Best Buy Developer Q&A
Several WoW developers answered questions on Best Buy's site tonight. You can find a more organized list of answers here.
Do you guys plan on giving out title for challgenge modes, like how you do for PvP (0.0% - 0.5%: Gladiator 0.5% - 3%: Duelist 3% - 10%: Rival 10% - 35%: Challenger)
If and when we move on to future challenge mode "seasons", titles to recognize players' past accomplishments are definitely something we'll consider.
With all these new changes to get players out into the world (great idea), is it a goal of the development team to possibly bring back World-PvP? Coming from someone who plays on a PvP Realm, I would love to relive the old days of huge scale open world PvP battles. I'm sure many others feel the same way.
We are trying to encourage it. Spots like the Black Market and the shrines (the faction "cities" in the Vale) will probably have a lot of PvP on PvP servers. Remember, guards are much weaker on PvP servers now and there are no sanctuaries in Pandaria.
At the end of the Klaxxi questline, the mantid mentioned that at one point in time, they worshipped Y'shaarj, an old god. However, he was slain by the Titans and was split into "shadows of his former self". Is he, in some way, in relations with the Sha and will we see Y'shaarj in future content patches?
Y'shaarj breathed love and exhaled hate, inhaled peace and breathed violence... Plus, his name was y'SHAarj. It's pretty safe to connect the dots. But Y'shaarj itself is very, very, very dead.
Will we see a Heroic Version of Ragefire Chasm?
Certainly not out of the question. Heroic versions of classic dungeons have been some of our most popular content. We will keep doing them as long as people keem playing em'.
What exactly (If you can answer without spoiling the story line!) has turned Garrosh Hellscream into the monster we all hate now?
Garrosh is not a monster. He has a very clear vision of the Horde, and the future of the orcs, and he gives very little thought to anyone who stands between him and that future. As he gets more powerful, and gets away with more, his vision becomes clearer. This has put him in conflict in the Alliance, and ultimately will cause problems within the Horde.
I love the little mana bomb received from the Theramoore scenario, but the cooldown is making it really hard to have fun with. Any chance this will be reduced to allow a bit more spammability? Maybe like a 30 second cd?
Glad you liked the reward! Unfortunately, that kind of mana power takes a long time to recharge!
The new LFR system you have in WoW now seems like a great way for people who dont have alot of time to donate to raiding guild environments a chance to see content that was most of the time closed to them, however im not a big fan of 25man raids. Is there any plans to add a 10man choice to the LFR system?
We think 25 works better for Raid Finder. The ratios of DPS to non DPS more matches the player population and there is less risk of getting an unviable group. In 25s you can afford to have a few deaths and you can even pull if you're backfilling a few players. Both really make you stop in your tracks on 10s. In 25, it's easier to fade back into the group if you're still not 100% confident in what you're doing. In 10s, it's harder to be a wallflower.
"Turalyon and Alleria" is it possible in anyway to know if there are any plans to continue their story? I had HUGE hopes to see them in game when BC came out and their SON poped out of nowhere saying they where alive. anything would do!... plz!?
Oh, their story will continue!!
How are group compositions gonna work into Challenge Modes? Surely every group would want to have a Bloodlust. And atleast a kings buff.
Realistically, if you're aiming for Gold, you're going to want a shaman or a mage or a hunter in your group, though Gold is absolutely possible without using Heroism/Bloodlust or equivalent effects. Realistically that probably saves you 15-20 seconds at best, and we've seen groups beat some Gold times by more than that. When constructing a 5-player dungeon group, you're inevitably going to have some strengths and some weaknesses in your composition, and players may find that the sorts of abilities they find invaluable are not the ones they're used to viewing in that light. (Pop quiz -- Which is likely to help you more in an 18-minute challenge mode run: Bloodlust, or an AoE stun that you can a couple of times a minute?)
Ok, I am going to be the one to ask the dreaded question, mainly because my guild members know that I continue to fight for them and have asked me to still chase this question. 25 mans - GC you have said it would be a good topic for a Watercooler, which is good, and recent tweets say not enough is being done for them.The only change we know about is the loot change and that is onl 1 item different for Normals from the majority of Cata which, excuse the sentiment here, seems a little underwhelmin...
