MMO-Champion - Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews, Blue Tweets, Hearthstone Arena, DLC #404
The Massive Expansion Recap - Everything We Know So Far

Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews
Along with the PvP interviews this week, Blizzard had a presence at Gamescom and did a few more interviews. Thanks to Gamona, Vanion, PCGames, and PlayersCut for doing interviews and covering the events!

You can find information from previous interviews on our Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews page.


Gamescom Interviews
  • An item level squish is likely for the next expansion and is already being tested internally.
  • Timeless Isle will hopefully help to combat the feeling that you are wasting time if you aren't going to an NPC with a quest marker.
  • Many things that are sold on the website store eventually will be sold in the in-game store. Right now it is inconvenient to buy a mount off of the store, as you have to leave the game and go to the website, and go through the purchase process.
  • The in-game store could be added for mounts and pets in the patch between Patch 5.4 and the next expansion.
  • The cosmetic helms that were added to the store sold well, but more cosmetic items may not be added in the future. Items that you purchase from the store should never compete directly with items from raids.
  • Items added in the future will likely be more "fun" items like a Halloween costume or cosmetic themed gear that won't be like anything from a dungeon.
  • Adding the Pandaren was more controversial than expected, but the players who actually played the expansion really liked the expansion and felt it really had a soul.
  • Part of the reason for the decline in subscriber numbers is that the game can only change in evolutionary ways, not revolutionary ways.
  • Diablo III is actually the game that had the most impact on WoW, other MMOs don't really make much of a measurable impact.
  • The team size has increased 40% and another 40% increase is planned, which will hopefully allow for a new content patch every month, a new raid tier every three to five months, and an annual expansion.
  • It is likely that there will be other things that connect World of Warcraft and Hearthstone, other than the Hearthsteed Mount.

ArenaJunkies
  • More people are doing arenas on alts thanks to the changes made in Patch 5.3.
  • The first time you queue for an arena in a group you will have to select a role, which will prevent people from randomly inviting you to a group and queuing.
  • There needs to be a good in-game system for finding other players for cross realm things like dungeons, raids, and PvP. This is something that is being discussed for a future patch, but for now OpenRaid is a good alternative.
  • 97% of arena games last less than five minutes, but less than 1% go for 25 minutes. The Crowd Chose You!!! will help to address this problem, but if it has a negative impact by changing how people play, it can be adjusted or removed.
  • Arenas had become too bursty recently, so this patch significantly increased Base Resilience. Resilience being on gear rather than having a high base resilience caused new players and alts to have trouble in PvP that came from having no resilience.
  • The ArenaLeague tournament and the pick and ban system is something the developers like a lot, but it's unlikely to be implemented into the game. The devs also want to help support player run tournaments as much as possible.
  • The tools for tracking win trading have improved significantly over the past few patches and the devs are will continue to improve the tools moving forward.
  • The Rank 1 titles will still be given in 3v3 and 5v5 in the next season, but may change in the future.
  • The 2v2 bracket is still a very popular bracket compared to 3v3, so it doesn't need any extra rewards right now. Most players that are doing 2v2 are interested in gear and not so much titles.
  • Seasonal based achievements are a good idea, but they need to be added in a way that doesn't contribute to achievement bloat.
  • There isn't as much motivation for socialization anymore. It would be nice if the game had better ways of finding friends and guilds!



