MMO-Champion - Patch 4.3 Interview with Greg Street (Ghostcrawler)
Update - Oops, forgot screenshots. Added them, including an interesting screenshot of Ysera.


Update - Added some more information from other interviews.

Patch 4.3 Interview with Greg Street (Ghostcrawler)
Below is a quick summary and the full thanks to Simca. Be sure to read it so that you don't miss anything! (Extra info via Joystiq, Eurogamer, TenTonHammer, and Tankspot)

Deathwing Raid
  • The new raid is called The Dragon Soul. It contains eight bosses, and boss 7 and 8 are both Deathwing.
  • There will be a mount reward for killing Deathwing.
  • Deathwing will only drop weapons.
  • Heroic Deathwing will eventually be made easier after the top guilds kill it so that more people can experience it.
  • Tier 13 will not be available at all from valor points.
  • The new legendaries are two daggers (main hand and offhand) that are only usable by all three Rogue specs. Combat Rogues will be made to use these daggers as well without a DPS loss. The questline will revolve around the pure black dragon (from the egg in the Badlands) and features several Rogue-centric elements.
  • Melee classes will be getting a buff that is only active in the new raid to help them compete with ranged classes.

New Five Man Heroics
  • You will enter the new 5-mans and raid in Caverns of Time.
  • The first new 5-man is called "Endtime" where Nozdormu will show players the future if Deathwing wins.
  • The second new 5-man, "Well of Eternity" is a journey into the past, the War of the Ancients specifically, to help Thrall recover the Dragon Soul to use against Deathwing.
  • The third new 5-man, called "Hour of Twilight", has players escorting Thrall in present day to Wyrmrest Temple, where the final battle against Deathwing will take place.

Looking for Raid
  • Looking for Raid probably won't share a lockout with Normal and Heroic raids.
  • Looking for Raid gear will be stronger than the new five man heroics, but weaker than normal raids.

Other
  • There will be raid melee buff across the board. The attack power buff will apply more to melee attack power than ranged attack power.
  • Tank rotation changes that are related to survivability won't be in this expansion.
  • Epic gems will drop in the new raid in Normal and Heroic only. Each player gets a geode when a boss is killed which has a small chance to contain an epic gem, most will have rare gems. It is rare enough to take all of 4.3 to replace all of your red rare quality gems with red epic gems.
  • Firelands was nerfed so that players could see the content and continue progression instead of hitting a wall in heroic modes.
  • "Quite a few" new profession recipes will be added.
  • Northrend will require 2/3rd of the experience it does now, making leveling alts faster.
  • Corrupted Ashbringer won't be available for transmogrification from any vendor.
  • Old PvP armor will come back for transmogrification.


End Time - Crashed Horde Airship

End Time - Echo of Sylvanas

End Time - Murozond (Boss)

Well of Eternity - Illidan

Well of Eternity - Illidan & Malfurion

Well of Eternity - Nozdormu

Well of Eternity - Queen Azshara's Guards

Well of Eternity

Well of Eternity - Ysera

Well of Eternity - Alextrasza

Hour of Twilight - Thrall

Hour of Twilight

Hour of Twilight - Wyrmrest Temple

Deathwing Raid - Warlord Zonozz

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Ghostcrawler: The focus of our 4.3 patch is the heroes’ final battle against Deathwing the dragon. There will be an epic raid where 10 and 25 player groups can try to defeat Deathwing. In addition, we have three 5 player dungeons to kind of set the stage; it will be kind of similar to the way the dungeons in the Icecrown patch lead up to the final conflict against the Lich King. We have a new legendary weapon that players will be able to get in the raid. We have a Raid Finder system that will work a lot like Dungeon Finder to allow more casual raiders to get into the content. And we have a couple of character customization features we’ve talked about already: Transmogrification which lets you change the look of your armor and Void Storage which gives you a place to store it all. And then finally we have an update to the Darkmoon Faire - an entire island full of fun carnival games.

Will the new Looking for Raid difficulty share a lockout with Normal and Heroic raids?
Ghostcrawler:
We’re not entirely sure yet because we’re still working out the details. Our goal is that it doesn’t. We want people to be able to do the raid with their group and then still do Looking for Raid, maybe on the weekends or when their guild isn’t available.

