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. hornfreak's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Bombkirby View Post
    This is one of the biggest updates ever....and you're whining. Some of you REALLY need to go out and deal with the WORST of the WORST so you can actually be greatful for what we're getting.
    worst of the worst hmm i did a tour in afganistan and iraq what did you do i think i can type what i want
    i think the new heroic 5 mans sound cool i wish there were more bosses in the raid but if the deathwing encounter is as good as im hopeing
    it will be ill be happy
  1. Collected's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Karshda View Post
    Wait, wait, wait they are buffing melee in the new raid? What the hell, that makes no sense to me at all. Those fights better favor ranged heavily then.
    It's against Deathwing.. who has wings..
  1. Micfeind's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Bombkirby View Post
    This is one of the biggest updates ever....and you're whining. Some of you REALLY need to go out and deal with the WORST of the WORST so you can actually be greatful for what we're getting.
    hey I'm allowed to my own opinion just like anyone else.
  1. JHuggz's Avatar
    Why the hell are rogues getting another legendary???? And it's class specific to rogues only? Such bullcrap.
  1. Ohforfsake's Avatar
    So, it is tru then.. The class that have had most legendaries of all has gotten yet another legendary. Im mighty sick of blizzard by now. Yes, of course, we do understand there should be no pattern to legendaries, but for * sake, there are some classes that must be completely epxelled form the queue because of sheer numbers of legendaries they've already had. The number 1 of them is definitely rogue. Giving them yet another new legendary is like spitting in the face of all the other classes that havent had one yet. Especially feral which never had anything legendary available.. Or both the shield-wearing classes.. So, the rogues didnt feel good because of mages high dps you say so you had to toss them a bone? How about all these specs and classes that were even below rogues on dps all this time? Screw it. Take your new toy and choke on it.
  1. Collected's Avatar
    Interesting that he refers to 'we’ll see how things look after another expansion or two' considering what we know from the Blizzard product slate about 2 more expansions before titan.
  1. Bombkirby's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by hornfreak View Post
    worst of the worst hmm i did a tour in afganistan and iraq what did you do i think i can type what i want
    i think the new heroic 5 mans sound cool i wish there were more bosses in the raid but if the deathwing encounter is as good as im hopeing
    it will be ill be happy
    They said 6 bosses and then Deathwing. And Deathwing is supposed to be 3+ encounters (loot in between each phase). So thats about 9 or more bosses. Depending on how many phases DW has.

    EDIT: Okay apparently 7 and 8 are DW. Thats different from the Joystick article. But the 9th is probably an optional heroic boss!
  1. Nocturnes's Avatar
    In 3 expansions I see this in my glass ball:Revamped Firelands, BWD & ICC. Am i wrong to speculate this. Hey, ilvl600 while being lvl 120. Just pro imo....just pro. Edit: Gear will not look the same, paintbuckettool seems to fix such things.
  1. Seregon's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Seezer View Post
    Is he talking about the recipes? Or the actual gems. If it's the actual gems, that blows donkey shit.
    Just like in good ol' TBC times.
  1. Baphomette's Avatar
    'We'll make daggers work for Combat rogues, just so Enhance shamans feel even more left out'
  1. TheSilentOne's Avatar
    ''Right now leveling and gearing up alts takes a significant amount of time and investment'' ....I lol'd.
  1. Tanthalus's Avatar
    awesome - they promised to remove class specific items and gear - and then bow to the river of tears from rogues.
  1. aikouka's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Karshda View Post
    Wait, wait, wait they are buffing melee in the new raid? What the hell, that makes no sense to me at all. Those fights better favor ranged heavily then.
    I wonder if it relates to things like how melee are forced to fight in the front during certain fights. In some of the encounters, the bosses have a buff/debuff that also makes it so they cannot parry. Without that, it's a DPS loss for us to be in front like that. There are also some fights with a decent amount of boss movement in them that become a pain for melee. Boss movement is the #1 reason why I hate the Ascendant Council fight in BoT.... It's such a frustrating fight when you feel like you're spending way too much time not smackin' stuff with your weapon(s)!
  1. Alja's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Seezer View Post
    Is he talking about the recipes? Or the actual gems. If it's the actual gems, that blows donkey shit.
    QFT - Not at all excited about the prospect of gems only dropping in raids. Why the hell did I level a jewelcrafter if I can't actually jewelcraft on her >.< I'm really hoping that was only part of it, and that they will in fact be prospectable from pyrite ore as well, or hell even available via VP or something.
  1. Goobaman's Avatar
    This just reeks of laziness.

    Rather than fix the numbers and tweak the classes to actually bring rogues THEMSELVES to a competitive level, they say fuck it, let's take the easy way out and hand them a meter stick (as in DPS meter, mind).

    Rather than tweak the encounters so that melee and ranged can both perform where they need to be, they saw fuck it, just make the encounter ranged-friendly, and toss melee a 10k DPS lead right off the bat so they can contribute to the raid.

    Keep this up, and no amount of legendaries, or any other bone you think to toss your paying subscribers is going to be enough. You are going to continue to lose subscriptions, mark my words.
  1. Notos's Avatar
    Those 5-man instances sound pretty cool, can't wait to try them. LFR should revitalize the pugging population that was so dominant in Wrath. Does anyone remember if they mentioned whether it would work with all raids or just the new tier? I bet both rogues in my raid group are pretty excited about the new legendary. I'm insanely curious about the lore associated with this new black dragon and so glad they decided to expand on the lore from the Badlands quests.

    Quote Originally Posted by Goobaman View Post
    Rather than fix the numbers and tweak the classes to actually bring rogues THEMSELVES to a competitive level, they say fuck it, let's take the easy way out and hand them a meter stick (as in DPS meter, mind).
    You know that's pretty funny, because I thought the easy way to buff rogues would be to just buff any of their passive spec bonuses or throw a huge mastery buff at them. But you're totally right, designing a quest chain and a legendary item from scratch sounds way way easier than that. .../sarcasm off
  1. SmokeyIllidan's Avatar
    Go fuck yourself Ghostcrawler.
  1. Mechazod's Avatar
    That Endtime raid sounds awesome. I always wanted to see a Caverns of Time instance that takes place in the future. I also like how the third 5-man and the last raid do not seem to be contained into some giant fortress or cave and are all over the place.
  1. Joels's Avatar
    Ugh for fuck sake blizzard, rogues don't need to feel special. If they did, they can just go into A BG and mess with people. I can only imagine what these daggers are going to do to PvP. This isn't new or exciting its bollox and there needs to not be legendarys limited to 1 class only, its ridiculous. Also, Really... 7/8 Bosses AGAIN in A Raid? FOR THE LAST RAID OF THE EXPANSION AT THAT. Firelands is stupid for only having 7 bosses, I guess they are suiting the raids now for the casuals and the LFR finder so people can finish it in 1 sitting rather then several nights how its suppose to be done. Welcome to World of Warcraft, the Newest game added to Facebook! Chat with your friends while you slay monsters for phat lewtz with little to no effort.
  1. greyghost'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.
    It means: "Hello. Melee DPS cannot compete with Ranged DPS in PvE, but it's the reverse in PvP and we can't figure out how to reconcile the two, beyond a stupid bandaid buff in the final raid teir.... because we would rather have DPS unbalanced in PvE than in PvP because ARENAS/TOURNAMENTS/PROGAMING."

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