effect spells when they are not revealed.
      • Twin Consorts
        • Suen’s Fan of Flames now has a 50-yard range.
  • PvP
    • Tyrannical Conquest achievement for both factions now requires a character to obtain 25,000 Conquest points in Season 13, down from 27,000 Conquest. The tooltip and progress indicator will still display that the character needs 27,000 Conquest. This will be fixed in a future patch.
  • Items
    • Reduced the higher than intended drop rates for Shado-Pan Assault Insignia from Sunreaver Bounty.
  • UI
    • Fixed an issue where stage progression on the world map for Isle of Thunder was not displaying correctly for players outside the isle.
    • Reduced the amount of spam on Local Defense – Isle of Thunder channel while engaging Kirin Tor or Sunreaver NPCs.
  • Bug Fixes
    • Using a potion while under Stealth/Invisibility no longer causes the potion to go on permanent cooldown.

March 14

  • Classes
    • Monk
      • Chi Wave should now correctly bounce between targets that are in range.
  • Creatures
    • Oondasta should no longer drop Terrorful Weave for Discipline and Holy Priests, and Girdle of Dimorphodontics should no longer drop for Mages and Warlocks.
  • Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
    • The time for players to decide if they want to use a bonus roll has been increased to 3 minutes.
  • PvP
    • Conquest quartermasters should now be properly stocked with PvP rings, amulets, and trinkets.
  • Professions
    • Thunderforges on the Isle of Thunder can now also function as a normal anvil and forge.
    • Archeology
      • Mantid archeology items should now correctly award a Mantid Amber Sliver when turned in.

March 12

  • Classes
    • Our lead systems designer share the reasoning behind some recent class changes .
    • Death Knight
      • Blood
        • Rune Strike now deals 25% more damage.
      • Frost
        • Howling Blast had its area-of-effect splash damage equal to 50% of the damage taken by the primary target (down from 65%).
      • Unholy
        • Unholy Frenzy damage will no longer break crowd-control effects that break on damage.
    • Mage
      • Talents
        • Frost Bomb now deals 40% more damage. Frost Bomb now deals 60% of its damage when used against other players, down from 80%.
        • Living Bomb now deals 40% more damage.
        • Nether Tempest now deals 40% more damage.
    • Monk
      • Windwalker
        • Spirits summoned by Storm, Earth, and Fire should now deal the correct amount of damage with Rushing Jade Wind.
    • Priest
      • Shadow Word: Pain now deals 25% less damage.
    • Warlock
      • General
        • Corruption now deals 25% less damage.
      • Talents
        • Blood Horror now checks that the Warlock has at least 5% health before casting.
      • Demonology
        • Doom now deals 25% less damage.
    • Warrior
      • Protection
        • Deep Wounds now deals 50% more damage for Protection Warriors.
        • Shield Slam now deals 25% more damage.
  • Quests
    • Flight in the Firelands: Fixed an issue where players were unable to complete the quest.
    • Pterrible Ptorment: Spawn rate of Tormented Skyscreamer has been increased and fixed an issue where players in certain situations were unable to complete the quest.
  • Pet Battles
    • Gusting Grimoire is now a Rare quality companion pet.
  • Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
    • Our lead encounter designer  offers their thoughts on feedback regarding raid boss hotfixes.
    • Throne of Thunder
      • Horridon
        • Reduced the health of adds in the Horridon encounter by 15% for 10-player normal mode and 10% for 25-player normal mode.
      • Lei Shen
        • Fixed an issue where images of Past Self created by Alter Time could be killed during the encounter.
      • Megaera
        • Reduced the health of Megaera’s heads in 10-player normal and heroic modes.
      • Zandalari Council
        • Kazra’jin’s Reckless Charge should no longer hit players twice at the point of impact.
    • Scholomance
      • Fixed an issue in Challenge Mode where players may not receive credit for killing Lilian Voss.
  • PvP
    • Malevolent Gladiator’s Endgame now matches Malevolent Gladiator’s Reprieve in PvP Power and PvP Resilience. The additional 274 PvP Power has been replaced with 274 PvP Resilience.
  • Battlegrounds
    • Secondary stats on heirloom items should now scale correctly while inside a Battleground.
  • Items
    • Protections for unlucky streaks have been added for trinkets that use the RPPM (real procs per minute) system.
      • Activation chance for trinket effects on a pull has been increased.
      • Every time the trinket fails to activate, there’s an increasing chance that it will activate.
      • Increased the activation chance for agility and strength trinkets from Throne of Thunder by 10%.
      • Increased the activation chance for intellect and spirit trinkets from Throne of Thunder by 5%.
  • Bug Fixes
    • Fixed an issue where players may be unable to obtain Isle of Thunder daily quests for Stage 2.
    • Fixed an issue where some players may be unable to loot Isle of Thunder rare spawns.
    • Players will no longer get dismounted when flying over the Shrine of Goldrinn.