Do you feel like you are alienating any part of the player base when you make easier content or do you think the new three difficulty system might solve that?
Ghostcrawler:
We’re hoping it solves it. I mean, generally this is an experiment for us. We’re not sure how it is going to work out. We have a hugely diverse player base, and we want to be able to let lots of different players see the content. We felt in the past we were struggling too much to decide “Okay, heroic mode is for 5% of the population… that means normal mode has to be for 95% of the raiding population” and we were stretching ourselves really thin. So our hope is that by offering up an additional difficulty, it will free up normal mode to be targeted towards the kind of traditional guild it has been, where players who don’t have a lot of time to raid or find the commitment too much can do Raid Finder to be able to experience the fights.

While the game may continue to go strongly for a long time, do you think WoW may have hit its peak subscription number at all?
Ghostcrawler:
I mean, gosh, that is so hard to know. It’s really hard to tell what is… you know it’s a seven-year-old game at this point. We don’t have really any examples of games that have remained so popular for so long to really know what the future might bring. We certainly understand that some players have just gotten their fill of World of Warcraft, and the kind of things we would have to do to provide really interesting new features for them risks changing World of Warcraft into something else. We have to be really careful not to overhaul the game so dramatically that people who love the game fall out of love with it. At the same time, it is a rough economy going on, summers are always a little light, and periods between expansions are always a little light, so we’ll see how things look after another expansion or two.

So when Cataclysm came about, there were a lot of changes to the healing model. Do you think that it has been successful and will you insure its stability in the next raid set?
Ghostcrawler:
Yes, we’ve really liked the way the healing model has worked out. It had some hiccups along the way where I think players just starting out going into dungeons, particularly the heroic dungeons, felt like they just didn’t have the mana to do anything. That was probably a little too extreme. We’ve gotten to the point now where most raid geared healers feel like they have the mana to do what they want, but they still can’t completely waste it. A Discipline Priest that does nothing but Power Word: Shield is going to find they’re going to have to do something quickly to get their mana back or they’ll have to risk not having enough for the end of the fight.

So another thing that came with Cataclysm, well even in other expansions, was that some fights favored some types of DPS that led to some classes being kind of sat out on certain encounters. Do you think that in the Deathwing fight this might happen as well or are you trying to balance that?
Ghostcrawler:
We try to keep in mind, I mean on one hand we really want to encourage all available players to play. It’s tough not to go in and try to change things when you find that someone is too weak on a fight and a more competitive guild risks sitting that player out. We really don’t like that, but at the same time if we aren’t careful then the fights will all kind of feel the same because we’ll have to say “Okay, where’s the AE moment so that my Demonology Warlock can shine and where is the movement component of this fight because that is really good for my Fire Mage” or whatever. So we kind of give… it’s hard enough coming up with new encounters where players don’t immediately say “Oh, you’ve done that already; we’ve seen it all before”. We make so many hundreds of bosses that we like to give our encounter designers a lot of room to maneuver.

It becomes a problem when it feels like consistently the same types of characters aren’t competing. We’ve seen a lot of concern about the melee classes just can’t compete with the ranged classes. Part of that is class mechanics; part of it is that we just have a lot of encounters that really favor ranged. So for the Deathwing tier, what we’re going to do is just a straight up buff to the melee classes that hopefully helps them a little bit. We’re going to do that in such a way that the raid buffs will just end up buffing melee a little more than they’ll buff ranged. So hopefully you won’t have a lot of widespread effects in PvP or things like that, but melee characters who are just stabbing away on a boss in optimal situations will feel like their DPS is very competitive.

Can you talk a little bit about the new legendary for this patch?
Ghostcrawler:
Sure. It is a pair of daggers – a main-hand and an off-hand dagger. We are designing them such that all three Rogue specs will be able to use it. We have a little tweak in there so that Combat Rogues will be able to Sinister Strike with the daggers without it being a big DPS loss.

