MMO-Champion - Warlords of Draenor Developer Q&A
Warlords of Draenor Developer Q&A


Recap
  • The end of each expansion added a large character power level increase which was necessary at the time, but not necessary today. Item levels will remain the same, but item stats have been squished. Some players adapted to it instantly, while some took an hour to get used to it.
  • There aren't going to be any more guild levels or perks in WoD. There is no way to expand every system with every expansion. Going forward the team will try to compartmentalize the systems added in an expansion to the expansion they were added in. A good example of this is the farm added in MoP. Once WoD is released, you shouldn't have much of a reason to go back to MoP and work on your farm.
  • The guild system wasn't designed to make people want to be in a guild, as people generally already want to be in a guild, and almost everyone is in a guild. It was added to allow the game to recognize the accomplishments of guilds.
  • Flex mode was one of the improvements made to encourage players to get back to playing with friends, and WoD will add some more incentives.
  • The game has a Raid Browser that no one uses, so in WoD it will be expanded to support killing world bosses, doing achievements, finishing Shadowmourne, or any other activity. This will support cross realm groups and encourage people to do PuGs rather than completely random matchmaking.
  • The new Flex loot model will work similar to how Master Loot does today, but the number of drops will scale based on the number of people eligible for loot in the group. The personal loot system won't be removed, you will just have to opt in to it.
  • The number of drops will scale well with the number of players, as each additional player gives you a higher chance to get another drop, up to where it is guaranteed. This ensures that are no odd breakpoints that will restrict raid sizes.
  • The team hasn't decided how new character models will be released yet. It could have all of the completed race at launch, or they could be added every patch.
  • Most of Thrall's family is alive in Draenor. The Saurfangs may or may not appear, it hasn't been decided yet. The team can't use every single character that was in Draenor when telling the story, so they will focus on the core characters.
  • The new panels for Heirlooms and Toys will work similar to how pets and mounts do today, with some restrictions like Horde vs Alliance for a few things.
  • The old version of Outland will remain unchanged. The current timeline is already somewhat of a mess, so the team may just move access to the current Outland to the Caverns of Time.
  • The talent system will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future. Some talents still need tweaks, but the overall system is working well.
  • Scenarios worked out well and they will be present in 6.0, but solid plans as to what they will be are not made yet. Heroic scenarios also worked out well.
  • The team talked about just having Valor and Conquest, as Justice wasn't useful. They also haven't decided if they will keep the Valor Upgrade system like we have today.
  • When Garrosh goes back, he spins off his own timeline. He is going to try and come back to our world, but his actions won't change our history.
  • The odds of World PvP happening right by the edge of someone's garrison should be fairly low, so phasing shouldn't be a big issue. The large World PvP zone will likely be where most people interested in World PvP end up.
  • You can technically buy as many level 90s as you want if you buy another copy of the game, get the level 90, and then transfer the character to your main account each time. The team has talked about putting a level 90 purchase option in the store, but it hasn't been decided yet.
  • You can invite other players to a party and invite them to your garrison, similar to how Ready Checks are done now. There will be some reasons to go and see other player's garrisons, mostly because it is fun to show off.
  • The 5.1 storyline combined with the Timeless Isle exploration is close to what we can expect for max level content.
  • The Item Squish will go live with 6.0.
  • Renaming the difficulties was done because it was odd to call the lowest difficulty something other than normal once multiple difficulties could scale with player number. Normal in 6.0 will be roughly as difficult as Flex is today.
  • It would be nice to give Mythic difficulty unique art for armor sets, but time amount of time required to make armor sets is too great to justify doing so.
  • The garrison will be involved with professions somehow, but plans aren't fully fleshed out yet.
  • The recipe UI part of the professions could use some work, so it is next on the list after the current tasks.
  • Catch up like the cooking and archaeology things that were added in MoP would be nice to have for all the professions.
  • The garrison has a limited number of spots for buildings, and each profession will require a building if you want that type of follower.
  • There will be a legendary questline again in WoD. The questline will be a little bit more custom to your class to help with the lack of class quests. Class quests are very resource intensive, so at most we might see one or two in WoD. (Maybe Shaman)
  • The development on and release date of games in the other Blizzard franchises hasn't had any impact on the delivery speed of WoW content.
  • Another MoP patch would delay WoD, so Patch 5.5 isn't going to happen. The entire team is working on WoD right now, so any more MoP content would slow down development.
  • There aren't any plans for another WoW Annual Pass. It was a good idea at the time because getting Diablo 3 free made it a good deal, but it isn't a good for the the D3 expansion.
  • The Enchanted Fey Dragon will be a store mount. It will be sold alone or in a combo pack with another pet for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
  • Monthly patches would be great, but it would be really hard. MoP made some progress towards doing this.
  • Level 100 felt better than Level 95 for a cap. Previously players also needed a new ability at every level, which limited the number of levels that could be added. Now with spell upgrades players can have 10 levels.
  • Leveling in WoD will be a fun and fast paced romp through the zones. The team is backing off the idea that leveling should be a long grind.
  • There aren't any plans for guild garrisons right now, but that can be revisited after the initial system is delivered and polished.
  • The Dark Iron dwarves will have a small story in the expansion.
  • We will find out what the Arakkoa were like when they had wings.
  • Ogres that we have seen so far aren't organized or as interesting as the ones we will see in the Ogre empire that is in decline in WoD.
  • There are no plans to improve the achievement UI for WoD release, but adding search and compare in the future is on the list.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Warlords of Draenor Developer Q&A started by chaud View original post
Comments 45 Comments
  1. varkar's Avatar
    You can technically buy as many level 90s as you want if you buy another copy of the game, get the level 90, and then transfer the character to your main account each time. The team has talked about putting a level 90 purchase option in the store, but it hasn't been decided yet.
    You could apply an analogous design philosophy with gear, like if you offered a button to click to give permanently-best-in-slot epics and legendaries for a few bucks. However, despite how most players would click on it, it wouldn't be best for overall playtime in the long term.