Sadly, we don't have any details to announce yet, but we have a couple of ideas that should make the 25 players happy. We'll talk about them when we're confident that they are good ideas. Remember, the result can't be that all the 10 players stampede back to 25.
Any chance we will see the option to upgrade out current legendary to be maybe not the equal to the current ilvl but maybe raid finder ilvl or just a little below so that they are not just taking up space in out banks, or bags in the case of dragonwrath.
Not sure we would let you upgrade a legendary, but we could potentially allow you to transmog them. Our reluctance has always been that Thunderfuy feels less special when you see 30 of them running around AV.
If some gamers are thinking about coming back to WoW to exp Mist of Pandaria content, is there any special program "come back" that will launch with the release?
Scroll of Resurrection is awesome for returning players!
Have you changed your design philosophy of the quest flow in mists of pandaria? In previous expansions, moving to a new zone as soon as you are eligble left enough experience to cause no issues. Do you intend for all zones to be finished from beginning to end in order, and if so why did you feel the need to add breadcrumbs to the next zone prior to being able to go without issues further down the road?
Pandaria is like a huge novel that you can read in any order. You can skip ahead to other chapters as soon as you're eligible. It's worth it to stick through a full zone to wrap up the storylines and maybe get some blue quest rewards, but you're welcome to play through however you want. We definitely put in the effort to make this expansion much more open and non-linear.
Are we going to have the ability to remove players who dc or log off from scenario groups and add in new players from the queue?
Not at launch but we hope to have it in for the 5.1 patch. We understand the concern.
There has been some speculation as to whether Turalyon and Alleria might make a triumphant comeback in Mists of Pandaria. Any comments on this, or are they saved for a later expansion pack? The Alliance sure could use something to turn the tide of war.
There's no plan to continue their story in Pandaria. ...and also, I think the Alliance can take this!
You mentioned in a previous Q&A that legendary weapon components would be done in a manner to lessen drama within in a guild. One step was the implementation of components achievable through LFR. My question is how will components from normal and heroic raids be distributed. Will it be distributed similarly to how Deathwing's essences or new LFR are, or will the raid leaders still choose who to give those components to?
In 5.0 it's not a competitive issue at all. In Raid Finder, it's a random drop for some players. In Normal and Heroic there is a chance of a drop, at which point it is multi-lootable and every player on the quest will get it.
Are there any plans to allow for heirloom items to be sent cross realm?
We want this as bad as you guys do. It's on the list and we are looking into it.
Will the baby shark pet ever get added back into the game?
Yes! That's what those sweet new water bubbles are for!
Recently in Twitter Ghostcrawler mentioned the possibility of making subraces such as Maghar orcs and Wildhammer dwarfs available with the player character model updates, how high chance is there that this would also allow us to play as Broken or Taunka?
If we ever opened up more races, I suspect we'd be pretty liberal about it, but to be clear, that feature is no more than a twinkle in some designer's eye at this stage.
Is there any plans to allow players to have more then one Death Knight per server?
We agree that it feels like an antiquated rule at this point. We'll see how hard it is to remove that restriction.
I am wondering about the incentives to 25 man. This game is a social game so why does it seem that 25 man guilds are dieing off and they are going to 10 mans. Paragon recently posted that they were going to 10 man. Is there any other way to fix it so that people are drawn to do 25 mans because they want to raid with friends and get the good gear?
To sdk In Paragon's specific case, I suspect they'd find no lack of capable people more than willing to raid with them, but maintaining a Finnish-speaking roster is a core part of their guild culture, and they've made what was no doubt a very difficult decision to scale down to 10-player raiding rather than compromise that culture. As I noted in the Reddit AMA, ultimately there are heavier logistical burdens, particularly placed on the officers and raid leaders, in sustaining a 25-player roster versus only needing 10 players. We're actively discussing ways of ensuring that 25-player raiders feel properly incentivized and rewarded without necessarily elevating one raid size over the other. We definitely welcome ongoing community discussion and feedback on that topic.