Swifty and Hotted
  • Twitter is a very useful tool for understanding what player concerns are out there. It is also a nice way to let players access the developers.
  • Arena teams had become a barrier to letting people play arenas. Being able to play with anyone at any time will be nice for players.
  • Having one pool of players will help queue times for many players and increase the amount of competition.
  • Solo queue for things like random battlegrounds puts you with a group of people that feel disposable, as you will never see them again. The other players almost feel like a tool for you to get your reward rather than people you can make connections with. This leads to poor player behavior. That being said, there may be room for a player that is honor capped and wants a higher level of play from a solo queue. This could be something like Heroic Battlegrounds, which would be for players who have the full honor gear set.
  • 1v1 arenas aren't likely, but solo queuing into 3v3 or 2v2 arenas might be something that could be done. Dueling is fun though, and a nice community building activity. Resetting cooldowns after a duel and things like that have been on the todo list for a long time.
  • Recolored gear might not be an exciting enough reward, but giving high ranked players more powerful gear isn't a good solution. More cosmetic solutions might be the right way to go. Mounts are expensive to make, as they take almost as much time as a set of armor.
  • It would be nice to see how long a player has been playing without inspecting them (Playing since Vanilla, BC, WotLK, Cata, MoP...), but how to do that is still undetermined.
  • The PvE trinkets added every tier are somewhat bursty, so making them scale down below the PvP trinkets ilvl and reducing their magnitude and proc frequency should make them less desirable.
  • The Conquest cap changes may have been the biggest factor in the increased arena participation this season. It may not be that more players started playing, but at least more characters took part.
  • A lot of the lower and mid ranked players stopped playing arenas at some point, but making it easier to gear up alts and adding more rewards that are attractive to players who are no longer playing arenas.
  • A lot of players respond to changes in patch notes, but don't actually go on the PTR and test the changes!



Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Classes
Combat w/ bis t16 4pc: http://t.co/5VEEBtnZPv Combat w/ Bis t15 4pc: http://t.co/jvBPRUt2fc I think that's a problem.
New cooldown trinket with old set bonus interaction is possibly too strong. (Source)
The problem i see their is the fact your simming possibly 60k higher than lower end classes in BiS
To be clear, our testing is not 100% based on simulations. Simulation has a lot of risks. (Source)

I'm sure that Blizzard Devs don't have a super secret WW rotation. I'm seeing T16 & trinkets as very large gain.
There have been times when players never figured out an optimal rotation that we designed around. Doesn't happen often. (Source)
(And I'm not saying that's the final story of 5.4 Windwalkers.) (Source)
Do you consider that a success or a failure?
We consider it a failure because then the spec just underperforms. (Source)
But just telling players how we intend the spec to be played (beyond a general direction) isn't fun either. (Source)

wouldnt you like to see class uniqueness back? eg: health pool difference, mana, armor gaps, damage reductions etc
Yes, but only to a point. We don't want to return to where even fairly casual raiders feel like they have to class stack. (Source)

Just curious, How come pure dps classes like Mage and Warlock get frowned on when they start to do too much damage?
Because it makes everyone else feel like poop that they made the wrong choice at the char select screen possibly years ago. (Source)
What I'm asking is all pure dps can do is just dps. We can also CC but not manyb encounters require it anymore.
You can also do things like interrupt, soak and kite. You have to be in pretty easy content to just tunnel on DPS. (Source)

Well when your subs drop to 5.5 million next quarter maybe the pitch forks might be more real to you then.
We want classes to be fun because we want the game to be fun, but you can't balance classes to drive sub numbers. (Source)
all specs viable with only a % margin of difference, not chasm like gaps that if you spec it you get laughed at.
Those % margins are smaller now than ever in the history of the game by almost any reasonable measurement. No, it's not perfect. (Source)
even with % margin being smaller the total difference is much larger than it's ever been. 1-2 million a fight?
As numbers grow, so do deltas, which is why we compare things as percentages. (Source)

I'v been seeing arguments using the "im a pure dps class" as reasoning for having extra utility etc, what's your opinion?
I gave up participating in the pure vs. hybrid debate. It was one of the most toxic discussions in which I ever engaged players. (Source)
Well, the hybrid not paying their taxes lead to things like this Same mit, MORE dps, Heal on top.
You linked tank sample size, which isn't really a pure - hybrid issue. All tanks are hybrids. What am I missing? (Source)

