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Warlords of Draenor Developer Interviews
There were a few developer interviews at the recent press events, so today we are taking a look at interviews with Ion Hazzikostas from Mamytwink and JudgeHype. A few of the important points are below, along with the fully translated interview.
Dungeons and Raids
- The first raid will open on the 2nd week of the expansion, with the second raid opening a few weeks later. Only Raid Finder difficulty will be gated by wing, all other difficulties will be fully open when they are released.
- Raids will be less linear, giving you more choice of which bosses to do every night.
- Raid encounters will have more interesting mechanics for healers, allowing them to avoid the boredom that comes with just spamming the same skill over and over.
- The first world boss will be released with the expansion, with more being released as time goes on.
- Proving Grounds will be updated and expanded, making it a requirement to queue for random heroic dungeons.
- The amount of loot that will drop when you are not using Personal Loot depends on the number of players in the raid that are eligible for loot on that boss. If almost everyone in the raid is locked out of loot for a boss for this week, there is a chance it won't drop any loot.
- Normal dungeon loot will give you enough gear for Raid Finder, while Heroic dungeon loot will help you gear up for Normal raids. This will be important at the start of the expansion, as Heroic dungeons will be open before Raid Finder, making it the best way to gear up for Normal raids.
- Challenge Mode daily quests have (a chance?) to give you an epic item of Raid Finder quality if you complete it with a Bronze or better time.
- If the Level 90 boost gives you your first high level character, there will be a starting experience that introduces you to your skills slowly, rather than giving them to you all at once.
- About 20% of class skills and abilities have been removed to help address ability bloat.
- Ashran will use players from multiple realms to balance factions in the zone, rather than a buff like the one used in Wintergrasp.
Originally Posted by MMO-ChampionDungeons
- From a design perspective, the revamp of Upper Blackrock Spire was a challenge similar to the creation of a new dungeon. The dungeon already exists but Blizzard doesn't just increase the health of the monster there. New mechanics will appear and developers need to give a real challenge to players while maintaining the nostalgy you get when you revisit a dungeon already played in the past. Of course, the fact that the bosses and dungeon itself already exist definitely saves times, even if the models are updated.
- It will now be easier to figure out which PvE guild is the best. Right now, it's hard to draw the line between 10-man and 25-man difficulty and it's hard to say if Method or Paragon is the best guild for example. With the 20-man Mythic raids, this will be much simpler.
- The Highmaul raid will open after the release of the expansion, most likely on the 2nd week. Just like the Mogu'shan Vaults in Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard wants to give enough time to players to experience the new zones while leveling without having to rush to level 100 to start raiding. Highmaul will be located in Nagrand and have 7 bosses.
- The Blackrock Foundry raid will open a couple weeks later, it has 10 bosses.
- All the bosses will be available when a raid opens, except in LFR where wings will be unlocked progressively (just like the Siege of Orgrimmar). Blizzard wants players to discover the bosses with their friends and guild before they rush through LFR.
- Ion's favorite encounter in Mists of Pandaria is Lei Shen. The mechanics are simple to understand but hard to counter, and a lot of things are happening that make the fight extremely interesting. The team is very proud of this encounter, you can probably expect bosses in the same style in Warlords of Draenor.
- Raids should be less linear than in Mists of Pandaria, the goal is to do what was done with Ulduar where guilds could pick their bosses depending on the roster available that night. This is only possible if your raid has multiple wings, and Warlords of Draenor raids shouldn't be too linear.
- Encounters will include more classes mechanics, especially for healers. Healing in Mists of Pandaria wasn't very interesting. In Warlords of Draenor, Blizzard wants to deploy interesting mechanics for healers and make sure their role isn't to just spam the same skill again and again. They will have to chose the right skill, at the right time, on the right target.
- World bosses will be the biggest and most brutal creatures of Draenor.
- One of them is an ancestor of the Gronns we know, but 3 or 4 times bigger. He's made of stone and will attack players with stone shards and other earth-based attacks.