The story of these legendary daggers has to do with the last remaining pure black dragon egg. So kind of how we got here is the black dragons are a really cool enemy in our universe, they have been for a while, but we’re kind of killing them off a lot. Onyxia has been killed and brought back so many times that we’re starting to feel bad for the old girl. Nefarian is dead, again, and Deathwing is going down. So we thought we were running out of black dragons, and we really didn’t want to do that because they’re a really great enemy and we really want to use them again in the future.

So players who play through the Cataclysm quests in the Badlands will remember a questline around this uncorrupted black dragon egg. It was free of the taint of the Old Gods. So what is going to happen is that black dragon egg eventually hatches and there is a black dragon prince who is pure – he’s not a minion of Deathwing; he’s not corrupted by the Old Gods. But that doesn’t mean he is necessarily a good guy. He’s kind of out for himself, he’s kind of got his own agenda, and to bring his plans to fruition he contacts the Rogue because Rogues are a little shady, always working in the shadows, always playing a number of games and has other things going on. The black dragon prince reaches out to the Rogue character and says “If you help me out, I’ll reward you with these increasingly more powerful daggers”.

How did the team decide to make a Rogue weapon rather than a tanking weapon for this legendary?
Ghostcrawler:
It’s really funny because every player out there wants and almost expects the next legendary is going to be for them. We try not to let it fall into too much of a pattern. We want legendaries to be something exciting, something that is earned, not something that you “deserve” because it is “your time to get one”. We thought that we liked part of the Rogue story. We thought that Rogues had maybe felt a little bit not special in this expansion with all the high damage numbers that were being done by classes like Mages. We thought it was just the right opportunity to make them shine and feel kind of special. Unless you count the bow, we haven’t done any class specific legendaries to this extent before, so we thought it would be fun to make the legendary quest VERY Rogue-themed. There will be stealthing and pickpocketing, things we know that a Rogue can handle. Then, the weapons themselves, their proc, we’re still building, but the idea is that their proc will tie in something very Rogue specific as well.

One of the problems with tanking weapons is that our tanks use very different weapons so we could say “Well this legendary weapon is going to be for the Warrior and Paladin and hopefully we’ll get to the Death Knight and Druid someday in the future”. With all the talk about a legendary weapon that transforms “you could have a 2-handed version or a 1-handed version”, too much of that I think starts to suck away what is really special about the legendary when it can turn into all these different things.

I guess the message to the players is don’t despair and don’t assume that you’ll never get a legendary for your guy. Hopefully we’ll eventually get them all, but we don’t want to keep it on such a timetable that players are able to predict “Okay, the Elemental Shaman legendary is coming in Patch 6.2 followed by the Hunter crossbow”.

How do you feel the Dungeon Journal worked out and how will you be releasing the information in it this time around?
Ghostcrawler:
We’re really happy with the feature overall. I know that it is a lot to ask the players to go research a fight completely before the first time they see it, but we really like the way you can link spells in your raid chat or something and say “Okay, I want you to handle this” and maybe when somebody doesn’t understand a mechanic very well you can explain it a little better that way. Like all of our features it will evolve over time but we’re pretty happy with how it turned out.

I know there was some concern amongst the most hardcore raiders that they didn’t want the surprise spoiled for them and they kind of wanted to do discover things on their own. Maybe in the future we won’t reveal all the mechanics on heroic, but that is something we’ll have to evaluate.

What achievements will be granted in the new Looking for Raid system and are they similar to existing ones or any new rewards?
Ghostcrawler:
We are very concerned about preserving the sense of accomplishment for the Normal and Heroic tier. We don’t want to over reward Looking for Raid. It is really there for people who want to see the content and want to feel like they’re raiding, but we don’t want it to be more attractive than traditional organized raiding.

We will offer some achievements; they’ll be very simple, nothing like you’ll be able to get in a Normal or Heroic. For example, it might just be “Kill the first four bosses” as one achievement and “Kill the second four bosses” as another achievement, something like that. We won’t, for example, put the legendary in the Looking for Raid tier. We are doing epic gems this time around as a drop in the raid and we may not have those drop in the Looking for Raid tier.

Where does the gear fit in terms of the new 5-mans? Will they be like ZA and ZG were or will they be a bit lower… where will they fit?
Ghostcrawler:
A little bit higher… we’re still debating the exact numbers but I think they’re probably slotting it maybe between Normal Firelands and Heroic Firelands. It will be slightly weaker than the Looking for Raid tier and obviously weaker than the remaining Deathwing raid tier.