March 11

  • Classes
    • Rogue
      • Blind should now break on damage from Frozen Orb.
  • Quests
    • Beast of Fable: Players should now be able to obtain credit for defeating Greyhoof.
    • More Giant Dinosaur Bones and Many More Giant Dinosaur Bones can now only be completed once per day.
  • Creatures
    • Players visiting a different realm are no longer eligible to receive loot from Oondasta or Nalak, The Storm Lord. A forum thread discussing the reasoning for this change have been created.
    • Fixed an issue that could cause Oondasta to not award loot to some players.
    • Fetid Meat Pile now properly lets players that are sufficiently far away to drop out of combat.
    • Zandalari Dinomancers now have a much lower chance to drop the Zandalari Anklerender, Footslasher, Kneebiter, and Toenibbler.
  • Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
    • Fixed an issue where Throne of Thunder raid bosses may not drop the proper amount of tier tokens for players in 10/25-player normal and heroic modes.
    • Fixed an issue where Luck of the Draw would sometimes be incorrectly applied to Challenge Mode groups.
    • Throne of Thunder
      • Combustion now deals 100% of the player’s damage to Primordius while the player is under the effects of Fully Mutated.
      • Reduced the health of The Council of Elders for 10-player normal and heroic mode.
      • Fixed an issue with Durumu the Forgotten where Life Drain’s stun was not transferring correctly.
      • Reduced the health of the Gurubashi, Amani, Drakkari, and Farraki adds on the Horridon encounter.
      • Iron Qon for 25-player normal and heroic modes had the following change: The amount of damage dealt by Unleashed Flame and number of people needed to trigger Unleashed Flame had been reduced.
      • Iron Qon for 10/25-player normal modes had the following changes: Shatter damage have been reduced by 20%, damage from Arching Lightning have been reduced by 10%, and Rising Anger stacks more slowly.
    • Scholomance
      • Fixed an issue where Lilian Voss’ Dark Blaze was invisible.
    • Temple of Ahn’Qiraj
      • The Prophet Skeram and any illusions created during the encounter no longer drop loot or provide reputation when killed. This is a temporary change to address an issue with the encounter.
  • Battlegrounds
    • Fixed an issue with latency near the beginning of a Battleground.
  • Professions
    • Blacksmithing
      • Creation of Lightning Steel Ingots now requires at least one of the factions to have unlocked the Thunder Forge.
  • Items
    • Saurok Ritualist’s Sacrificial Dagger is no longer bind-on-equip (BoE).
  • Bug Fixes
    • The Skin of the Saurok disguise in Ihgaluk Crag will no longer cancel Druid Moonkin and Tree of Life forms.
    • Fixed an issue where Worgen were unable to use Two Forms after crossing into a coalesced zone while in combat.