- The 2nd world boss will be one of the giant plant that lives in the jungle of Draenor.
- World Bosses will be activated progressively, the first one will be launched with the expansion.
- Loot will be interesting for the tier during the boss is unlocked. The objective is that when Blizzard unlocks the 3rd boss, its loot will be interesting compared to what you can find in PvE at that time.
- Proving Grounds will be updated for Warlords of Draenor and Blizzard wants to expand its functionality. It will be used as a prerequirement for raids. For example, players will need at least a silver medal in the Proving Grounds to queue in a dungeon. If you want to play in an instance with your friends or your guild, no problem, but if you want to join a random group you will have to prove that you know how to handle some mechanics of the game. This should be ready for Warlords of Draenor. Blizzard hopes it will improve the experience of players in LFD and LFR, and each player in the group should have the minimum knowledge required to fight the bosses.
Level 90 Character Boost
- The LVL90 character boost will work differently if you already own a high level character or not. If it's your first character and you boost it to level 90 directly, the game will offer you 3 or 4 skills in the first place to let you familiarize with the game, and will give you more abilities progressively. You unlock your skills progressively, for example, a mage could start with Frostbolt, Frost Nova, and Polymorph.
- This will be included in Warlords of Draenor. Blizzard is aware that the boost will be available before this but feels like the huge majority of people who will use the feature before the expansion are already experienced players who already know the game very well. This is one of the limit of the system: Blizzard wants players to be able to use this feature but also understands that there's a danger to see poorly played characters because of a lack of knowledge.
Ashran PvP Zone and Garrosh Hellscream
- Ashran is somewhat-based on Alterac Valley, when the battleground could last 30 or 40 hours before a faction wins. You will be able to go in the zone to do things that aren't PvP related such as gathering resources for your faction. Of course, the other side will do the same and it will most likely result in PvP anyway. Resources will have multiple uses, including summoning creatures just like in Alterac Valley.
- Garrosh will be in the expansion but it's unlikely players will fight him again. There is many other enemies to fight and kill and it's not really worth going back to Garrosh again after players already defeated him.
Originally Posted by MMO-ChampionWill each Warlord have its own raid?
Sometimes, there will be 2 Warlords in one tier. Ner'zhul will be fought in a dungeon, the Shadowmoon Burial Grounds (level 100). There's no formula, what is sure is that Blackhand will be the final boss of Patch 6.0, as the end boss of the Blackrock Foundry.
There's an updated loot system in Warlords of Draenor. Why make it so flexible? Is it to adapt it to flexible raids?
It's an essential change. It was one of the big challenges to allow us to adapt flexible raids to other difficulties (normal and heroic). Personal loot is a good option for LFR or pick up groups but it doesn't work as well when you play with friends and your guild, it's essential to be able to give loot the raid member who needs it. It's a social aspect of the game that we don't want to ignore.
The only problem was the number of loot. If we had chosen a fixed number of items, we would have had problems with the number of players. We instead agreed on a system where the amount of items depends on the size of the raid and the players elligible for loot. For example, a 10 player raid will receive 2 loot when a 20 player raid will receive 4. If 18 of these players already received an item from this boss earlier this week, which means that only 2 people are elligible, you could have 0 items.
Are Garrison planned on the long term or is this more of a Warlords of Draenor specific feature?
Garrisons are tied to Warlords of Draenor, they are bases that each player builds to help in the fight against the Iron Horde, the goal is to have players build an army.
However, the technology we used to create Garrisons will most likely be reused in the future.
You plan to increase the difficulty of Heroic dungeons in Warlords of Draenor. Will it be the same as WotLK/MoP or more in line with Cataclysm?
In between. You can probably say the difficulty will be equal to the easy heroic dungeons in Cataclysm such as Vortex Pinnacle and the Lost City of Tol'vir. On the other hand, Stonecore or Grim Batol were heroic dungeons that were too hard for most players (in PUG)
The big difference in Warlords of Draenor is that you will also have a normal difficulty for level 100 dungeons, it should be easier for players who just want to join a dungeon through the LFD tool.
