MMO-Champion - Developer Interviews, Blue Posts, WoW TCG Ends, Blue Tweets, HS Beta Contest, Comic
Lore, Mechanics and Beta Interview With Josh Mosqueira, Nephalem Trials Interview, Lylirra Tweets About the Expansion, RoS Concept Art

Beta Key Wave on Tuesday, World of Warcraft Trading Card Game Ends

Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews
Polygon had the chance to interview Tom Chilton at Gamescom. Gamebreaker recently had the chance to interview Greg Street and Ion Hazzikostas. You can find information from previous interviews on our Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews page.


Polygon Interview
  • Mists of Pandaria was the first push to appeal to more casual players and it was very successful. If they had not done so, the game would be in bad shape.
  • The audience has changed since Vanilla, so players wanting the game to stay the same wouldn't have had the same fun gameplay even if it did.
  • Mists of Pandaria had a lack of new experiences for the hardcore audience, which is something that will be focused on in future expansions.
  • It might make sense for WoW to go free to play at some point, but there is a lot of risk in doing so. Some games double their audience, but some don't or even if they do, the increase doesn't last after the initial interest wears off.

Misc
  • The expansion ends on a high note for the Alliance. The full story has not yet been told!
  • The population targets for Connected Realms are between an average and full realm, providing enough players that you can do PuG Flex mode raids from trade chat or see a real population in the capital city, but not so many people that you have a login queue.

Ability Bloat
  • Reducing the number of buttons is a goal, but that has to be balanced with changing classes too much.
  • Many players will be happy that they don't have to worry about Readiness anymore, but other players will miss it.
  • The base healing spell that healers are supposed to use until they gear up enough to have a significant amount of regen and throughput might not have a role in the game anymore. They are situational after you are no longer in greens and blues.
  • Mists of Pandaria removed some abilities, but ended up adding some of them back because of player outcry and legitimate concerns.
  • One of the mistakes made when doing a pass of abilities in Mists of Pandaria was removing very situational or fun abilities. For example, Eyes of the Beast doesn't take up a keybind or important action bar slot, but it is something that players miss now.
  • Players often ask for new abilities so that they are on par with other classes. For example, Paladins got a Kick like interrupt that they didn't have a few expansions ago, but maybe every class doesn't need an interrupt / disarm / silence.
  • Every time the level cap is raised in WoW, the devs feel like players are owed some new spells. It wouldn't be any fun to go 5 levels without adding new spells.

PvP
  • Trying to get rid of a lot of the silences didn't work out well, as no one was able to stop the healers. Changes to instant casts and silences are better suited for an expansion rather than a mid expansion patch.
  • There have been significant improvements to the PvP gearing system. The goal going forward is to make sure the best PvP gear comes from PvP and the best PvE gear comes from PvE. A little bit of crossover is fine, but no high end PvP player should feel like they have to go and farm for a certain item from PvE to remain competitive.
  • The Crowd Chose You!!! buff was added to shut down the really long drawn out fights in a reasonable way. The devs don't want players to change how they play arenas based on this buff, so if it has a detrimental effect it will be modified or removed.