As Developers, what was your biggest hurdle in building the new features we will see in Mists and how did you overcome them? Also I want to send kudos out to the art team - the beta was visually stunning!
Our biggest issue with new features is adding more complexity to the game. It's somethign we struggle with every expansion. I will pass your kind words on to the art team too!
The Reliquary is an interesting faction (at least in my opinion), but it hasn't been really visible in Cataclysm. Any chance we'll see them in Pandaria, as a counterpart to Brann ? Or at least some way to get their tabard ?
No plan for a tabard, but starting in 5.1 they're going to start poking around Pandaria for relics...
Were Orges ever thought of as a playalbe race, at one time?
Yep. We considered them for Cataclysm instead of goblins. Figuring out the females and the two-headed mages would be (fun!) challenges. Maybe someday.
Anyway, is there anything to Jaina's words that it is "time to bring Dalaran down" to the land and that she is still in support of fighting against the Horde?
Jaina's story will continue starting in patch 5.1. We'll try to catch players up with where she is at the end of the book, and then move on from there.
With the introduction of Pet Battles, do you think we can see pets dropping in raids again? There hasn't been a pet drop in a raid since Karazhan IIRC so a prime example in today's standing could be Ragnaros dropping Mini Ragnaros instead of it being on the store.
I don't see why not! We just need to make sure it's a good fit with the content.
With the pet battle system, pets which you can acquire multiples of, have lost the 'Already Known' tag. This is pretty annoying when shopping for pets for example, as you constantly have to search through your journal ("Do I have the red tickbird or the white one?"). Will this be changed? perhaps add an 'Already Known' tag in a different color?
Sorry for the inconvenience on that, we have already redesigned the tooltips to fix this in patch 5.1.0. Tooltips will display if you already own the pet in addition to how many.
Have you thought of introducing titles to reward realm 1st times for the new challenge mode dungeons. Something similar to how the PvP titles work now.
We actually have! The idea was that you would only have the title for as long as you held the top time. Main issue we ran into was that the title could be changing hands so fast that you might only have it for a few seconds. It's an awesome idea though and we want to explore it more.
Can we have a rough timeframe on when we can expect the Trials of the High King questline to be implemented? Are we taking around patch 5.1 or something closer to the Siege of Orgrimmar patch?
Varian Wrynn's first trial will happen in 5.1. But to set expectations, the development of Varian's character happens across the entire patch cycle and beyond - it doesn't all happen in one event or one scenario. His trials are many.
Transmog has become a very important part of my gaming fun. Will we be able to farm Dragon Soul LFR recolor gear at level 90, since the LFR tool won't work for it at that level ? This goes for future expansions and MoP content, of course.
We aren't going to support Raid Finder for content that is much lower level than your character, but we are going to allow you to enter old raids solo without being in a raid in a future patch (ideally the next major one, but standard no promises). That should facilitiate a lot of transmog farming.
Why is the theramore event so boring? Its way too easy and if you didn't read the book then you have no idea what's going on, you also wouldn't know why jaina isn't dead and why azeroth isn't completely destroyed. Do you think it would've been smarter to put more lore in the scenario and would've made it more fun?
Dave already spoke to the story part of your question (if you missed it Best Buy will be providing a full transcript after the chat). To address your concern of difficulty, we agree it was too easy on release. We pushed a hotfix recently that increased the HP of all enemies in Theramore's Fall. The fact is that Scenarios in Mists will be more tailored for players in quest gear and dungeon blues. But players at level 85 were steamrolling through it in Dragon Soul gear, and the hotfix was to compensate for this a little.
Do all designers use the same in-house editor? Or do you have different tools for different jobs? How do you handle collisions in your edits?
We all use a massive proprietary tool called WoWEdit, which has been showcased a couple of times at Blizzcons in the past. We all use this tool to create and edit everything from creatures to spells to quests, and our level designers use it to actually shape the terrain of the outdoor world. At the end of the day, there are countless columns and rows in tables that define the properties of the game world and the players and monsters that inhabit it. We're only able to do the work that we do because of our amazing Tools team, a dedicated group that is constantly refining and updating our editor to enable us to create content more quickly and with fewer bugs.
