Warlords of Draenor - Developer Interviews
Today we are looking at an interview by Final Boss with Ion Hazzikostas and an interview by Blizzplanet with Kris Zierhut and Steve Burke.
- Ion Hazzikostas uses "Watcher" because he needed a name for his character used to watch Ulduar raids on the PTR.
- There is a big TV in the encounter design office where the team watches the current progression for any unintended strategies being used to hotfix.
- Watcher worked on the Faction Champions boss in Trial of the Crusader.
- Watcher wrote the "In the mountains" line used by Thorim and the "Suffer mortals, as your pathetic magic betrays you" line used by Sindragosa.
- Watcher did some class design and encounter creation in his earlier time at Blizzard, but now mostly oversees and guides the encounter design process.
- Rhyolith is one of Watcher's least favorite fights, as the steering mechanic didn't work out well. It might have worked well for a dungeon, but with 10 or 25 people trying to steer it didn't work as well.
- Amber-Shaper Un'sok is another, as it didn't give players a chance to test and practice the vehicle part of the fight.
- There were multiple ways to deal with the molten elementals on Ragnaros in Firelands. Mechanics like this that have mulitple approaches are some of the more fun mechanics.
Mists of Pandaria
- Week to week randomization on Stone Guard worked okay, but it is frustrating to come back the next week and have to relearn the fight. It isn't likely we will see much of that in the first tier of Warlords of Draenor.
- Patch 5.1 daily quests with a story and the exploration of Timeless Isle both worked out well, and elements of them will appear in Warlords of Draenor.
- If you want to log in every day there should be something for you to do, but you shouldn't feel like you have to log in every day to do something.
- Originally Heroic Paragons was going to vary weekly, but that idea was discarded after seeing testing on the PTR. Having to relearn the fight every week would not have worked out well. It varied on pull on the PTR for testing purposes.
- Tier 14 and Tier 15 could have gone on a little bit longer in order to reduce the amount of time that Siege of Orgrimmar was the current raid.
Warlords of Draenor Beta
- Making an expansion is harder than making a patch, as expansions improve systems and add new features rather than just adding some new content. This usually takes longer than expected, which makes the timeline for release less predictable.
- The Mists of Pandaria beta was different because so many people needed an invite from the Annual Pass. This time around, beta will be more limited and only used for testing and feedback.
- Fourteen of the seventeen raid bosses have already been tested internally, and by the time guilds are invited all seventeen bosses will likely be ready for testing.
- More people are being hired every expansion, but there is ramp up time for the new people. Having a larger team presents some challenges, but things should be better from Warlords on.
Warlords of Draenor Raids
- No vehicle fights are planned for Warlords of Draenor.
- There are no Mythic only bosses are planned for the first tier in Warlords of Draenor, as they usually fit better in a larger raid zone. This doesn't mean there won't be any in the future.
- There are no plans to use limited attempts for the first tier of Warlords of Draenor right now. In Icecrown, the limited attempts encouraged raiders to use alt raids to learn the fights before using their main characters. It did work well on the Lich King, as alts couldn't get that far, so players had to use their main character.
- Currently the team is still working on the intro experience, so they aren't ready to invite players yet. There is a lot of other content ready, but the intro experience is the first thing that players will test.
- Flexible size raids will allow you to have anywhere from 10 to 30 players in a raid, provided client and server performance is okay.
- Integration with the environment worked out well on Siegecrafter, so we might see more fights where the room is involved with the fight.
- The Immortal achievement only worked because Naxx was relatively easy.
- When testing Flex on the Patch 5.4 PTR, gear was initially scaled down too much. This resulted in the raid feeling more like normal than flex, which was a demonstration that scaling would work for normal too.
- Patch 6.0 will be live for ~4-6 weeks to allow for testing of the changes.
- LFR will no longer drop set pieces, but it will drop loot much more often, which will help to offset this change. Right now you have to run LFR for months to get all of the loot you want, which is not a fun experience.
Warlords of Draenor Raid Lockouts
- For the first few weeks of Warlords of Draenor, people might be interested in running multiple raid difficulties, but after that one difficulty should be sufficient.
- Having raids that are not linear will also allow groups to skip bosses that no one needs, which will reduce the amount of time that you do spend raiding if you want something from another difficulty.
- Guilds won't be spending much more time than they do now raiding once things are on farm, it just may be slightly more repetitive.
- Heroic does not need to be cleared before you start on Mythic, but Mythic will unlock one week after Heroic.