PvE
  • High King Mekkatorque will come and clear a large number of troops in the Barracks section of the raid, while the Horde actually has to fight through them.
  • Nourshen has a Proving Grounds like component to the fight, as individual players must go through a role dependent trial at a certain point in the fight.
  • It is important that players feel like their actions matter in raids, not that they are just cogs in a machine. At the same time, you can push this idea too far when a single individual can wipe the raid or the fight requires every person to master an individual check. A good example of this is Heroic Dark Animus or Thaddius. Ideally a raid leader could choose the stronger players in the raid to handle the responsibility of the individual dependent mechanics.
  • Riposte was added to compensate for the weaker Warriors and Death Knight active mitigation mechanics compared to other tanks. It also helps to equalize tank damage output in the short term.
  • In Cataclysm, building a legendary out of drops that came on a predictable schedule every week removed some of the excitement from getting a legendary weapon. Legendary weapons in the future will likely be distributed similar to older legendary weapons and less like the Cataclysm legendary weapons.
  • If the devs were to use scaling to allow players to run older content at more appropriate item and character levels, it would not impact players who enjoy soloing old content.
  • There is also a difference between the nostalgia of older dungeons and raids and what it would be like to do them again as part of the core game. People think back to the fond memories from BWL or Molten Core, but it doesn't mean that it would be fun to do with a group regularly anymore as an incentive activity.
  • Heroic Scenarios worked out really well both in terms of the content and how they work, requiring you to find friends or other players to do the content with rather than just queuing.
  • Blizzard would like to get back to a place where mechanics matter a little bit more, as there is a big audience for that type of cooperation in smaller organized groups.



Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Resto Shaman - Patch 5.4 Issues and Concerns
Lore, the problem is that pets and all other non player units (Wild Imps, etc) all are healed by Healing Rain, and also do not count towards the DR cap divisor. IE, each Healing Rain tick is the same if 10 players and 0 pets are in it compared to 10 players and 10 pets on live. As a result, we are losing a great deal of overhealing on pets, guardians, etc. Nearly 50% of Healing Rain ticks in a typical 25 man raid on live seem to be on non players.

Normally, that overhealing isn't a factor. However, the amount of healing that Ancestral Guidance and Ascendance copy is based off total raw healing (effective + overheal). As a result, not having those "apparently useless" Healing Rain ticks on non player NPCs is going to result in a significant nerf to both cooldowns - estimated at 25-35%.

Just double checked on this; we actually prefer that AG and Ascendance don't become more effective with more insignificant pets around. We'd rather not have their effectiveness swing so wildly based on whose trinkets or set bonuses have procced (and so on).

This will obviously have an effect on the healing output of those couple of abilities, which falls back into what I was saying before -- we'll be watching closely how things work as we continue testing, and will be making further adjustments where necessary.

I am also going to have to disagree with the idea that ELW will end up on most people standing in a Healing Rain.
"Most" was a poor choice of words on my part. We still expect that a decent number of people in the Healing Rain will wind up with Earthliving active. Like I said though, we're watching it. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

World of Warcraft Trading Card Game
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We wanted to take a moment to thank all of you World of Warcraft Trading Card Game players out there for your support of the game for close to seven years.

We’ve had a blast working on it, and we knew that Set 21, Timewalkers: Reign of Fire would really grab everyone's attention. In addition to delivering original and fun gameplay mechanics and giving players a new way to explore the story of Warcraft III, it’s stuffed with every single one of the much-sought-after Loot cards from each of the previous sets.

Set 21 represents something else as well: it’s the climactic last set for the WoW TCG. We are grateful for being able to collaborate with the artists and everyone else who helped make this game a reality all these years. We're also thankful for all the players and retailers who've participated in the community globally. You made ripping open booster packs, discovering the wonders they held, and then building decks and taking them into battle a truly awesome experience.

Thank you all again for your support in making the WoW TCG one of the most epic trading card games of all time.

FAQ:

Q: What about my loot cards that I haven’t redeemed yet?
A: You can still redeem your loot cards on our website (simply follow the instructions there).

Q: Will there still be tournaments for the WoW TCG?
A: While there will not be official tournaments hosted by Cryptozoic or Blizzard Entertainment, players are able to continue organizing tournaments as long as they follow our tournament guidelines listed here.

Q: I’m an artist/tournament winner; who should I contact if I have any questions?
A: Please contact Cryptozoic for any follow-up inquiries.