March 7

  • Classes
    • Hunter
      • Marksmanship
        • Glyph of Chimera Shot will now properly increase the healing from Chimera Shot from 5% to 7%.
    • Monk
      • Chi Spheres are no longer consumed by the Monk when they are at full Chi.
      • Spear Hand Strike now properly causes the target to be locked out of the school of the interrupted spell.
    • Priest
      • Holy/Discipline PvP 4-piece set bonus will no longer reduce the cooldown of Silence incorrectly.
  • Quests
    • Cleaning House: Players should now be able to obtain credit for defeating Fizzy Yellow Alemental and complete the quest.
    • Giant Dinosaur Bone: This quest is now a proper daily quest and can only completed once each day.
    • Plunder the Black Temple: Door to the Den of Mortal Delights should now open properly when the player reaches the appropriate step in the quest.
    • The Warren-Mother: Players should now be able to obtain credit for defeating Chaufa and complete the quest.
    • Where are My Reinforcements?: Players should now be able to receive completion credit after speaking with Ban Bearheart.
  • Creatures
    • Ra’sha now scales their health based on the number of players they’re engaged in combat with.
    • Zandalari Prospect now properly drop loot.
  • Pet Battles
    • Experience gains from winning a Pet Battle have been reduced.
    • Heirlooms and experience buffs will now correctly increase the amount of experience gained from winning a Pet Battle.
    • A brief explanation and list of exact changes to Pet Battle experience could be found here .
  • Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
    • Ghost Iron Lockbox and Elementium Lockbox are no longer eligible for need rolls.
    • Mogu’shan Vaults
      • Patroller’s Girdle of Endless Spring should no longer appear in Cache of Mogu Riches for Druids.
      • Nullification Barrier once again negates the shield thrown by Feng the Accursed.
    • Heart of Fear
      • Blade Lord Ta’yak and Wind Lord Mel’jarak as well as their minions are now affected by the Klaxxi Resonance debuff.
    • Throne of Thunder
      • The Mistweaver ability Revival will no longer dispel players who have any of the following effects:
        • Primordius: Clear Mind, Fully Mutated, Improved Synapses, and Thick Bones
        • Durumu: Dark Parasite
        • Jin’rokh the Breaker: Ionization
      • Crazed Storm-Caller should now be able to use the spell Storm Energy.
      • Roaming Fog should no longer cause Druids to drop out of shapeshift form.
      • Spirit Flayers now despawn when Stormbringer Draz’kil is defeated.
      • Spiritfire Beam will now only jump to targets less than 3 yards away.
      • Torment now has a duration of 10 seconds.
  • PvP
    • Season 13 one-handed weapons, excluding the Spellblade and Gavel had their cost reduced from 2250 to 1750 Honor or Conquest points respectively.
    • Players taking periodic damage while in PvP should no longer stand up while eating or drinking.
    • Big Zokk Torquewrench is going on a short leave of absence to take care of unfinished business.
  • Professions
    • Jewelcrafting
      • Primal Diamond no longer requires an anvil to craft.
      • Serpent’s Heart no longer requires an anvil to craft.
  • Items
    • Mistlurker Helm, Mistborne Hood, Mountainscaler Hide Helm, and Mountainscaler Satin Hood should display the item information correctly and appear when worn.
    • Overgrown Lillypad now works when on the Isle of Thunder.
    • Thunder Caressed Waistguard now gives a bonus to Expertise instead of Parry.
  • Sunsong Ranch
    • The way to obtain Work Order quests on the Sunsong Ranch farm has changed. The quests will be given while harvesting crops, or by interacting with the drop-off crate.
    • Fixed an issue where players could be placed into the incorrect phase after abandoning the quest, “Inherit the Earth”.
    • Fixed an issue where Occupied Soil would sometimes not update correctly or become non-interactive after clearing the associated Squatting Virmen.