What happened to Mastery being the knob you guys can turn to buff or nerf a class?
That was a miscomm somewhere. If we buff mastery, it becomes your best stat and everyone has to reforge. (Source)
We do often buff the passive that many specs have (e.g. Sword of Light for my fav spec) as a tuning knob. (Source)
The implication is that it's better to have more than one reforge priority, not just mastery?
I meant more that we try not to radically shift stat priorities on players. Sometimes it's inevitable, but not ideal. (Source)

Arcane mage mastery, Destro/Demonology's mastery. damage increase masteries which have variable power.
Arcane mastery changes your play a lot. I'd argue the lock ones are just +damage. (Source)

why are abilities that can decide games subject to RNG? Disarms and CC getting parried/dodged is frustrating.
At the high level RNG is a skill test. It forces players to respond to current events rather than be able to predict it all. (Source)
Too much RNG can eclipse skill and just make any outcome a coin flip, but we think too little is bad too. (Source)
Agreed. Are stats like dodge, parry, expertise interesting enough at this point in the game to keep around in your opinion?
As mechanics, dodge and parry are interesting. As stats that appear on gear, we're not so sure. (Source)

Input Lag is a problem I agree, but is nerfing GoAK for holy the solution?
It was a non-trivial source of lag, which isn't acceptable. We lowered the CD to 3 min to help compensate. (Source)
It is basically just Avenging Wrath now, 30% throughput on a 5 min cd no beacon transfer ofc.
Holy paladins are a great example of too many mediocre CDs that lead to bloat. Probably should have resisted adding DF back. (Source)
I can't speculate much on the right solution yet, but having wings or kings (each stronger) might be better. (Source)

Another point: People that want to switch to the best spec will do just that. Even if they hate that spec. 1/2
But for every player grumpy about having to play a hated spec, there is one who wants that option. Very hard to solve. (Source)

I will tell you, blizzard did TOO MUCH simplification of game mechanics in Wow. Hunter is a very GOOD example. no interest.
Sure we got rid of stuff like feeding pets and ammo, but was there really much depth there? (Source)
Be curious what you think about hunter rotation has been simplified, other than Readiness. (Source)
You know what I miss? Eyes of the beast. My friends and I used to have so much fun with that spell.
We have mixed feelings about that one. (Source)
If we could convince players not to drag super situational spells onto their bar, then there would be room for more of them. (Source)
The only thing I miss about hunters were the special pets. The rake, brokentooth etc. Also RFK pigs, best pvp pet.
We tried to provide something similar with the spirit beast models. (Source)
If some rare pets do higher DPS (which sounds cool) then every hunter uses only them (less cool). (Source)

Do any of the top developers play melee classes? It seems WoW has increasingly gotten out of touch with melee issues.
Yes, we do. That argument is weak IMO. We do want to return some of the glory to melee, but irrelevant to who plays what. (Source)

Ability bloat is why I play this game. Have you tried Guild Wars 2 or Secret World? They limit you to 5-6 active abilities.
But there might be a sweet spot between 6 abilities and 30. (Source)

ever though about moving combo points to the character instead of the target?
Yes. (Source)

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
IE of mech. simplification: SV LnL proc fishing via BA/trap swaps. IE of mech. play: BM focus fire delay for Wild Hunt
Getting rid of the LnL trap swap was a really common hunter demand. Felt more annoying than skilled play to me personally. (Source)

If the idea was for Stampede to only damage shouldn't it be the same for the Shaman? Just want to understand design decision
With wolves, you just get what you get. Problem with Stampede was it became this meta game of configuring your stable. (Source)
You can make a pitch for a stable meta game, but what we were trying to do was let hunters use the pets they wanted. (Source)
Then why do we still need to be a specific spec and use a specific pet to get bloodlust?
There are 6 other specs that bring Bloodlust. The hunter version is just there as a last resort. (Source)
We'd consider letting all hunter specs bring any pet buff though. (Source)