Q: Will you be renewing the contract for the WoW TCG with another partner?
A: While we don't have any specific announcements to make at this time, we don't expect to renew the license for the WoW TCG.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Flex Raiding
If Flex is coming at the same pace as norm does this mean norm is going to be gated? Any info would be appreciated.
It's a little confusing, but technically flex uses a lot of the LFR mechanics, including wings and personal loot. (Source)

- "Flex released alongside Normal." MT (LFR instead of Normal) or Gated Normal Progression? #SoO
The plan ATM is the first wing of flex will open on day one so those guilds can try it out. All of normal will be open on day one. (Source)

So is SoO Normal gated or not?
Only traditionally in that you can't skip bosses or wings. (Source)
Flex will likely be gated, but wing 1 open on day 1 along with normal. Heroic on week 2, prob with LFR wing 1. Not set in stone. (Source)

Reputation / Questing
May sound counter-intuitive, but e.g. account reps would let us PLAY our alts vs grind a rep for the nth time
What rep do you need though, esp. in 5.4? (Source)

if we were able to do everything at our own pace (VP Cap, etc) The pace woulda been perfect
Not sure I agree. We received overwhelming feed in Cata that players didn't have enough to do. They finished too easily. Got bored. (Source)
Now maybe there's a way to let players play at different cadences that match their real life. (Source)
But we wouldn't want to reduce the content and let everyone just finish easily. Short term convenience at the expense of longevity. (Source)
the #1 problem I had with MoP is if I missed a day, there was no way to get it back. One of the big flaws w/locking so much
Yes, we set caps to save players from feeling they had to earn e.g. 20K valor a night, but too many felt like the caps were guides. (Source)
Systems like a cap on spending but not earning might help there. So are more open models, like the Timeless Isle. (Source)

World
Now we're arguing semantics. How massive is massive? Jupiter>Earth and Quasar>Earth both massive. The fun isnt there anymore.
Just how many people are in your CRZs? (Source)

Aren't Connected Realms just realm mergers without forcing name changes? Are there any other differences?
We think keeping your name and realm identity are important as is a returning player being able to find her home once again. (Source)

thoughts on switching connected realms over time if need be? The word permanent sounded pretty final.
It's permanent in the sense that if you have a guild from two realms, we don't want to up and break it. (Source)

PTR
10m gets 1.5 hour tests, 25m gets 30 mins? What gives? No way to test. How to find bugs in 30 mins?
It's more about feedback and tuning than bugs. Our QA team will find most of the bugs. (Source)
The first time an encounter goes out, we iterate on it a lot. In subsequent attempts, less so, as you might expect. (Source)

PvP
also, are there any considerations about removing/changing some of the cooldowns in game? PvP feels very CD-centric this xpac.
We think CDs that are always used together aren't very interesting game design. (Source)

Thoughts on battle fatigue having different values for 2s/3s i.e in 2s stronger BF. Could allow tuning to make 2s competitive?
We wrote off 2s for a long time as impossible to balance. We're changing our minds though. (Source)
They remain super popular, so maybe we just need to embrace them. (Source)

Any concern that increase rate of content is good for PvE but not PvP? PvP feels like a rollercoaster. Getting nauseous.
We feel like shorter seasons are generally good. What is your concern? (Source)

UI / Addons
Have you guys considered implementing a Mount Journal, that shows which mounts players are missing
yes. (Source)

Proving Grounds
why are proving gounds just for 90's and why no gear? If pg is to teach, then why not for lower levels?
We want to see how the feature is received first. It will need some more polish to be an effective teaching tool. (Source)

Hearthstone Wiki Beta Key Giveaway
Our friends over at Gamepedia are holding a Beta Key Giveaway for contributors of the Hearthstone Wiki. All you have to do to enter is make a useful edit to the Hearthstone Wiki. Winners will be chosen randomly, with each of your edits counting as an entry into the contest.

The giveaway is open to everyone, but due to legal restrictions, only residents of North America are eligible for the physical prizes. The prizes include a Beta Key, iPhone cases, a headset, mouse, and earbuds. Winners will be selected on September 2nd, 2013.



Penny Arcade - Hearthstone
Gabriel over at Penny Arcade seems to be enjoying the Hearthstone Beta as much everyone else!