March 5

  • Classes
    • Death Knight
      • Frost
        • Icy Talons now increases attack speed by 30% (was 25%).
        • Might of the Frozen Wastes now increases melee attack damage by 20% (was 15%).
        • Threat of Thassarian now increases the damage of Frost Strike by 50% (was 40%).
    • Monk
      • General
        • Stance of the Fierce Tiger now increases the damage done by 10% (was 20%).
      • Mistweaver
        • Mistweaver Monks no longer favor non-caster weapons with higher DPS on damage calculations for abilities that are based on weapon damage.
        • Muscle Memory is now automatically learned at level 20 (was level 65).
    • Paladin
      • Retribution
        • Templar’s Verdict should now work properly with Seal of Justice.
      • Holy PvP 4-piece set bonus no longer causes Eternal Flame to generate a charge of Holy Power.
    • Priest
      • General
        • Shadow Word: Pain now deals 25% more damage .
      • Discipline
        • Atonement healing granted from critical strikes now heal for the correct amount.
      • Shadow
        • Shadowy Apparitions will no longer pursue targets that are actively stealthed.
    • Rogues
      • Assassination
        • Assassin’s Resolve now increases the Rogue’s damage by 25% (was 20%).
    • Warlock
      • Destruction
        • Fire and Brimstone version of Incinerate now deals the correct amount of damage.
        • Shadowburn now properly generates 2 Burning Embers after killing a target that yields experience or honor.
  • Quests
    • Fixed an issue where quest items could drop less frequently than intended.
    • Players should now be able to speak with Waterspeaker Goria to complete the quest, “The Ritual”.
  • Creatures
    • Shapeshifted players should now be able to use Lightning Rods when fighting Electromancer Ju’le.
    • Risen Ancestors spawn rate has been increased.
  • Pet Battles
    • Sleep effects should now break properly when a pet is attacked.
  • Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios
    • Living Sand now has 15% less health.
  • Items
    • Sunreaver Beacon and Kirin Tor Beacon no longer share the same cooldown.
  • Sunsong Ranch
    • Work orders to plant a crop no longer award gold.
  • UI
    • Players should no longer see or hear chat from other player’s NPCs during the introduction to the Isle of Thunder .

Bebo Valdés Giant Of Cuban Music Is Dead

One of the giants of Cuban music, pianist and composer/arranger Bebo Valdés, died Friday in Sweden due to complications from pneumonia, according to his wife and manager. He was 94.

Ramón Emilio “Bebo” Valdés Amaro was born in 1918 in a village outside Havana. Trained at conservatory, and having absorbed the sounds of Afro-Cuban street music and American jazz in various ensembles, he became the house pianist and arranger at the Tropicana Nightclub in 1948. The Tropicana was the hottest venue in Havana at the time; many American entertainers performed there, and Valdés became known as the go-to arranger in town for studio dates, film scores and dance numbers. In 1952, he also participated in the first Afro-Cuban descarga, or jam session, recorded in Cuba, where a group improvisation turned into the recording “Con Poco Coco.”

But as his career was booming, a revolutionary government took over in Cuba, accompanied by a crackdown on the entertainment industry. In 1960, he left Cuba to play a gig in Mexico City with his own band. He never returned, leaving behind his wife and children. Valdés eventually wound up in Sweden, where he remarried and pursued a quieter music career, often playing piano for cruise ships or in choice hotels.

“If you are a musician and you do one thing, you should enjoy what you do,” Valdés told NPR’s Felix Contreras in 2006. “This is my profession, and it is my hobby, and I live in love with what I do. In those years in Stockholm, even if I wasn’t successful, I did it because I liked it, and I’ll keep doing it until I die.”

Meanwhile, one of his children had matured into a piano virtuoso himself, and had co-founded his own jazz-influenced, genre-crossing band called Irakere. When Chucho Valdes and Irakere played a date at Carnegie Hall in 1977, Bebo Valdes crossed the Atlantic Ocean to reunite with his son. It set into motion a reconciliation which resulted in several collaborations, in concert and on recordings like the Latin jazz performance film Calle 54 and the duet album Juntos Para Siempre.

Late in his career, Bebo Valdés enjoyed a resurgence of popularity. In 1994, another Irakere veteran and Cuban exile, reedman Paquito D’Rivera, convinced Valdés to record Bebo Rides Again, a disc of Cuban classics mixed with original compositions. The album led to future recordings, among them Grammy-winning efforts like El Arte de Sabor and Lagrimas Negras. He was also the inspiration and pianist for the animated film Chico and Rita, about Cuban musicians in the 1940s.