So, why wasn't Exhilaration buffed to compensate for the removal of Readiness? Now it's even worse than it was before.
Removing Readiness was intended to be a nerf to PvP defenses. Took us a long time to get hunters PvP viable, but they are now. (Source)
Along the way we had given lots of small PvP buffs that became OP in MoP, probably because of the min range change. (Source)
Movement was sort of a buff, but only to less skilled players since skilled hunters always Aspect twisted. (Source)

If we're still talking about Hunter button reduction, can I ask your thoughts on Aspects? Necessary or could they be baked in?
They were never that interesting IMO. Keep pack as a toggle and lose the rest I say. #notanannouncement (Source)

Monk (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Not a mention of revival, why do you think it's so strong that it deserves to hit for what a TFT uplift does?
It is instant. (Source)
SO an instant 3 min cd and a 45 sec instant that do equal healing are balanced in your mind?
Revival made encounters easier to heal than we intended. It was too good. (Source)

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Kinda like every Protection Paladin takes Sacred Shield, and thus briefly considered making it baseline? Just sayin'
Sacred Shield feels very paladin-like to us. They've had it or Holy Shield or similar spells forever. (Source)
In the SS case, we considered making it core, and might someday, but Prot would have needed huge nerfs to take it AND a talent. (Source)

Will seals for holy paladins be more useful in future, seals like Seal of Wisdom and Seal of Truth, holy is left out on seals.
Not sure Seals are really that interesting (or ever have been). Most people stay in one. (Source)

Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Heroism was Shaman ability , why did you give the best Heroism to everyone ? Good ? Rather no sense as usual.
Shaman became mandatory for raiding. That's particularly tough on 10s and not really fair in a game with >10 classes. (Source)

Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
You do realise Archimonde's Darkness will always be used over KJC now, its a DPS increase in PVE and PVP
It's hard to assign a DPS value to casting on the move, but there almost certainly is one. (Source)

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Ever thought of making arms warriors mastery more interesting?
What kind of mastery do you consider interesting? (Source)
The old Deep Wounds would be fitting arms mastery. x% of weapon dmg bleed on crit. Buffs OP w/o buffing swifty
Perhaps, but we'd probably have to cut the current Deep Wounds. (Source)

Misc
Re:Polygon Interview You really believe mists is for casual players? Cata and wrath were far more casual friendly
We lost more casual players in those expansions. If they didn't have organized raids, they quickly ran out of stuff to do. (Source)

Sims are pretty useless feedback to send us in terms of who is outdpsing whom. Raidbots nearly useless. Individual raid parses are useful. (Source)
Now sims are pretty good at determining stat weights and rotations IF that class/spec component has a good modeler. Just beware stack ranks. (Source)
Likewise Raidbots can be a useful tool IF you put in a lot of analysis. Hint: a tweet with just a URL is not analysis. (Source)

Player created sims are riddled with bugs. Bugs throw off results a lot.
We have hired former sim developers. What we find is that some spec components are great and others are pretty bad. (Source)
The challenge is knowing at a glance which you can trust and which you can't, which is impossible. (Source)

part of everything, your not above coding bugs, just like use players are not.
We players trust those player created sim over yours, and 3million+ players can't all be wrong
Few players test those sims though. Most just hope / assume the developer was correct. Go back and look at e.g. T15 sims. (Source)
Sims are one of our weakest tools. They are good for looking at a broad spectrum of e.g. gear quickly. (Source)
You are making some assumptions about our balance process that aren't true. I'll try and shed a little light. (Source)
Our sims are also much more accurate than what players can do because we can just go look up the real numbers. (Source)
But we also perform a lot of tests. Remember we can spawn any gear and automate rotations much more so than players can. (Source)
Finally, we gather a lot of data from and directly observe what players are actually doing on live and on PTR. (Source)
That last bit is our strongest tool, but the right analysis is still key. You have to look at what players are doing & why. (Source)
Which is why I caution so much against simple to the point of inaccurate claims like "Combat rogues do X dps." (Source)
Now there are potential mistakes of course. A proc chance could be 10% in data but a sneaky code bug makes it proc less. (Source)
This is why "real world" verification of both sims and internal testing is so critical. It's a very complex combat model. (Source)
Sorry for all the spam, but players often think our testing process is much simpler than it is. (Source)