    Fewer will level 1->89 themselves including with the psychological aspect of knowing one would be investing all that time for what anyone could just buy for tens of dollars. (Gold farmers may sell accounts now but only for around an order of magnitude more cost and with a ban risk, while SoR level 80s were mainly just a small minority of players who had already played and leveled much in WoW before anyway, a lot different from newbies getting 90s enmasse).

    Nothing cheap feels valuable. I can understand some motives for making level 90 account characters buyable, including the desire to ease catching up with friends, but, with this real life money method, I'm not sure Blizzard learned the right lessons from Diablo 3.

    Sorry about focusing on the negative, but I like WoW too much to want to see the indirect consequences of this happen to it.

    You could ease leveling time without level 90 account buying by making non-RAF non-BOA newbies get experience bonuses more like what RAF players do now. You can even change what levels mean. For friends playing together, you could let lowbies grouped with high level players have their health, DPS, and other stats upscaled to be comparable, so they could contribute to a meaningful degree at least in casual open world content. But let them level to gain more abilities and for other reasons, to have that to look forward to over much playtime.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Leveling in WoD will be a fun and fast paced romp through the zones. The team is backing off the idea that leveling should be a long grind.
    So do most MMORPG development teams these days ... and crash after crash has been happening (part of the widely talked about decline of the MMORPG industry) as most players in them quit too soon, feeling done with those games not long after reaching max level, after no longer having many new abilities to look forward to, after no longer looking forward to large non-instanced zones yet to enter and explore. Get past the usual near-release hype and high gaming magazine reviews from naive initial play (before those MMORPGs lose 90+% of their players a few weeks after release), and rather look at objective data in terms of third-party website traffic monitor site observations.

    WoW is better at player retention than others. But even WoW, if one does variants of /who searches to see only half of characters online at a time are max level, can be seen to have presently around half of total playtime spent leveling, not by hardcore raiders but by the average player.

    Take that away, and, unless you literally double typical playtime spent at max level before quitting (a nice goal but unlikely realistic), average future lifetime playtime per player will decrease, not good for a subscription revenue based game.

    Don't render level 1-89 a ghosttown. Don't make the richness of WoW's history irrelevant. I get that new developers who weren't around in the vanilla-TBC era want to make their mark, but the following is the wrong philosophy:

    Going forward the team will try to compartmentalize the systems added in an expansion to the expansion they were added in. A good example of this is the farm added in MoP. Once WoD is released, you shouldn't have much of a reason to go back to MoP and work on your farm.
    An expansion shouldn't be about trying to render irrelevant (almost like delete) all the game before the expansion. I wish I could just look forward to an expansion, in additions, not wonder how many spells will be deleted for each one added, etc. (WoW may have too much past content, too much complexity, too much depth, too many abilities for those who assume every game should be like short-playtime games, but those often aren't the players who have the attention spans to play for long and provide much long-term subscription revenue anyway).
  1. Aberration's Avatar
    I want a Shaman specific quest..
  1. lactose's Avatar
    My concerns are that the expansion sounds like it is so far away with so many things still undecided (including how exactly garrisons will work) and also that there is going to be essentially nothing "new" in the way of systems and concepts, just the usual more zones etc.

    I like the sound of Draenei etc, but really underwhelmed by the lack of change.
  1. stgeorge78's Avatar
    PVP guys looked extremely angry. I guess it's true that no one cares about PVP anymore.
  1. Josiel's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryuthus View Post
    "After explaining to Doomhammer the deception of Gul'dan, Durotan and Draka were sent away to safety with one of Doomhammer’s guards, but the guard betrayed them to the assassins of the Stormreaver clan. Draka was killed in the encounter." So it cannot be Draka. Also when i read book i read that she was killed. If it would be her then it wouldn't agree with lore.
    That was quite some time after their arrival in Azeroth. The expansion occurs probably some years before the orcs even set foot on azeroth, before the massacre of the Draenei (that which created the "path of glory" in Hellfire Peninsula).

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