- Normal and Heroic lockouts are loot based, so you can kill the same boss multiple times a week. Mythic lockouts will be the same as Heroic is today, with a single ID and no raid size scaling.
- The multiple raids in the first Warlords of Draenor will open over time, with Blackrock Foundry opening a number of weeks after Highmaul.
- Week 1 of Warlords will have no raids unlocked. Week 2 will have Normal and Heroic Highmaul unlocked. Week 3 will have Mythic unlocked.
- The pacing of the legendary reward in Patch 5.2 worked out well, as Throne of Thunder was cleared before people got their legendary meta gems. The gem worked as a nice boost for guilds that were partially through the tier.
- In Patch 5.4, players got the legendary on day 1, which didn't work out as well. A delay of a few weeks would work better.
- Having to redo the grinding parts of the legendary quest chain again on alts also wasn't great, so in the future this would be something that you can skip on alts.
- Challenge modes will still remain timer based in Warlords of Draenor.
- The team couldn't make many changes without disrupting the leaderboards in Mists of Pandaria.
- Crowd control might be more important in Warlords of Draenor challenge modes.
Warlords of Draenor Class Changes
- Instant casts and the impact that moving during combat has on players is something the team has to take into account when designing an encounter. Instant cast heals were just too powerful late in Mists of Pandaria, making huge spikes of damage necessary to present any threat.
- Making it take longer to top people off will allow for more depth in healing gameplay. Rather than spamming heals to get the most HPS, players will have to pick who to heal and which spell to use. Cataclysm healing didn't work as well due to how tight the mana constraints were.
- Active mana regeneration is something for healers to do when they don't need to heal urgently and could use more mana.
- Discipline priests have been on the stronger side for most of the expansion, as absorbs take away from the healing that other healers can do. This will be addressed in Warlords of Draenor.
- Nerfing classes in the middle of a raid tier doesn't work well, as it would require changing encounters to make them slightly easier for groups that depend on that class. If a group didn't have any of that class, it makes it even easier for them.
- Hunters aren't casters, so they will still be able to cast many things while moving. If there is a fight with no movement, Hunters won't do as well, but there aren't really many (or any) fights with no movement.
- Casters have too many ways to cast while moving now, which made them too strong compared to melee DPS.
- During Wrath of the Lich King, good casters minimized movement and used their time while moving as efficiently as possible.
- Some classes have visuals that are disproportionally noisy, like Holy Word: Sanctuary and Moonfire. These will be adjusted.
- Some visuals will have a toned down version that everyone other than the caster sees.
- Every spell visual will have an internal priority that is used to determine what you see. If there is a lot going on in an encounter, lower priority visuals will be hidden. This should improve client performance in raids and make it easier to see what is going on. This can be turned off by players that want to see everything.
- In Heroic 25 player raids, the client will be displaying roughly 50-70% fewer effects than before. (Celestalon)
- Right now, Proving Grounds have a few problems with the gear downscaling, especially with healers and a few other specs. Other than that, Proving Grounds really do show some amount of the skill players have.
- Right now Proving Grounds just proves and doesn't teach, but Warlords of Draenor will address this at some point.
- Players are generally poor judges of their skill, as they don't recognize how much better the people in the top guilds are. They also don't recognize how many players exist that would have a hard time getting Bronze or Silver in Proving Grounds. These players don't really know what they are doing wrong, so Proving Grounds will give them a chance to learn how to do things right without other players yelling at them.
- The team wants to let players scale down to an appropriate level to do older dungeons. They are still working on the structure and rewards, but they hope to do it at some point in the not too distant future. Initially this would just be for dungeons, not raids.
- Having a garrison is mandatory, but what you do with it is up to you. It will work well with the story that you experience while leveling, but if you level with dungeons you can catch up on your garrison later.
- Garrisons will offer a some normal raid quality any maybe a few heroic raid quality items towards the end of the raid tier.
- Mythic raiders will be fine if they don't do anything with their garrison.
- There will be some account level restrictions that ensure that you don't have to do everything with your garrison on every alt.
- Orcs will come through the Dark Portal and take over Blackrock Mountain in the Warlords of Draenor world event.
- The alliance will work with Velen, Akama, and Maraad in Shadowmoon Valley.
- Assaults on your garrison will happen repeatedly, and get harder as time goes on. You will keep upgrading the item level of your followers.
- You will have to make many choices about the buildings in your garrison as you level through the zones.
- After boosting to 90, all of the things in your bags will be mailed to you. The mail has an unlimited duration, so you can sort through those things whenever you want.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Dark Legacy Comics #438
DLC #438 has been released.