MMO-Champion - Warlords of Draenor Dev Interview, Feb 24 Hotfixes, Old AV, Blue Tweets, DLC #429
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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 videogameszone.de.


Beta / Misc
  • Beta is Soon™
  • The team has been working hard since Blizzcon to make the content. The team has even added another boss to the Highmaul raid since Blizzcon!
  • Gul'dan isn't the threat in Warlords of Draenor, Grommash and the Iron Horde are. Gul'dan might even be an ally against them.

Classes and Races
  • Casters have slightly too many instant cast spells, especially healers that can keep themselves alive without ever using a spell with a cast time.
  • Melee used to be the masters of damage on the move compared to ranged, but over time ranged got more and more abilities that allowed them to do damage on the move.
  • Many classes will have talents that change depending on your spec. For example, From Darkness, Comes Light is really two talents built into one spell. This results in either talents that are bland or talents that do two separate things.
  • When it makes sense in Warlords of Draenor one spec may have one talent option, while another spec will have access to another. Almost all of the Level 100 talents work this way, and some older talents will also work like this.
  • For example, the Mage Bomb talent row could have all three bomb spells consolidated into one talent, which gives the mage a bomb based on their spec. This would free up two spaces on that row for more talent choices.
  • No brown skin for Orc players is planned right now, but the team has heard all of the player interest in subraces.

Dungeons and Scenarios
  • Mists of Pandaria Heroic dungeons were too easy for many players, which was somewhat necessary due to not having Normal difficulty dungeons at Level 90. Warlords of Draenor fixes this by having both Normal and Heroic dungeons at Level 100.
  • Normal dungeons will likely be similar to the Mists of Pandaria Heroic dungeon difficulty, while Heroic will be more challenging.
  • Raid Finder will be balanced around players having gear from Normal difficulty dungeons.
  • Gear progression will likely use Normal difficulty dungeons to gear up for Raid Finder and Heroic difficulty dungeons to gear up for Normal difficulty raids.
  • The Challenge Mode daily quest in Warlords of Draenor will give you a piece of epic gear that is on par with or better than Raid Finder loot, even before Raid Finder and maybe even the raids are open. This is awarded to anyone who completes the dungeon, meaning that there is no time requirement.
  • Warlords of Draenor leveling will make use of some solo scenarios at the end of a zone, similar to what we saw on Isle of Thunder.

Raids
  • Highmaul is very non-linear, with a layout that is similar to Firelands (open outdoor area with some optional bosses before the two final bosses).
  • Blackrock Foundry has a layout that is similar to the second part of Icecrown Citadel, with three wings of three bosses each. You can do the wings in any order you want, gaining access to Blackhand after all three are complete.
  • Less linear structures work better for players and feel better, so that is what will be used going forward.
  • There isn't a separate raid tier for each Warlord, and we may even see two or three in the first raid tier.

World Bosses
  • Attempts at creating a hard World Boss haven't worked out very well.
  • Sha of Anger may have been the most successful world boss in Mists of Pandaria. It was accessible, felt epic, and you could see him while leveling.
  • Three different world bosses are planned for Patch 6.0. Initially one boss may be available, with Highmaul quality loot. Then a few weeks later, a second world boss could unlock that drops Foundry quality loot. Much later in the tier, a third world boss could unlock that drops some Heroic raid quality gear.
  • If a world boss gives rewards that are better than anything you could get if you aren't a high end raider (Ordos), it diminishes the importance of raid zones. If rewards aren't that good, players will start raiding and the world boss won't be relevant anymore.

Ion
  • Finally joining Twitter has been nice, as it gives Ion a direct channel of communication with players and a way to share information with players. He doesn't want to share much new information about the expansion there though, as he feels it should come through the official sites.
  • Ion was a practicing lawyer for several years, as well as a hardcore WoW player from Day 1. He got to know some of the devs through playing and offering feedback, applied to Blizzard, and now he is the Lead Encounter Designer.


Patch 5.4.7 Hotfixes - February 24
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Classes
  • Priest (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
    • Shadow
      • Resolved an issue where using an instant cast spell while under the effects of Spectral Guise was incorrectly causing the cooldown for Psychic Horror to reset.

Pet Battle
  • Resolved an issue where players on some Battlegroups were unable to queue for PvP Pet Battles.
  • Elemental pets should now correctly be taking less damage while the Sandstorm effect is active.