And what about Looking for Raid gear… how powerful will it be?
Ghostcrawler:
Yeah, like I said, it should be slightly above the 5-player dungeon gear but not as powerful as the normal raid. The Deathwing raid is called The Dragon Soul; it should be weaker than The Dragon Soul tier.

Will the new Darkmoon Faire update change anything to Insane in the Membrane?
Ghostcrawler:
No, I don’t believe so. I think our plans for Insane in the Membrane in the future are to try in the future sometime to offer a brutally difficult achievement or Feat of Strength for players who are looking for it. But it makes us nervous to go mess with that one too much because some players were able to do it when it was really hard and we don’t want to risk making it easier or making it even harder or that sort of thing.

What kind of abilities does Deathwing have in his encounter and why doesn’t he just breathe fire on us?
Ghostcrawler:
Oh, the encounter is really, really cool. First of all, it is split into two fights, so boss seven is Deathwing and then boss eight is also Deathwing.

In fight seven, you parachute off of a gunship onto Deathwing’s back as he’s flying from Dragonblight towards the Maelstrom. You have pry these armor plates off of his back and fight off the corrupted blood that comes out. All the while, Deathwing himself is trying to shake you off his back and he’s going to do barrel rolls and things like that to try to dislodge you like the little parasite you are because he is so big.

The final Deathwing fight is really amazing. He crashes into the Maelstrom and then he kind of emerges out of it again. And he’s so big; he’s taking up this whole area. The players hop around from the little islands in the Maelstrom. So on the first little island they might be fighting one of his tentacles, and then they have to fly to the next island and now they’re fighting a leg and then they fly to the next island and they’re fighting another big tentacle. All the while the dragon aspects, Alexstrasza and Ysera and Nozdormu, are flying around and they’re also helping the raid in this fight. So Alexstrasza might breathe fire at an important moment or Nozdormu might stop time. They’re not helping you at random. There is a little bit of strategy as to how you use their abilities too, so they’re not just background, it’s actually a pretty critical mechanic of beating the fight.

Transmogrification question, when you transfer the appearance of something that is enchanted with say, Mongoose, will that effect go over?
Ghostcrawler:
No, the enchants won’t go over. You’ll have to enchant the weapon the same way you would a non-transmogrified weapon.

Right now leveling and gearing up alts takes a significant amount of time and investment. Are there any improvements coming in this area?
Ghostcrawler:
In 4.3, we’re actually increasing the leveling rate of Northrend pretty dramatically. We’re dropping the time it takes by a third. The players should notice that. Long-term we recognize that we definitely are going to have a problem at some point. If World of Warcraft’s character level is like 120 someday, it is asking an awful lot of players to hurry through all of that to get to the endgame if that is what they are interested in. We’re taking about various mechanics we might eventually do to help out with that, but in the short-term, just increase leveling rate in Northrend.

Okay, great. Thank you so much for your time!
This article was originally published in forum thread: Patch 4.3 Interview with Greg Street (Ghostcrawler) started by chaud View original post
Comments 607 Comments
  1. starbreaker's Avatar
    I am excited to be able to lvl alts even faster in NR now... oh wait I never leave the cities
  1. Clockwork Pinkie's Avatar
    "Epic gems will drop in the new raid (likely on Normal and Heroic only)." Sorry, that is hands down the best and funniest part. Sorry for all the people that have been stocking up on JC tokens for months now just to get....close to nothing (I'm sure they'll add something new to buy with tokens...they have to...)
  1. Goobaman's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Noxiye View Post
    ¨
    I think it's funny how some people don't realise that THIS IS PART OF THE REASON FOR THE ROGUE LEGENDARY.

    The Deathwing fight seems really cool, and if they do it well it can easily become the coolest fight in the game so far. Excited about the whole patch in general, too!
    I think it's funny how you think it's good design to give a class a fancy looking weapon in order to convince players to play said class.