This article was originally published in forum thread: Developer Interviews, Blue Posts, WoW TCG Ends, Blue Tweets, HS Beta Contest, Comic started by chaud View original post
Comments 78 Comments
  1. Shudder's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by arcaneshot View Post
    Don't be crass; we knew flex was being gated since the beginning. The confusion was over whether NORMAL was being gated.
    Um, no we didn't. That's why they asked if flex was being gated. Blizzard responded that it would be the same as normal mode. Then a couple weeks later they said actually it will be, nvm lulz.
  1. Crovaz's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by sociald1077 View Post
    You realize a metric crapton of those sub losses come from Asia, where the MMO market is changing very fast? The Micro transaction based MMO makes way more sense due to the the way they play, the internet cafe, time card based game style. It clashes with sub based "western" style of MMO's. I mean come on, its been known for a lor a while that the majority of sub for WoW were in Asia.

    As for the longing to go back to classic, have you ever gone to a private server and played classic? It SUCKS! Its slow, it painful, and there are way too few people to make it worth it.

    Stop trying to hang your hat on that ridiculous argument that ALL the losses are from Asia and Americans are signing up at record numbers. Please, give me a break. This expansion has been a colossal failure and Blizzard doesn't have the balls to confirm what everyone else already knows. 7.7 million being the current pop, is about plummet once everyone clears LFR Siege in two weeks time. Catering almost exclusively to casuals is going to be their downfall and it's too late to turn the tide. Anyone that ever liked a challenging video game, has high tailed it out to avoid the imminent implosion and influx of window lickers.

    And btw, Vanilla and TBC servers have been very successful for the most part, because they are fun and people are relieving the good times they used to have. On one server, I saw something like 25 active raiding guilds, a decent amount clearing AQ 40 and Nax 40.
  1. Spammeister's Avatar
    We'll see again in 12 months and down below 6 mil subs, if yer all singing the same tune (Sweden accounts don't matter!). I'll be back when Blizzard just stops the monthly $ and jumps to micro transactions.
  1. Tomana's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Crovaz View Post
    Catering almost exclusively to casuals is going to be their downfall and it's too late to turn the tide. Anyone that ever liked a challenging video game, has high tailed it out to avoid the imminent implosion and influx of window lickers.
    And where did they go? Because, you know, if they all went somewhere, there must be other MMOs catering to hardcore and featuring million-scale populations. Yet, last time I checked, there are nowhere to be found. Granted, I didn't check MMOs published by Martian editors but I'm pretty sure I won't find such a game there, either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Crovaz View Post
    And btw, Vanilla and TBC servers have been very successful for the most part, because they are fun and people are relieving the good times they used to have. On one server, I saw something like 25 active raiding guilds, a decent amount clearing AQ 40 and Nax 40.
    25 40 mans guilds. That makes... 1000 people. Now that must explain all the sub losses!
    /sarcasm
  1. Shudder's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomana View Post
    And where did they go? Because, you know, if they all went somewhere, there must be other MMOs catering to hardcore and featuring million-scale populations. Yet, last time I checked, there are nowhere to be found. Granted, I didn't check MMOs published by Martian editors but I'm pretty sure I won't find such a game there, either.


    25 40 mans guilds. That makes... 1000 people. Now that must explain all the sub losses!
    /sarcasm
    Because an mmo player is only allowed to play mmo's.
  1. Ealyssa's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Salech View Post
    So, WoW loses subs and people say "Asia don't count", yet when WoW was at was it 12 million subs, Asia did count, what the flying fuck?.
    Because before they paid a sub, but now wow is and will even more switch to F2P in asia ?!?! How is that hard to understand ?