Old Alterac Valley
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Man, lots of nostalgia thinking about oldschool AV. I spent a LOT of time in there during Classic. Spending hours pushing back and forth until finally we were able to overtake a bunker and just get that minor foothold, and then scrambling to defend it... good times.

It's a feeling we'd definitely like to bring back to the game in some way. We're not sure that today's AV is really the best place to do that though. When you queue for a random battleground, you generally expect that battle to last maybe 15-20 minutes or so. It wouldn't really feel great to see your queue pop, click to join, and then see the AV loading screen and know you could be in there for hours.

But like I said, we definitely want to see those huge battles in WoW again. Ashran (our new world PvP zone in Warlords) takes a ton of inspiration from those early Alterac Valley battles. It's designed to be an epic tug-of-war style battle, where you can either take direct part of the battle on the front lines, or work towards various other objectives that will support your faction in the main push. It's not a quick fight that's over in under an hour -- it's something that could take days before either side can claim a real victory, and you're rewarded for just participating even if you're not there for the final push.

We really want Ashran to hit that same chord that Alterac Valley did when it was first added, and we think we can pull it off. Can't wait for you guys to get your hands on it.

You could bring back the old AV by simply removing it from the random battleground queue and making a queue system solely for AV. Or you could keep the current fast version in the random BG queue, and bring back the old version as a "Classic Alterac Valley" queue that isn't part of the random BG. I don't honestly think it would be all that hard for you guys to implement, considering you must have the old Alterac Valley files still on hand at Blizz HQ.
That's something we've talked about. It's still a possibility, but it's not quite as easy to pull off as just restoring some old files. Remember, the game has changed a lot over the past 9 years. We'd rather spend that time working on something brand new.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Classes
Thoughts on Searing Totem with a CD? HST has been a rewarding design. Seems essential for totem to feel meaningful.
Unlike healing cooldowns, DPS cooldowns, especially short ones, are mostly used on CD. Much less interesting. Even maintenancey. (Celestalon)

When making new abilities, do you prefer to design around art assets you already have, or to get new ones made up for them?
Prefer to get new ones, as time allows. Feels more special, impressive, and fun when you get something new, not recycled. (Celestalon)
We have to recycle art assets sometimes due to the realities of game development, but we try to minimize it, and hide it as we can. (Celestalon)
IMO recycled art is a good thing if it results in extra dungeons and bigger raids
Spell FX and dungeons/raids/scenarios/world/etc are *usually* different artists. (Celestalon)

Are there any combat concepts that you avoid when designing because the engine doesn't handle them well, or at all?
Hmm... Well, we've learned what limitations to respect (as few as they are). For example, reliance on split second reaction times. (Celestalon)

What do you think about this idea: Spells that instead of having a set cast time, becomes stronger the longer you cast them?
It's something we've toyed with. Hard (but not impossible) to design interesting choices of when you want to let it go off. (Celestalon)
Most spell designs would either be optimal to let loose right away, or after as long as possible. Fun ones would be in between. (Celestalon)
What about arcane blast stacks on a smart heal? If you spam it, you go oom quickly, but you have that burst option.
Saving Grace ends up with similar gameplay to that. (Celestalon)

when designing stuff, what sort of ping do you allow for? eg we average 200-300 from Australia yet usa is sub 100
We try to make sure the game feels playable for up to 500ms, but fudge it occasionally if we're short on other choices (AR). (Celestalon)

What is the defensive value of vengeance?
It does things like increase the healing of Word of Glory, the absorption of Shield Barrier, etc. (Celestalon)
Why not completely remove vengeance? Why does a tank need to get hit hard to be effective?
So that things like Shield Block and Shield Barrier can stay competitive with each other. (Celestalon)

Will the change to vengeance in WoD make it once again extremely painful to level as a tank? -10 internet points if thats a yes.
No, opposite. A) You have basically no vengeance while questing/soloing. B) Tank damage will be *MUCH* higher without Vengeance. (Celestalon)

but won't that mean that doing solo content/leveling in tank spec will be a burden again?
Not at all. Your damage will be *much* higher without Vengeance. (Celestalon)

Character / Items
Will there be any difference between a heroic, normal or flex heirloom weapon while leveling a character up to 100?
While leveling, yes. Higher tier is stronger. The gap narrows as you level, until they're identical at level 100. (Celestalon)
Do we know how they'll compare to gear available at L100 (ending quest gear, pre-raid blues, etc.)?
I believe tweeted details on that. I think they were equal to dungeon blues? Not sure, offhand. (Celestalon)

