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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.


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)

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)

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)

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. Nerraw's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by khomyaque View Post
    End of MoP: 7.7 million.
    I guess 5.4 doesn't count towards Mists at all then...

    There's at least half a year still to go on this expansion, probably a bit more.
  1. khomyaque's Avatar
    You're definitely on some other planet. Cuz on our planet Earth WoW is getting xpacs every 2 years with huge changes in content, new modes, new people playing and new people working on the game.
  1. sociald1077's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by khomyaque View Post
    End fo WotLK: 11.5 million.
    End of MoP: 7.7 million.
    Hell yeah, soooo very successful.

    Guys if you would be doing great job with maintaing fun gameplay while evolving the game, nobody would complain and ask the game to turn to Vanilla again. There won't be "vanilla server please" threads every freaking week. Just quit turning the game into microtransaction-based casualfest with subscription. Don't go back to vanilla/TBC, go back to the fun gaming experience.
    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.
  1. Brondo's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by kiyal View Post
    What. When people complained about Alliance getting the short end of the stick, it was about the lore.. not trash perks. This is a dumb decision that will just go forgotten by Alliance players and will just be annoying for the Horde.
    Yeah, I am a bit annoyed I'm going to have more trash to clear.

    Would be hilarious to see guilds racing to world first faction change to alliance so they can skip 5 minutes of trash though.
  1. khomyaque's Avatar
    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.
    I did. I like it, although it's definitely not the game for a broader audience nowadays. That's why I'm telling that there's no point in making wow as hard and tough as vanilla. Just add some more challenging content, more fun, more adventures and exploration instead of railed daily grind with occasional low-quality unvoiced cutscenes. And please no more faceroll-grinding dungeons/scenarios/raids, boring as hell but mandatory for a valor/charm farm.
  1. Salech's Avatar
    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?.
  1. Robert3620'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.

    Um then why is it the casual players that have been quitting? Why is it the social and casual guilds that have been getting destroyed this expansion?

    Mists of Pandaria had a lack of new experiences for the hardcore audience, which is something that will be focused on in future expansions.

    Well it's time for the casuals not to just walk but run away.
  1. madrox's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Nirty999 View Post
    So much bullshit .. no wonder wow is losing more and more subs .. these developers have no idea what they are doing.
    In total agreement. I'm off to play that other Western MMO with 7.7 million subs, at least those guys know what they are doing. Oh, wait.
  1. Rolly's Avatar
    "Mists of Pandaria was the first push to appeal to more casual players and it was very successful."

    Uuuummmmm losing 3 million subscriptions was a success???

    You gotta love corporate PR.
  1. alkyd's Avatar
    For people who talk about how unsuccessful WoW is, why don't you apply to Blizz if you have all the know-how on keeping subs.
  1. McFrotton's Avatar
    The general opinion about hearthstone is really good....all I hear and read everywhere is how fun, simple and addictive it is.
  1. Santoryu's Avatar
    Polygon has no clue what he's talking about.
  1. Isotope's Avatar
    I think what a lot of people are missing is the odd comment of how something can be successful after losing millions of subscribers. You can't turn around and say "well most of it was china" then laud the comments of "WoW has over 12million." It's time people face the fact that MoP crippled WoW, servers are dying and more and more people quit each day and nobody is replacing them.

    The only way to fix this is to abandon this model of 9 raid modes and go back to what worked before. Making the game alt friendly and not feeling like a chore.
  1. Mousa'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.
    I love to read all the ppl who actually respond to Blizzard like its here, with stats and everything! Its hillarious!
    On my part, I still enjoy the game and I know that probably I will after too! I wish some more ppl will stop playing also, not because I "hate the game" but because more quiters, haters and whiners will go away, and this game might become even more beautiful once again! Environment and quality community is the alpha and omega of an MMO, and I wish WoW's to become better!
  1. ElDoorO's Avatar
    Several opinions here.