“This attention is a gift from God,” he told NPR. “I did not ask for all of this. But since it was sent to me, I accept it from the heart.”

Welsh government announces purchase of Cardiff Airport

The first minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, has today announced the government has purchased Cardiff Airport for a total investment of £52 million.

This follows a period of due diligence and negotiation with TBI, the airport’s previous owner.

Announcing the purchase, the first minister said: “Cardiff Airport is a vital gateway to Wales for business, tourists and general travellers alike.

“It is essential that its future is secured and that we develop high quality sustainable services.

“The Airport will not be operated by the Welsh government.

“It will be managed at arm’s length from government on a commercial basis and, over time, I expect to see a return to the public purse on the investment.”

A chief executive of the airport is expected to be announced in due course.

Lord Rowe-Beddoe has been lined up to serve as chairman of the Airport Board in the interim.

First minister Jones had previously been critical of the airport after a slump in passenger numbers from a peak of two million in 2007 to just over one million in 2012.

Edwina Hart, Welsh minister for economy, science and transport said: “The airport is a major piece of economic infra-structure for Wales.

“I look forward to working in partnership with the workforce at the airport as we develop a high quality service for passengers and create a facility of which Wales can be proud.”

Leader of the Welsh Conservatives Andrew Davies earlier questioned the government’s decision to buy the airport.

“Elsewhere in Wales neo-natal services are being cut because the local health board cannot find £4 million – is this the best way to spend £52 million of taxpayers’ money?” he GW2 Gold  asked.

Tips for Traveling With Children

Traveling with children can be a stressful time for parents, and surrounding passengers. Unlike environments that allow parents to simply “walk away” from a crowd if a child is disruptive, when traveling by plane, everyone is a captive audience with nowhere to go.

There are a few simple steps parents can take when flying with small children that can drastically improve the experience for everyone.

Before You Leave Home

  • Take one favorite stuffed toy or other “security blanket” for each child.
  • Explain to the child what to expect at the airport, such as crowds, standing in lines, security procedures, etc.
  • Go to the TSA website and find out what you can and can’t bring through security, especially as it relates to a child. Also, print a copy of your rights as a parent in case your child has to undergo a secondary screening.
  • Explain to your child what to expect on the flight
  • Print your boarding passes so you have one less thing to do, even if you are checking luggage

When you get to the airport

  • Tell your child what to expect with TSA screening and explain that they are friendly people who are doing this to help make the trip more fun
  • Make sure they have an activity to keep them busy while waiting for the flight (this could include access to their favorite toy or reading them a story)
  • Have an alternate plan in case your flight is delayed or cancelled (reservation phone numbers, websites, airline mobile apps, etc.)

Watch Channing Tatum Save The President

In the trailer for “White House Down,” bad people are shooting guns and blowing everything up — then they keep shooting, and large objects continue to explode.

So who will save our country from this explosive attack? Oh yes, a buff and sweaty Channing Tatum.

Tatum plays John Cale, a police officer who’s minding his business, taking his daughter on a tour of the White House, when the attack begins. Somehow, he must save the president (Jamie Foxx) and nation from paramilitary invaders.

Director Roland Emmerich has a fondness for attacking the White House dating back to the 1996 disaster film “Independence Day.” Although “White House Down” is eerily reminiscent of another movie currently in theaters (“Olympus Has Fallen,” anyone?), check the trailer out and judge for yourselves.

“It’s not only about taking over the White House; it’s actually doing a coup de tat. It’s like ‘Seven Days In May,’ which I always felt was a movie I want to do,” Emmerich told The Huffington Post. “I really believe that, as Lincoln said, the only way that America can destroy itself is from within.”

Short on dialogue, big on action, this trailer gives us the feeling “White House Down” will be everything that epic summer blockbusters are made of. But be warned: It is loud.