Players will only need normal dungeon loot to be able to join the LFR queue. Heroic dungeons will allow raids who want to go in normal raids to gear themselves up.
Is LFR going to negatively impact heroic instances if you can find better gear there?
At the beginning of the expansion, LFR won't be available and will only open wing after wing. Heroic dungeons will be available immediately and will offer the best way to gear up for raids.
Additionally, we're adding an interesting reward to challenge mode daily quests: an epic item of LFR quality. Regardless of the medal you get (bronze minimum), the daily quest will get you epic loot! Of course, Silver and Gold medals will still award cosmetic rewards.
Is Ashran (the PvP Zone) going to be cross-realm? cross-battle.net?
The current plan is to have it available on each server individually, but we could make it cross-realm to fix balance issues between factions. We do not want to reiterate the Wintergrasp scenario with the Tenacity buff.
Is Ashran a level 100 zone?
Yes, it's an "end game" PvP zone.
Is there anything you can tell us about Patch 6.0? Will there be a scenario or a world event?
As usual Patch 6.0 will introduce most new features from Warlords of Draenor: new models, item squish, new raid modes. Only Draenor will not be available yet.
The patch will also include an event in-game, but I can't say anything about it yet.
The new character models are really awesome, but racial mounts are starting to look old next to them. Do you have any plan to update them as well?
We continuously try to upgrade every aspect of the game, for example with the spells upgrades we did. The fireball from a Mage looks a lot nicer than 7 years ago, but we can't do everything at once.
The new mounts released over the past few years are a lot more detailed, and I can understand that it will be weird to use racial/faction mount with the new models. This is something we might work on in the future.
Do you plan to add "bonus" bosses to Mythic raids like you did with Ra-Den in the Heroic Throne of Thunders?
Potentially. Like we did in the past with Heroic bosses, some of them might have an extra phase, for example Garrosh in Stormwind. We also like to have optional bosses like Algalon, Sinestra, or Ra-Den but only when it feels appropriate.
We're obviously open to continue doing this with Mythic modes, and I can already tell you that when of the boss of the raids available in Patch 6.0 will have an important difference in Mythic mode. A nice surprise is waiting for you.
A lot of players complain about the reduction of spells and abilities to play a class. Do you plan to keep reducing them further?
We indeed removed skills and abilities that didn't feel essential to the game, a lot of DPS classes ended up combining them in a macro to launch them simultaneously. A Warrior for example would create a macro with Recklessness and Skull Banner, this is why Skull Banner was removed and some of its effects added to Recklessness.
We removed about 20% of class skills and abilities, even if we will probably have to add a couple more. Players will probably ask for it during beta.
In the end, we want to reduce the amount of buttons required to play and make the game easier for players who come back. The goal is to make the game understandable for every player, each button must have a very clear goal.
Developers had fun with Karazhan in the past few builds, do you plan to reuse it in the expansion?
Karazhan is a place with a lot of nostalgia and fun memories. We could revisit Karazhan at some point.
We originally planned that Karazhan would play a role in the event that would precede the release of Warlords of Draenor, we thought of a phased scenario taking place in Karazhan. The place has links to the destruction of the Dark Portal and you would have been sent there to investigate on the subject. Finally, we decided against it and developers then had fun with the dataminers from MMO-Champion.
Sorry but I have to ask ... when does the beta of Warlords of Draenor start?
Soon™. You have to ask me this question, I have to give you this answer.
Warlords of Draenor Heroic Dungeons - Silver Proving Grounds Requirement (Random Matchmaking)
When we looked at Proving Grounds stats last month, 27% of players already had Silver for at least one role, with no real incentive to do so right now. Out of the players that did at least Bronze in one role, 58% were able to get Silver in one role.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
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