On the World of Warcraft website, it lists tradeskill patterns, plans, etc. that the player is missing. Some of those items are no longer in game. Are there any plans to reincorporate those missing plans back into the game so the players have an opportunity to try to get all of their missing tradeskill plans?
I'd hate to add back plans with no real game purpose just for sake of completeness. To be honest, I'd rather get rid of more of the older recipes that don't have a strong purpose.
Compared to designing dungeons, how difficult is it to design scenarios? Does it take more or less resources to make scenarios?
The biggest challenge for us was just figuring out what scenarios should be. How long should they last? Should they be hard? How much variability should they have from run to run? Now that we've gone through that process, they should take much less time to design than dungeons. The biggest time expenditure on dungeons is the amazing art that goes into them.
Considering Dispels remove ALL magic effects, even if they dispelled Fear the Flame shock would go with it, regardless of if they intended to dispel it or not. Would this not constitute it's reinstatement?
Guessing this is a follow-up to my earlier reply. I meant that if you dispel Flame Shock off yourself, or off Teammate A, maybe you can't dispel Teammate B's Fear or Polymorph a few seconds later, and now they're stuck in CC for its full duration. In general, we expect that players have to be much more careful about how and when they use their magic dispels.
Rogues are famous for using daggers, and that's all that we seem to be able to use, but I like to play Combat Spec, and it's described as being a swashbuckler spec. As such, I'd like to use 1handed swords along with daggers, but there are next to no 1handed rogue compatible swords, will we ever get to use swords as part of a rogue's arsenal? Afterall, there is no longer a block on what weapons a rogue can use on their abilties.
It's less of a design concern and more about how many different items we can drop. Things like e.g. Intellect axes don't have a lot of customers, so we just don't make them very often. This might be the kind of thing that transmog can eventually help address too.
I assume I ask this question on behalf of thousands of vanilla WoW fans: Do you ever plan on bringing back "Server-wide" Events? An example would be the Opening of AQ, which allowed the entire server to collaborate their efforts. An event of the same theory would be an incredible experience for all players to witness. It was incredibly rewarding when the whole server gathered enough materials for the opening ceremony!
From the standpoint of, "Everyone gather at the same place at the same time to see a big event and if you miss it its gone forever assuming you all don't crash the server," then no, no more events like that. BUT, we love the feeling of server progression, similar to the Isle of Quel'denas. Is there a way to build that progression into the game such that players who come in a couple months later don't miss out on all the fun? We think there is. And we're planning something that we'd like to try in the 5.0 patch cycle... so stay tuned! [No guarantees here, but we're actively tinkering with something.]
Question for Dave Kosak. I have always wondered why the Alliance has continuously frowned upon the Scarlet Crusade. Their main purpose was to simply eradicate the undead. With their return in MoP, we are tasked with eliminating them -again- with the aid of Lillian Voss. Why is it that we have turned their organization down for so long when we more or less have the same goals in mind?
The complexities really aren't in the game, but the Scarlet Crusade was very much a rogue organization. Great priests and warriors who would've otherwise served the Alliance disappear into the crusade, who serves its own ends. (In Northrend, it was clear their leadership had succumbed to demonic influence. It's hard to make up for that.) To be honest, the main reason to revisit the Crusade in 5.0 was a gameplay reason and not a story reason - it was a favorite dungeon that we really wanted to revisit with new mechanics. We didn't think a lot of story was needed.
Question from Munich, Germany. As the Octoberfest here and Brewfest in WoW are coming up, I wondered whether anyone at Blizzard did "field research" for designing Brewfest at the real Octoberfest ? The costumes and music are done really well.
We do field research on Brewfest every Friday.
Will you guys decrease the experience needed from 88-89 and 89-90 or increase the experience gained in Townlong Steppes and Dread Wastes before release? At the moment you can NOT hit Level 89 if you start with Level 88 and 0% experience in Townlong Steppes (~10% experience missing) and also Level 90 is impossible with Dread Wastes quests only (~5% experience missing). These are datas with the 10% experience guild perk and yes, I've got both zone completed achievements.