Art
Would <3 visible backpacks beltsatchels potions poisons. Check out this custom fan model. http://t.co/sXMWskUego
I like your ideas man, and that backpack is great. Thanks for taking the time to make these suggestions. (artofcgrobinson)

Would you happen to know if Moonkin form models are being tweaked in WoD to complement character model updates?
They are not. (holinka)

PvP
Instead of "Rank 1" titles being awarded to the top 0.1% would it not make more sense to just give it to the top 40 in 3s, 65 in 5s
Different regions have different numbers of players (holinka)

With the high BF currently, I think it's fine even in arena. Not all that different from Void Shift or UE+NS/GHW.
They are balanced around not having it. It doesn't make sense to make it usable then make it unusable a patch later. (holinka)

Will we see any changed in divine shield and lay on hands in arena? In my opinion Lay on hands should be able to use then bob.
Agree that at current tuning, LoH wouldn't be outrageous, but as soon as Warlords hits we'd have to change it back. (holinka)

Can you tell me why target marking is disabled in arena groups?
it's disabled on player targets in general (holinka)
Is there a gameplay reason for that though? Or better said would it be problem to enable it?
Yes, visibility mechanics in the game that marking would render moot. Line of sight being the most obvious one. (holinka)

little Q: What if "swap spec" become an instant ability(CD) usable in combat? i fell would be nice4PvP.
We don't want people switching specs in combat. (holinka)

Dark Legacy Comics #429
DLC #429 has been released!

This article was originally published in forum thread: Warlords of Draenor Dev Interview, Feb 24 Hotfixes, Old AV, Blue Tweets, DLC #429 started by chaud View original post
Comments 92 Comments
  1. Tenjen's Avatar
    solo scenario's "forced" on the player? As much as BG's, dungeons, raids, questing in the open world, playing the game and posting in MMO-Champion is
  1. Elrandir's Avatar
    Please stop with solo scenarios, please.
  1. Tenjen's Avatar
    Why? whats wrong with them? Out of the small handful used, what was troublesome? What was so different from the open world content? And how is it wrong and awful and indicative of having them removed?


    Quote Originally Posted by goldrake View Post
    Ehm, ... dungeons to easy, to hard, too .... and what about HIPER STRONG TANKS or dps or healers that have no busines being in to low instances that RUIN completely enjoyment to others? What I really hate and is reason why i stop playing any Wow expansion after leveling all my alts to max to have some egomaniac tank with zillion hp and rest, that just rush through instances alone. No need for any sap or alike, no planning, .... for long time now. Blizzard lost me after Wotlk. And with every expansion they do more mistakes. As there is LOW ilvl limit there should also be UPPER ilvl limit or such egomaniac player should be automatically downgraded to be suited for normal or heroic dungeon. So we still leveling players can enjoy again. Or make separate kind of 5mans.
    Over applying the "downgrade ilvl" will make getting better gear more and more irrelevant. People eventually outgear content. Live with it. Dungeons aren't meant to be relevant down the line of the expansion as they are at the start for the WHOLE wow population.

    And you most definitely don't PUNISH an entire population because of a few supposed "egomaniacs" who are going to be egomaniacs even with your suggestion.
  1. Shockeye's Avatar
    Casters have slightly too many instant cast spells, especially healers that can keep themselves alive without ever using a spell with a cast time.
    I must be playing the wrong healers then. My Resto Shaman and Discipline Priest do not have these instant-cast spells that keep me alive. Riptide? It's a HoT that isn't going to mean the difference between life and death. PW:S? Again, it may buy me a few seconds longer but hardly qualifies as "keeping me alive without ever using a spell with a cast time".

    This comment concerns me a lot as one of the things that seriously lacks with my main (the Shaman) is not having an instant cast heal.
  1. Mrbleedinggums's Avatar
    I'm enjoying the thought of Gul'dan's alliance, though I do not think it is a conventional alliance as many of us would think, but similar to how the Forsaken joined the Horde. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."
  1. Wishblade's Avatar
    Gonna assume the several warlords in the first raid tier comment means the raid following release, not BRF and HM, where we'll see Blackhand.
  1. Tenjen's Avatar
    I think gul'dan will be manipulating us.

    seriously this is the guy who was the evil horde orc before there was a evil horde, he MADE them that way in more ways than one.