    How can sub loss matter when their is no more sub option in said part of the world ?
  1. Tomana's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Shudder View Post
    Because an mmo player is only allowed to play mmo's.
    Of course not. But other possibilities (MOBAs and FPS mostly) are quite different segments and reward slightly different things other than being hardcore MMO-wise.
  1. Kektonic's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Spammeister View Post
    We'll see again in 12 months and down below 6 mil subs, if yer all singing the same tune (Sweden accounts don't matter!). I'll be back when Blizzard just stops the monthly $ and jumps to micro transactions.
    Judging by your history of doing nothing but complaining about Blizzard I'm sure they're falling all over themselves in a desperate attempt to have you back.
  1. Lemons's Avatar
    "The expansion ends on a high note for the Alliance. The full story has not yet been told!"

    All Alliance players will find a heads-up gold piece on the streets of Stormwind.
  1. Senedra's Avatar
    hearthstone beta keys D: want so bad >.<
  1. Cognitiion's Avatar
    the #1 problem I had with MoP is if I missed a day, there was no way to get it back. One of the big flaws w/locking so much
    Yes, we set caps to save players from feeling they had to earn e.g. 20K valor a night, but too many felt like the caps were guides.


    They made us grind 6,000 valor points for the damned legendary cloak, capping at 1000 a week. 6000 valor is exhausting to grind in 1 time, but it's stupid as shit to cap off a quest for 6 weeks just because you think the player base will overindulge and burn themselves out. What if i had an assload of free time and I wanted to work towards it? They set the cap to artificially prolong the questline, trying to make it feel more "epic". Too many felt the caps were guides because they WERE guides in the legendary quest.
  1. alabaster jones's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomana View Post
    And where did they go?
    I'm an ex-hardcore raider, after my friends/guild all quit, we checked out the other MMOs (swtor, lotro, rift, guild wars 2, etc, cleared all content and moved on), planetside 2, borderlands 2. Pretty sure all my friends/ex guildies still check this site and monitor the game, though we aren't playing.
  1. snowcrash512's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kektonic View Post
    I'd like to know on what planet you live on that you consider 7.7 million people still paying to play a 9 year old game "not successful". Actually better yet I'd rather not because that means I'd have to lose even more IQ points reading another one of your ignorant posts.
    Yea, people can whine and scream and cry all they want about how MoP killed WoW, just like Cata killed WoW... in the end it really has nothing to do with the content, the style and direction of play changes often enough that it cant explain the steady decline the game has seen the last couple years. What does explain it is the simple fact that people have been playing for close to a decade and are just ready to move on, starting a new char. has been sooooooo streamlined that even new players can see all there is to see in a much muuuuuch shorter time frame compared to 5 years ago. A lot of the diehards are simply moving on with their lives and the new people coming in are burning through the game much more quickly than in the past so they don't stick around all that long either, its not really any singular cause, its just the fact that the game cant sustain such high sub numbers forever.

    Also the fact that the market has changed quite a bit over the years, where WoW used to be one of very few quality MMOs on the market, now there are mannny to choose from, and quite a few of them are F2P which is a lot more attractive to new players, why drop 50 bucks to get up to date on the game and expansion and another 15 a month when this other game over here costs nothing to play and has surprisingly high production values. That's something that WoW is going to have to address sooner rather than later.
  1. Durandro's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Cognitiion View Post
    the #1 problem I had with MoP is if I missed a day, there was no way to get it back.
    That's been the case forever though.

    Specific to dailies, its been the case since TBC. Why point out MoP as being the one with the problem?
  1. Nekosom's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Crovaz View Post
    Stop trying to hang your hat on that ridiculous argument that ALL the losses are from Asia and Americans are signing up at record numbers. Please, give me a break. This expansion has been a colossal failure and Blizzard doesn't have the balls to confirm what everyone else already knows. 7.7 million being the current pop, is about plummet once everyone clears LFR Siege in two weeks time. Catering almost exclusively to casuals is going to be their downfall and it's too late to turn the tide. Anyone that ever liked a challenging video game, has high tailed it out to avoid the imminent implosion and influx of window lickers.

