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. Airwaves's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by kevins View Post
    Are they kidding? I hope this comment is directed towards Hunters
    Casters should have one at the most instant spell. There needs to be some disadvantage for standing at range. Right now there isn't one for most casters.
  1. grexly75's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Shudder View Post
    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.
    Not sure where you got the idea that the world bosses would drop mythic level gear since they are not saying it they are saying normal / and maybe heroic raid level gear and since there are still 4 levels of raiding they are just called something different in WoD ie: Flex LFR, Flex Normal, Flex Heroic and then 20 man Mythic mode..

    And if you read the front page it wont be till the 3rd World boss release and may drop heroic raid level gear..

    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.
  1. Shudder's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by grexly75 View Post
    Not sure where you got the idea that the world bosses would drop mythic level gear since they are not saying it they are saying normal / heroic raid level gear and since there are still 4 levels of raiding they are just called something different in WoD ie: Flex LFR, Flex Normal, Flex Heroic and then 20 man Mythic mode..
    So what you're saying is world bosses in wod aren't going to drop normal mode gear (will be called heroic in wod) anymore? That they'll be dropping lfr/flex type gear? Cause that's not what I'm reading.
  1. grexly75's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Shudder View Post
    So what you're saying is world bosses in wod aren't going to drop normal mode gear (will be called heroic in wod) anymore? That they'll be dropping lfr/flex type gear? Cause that's not what I'm reading.
    They will drop normal raid level gear and the 3rd world boss may drop heroic raid level gear, but no where is it mentioned that mythic level gear is involved..
  1. Shudder's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by grexly75 View Post
    They will drop normal raid level gear and the 3rd world boss may drop heroic raid level gear, but no where is it mentioned that mythic level gear is involved..
    He's using todays terminology. Heroic will be mythic.
  1. Adramalech's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Shudder View Post
    He's using todays terminology. Heroic will be mythic.
    I doubt they are.
  1. Farabee's Avatar
    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.
    This is a bit of an disingenuous statement, considering that Ordos is locked behind months of raid grinding. You have to be at least an LFR raider to get Ordos loot. His existence promotes high end raiding, not diminishes it.

    That said, once they fixed Sha's spawn timer and added faction tagging I think MoP got world bosses perfect. They are loot bags, but they're reliable loot bags.
  1. Shudder's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Adramalech View Post
    I doubt they are.
    So then they're nerfing world boss loot, they will give lfr/flex quality. I'm down with that.
  1. Of-the-horde's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Shudder View Post
    So then they're nerfing world boss loot, they will give lfr/flex quality. I'm down with that.
    They are not nerfing anything, new expansion new fresh start and a new set of rules.
  1. Happyfunrun's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Warlord Booty View Post
    Ooo, can I be the first to say "I quit and no you can't have my stuff"?!?! I'm not fighting against Grom. You could make the argument for us fighting vs Gul'dan or Zer'zhul, depending on when we encounter them, but... no. I'm not fighting Grommash Hellscream.
    I think we're not going to. He didn't give us a straight answer.
  1. Shockeye's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by taheen74 View Post
    I'm with you on that. I don't get where my shaman has more than one insta cast heal.
    We have Riptide which has a small initial heal but is primarily a HoT and we can talent to get an insta-cast spell every 90 seconds, and that shouldn't count (as it's a talent choice). Ranged DPS have more insta-casts than healers do, so that he chose to direct his comments at healers makes me uneasy.
  1. MrExcelion's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Happyfunrun View Post
    I think we're not going to. He didn't give us a straight answer.
    That French leak did say Grom was the planned final villain, but that's the sort of thing that can be changed if done early enough
  1. fishing4corpses's Avatar
    solo scenarios ...not excited about this.
  1. Siven's Avatar
    I havent played WoW since MoP release.

    Has there been any news about WoW updating its nameplates?

    Maybe im spoiled by SWTOR, ESO and other newer MMOs and their smaller, thinner nameplates which just seem so much more functional than WoWs.

    If not, whats the best nameplates mod for smaller and thinner nameplates?
  1. Trollfat's Avatar
    That dark legacy comic is hilarious
  1. McWire's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Siven View Post
    I havent played WoW since MoP release.

    Has there been any news about WoW updating its nameplates?

    Maybe im spoiled by SWTOR, ESO and other newer MMOs and their smaller, thinner nameplates which just seem so much more functional than WoWs.

    If not, whats the best nameplates mod for smaller and thinner nameplates?
    Tidy Plates is very good.

    Or If you are talking about Player/Target-Plate you might want to give X-Perl or Pitbull a shot.
  1. Tivoko's Avatar
    DLC is, as usual, pretty funny. I enjoyed the interview as well but it doesn't sound like heroics are going to be that hard. I mean if you have to do a prerequisite like proving grounds to queue for them, I see no reason to make difficult ones like Shattered Halls and Shadow Labs (gear will eventually nerf all dungeons anyways).
  1. Osmeric's Avatar
    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.
    That's interesting. Did participation in SoO raiding miss their targets?
  1. Siddown's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Shockeye View Post
    We have Riptide which has a small initial heal but is primarily a HoT and we can talent to get an insta-cast spell every 90 seconds, and that shouldn't count (as it's a talent choice). Ranged DPS have more insta-casts than healers do, so that he chose to direct his comments at healers makes me uneasy.
    Seems to be that everyone thinks that Shaman are the only healers in this game. Maybe the point should have been a bit better, as in "healers outside of Shaman have too many instants", but when someone says "healers", using one of five classes as a counter example is a bit intellectually dishonest.

    Like, take Druids, you've got Rejuv, Swiftmend, Wild Growth, Lifebloom, Tree Mode + Regrowth, Mushroom Bloom, Iron Bark, Barkskin, Bear Form + Regen and NS + Healing Touch. Outside of a silence or a stun, there's nothing a player can do to prevent a cast.
  1. Rekx's Avatar
    i play a caster, and im ok if we cant cast while moving. BUT that means they need to take away a ton of mechanics on boss fights. bc there is already a shit ton of movement for ranged. melee can almost always just stand still yet casters have to move and lose dps bc of it? its bullshit.

    so fine bliz, if you want us to stand still to cast, stop forcing us to move every 5 seconds in raids.

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