    This dude experimented on men, women and children, whether other races or his own. His shadow council puts the twilight cult to shame. And this is within "WoD" time.
  1. Shudder's Avatar
    "Beta is Soon™"

    What a joke. They're going for the record, ICC was nothing.

    "a third world boss could unlock that drops some Heroic raid quality gear."

    Another wonderful joke. Yes give LFR window lickers heroic gear.
  1. taheen74's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by kevins View Post
    Are they kidding? I hope this comment is directed towards Hunters
    Hunters aren't casters- in fact they work a lot different than casters do and have a resource system that gets completely depleted in 3 shots. Hunter's are more akin to ranged rogues than they are to casters.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Shockeye View Post
    I must be playing the wrong healers then. My Resto Shaman and Discipline Priest do not have these instant-cast spells that keep me alive. Riptide? It's a HoT that isn't going to mean the difference between life and death. PW:S? Again, it may buy me a few seconds longer but hardly qualifies as "keeping me alive without ever using a spell with a cast time".

    This comment concerns me a lot as one of the things that seriously lacks with my main (the Shaman) is not having an instant cast heal.
    I'm with you on that. I don't get where my shaman has more than one insta cast heal.
  1. Primaryjane's Avatar
    I'm finally going to cave and ask. What's the deal with "Blue Tweets" always being so old? I mean, I can understand a couple days, but damn near every one of those tweets was from 3 weeks ago. I used to come here to get all the latest WoW news, but now it seems like I'm coming to get a refresher on things I already read on other sites.
  1. Tirinium's Avatar
    Hmm this is kind of a letdown, when i read the rule about the old AV i thought YES, they are bringing it back, the new one is over way to fast, and mechanics in place aren't used, the old one was much more fun.
  1. chaud's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Wishblade View Post
    Gonna assume the several warlords in the first raid tier comment means the raid following release, not BRF and HM, where we'll see Blackhand.
    That would be the second tier. The first is the one that comes first (BRF/HM).
  1. Wishblade's Avatar
    Huh, guess there will be several warlords in 6.0... So two or three... Blackhand will appear for sure, Ner'zhul apparently shows up in the Shadowmoon Burial Grounds, so the question is, who will show up and are we talking about warlords in raids or in general.
  1. Adramalech's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Shudder View Post
    "Beta is Soon™"

    What a joke. They're going for the record, ICC was nothing.

    "a third world boss could unlock that drops some Heroic raid quality gear."

    Another wonderful joke. Yes give LFR window lickers heroic gear.
    Considering WoD's Heroic is what you call Normal today... not a big deal. I'd have an issue with it if it was Mythic gear.
  1. Shudder's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Adramalech View Post
    Considering WoD's Heroic is what you call Normal today... not a big deal. I'd have an issue with it if it was Mythic gear.
    It is mythic. They're still calling it "heroic". Look at the full quote. First two world bosses would be like they are today giving "normal" mode loot. Then much later in the tier they'd start handing out "heroic" loot.
  1. Isheria's Avatar
    When they mean later on they mean 3-4 months when progress is well past over and next content patch is almost imminent, no need to be so butthurt because some casual will get 1 maybe 2 heroic pieces.
  1. Shudder's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Isheria View Post
    When they mean later on they mean 3-4 months when progress is well past over and next content patch is almost imminent, no need to be so butthurt because some casual will get 1 maybe 2 heroic pieces.
    Oh I will be butthurt. I and my guildies have to wipe over and over again and actually earn the gear while someone in quest greens can tag a boss and just go make a sandwich and get the same gear? Yeah, I'm not ok with that.
  1. Siddown's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Lazy Gecko View Post
    Oh christ, not more solo scenarios forced on the player. This is a MMORPG, stop pretending it is a single player game (and a quite gutted one at that, when it'll always be bottlenecked by its MMO nature). Making you go through a bunch of solo instances just to get to the Isle of Thunder dailies was very obnoxious.
    You probably have 100+ days played on your main, and that might be a low estimate, yet people keep getting upset over 15 minutes of solo instances? I think you might be losing a little perspective.
  1. Hubbl3's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Shudder View Post
    Oh I will be butthurt. I and my guildies have to wipe over and over again and actually earn the gear while someone in quest greens can tag a boss and just go make a sandwich and get the same gear? Yeah, I'm not ok with that.
    Lol, who raids hc/mythic for gear? I do not care who else gets the gear I am getting.
  1. Majestian's Avatar
    Go figure, he's a former lawyer.

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