I wonder, do you use addons for raiding or you're confident about original UI?
It varies. I'm responsible for UI so I feel an obligation to experience the game sans mods. I like to see why mods are popular too. (Source)

Heartstone - Nine Arena Wins
It appears that you can only win nine times in the Arena before you are done!



Dark Legacy Comics #404
DLC #404 has been released!

This article was originally published in forum thread: Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews, Blue Tweets, Hearthstone Arena, DLC #404 started by chaud View original post
Comments 47 Comments
  1. NigelGurney's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by UnifiedDivide View Post
    Did I read that right? Monthly content patches and a new raid every 3-5 months and annual expansion? Sounds good to me.

    I'm tired of bothering with the item squish. As pointless as it is, it'll happen no matter what.

    Anyway, I expect QQ about D3, in-game store and so much more. Please don't disappoint, forum-goers!
    Yes, there no point in bothering with item squish because at no point do you want to contradict Blizzards current policy. One day you might form an opinion of your own and have a meaningful debate.
  1. Gorgodeus's Avatar
    There needs to be a good in-game system for finding other players for cross realm things like dungeons, raids, and PvP. This is something that is being discussed for a future patch, but for now OpenRaid is a good alternative.
    Nice to see MMO continues its unprofessional and biased reporting. The actual interview referred OpenRaid and Oqueue as good alternatives, but seeing as Chaud seems to have issues with both Oqueue and it's author, he conveniently edited that part of the comment out.
  1. Tarx's Avatar
    Item Squish realy want this after the WOTLK exp ends. It is like private server when we see gear with 1600stamina and strg and a Tank with 800k HP.
    I always want to be able to see from when play someone without have to inspect his FoS achievements, titles.
  1. noskillz's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Gorgodeus View Post
    Nice to see MMO continues its unprofessional and biased reporting. The actual interview referred OpenRaid and Oqueue as good alternatives, but seeing as Chaud seems to have issues with both Oqueue and it's author, he conveniently edited that part of the comment out.
    And this is not biased AT ALL, right?
  1. Gorgodeus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by noskillz View Post
    And this is not biased AT ALL, right?
    Truth != bias. Go look at what was actually stated in the interview, and what was actually reported. Go look at Chaud's reddit posts regarding Oqueue. I have also seen the correspondence between Chaud and Oqueue's author, whereby Chaud approached him with a negative attitude, and did nothing more than list all the things wrong with said addon-on in his opinion. When the author got offended by this behavior, he then proceeded to flame Oqueue and it's author on reddit. I stand by my previous statement: unprofessional and biased.
  1. tinystomper's Avatar
    Thx Gorgodeus.

    Chad's opinion is irrelevant, tho his rep definitely takes another hit (definitely unprofessional, especially considering he gets paid and I don't)

    In the end, as per their own words, blizz will embed oQueue's functionality into the game. Real-time x-realm group finding is something players have always wanted. Limiting bots and bads by forming a premade for bgs is an additional benefit pvp'rs have sorely lacked.

    As for OpenRaid, blizz could combine premade creation with an oQueue like tool and the calendar to allow for future events. If they opened up the api a bit, then a raid leader could get more detailed information regarding players (oQueue provides some pertinent info, but not everything)

    Hopefully they'll look into the weekly score board concept to help put a purpose / motivation for doing the various content... that motivation being to compete in a weekly epeen contest with the other faction. I really think that has lots of potential for excitement and good amounts of wide spread wpvp, if embraced by a large chunk of the player base.
  1. Tedy's Avatar
    Love the comics!

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