We are still actively tuning the XP. We will look into it.
What are your thoughts on healing classes in MoP? Are you seeing the type of balance you want in the new expansion between all classes/specs? I ask because we are seeing a lot of blending of healers into one unit, instead of variety. All healers can do everything now to state it plainly which is making certain classes stronger choices than others for non-healing reasons. Sure some do slightly better in certain situations, but the classic archetypes are no longer as valid. It removes the need fo...
We strive for harmony with the healer design. If healer niches are too well-defined, then you are encouraged to stack Resto druids for one fight and then Holy paladins for the next fight. We'd rather see a diversity of healers. As far as healer balance is currently, we're pretty happy with it at 90. We still need to see Disc priests really figure out all of the nuances of Spirit Shell and we want to make sure all of the healers are really strong for Challenge Mode gold runs.
Mists of Pandaria features an ambitious number of 18 raid bosses and I'm very excited about that. Im curious though as to how many bosses we can expect to see in future tiers? Firelands and Dragon Soul felt like small tiers with only 7 or 8 encounters in the tier.
We like big raid tiers too, and will do our best to continue delivering them. We're planning for the next tier after Heart of Fear/Terrace to be a fair bit larger than Firelands or Dragon Soul were.
Whats would your answer be to the players who feel that by making multiple classes bring similar buffs and abilities, that the classes are losing their 'uniqueness'? Introducing combo points to ShadowPriests/Ret Paladins for example
Ultimately, there are only so many distinct resource mechanisms, and many of them are not great from a gameplay perspective. We'd rather differentiate our classes and specs on the basis of their overall feel and unique capabilities such as Death Grip for Death Knights or shaman' totems. I don't think many people are likely to mistake a shadow priest for a rogue just because they build up a resource and then consume it to deal damage.
Will the gear in Theramore's Fall 85 version be available in the 90 version?
The gear and the rewards for the 85 version are only available now. The 90 version has standard scenario rewards (Valor and a chance at a dungeon blue)
Where do you see races that are neutral leaning like the Blood Elves going within the Horde? They seem rather separate from the Horde story since Cata's launch.
Stick around for patch 5.1 - we pick up the Blood Elves' story and propel it forward. Finally, a chance to interact with Lor'themar! Most players don't even know who he is.
Any updates on future guild leveling past 25?
We are totally open to increasing guild levels and the associated rewards but only when the game feels like it needs more of that content. A large number of guilds are still nowhere near level 25 so Mists did not feel like a good fit to add more guild levels.
I loved the "Visions of the Past" quest-line in Vashj'ir. Will we see anything similar in upcoming content?
This is the "Battle-Maiden" questline, where you got to play as a naga badass for a while. I think these are a great break from the standard gameplay if they're well-designed, but we would want to use them sparingly. (After all, it's not WoW if you're not playing your class and kicking butt!) That said, there's a couple fun moments in Pandaria that have similar gameplay. In the Valley of Four Winds, you get to play as Chen Stormstout for a little bit. After kicking around a lot of ideas, we ultimately decided to give you a single 'Chen-Fu' button that makes him randomly do awesome kung-fu moves. It's a short sequence, but it's fun for storytelling and gives you a chance to Chen it up.
Beside the lifting on the mist with the clock strikes midnight on the 25th. We have come to expect events to complement the expansion. They have been fascinating and very fun. Should we expect events over the next 6 days? Or was the Scenario it?
The Theramore scenario is intended to be a preview of what players can expect from scenarios in Mists. It is by no means a launch event and thats intentional. We made a call early on to put that time into developing more content for Mists that will last and not be over in a week.
Are we going to get more story-telling in scenarios? The Theramore scenario was lackluster compared to the book, key story elements haven't even been address in-game yet.(Kirin Tor leader)
I addressed this earlier, but keep in mind that we want scenarios to be replayable. We definitely didn't want to burden them with tons of story that you have to wade through every time you play it. As I said for Theramore, people obviously wanted more context, which probably was best served by some one-time quests on either end of the scenario. That's a lesson we're pulling forward.
Will Wintergrasp ever be added as a max level battleground?
