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. Tomana's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by alabaster jones View Post
    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)
    My point exactly. A lot of players who left WoW went to other MMOs, but the said MMOs failed to keep them.
    So all those mysterious MMOs catering to hardcores are nothing but a mythical construct. Because no editor in its right mind will publish one, at least on US/EU market (Asia/Japan is more debatable).
  1. josykay's Avatar
    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.
    Hm, I am just wondering, which system they will use. Simple drops like during th BC era, which sucked pretty much, that stupid heavily based on luck system of Classic (Except Atiesh), where people cleared MC for over 50 times without seeing a simple Eye of Sulfuras? (If I count the Raggy-Kills of all my characters toghether, i killed him much more than 100 times without seeing that stupid Eye...)? Or that WotLK-System were the quesitem drops were not guaranteed?
  1. ruzdu's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Thedoc23 View Post
    Does the contest seems pretty stupid or am I missing something? Won't most of the people that know anything worth putting on the wiki already be on the beta?
    Exactly what I thought when I read about it.

    How should I post a good Input if I don't play the game yet ?
  1. trauma443's Avatar
    "Mists of Pandaria was the first push to appeal to more casual players and it was very successful."

    Whatever they smoke, i want it too. Really.
  1. Aeula's Avatar
    'High king' Mekkatorque ? Looks like varian is getting replaced.
  1. Xjev's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by trauma443 View Post
    "Mists of Pandaria was the first push to appeal to more casual players and it was very successful."

    Whatever they smoke, i want it too. Really.
    In this expo, they killed every single incentive to be a hardcore. Content? LFR see all content, Legendary? you can it there too. Gear? well you can get all in LFR and so on... Thats why WoW has an embarrassing rating in Twitch stream rankings, there is nothing to see you can experience all in LFR and WoW PvP is not fun to watch, WoW twitch streams are dominated by entertainers or chicks...
  1. kamuimac's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Xjev View Post
    In this expo, they killed every single incentive to be a hardcore. Content? LFR see all content, Legendary? you can it there too. Gear? well you can get all in LFR and so on... Thats why WoW has an embarrassing rating in Twitch stream rankings, there is nothing to see you can experience all in LFR and WoW PvP is not fun to watch, WoW twitch streams are dominated by entertainers or chicks...

    because the rest can actually enjoy this stuff in game instead only way accesible for them would be to watch some idiot on live stream showing it off ? .. oh wait maybe this was the purpose of lfr to keep casuals in game not on youtube -_-
  1. Berkhtar's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Monteverdi View Post
    I won't be playing Hearthstone now. I understand the business decision and I won't rant about it or anything, but I'm personally disappointed that the WoW TCG is shutting down.
    Crypto will release HEX in a few months. Alpha in September.

    They are direct competitors concerning Heathstone... normal that they stopped cooperation.

    And no TCG will last forever except Magic^^
  1. FixDestruNow'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.
    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.

    Blizzard are so full och s**t!!! In that case I have to congratulate you for the -2,5 million subscribers!!!! The game did great before you stuck your heads up your asses and changed it!!!

    You will never know how the game would be today if it stayed the same because your so full of s**t and scared like little girls for even trying!!!
  1. Tomana's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by FixDestruNow View Post
    Blizzard are so full och s**t!!! In that case I have to congratulate you for the -2,5 million subscribers!!!! The game did great before you stuck your heads up your asses and changed it!!!

    You will never know how the game would be today if it stayed the same because your so full of s**t and scared like little girls for even trying!!!
    While all the other MMOs chose a different path and had much more success... oh WAIT, there didn't, they all went F2P and/or died! Makes a lot of sense!
  1. FixDestruNow's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomana View Post
    While all the other MMOs chose a different path and had much more success... oh WAIT, there didn't, they all went F2P and/or died! Makes a lot of sense!
    And you don´t think WoW will go FTP??? Wake up will you! With this speed WoW will be a FTP game within 1 year!
  1. Tomana's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by FixDestruNow View Post
    And you don´t think WoW will go FTP??? Wake up will you! With this speed WoW will be a FTP game within 1 year!
    This is not the point. We don't know what would have happened if WoW took a different turn. What we do know however, is all other MMOs (including those who catered to a more hardcore audience such as Rift) failed miserably. So look at it in this way: WoW and EvE online are the two only games still alive in the world of P2P MMOs. What does it tell you about the evolution of the segment?
  1. FixDestruNow's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomana View Post
    This is not the point. We don't know what would have happened if WoW took a different turn. What we do know however, is all other MMOs (including those who catered to a more hardcore audience such as Rift) failed miserably. So look at it in this way: WoW and EvE online are the two only games still alive in the world of P2P MMOs. What does it tell you about the evolution of the segment?
    That´s how the game got popular in the first place. Seemed to work pretty good until they changed it??? Why change a winning concept?
  1. Tomana's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by FixDestruNow View Post
    That´s how the game got popular in the first place. Seemed to work pretty good until they changed it??? Why change a winning concept?
    The game got popular by being more casual than the competition (i.e. EQ2 and Lineage) at release. But the thing is, an MMO cannot be more casual than MOBAs and F2P MMos these days.
  1. FixDestruNow's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomana View Post
    The game got popular by being more casual than the competition (i.e. EQ2 and Lineage) at release. But the thing is, an MMO cannot be more casual than MOBAs and F2P MMos these days.
    WoW wasn´t even close to casual in vanilla compared to today. If it already was casual why change it into even more casual than it was then? Imo they took away a winning concept and flushed it down the toilet!
  1. Tomana's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by FixDestruNow View Post
    WoW wasn´t even close to casual in vanilla compared to today.
    It was more casual than the competition. Which was exactly the point.
    You may ask "well, why not design the game with, say, WOTLK level right from the start. The answer is: because the original devs didn't want to do it. It took BC, SWP, and probably a good quantity of smacks on the devs' heads from Finance to understand why that model was no longer defensible.

    Quote Originally Posted by FixDestruNow View Post
    If it already was casual why change it into even more casual than it was then?
    Because there was competition which was even more casual (not necessarily on MMO segment). And finally, because there was an evolution in the gamers' mindsets towards more "bite-sized" content games and a more wide variety of them rather than spending months (or even years) on one single game.
  1. Iseeyou's Avatar
    Diablo III is actually the game that had the most impact on WoW, other MMOs don't really make much of a measurable impact.


    Muahahahahahah
  1. alabaster jones's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomana View Post
    My point exactly. A lot of players who left WoW went to other MMOs, but the said MMOs failed to keep them.
    So all those mysterious MMOs catering to hardcores are nothing but a mythical construct. Because no editor in its right mind will publish one, at least on US/EU market (Asia/Japan is more debatable).
    Oh Rift was probably my pick of the bunch, but I loved my pvp on the side when I was still playing WoW, however Rift pvp made no sense to me because there wasn't that great horde/alliance rivalry. I personally stayed the longest with swtor even though most guilds had cleared the only raid content available within weeks of release, because the empire/republic rivalry was the closest I could get to that horde/alliance rivalry and produced some great pvp. I think if Rift had gone with an established IP it'd be huge, but the convoluted story with time travel smeared on top of it had me skipping quest text by level 30.

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