    It not only contradicts their philosophy on compelling gameplay by saying "ohai we know we can't design rogues as a fun class, so here's a shiny orange weapon for ya!", but like everyone has already said, they straight reneged on their word to not design legendaries for a single class. Good show Blizz! You could probably achieve your goal of losing subs by just like randomly dc'ing players for the next few months til 4.3.

    owait...
  1. Grinco's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Noxiye View Post
    ¨
    I think it's funny how some people don't realise that THIS IS PART OF THE REASON FOR THE ROGUE LEGENDARY.

    The Deathwing fight seems really cool, and if they do it well it can easily become the coolest fight in the game so far. Excited about the whole patch in general, too!
    So those people leveling the rogue go and get the daggers from a guild which has no rogues and as the next expansion comes and the new legendary comes (which is obviously for warriors, retribution paladins and DK's because Blizzard hates Feral's and Enhancements in the legendarybusiness) they change their character again because they are just hunting for legendarys.

    Anyway, the patch itself sounds really cool and I am really looking forward to the raid. Gotta admit though that I am a bit disappointed as they decided not to make War of The Ancients a raid instance.
  1. lolo855's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Truantxoxo View Post
    Didn't they say at the start of Cataclysm they wanted to release multiple raids per tier. 7 bosses is fairly disapointing and the rogue legendary is lame as they have already had on in the past where other classes/specs havent.
    Exactly, Content wise this expack wasn't worth it's money, we never had so less content in an entire expack, this is getting ridiculous ...
  1. Suggs's Avatar
    lol , alot of raging shamans in this thread haha.
    Also whats with people saying they dont have a rogue in the raid bla bla bla..well if you dont then no one actually gets to do it, its not like they will make the rest of you do the questline and at the end of it have 2 daggers sat there to be disenchanted lol if you aint got a rogue just forget about it move on and kill the bosses.
  1. Rofty's Avatar
    Eight bosses are not enough for an entire tier of raiding. I thought the Firelands made that clear.

    It all sounds cool and all, but eight bosses are just not enough to keep people busy and interested. Sorry.
  1. Arkenaw's Avatar
    I wonder how many subs they are gonna lose in this patch
  1. Seezer's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Naidia View Post
    "Epic gems will drop in the new raid (likely on Normal and Heroic only)." Sorry, that is hands down the best and funniest part. Sorry for all the people that have been stocking up on JC tokens for months now just to get....close to nothing (I'm sure they'll add something new to buy with tokens...they have to...)
    It wouldn't make sense for you to be able to stack tokens for new epic recipes. Make new tokens, or even drop recipes in the raid. But the actual gems dropping? Bleh.
  1. rebecca191's Avatar
    Yuck at them being happy with how the healing model turned out. Guess I'm going shadow, if I even bother to buy the next expansion.
  1. Findme's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Lilfrier View Post
    Same. My group is:

    Warrior
    Warrior
    Priest
    Druid
    Warlock
    Warlock
    Hunter
    Shaman
    Death Knight
    Paladin

    Our bench is:

    Priest
    Paladin
    Mage
    PUG Hunter

    14 players, 0 rogues. All right, we have a owrthless legendary to never bother with. The REAL issue I have is that our moron warrior tank who is already a lazy turd will quit tanking, make the DK who hates tanking tank, then force his PvP rogue who he probably can't raid with into the raid so he can get the legendary once we have certain bosses on farm.

    They talk about bringing the player not the class? This ruins that worse than anything before. Scrubs will reroll bad rogues and bitch and moan to raid with them for the sweet orange weapons.
    I guess 70% of the guild aren't even able to obtain the legendary dagger, so who cares?
  1. Starscream101's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Srg56 View Post
    I wasn't aware that ranged rogues topped meters in TBC.
    It was BIS for rogue's at the time so yes they could use the hunter's bow at the time but hunters could not use the Warglaive's at the time. Poor Poor Rogue' sad that mage's had good dps so here you go dagger's feel better now?
  1. Opeth69's Avatar
    My biggest concern is the raid wide buff there going to implement for balancing ranged/melee, I really hope blizz doesn't make a habit of this in later xpacs as a way of making even more ranged friendly tiers but bolstering melee with raid wide buffs, its incredibly lazy on there part and kinda makes you as a melee feel gimp in every way. I suspect the class feedbacks for development ideas for the next xpac so hopefully they can address some of the obvious imbalances between melee and ranged there.
    Also why wasn't the legendary a 1h axe with a agi and str version? Would have made considerably more sense as rogues could have used it, wars as SMF, dks and enhance shammies keeping everyone happy but they decided to take the decision that I expect will likely alienate people even further.
  1. Goobaman's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Notos View Post
    Haha, true enough, although I don't really see how it's hard to predict what effect certain buffs would have on damage, at least in PvE. Obviously they're more concerned with PvP. They should just scrap arena and balancing classes would be easy as pie.
    I could not agree more. It feels like the more they preach about balance, the WORSE balance seems to get. I realize this is just a game, but they are full of shit when they stick to things they can quantify as reasons for nerfs and such, and just pull shit out of their asses for other things.

