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. Farabee's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ripslyme View Post
    what the hell do your alts need gear if you dont raid with them ???

    YOU WANT GEAR ON YOUR ALT ???? Raid with it... NOTHING will change
    I do raid on my alt. In our main raid, actually.

    Main is a prot paladin. Since Ret isn't competitive, I swap out on Heroic Majordomo every other week to my fury warrior alt, which means I can't pug it...or I can pug up to that boss. Which means I'm stuck at the 3 pieces of T12 that I can obtain with VP. Not to mention the melee DPS that are gearing up boomkin alts so we can kill heroic Rag. Plenty of guilds do this, and having tier drop solely from bosses will force players to do a lot of alt-runs they don't really want to do and burn out faster just so they can have the proper class comps for the harder fights.

    You'd rather open your mouth and look cool though.
  1. Samaramon's Avatar
    I like how even after all the AMAZING SCREENSHOTS AND INFORMATION, people still find something to whine about.
  1. bregtann's Avatar
    The screenshots look effing SPECTACULAR. Those alone are getting me really excited for 4.3.
  1. Klahkeme's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Nraktja View Post
    Sorry if it is posted already but Murozond is an anagram for Nozdormu.
    In the Thrall book by Golden, it was confirmed that Nozdormu is the leader of the infinite dragonflight. At least, he is in some particular timeway, he is. Murozond is possibly who he becomes.
  1. Kataxu's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Uruzihc View Post
    Let me get this straight, they just did an entire expansion that was incredibly element based, but they couldn't (or wouldn't) find a way to make enhance shammys get some love and finally have a legendary? So much hate..
    Enhance shammies could use Hand of Rag.
  1. Maak's Avatar
    People complaining about Tier 13 being available only through The Dragon Soul are actually making me laugh. So you casual people were complaining about gear being so easy to obtain since cleaning the Zandalari instances 7 times a week was enough to gear up as fast as raiding people. I actually love this "back to basis" thing. It'll help distinguish people deserving their gear and people gearing up without deserving the gear (supposedly with the Dragon Soul bosses being some kinda challenge). It was about time this change was made.
  1. ZeroWashu's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Treadstone View Post
    I've been playing WoW since the beta back in early 2004.

    My main is a warrior tank.

    We haven't had a legendary since the Molten Core days. And I don't care.

    Legendaries don't matter to me. I have plenty of epics. Orange text does nothing for me. I don't have an epeen.
    What people fail to understand is, they won't matter when the next expansion drops. What stopped my raiding in its tracks was the dick move made by Blizzard in Cata where iLevel excluded all that we spent time on trying to obtain in Wrath. I know why they had to do it, they could not afford a repeat of where much of BCs over the top gear sufficed people until 76 if not 80 in some cases. Still, all this whining and bitching over items that in less than a year will take up bank space only is hilarious.
  1. Galaddriel's Avatar
    /squeals like a little school girlBlizzard listens AND delivers!
  1. davep's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Lemons View Post
    "Melee classes will be getting a buff that is only active in the new raid to help them compete with ranged classes." What in the hell is this supposed to mean? And thank god we'll be getting a matching set of daggers! I honestly hope that they make sub or assassination the best spec. Combat has been dominant for too long imo.
    What it means is currently good ranged top the meters (Demo/Affliction Locks, Boomkins, SPriests, Arcane Mages, Hunters and Elemental Shamans), and with this melee will actually be able to compete. They don't want to give a overall buff because then it would screw up PVP damage and then it would have to be reworked again.
  1. Bauwagast's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by MatteoG View Post
    More legendary daggers? Why not introduce something we HAVEN'T seen before? e.g. a shield... Doesn't make sense to me.
    What other legendary daggers have there been? If you're referring to the one in the Kael'Thas fight in Tempest Keep, then I'll have to inform you that there was also a legendary shield in that fight!

    And to the people that cry out that rogues have had way too many legendaries. No. We've had Warglaives and that's pretty much it. Just because Thoridal was best in slot for us, for the stats, it shouldn't have gone to a rogue, when it could benefit a hunter much more. Thunderfury was a tanking legendary that lasted well into TBC. It was good for rogues as well, I guess, but much better for tanks. 90% of the recipients of Thunderfury were tanks in my experience, on my server.

    And rogues being the class that has had the most legendaries: Try warriors... Sulfuras, Thunderfury, Warglaive(s), Shadowmourne. There are probably also some casters that are well up there with Atiesh, Valanyr and the most recent legendary, Dragonwrath. So stop the orange envy! It'll probably be a couple of expansions before rogues will get another shot at an orange!
  1. Turboface's Avatar
    Murozond has the coolest dragon skin in my book, I'd love to have such a mount.
  1. Navitas's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kataxu View Post
    Enhance shammies could use Hand of Rag.
    GC hates us (ehnance shammys) cos we can destroy Frost Mages...
  1. Belial's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by MatteoG View Post
    More legendary daggers? Why not introduce something we HAVEN'T seen before? e.g. a shield... Doesn't make sense to me.
    Erhmm we actually haven't seen legendary daggers before (besides the one that was "dropped" for the Keal'thas fight in tempest keep, but you didn't get to keep).. so it IS something we haven't seen before.
  1. Faunwea's Avatar
    Who the hell has time to level/play on alts anymore when raiding takes up so much time itself?
  1. Herecius's Avatar
    That screenshot of Ysera is kindof awe inspiring. I love it. I want a it as a wallpaper.
  1. Kayhos's Avatar
    Looks awesome, ready to kill the bastard.
  1. Navitas's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Bauwagast View Post
    We've had Warglaives and that's pretty much it.
    Arguably the best look weapon/set of weapons this game will EVER see. Yeah, tough on the old Rogues. Ally Enhance Shammy here, wishing I had the bad luck of only having one awesome set of legendary weapons. AND they could have the bow, 3 sodding orange slots verse my zero. And i'm not even including Vanilla and these new Daggers. Jeez.
  1. Znuff's Avatar
    Seriously? Epic Gems are "random" drops?Here comes the flood of useless Green, Yellow and Blue epic gems straight to trash.
  1. dim's Avatar
    good thing that i stoped after 50 stack of pyrite ore, i guess all will go into bars and then into truegold....
  1. Bauwagast's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Navitas View Post
    Arguably the best look weapon/set of weapons this game will EVER see. Yeah, tough on the old Rogues. Ally Enhance Shammy here, wishing I had the bad luck of only having one awesome set of legendary weapons. AND they could have the bow, 3 sodding orange slots verse my zero. And i'm not even including Vanilla and these new Daggers. Jeez.
    Oh yes no doubt, I love the looks of the warglaives, and I'm not saying I don't appreciate them, but again just because we've had a chance at getting some legendaries, like Thoridal, we'd only take it for the stats, and not to pew pew ourselves into the top of the dps meters from afar because that was just the way to go when having that bow! Only selfish idiot rogues would take a ranged weapon over a hunter if one was around to use it.

    If we have to include vanilla, then I believe I've seen enhancement shammies run around pwning with Sulfuras. With Warglaives, I remember my guilds own enhancement shammy cried that he couldn't use swords, and that's understandable, though he'd have stolen aggro in no time if he'd been able to wield them in TBC.

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