Potentially, if there is enough demand for it. We would introduce it as you suggest as a true Battleground to avoid faction imbalance issues.
Are there plans on fixing the broken Engineering Flying Machine that has been broken since patch 4.1?
We will look into this and make sure we get it fixed.
Is there a chance we might see class specific factions developed more? Kirin Tor, Ebon Blade, Argent Bros, Ravenholdt...Could we see something similar arise for Warriors, Hunters etc?
We're cooking up some cool Warlock stuff we can hopefully announce soon. In a more general sense, we LOVE class-specific content, but to do it right takes development time (believe me, I have to somehow schedule all this stuff.). When it came down to deciding between more zones of content and more faction content OR class-specific stuff, we opted to create more content for everyone. But, again, we love class-specific content, we'll try to squeeze in some cool challenges for the various challenges in the patches to come...
Windwalkers have been very upset with a couple things in particular with their spec. The first is Fists of Fury, we don't like being rooted and channeling an attack when our kit is supposed to be mobile. Can we please get this mechanic revisited? As well, we don't have literally any useful raid utility. Zen meditation is very weak. Will this be addressed at all post-launch?
"Mobile" doesn't mean "never, ever stops moving." Like many specs, Windwalkers will do more damage when stationary but can still do some damage when moving. Deciding when you should FoF and when you can't is one of the decision points that separates good monks from great ones. We're not inclined to change it at this time. As far as raid utility goes, we're really reluctant to hand more "must have" buffs. We don't want Windwalkers to be mandatory, especially for smaller, 10-player raid groups. If they are never taken at all, we'll take some kind of action, but I'd be very surprised if that's the case.
Will we ever see Magni Bronzebeard return from being frozen under Ironforge?
Magni is like the definition of BLING. If we continue his story, we'll make sure to handle it in-game. I wouldn't count on seeing him return during the Pandaren story arc, though.
Greg just said on twitter that the 25s versus 10s situation was handled in the AMA a lot, but nothing came from that apart from an understanding that 25s do have it harder now and could use some more compensation, Don't you have concrete plans for that, more than the tiny bit of extra loot 25s will have? The issue will only get even more pronounced the next weeks during progression.
It's something we discuss frequently internally. We don't have anything final to announce just yet, but we love 25-player raiding and intend to do what we can to preserve it.
Will content come at a faster rate in MoP? It seems that we might be pushing thought content at a much faster rate.
That is definitely our goal! As we speak the quest team is simultaneously working on patches 5.1 and 5.2. Our hope is to keep the story and content rolling forward. It's definitely a focus for the team - I can't make any promises, but I guarantee we're trying and I hope you'll notice the results!
Hey, I had a question regarding arms warrior pve rotation. It feels like there is to much rng involved with the rotation very rarely do I get more than 2 stacks of taste for blood and sometimes I can use overpower 5 or 6 times without a single proc of it, which then will leave me rage starved and without buttons to press, I was wondering if you could lower the damage bonus of the buff or damage of OP while also increasing the proc chance as well.
Think of getting a high stack for Taste for Blood as a random bonus, much like getting enraged from a bunch of crits in a row. You shouldn't hold your whole rotation waiting for a 4 or 5 stack, because it won't happen that often. If you're at risk of rage capping, try to Slam. If you don't have the GCD to Slam then it's probably worth just using the Heroic Strike unless you think you'll be able to Colossus Smash really soon.
Nobody I know is impressed with the promise of an extra piece of loot for normal 25 mans. What we would be impressed with is separate realm first achievements for each raid format. Any chance of seeing something like this?
Possibly. On several servers that have one top 25-player guild that's far above the rest of the server in progression, that might turn into incentivizing them to split up the week after their 25-player Realm First to snag the 10-player one. Not sure that's great gameplay for anyone. That said, we recognize that there's interest in making it a bit easier to distinguish between 10-player and 25-player kills in statistics or achievements.
Were the stained glass windows in Ulduar forshadowing of the Sha? They look very similar to the Sha.
I'd like to say we planned that. [Long pause] But I would be lying. I think it's just a happy coincidence that fits wonderfully into our lore.