    For example, I can totally get behind their reasoning behind the nerfs. They had x% of players they hoped to see through at least normal, and possibly a y% through heroics. Those %s did not pan out, so they adjust difficulty to meet said quota. That makes logical sense to me.

    "We thought that Rogues had maybe felt a little bit not special in this expansion with all the high damage numbers that were being done by classes like Mages."

    Are you kidding me? Notice here how they reference a specific class. This statement has NOTHING to do with the legendary staff, because if that were so, they could have reference all the caster classes, so I wanna just get that out of the way. This is directly referencing a class with one of the top 3 damage specs in PVE so we're talking straight numbers. This is exactly saying "We can't figure out how to bring Rogues up to par, so lets just toss out a fancy meter stick and call it day."
    It's pathetic and deplorable.
  1. KrazyK923's Avatar
    I love how much Blizzard is causing these trolls to rage. I'd wager that probably 60-70% of these commenters don't even play the game anymore.
  1. Lilfrier's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Softique View Post
    I am kind of gutted that the two last tiers of Cataclysm only have/will have one raid in them though. I'd very much like to see at least 2 raids per tier.
    I agree. $40, same as Wrath. Wrath offered 10 levels, Naxx, Ulduar, OS, RS, Ony, Maly, ToC, 4-boss Vault, ICC, and a good chunk of dungeons to do. 3 raid tiers, plus 6 sub-tier raids. 9 raids total.

    Cataclysm offered 5 levels, a broken LFD finder that essentially pigeonholed you into 2 dungeons unless you wanted to do twice the work for valor, what MIGHT be a 3-boss BH, Tot4W, BoT, BWD, FL, DW raid, and DW 5-mans, same as ICC got. 3 raid tiers, plus 3 extra raids (I consider BoT and Throne extra just because they were smaller raids, while calling BWD the MAIN tier raid for the sake of numbers). 6 raids total. Also an ending world event.

    I don't get where the hell their planning went. There were talks of more smaller content patches, yet Wrath was the one to have the mini-raid events like OS, Maly, Ony, and RS. I like what Cata offered, but when you put it up against what was expected, it's somewhat of a big failure.
  1. KrazyK923's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by lolo855 View Post
    Exactly, Content wise this expack wasn't worth it's money, we never had so less content in an entire expack, this is getting ridiculous ...
    The 3000+ quests 1-60 revamp want a word with you.

    Dislike the short 80-85 but stop lying about the amount of content Cataclysm offered. It's by far the most of any expansion.
  1. Timoxi's Avatar
    I hope your daggers take 8 months to collect @ 10man and 6 months @ 25 man then you can feel my paint what iam having atm...
  1. Zulmoka's Avatar
    Didn't they mention in the past that they don't particularly like class specific quests lines ala Benediction and Rhokdelar...but then throw in this little tid bit for rogues.
    Not that I mind rogues getting a legendary at all really (I don't play one for the record), but it just seems rather counter productive to make the legendary of a final raiding tier a single class only. You'd think they would want to include perhaps Enh shaman (I mean you ARE assisting Thrall throughout the majority of the quest lines in the patch) or ferals in some way.

    The 5 mans do sound pretty interesting though. Just hope they don't burn out as fast as the ZA/ZG ones did.
  1. InfernalDark's Avatar
    ROFL @ pyrite ore stackers

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