    And btw, Vanilla and TBC servers have been very successful for the most part, because they are fun and people are relieving the good times they used to have. On one server, I saw something like 25 active raiding guilds, a decent amount clearing AQ 40 and Nax 40.
    25? Wow that's like 1000 people! Message received, now we know where all the subs have gone!

    Wow is fading because it's old. Not because of casuals. Heck, people ignore the fact that Wow reached the peak of its popularity in Wrath, which was when the casual push began. It was a rousing success for them. And now its over, because people no longer want to pay a monthly fee to play a 10 year old game. Oh wait, 7.7 million people still do. Guese they must be doing something right then.

    Edit: wow tumona, did not see the identical comment. Great minds I guess, right?
  1. Todd Duval's Avatar
    Mists of Pandaria was the first push to appeal to more casual players and it was very successful. If they had not done so, the game would be in bad shape.
    What? MoP was the opposite of that. o_O

    The ability bloat problems they try to blame the players for, when of course it's their own fault for making the change.

    I don't even want to go over the rest of the 'poo' they're trying to spoon feed people.
  1. Shaylia's Avatar
    Blizzard is ignorant, say mist is succesfull lawl, losing more subs is succesfull then you deffently working on to kill your game so gues blizzard way of succes is to kill wow to make room for the new one.

    Tallents redesign failed, its more boring the old one, easier way people twke be same tallents and no one is unique. And if most people picks one favor other 2 tallents then it must be nerfed so other tallents are picked. Epic fail old tallents where beter in my opinion.

    Dailies way to many fucking dalies enough said.

    Pvp is ruined for dedicated healers, we heal less then dps does damage or heal worse then hybrid dpsers, the amount of cc is unrealisitc and no longer require skills, depents wich combo got best cc to work with and you are fucked, battle faticrap is stupid and even resliance is out of control.
    There is so much wrong with mop in pvp what was beter and more fun in other expansion, this expansion totally ruined my pvp experiance wich was the most fun for me because lately got not much time to do serious pve.

    Mop is just fail, scrap this and word back from cata like mop never happend and just a emerald dream nightmare we had.

    And sorry for my not perfect english.
  1. Getreuer's Avatar
    Every time the level cap is raised in WoW, the devs feel like players are owed some new spells. It wouldn't be any fun to go 5 levels without adding new spells.
    Heeeeellll yeaaaaaaaaaaaahhh!!
  1. Girlyman's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Cognitiion View Post
    the #1 problem I had with MoP is if I missed a day, there was no way to get it back. One of the big flaws w/locking so much
    Yes, we set caps to save players from feeling they had to earn e.g. 20K valor a night, but too many felt like the caps were guides.


    They made us grind 6,000 valor points for the damned legendary cloak, capping at 1000 a week. 6000 valor is exhausting to grind in 1 time, but it's stupid as shit to cap off a quest for 6 weeks just because you think the player base will overindulge and burn themselves out. What if i had an assload of free time and I wanted to work towards it? They set the cap to artificially prolong the questline, trying to make it feel more "epic". Too many felt the caps were guides because they WERE guides in the legendary quest.
    Maybe they should have done that same thing that's done with TF2 drops.
    Where the amount of drops you can have one week is carried to the next one if you didn't play, or didn't get all the drops.
  1. kamuimac's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Crovaz View Post
    And btw, Vanilla and TBC servers have been very successful for the most part, because they are fun and people are relieving the good times they used to have. On one server, I saw something like 25 active raiding guilds, a decent amount clearing AQ 40 and Nax 40.
    vanilla servers are only succesfull cause htey are f2p , half of them have xp and drops boosted x4 if not x8 and what is most important - F2P - so ofc people who want to relive this feeeling which they had few years ago without spending any $$$ jump there for fun times . (again most important factor - without spending any $$$) gode half of people i know started on private servers only to switch to world server cause of how full of bugs and stuff prvates were - also how dead the world really was outside your guild.

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