Manny and Joce dive into the PTR and the latest Beta build, chat raid testing, realm connections, and employee compensation at Blizzard. All that and more on this week’s For Azeroth!

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PTR Goes Live

This week PTR returned to life with the Shadowlands systems patch and pre-expansion event.

  • All base class changes are now available to be tested
    • All the class changes and un-pruning are in
    • Scaling 120 -> 50 and item level are active 
    • Corruptions are gone
    • Essences and Azerite Traits are still working (for now)
  • Pre-expansion story event week 1 is available for testing
    • Rares in the prepatch event drop catch up gear that is on par with Normal Ny’alotha loot.
    • New World Boss with a currently not implemented cinematic
  • Week 2 now available as of Aug 13th
    • Chilling Winds debuff and Lingering Warmth buff in Icecrown
  • Community Manager Kaivax has made a post giving the step by step on how anyone can jump on to test on the PTR

New Week New Build

Along with the surprise PTR release, a new build went up on the Beta. The latest build included several changes in areas the team had previously only hinted at previously.

  • Several changes to base abilities and talents for Mages, Hunters, and Shamans
  • Night Fae ability for Priest reworked
  • New Keystone Affixes Datamined
    • Inspiring: Some non-boss enemies have an inspiring presence that strengthens their allies.
    • Spiteful: Fiends rise from the corpses of non-boss enemies and pursue random players.
    • Storming: While in combat, enemies periodically summon damaging whirlwinds.
  • Covenant exclusive Bonuses have been found for Kyrian, Night Fae and Venthyr in dungeons.
  • Legendary recipes and Conduits available on PvP Vendors
    • Legendary Recipes purchasable for Honor
    • Recipes are Account Wide
    • Conduits sell for Conquest
    • One Conduit sold per spec as well as one sold for the class in general
  • Legion Legendaries are now Legacy Items and disabled for everyone
  • Renown rewards detailed
    • Current datamined cap of 40 (but no sign of pathfinder)
    • Souldbind Progression
    • WQ Reward Item Level
    • Adventure Table Followers
    • Cosmetics

Raid Testing

Raid Testing moves forward as 4 more mythic bosses are being tested this week along with most of the encounters on normal being opened up for testing over the weekend! 

Thursday, August 13th

  • Sun King’s Salvation – Mythic Castle Nathria
  • Sludgefist – Mythic Castle Nathria

Friday, August 14th

  • Huntsman Altimor – Mythic Castle Nathria
  • The Council of Blood – Mythic Castle Nathria
  • Normal Castle Nathria Opens

All bosses except for the Stone Legion Generals and Sire Denathrius will be available.

Realm Connections

Several Realms are being connected in both NA and Europe. While issues have caused the delay of one realm in this process, a special maintenance period today will see targeted low population realms “connected” with further announcements promised to come for other realms.  

Salary Disparity at Blizzard

Activision Blizzard announced “record second-quarter 2020 results” last Tuesday. The company celebrated exceeding it’s prior outlooks and saw net earnings just shy of $2 billion.

For Blizzard specifically, they boasted 32 million MAUs for the quarter and spoke of having the highest franchise engagement at this point ahead of an expansion. All this headline grabbing revenue is not being invested in many of the developers and staff who work on the games we love.

  • Employees confidentially compiled a spreadsheet of salaries which was obtained by Bloomberg
  • Reports say that after reducing staff many responsibilities were taken up by the remaining staff
  • Some jobs were refilled but at lower pay and with added responsibilities
  • One employee said they received a raise of less than 50 cents an hour
  • Former employees have received greater compensation at rival companies
  • Cost of living in Anaheim and the area surrounding Los Angeles
  • Bloomberg report by Jason Schreier
  • Activision 2nd Quarter Financials (pdf)
  • $40 m Signing Bonus for Four Executives