    - Loss of Sub's doesn't mean they weren't a success with the casuals. I would gauge success with casuals as how much pvp and LFR went up because of those changes. A "real" author would care more about people reading his story entirely... than the people who buy 4 books and read the first few chapters and go 'meh'. I might relate them to the same. Except unlike books, there is a skill barrier in WoW. They lowered it and more people got to see the story.
    - I'm disappointed at their happiness with PvP. Guild Wars 2 has it best in my opinion. You scale up to max level, get all the spells, get all the gear. Structured, pvp of course, not wvwvw. I think this would do WoW wonders -- would also be a better measurement at which classes are OP or UP at PvP.
    - Wish they could learn the reverse of scaling is possible. Scale UP if you're a lower level. Allow a level 30 rogue to run a level 90 dungeon. Until they can work on their leveling process and make it less miserable -- you're separating players who might have an interest.. but lose it because "wow, 60 more levels is a long way" because what's "fast leveling" for you may be "pathetically slow" for a new comer or someone on their 8'th alt. Then again, Blizzard has already taken the stance of "alts are bad" kind of attitude, as best as I can tell.
    - Those who say 8 million subs and they game is doing great are failing to look at the big picture. They've LOST a lot of subs and CONTINUE to lose subs. At what point will you concede the game is NOT doing great? 5 million? 3 million? 100k? Will they have lost too much to be fixable? Those who say it's "successful" or "not successful" are arguing a silly conversation, of course. They are NOT arguing about the CURRENT STATE of the game -- rather the net result of it. That conversation will not win anything. The game is healthy'ish at the moment.. but is losing people at an unprecedented rate. They should address this. Perhaps they are, perhaps they are not.
    - Wish casters could move without any penalty at all. Perhaps melee need some sort of buff instead of casters getting the nerf. This will likely be a polarized opinion. Either great or terrible. Eh. Whatever.
    - I'm still bent out of shape about the warlock nerfs. I have no confidence in their development ability. They couldn't get it right in 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, why should I trust them in 5.4? I got no choice.
    - Again, I'd like to re-iterate, I think they would be wise to look in to how GW2 handles some of their stuff. GW2 sucks at End-Game, certainly, but other aspects are amazingly fantastic. Like scratching an itch WoW gave you that.. is so nice to be scratched.
  1. Shudder's Avatar
    "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."

    There is your fist pump moment. Now stop crying all the time. As for the ridiculous posts on gating of flex rating. No, no it isn't confusing. You said flex would be at the same pace as normal, and you lied. It's gated, which you said it's not. Words are hard.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerraw View Post
    I guess 5.4 doesn't count towards Mists at all then...

    There's at least half a year still to go on this expansion, probably a bit more.
    Hahahaha you think it will go up? You're so adorable!
  1. Kazuchika's Avatar
    Oh poor Flex.. they'll have to just wait like everyone else who can't handle structured raiding.
  1. Shudder's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kektonic View Post
    Oh poor Flex.. they'll have to just wait like everyone else who can't handle structured raiding.
    I don't care. I'm a heroic raider so I'll just be running it for a couple weeks till I get tier and trinkets. I just find it amusing that they said it wouldn't be gated, then when they were asked to elaborate they said it was, "confusing" and then went on to say yes it would be gated.
  1. arcaneshot's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Shudder View Post
    As for the ridiculous posts on gating of flex rating. No, no it isn't confusing. You said flex would be at the same pace as normal, and you lied. It's gated, which you said it's not. Words are hard.!
    Don't be crass; we knew flex was being gated since the beginning. The confusion was over whether NORMAL was being gated.
  1. MasterHamster's Avatar
    Someone explain how you can gauge success by subscription numbers to a game so old there's no potential new players?
    Wonder how well BC or WotLK would do 9 years after initial release. Quit once you realize you're part of the 99% not getting past Karazhan or after gearing your 14th alt in full tier 10?

    Still surprised they are saying MoP was the "first" to work towards casuals. Nah, that'd be WotLK, that truly sparked the war of the gamedesign on the forums. And then of course we have 4.3 where "weekly progression" took 90 minutes.

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