When will transmog rules be loosened up a little. Main hand/one hand weapons, for instance.
If I had to guess, we will loosen them at some point. We would probably wait until some time after the MoP launch when players will appreciate it more. It's easy for smaller features to get lost when there is so much new content. The designers will discuss it soon (tm).
We saw some of the animations on the challenge mode gear, will the druid set animations be visible when the druid is shapeshifted?
The custom effects are based on the armor itself so they will only be visible when you are in caster form.
Will there be a Realm First achievement that involves Pet Battles?
We did not make any realm first achievements for pet battles. Our intention for the feature is that its more of a casual activity and a realm first just did not feel like a good fit.
When will we see Sargeras, it's one of the reasons I've stuck around for so long...
Sargeras would be one monstrous raid boss! He's one of the most iconic, key villains of the franchise. Believe me, when he comes to Azeroth, you're going to feel it LONG before he even gets there.
Have you thought about implementing zones or battlegrounds where players are normalized by level, similar to the gear level normalization in the upcoming challenge mode dungeons? This could allow players to quest or PVP with lower-level friends, and it could be fun to see a trio of level 20s take down a level 90.
This is a tremendous question, because it's something we've been talking about and exploring. With Challenge Modes, we now have tech to scale your item level, so that we can guarantee the right level of difficulty. Having this tech opens lots of doors for us down the line. We don't have anything to announce, but it's a step toward a lot of the features you're describing.
How come with this expansion you choose to go with Pandas and not something that was already in the game, such as The Emerald Dream, maybe going into the Dragonflights, or even something more with The Demonic legion.
The pandaren are a race we've been looking to introduce into the WoW universe for some time now, since their introduction as a neutral hero back in the Warcraft 3 expansion. They were originally a top contender for the Alliance race back in Burning Crusade, but we ended up going with the draenei at the time because they better fit the Outland-focused story we were trying to tell, and because it didn't feel right forcing a historically neutral race like the pandaren into one specific faction. When we were looking to make an expansion centered around themes of exploration and discovery against a backdrop of Alliance-Horde conflict, the pandaren just seemed like the right fit: Noble and enigmatic race caught in the middle of the war between the Alliance and Horde as it spirals out of control, forced to choose sides as the outside world descends upon their homeland.
Rogue's shadow blades visual effect is lacking, and needs more of a pop. Paladins get ashbringer; could rogues get something equally cool looking?
We agree that some rogue visuals (Shadow Blades, Shadow Walk, etc.) could use some more love. That's something we'd like to do in a future patch.
In Pandaria will we see another 9 month period where we will have no new stuff coming out?
We are doing everything within our power to avoid this. We all feel that 9 months without content is pretty much unacceptable to our players. A glimmer of hope: we are already knee deep into both patch 5.1 and 5.2. Our plan is to deliver these much faster than anyone is expecting.
With the creation of the farms at Halfhill, the base structure for player and guild housing has subsequently been created as well. Is this the direction you have chosen to go with for player housing or was this even considered as an option. One very good point about this option is that multiple locations for housing can be placed thoughout the game world, preventing the issue of removing players from the world.
It's certainly a baby step in that direction. We are really excited to see how players react to it in Mists. We already have lots of ideas on how we can expand this kind of content in the future too!
When we think about things like player-housing, we really want to look at how this can contribute to gameplay. The farm is awesome because it ties into a lot of systems, it creates some fun crafting opportunities, it impacts the economy, etc. It's a great experiment for us because if it's popular, it gives us a lot of data into how to create this type of content in the future.
What is the design philosophy behind PvP balance and how satisfied are you with PvP balance in Mists of Pandaria?
One of the main ones was to allow more cross-over of gear at the lower end but not the upper end of content. (In 4.0 it was more of the opposite.) It's not fun to die in PvP over and over until you get decent gear.
The reddit AMA gave some teasers that Sylvanas, Vol'jin, and Thrall (specifically in 5.1) would be integral parts to the story. Rexxar and Koltira were also mentioned. On the Alliance side, other than Varian, Anduin and Jaina are there any notable leaders/lore figures we can expect to see active through the Pandaria storyline?
Great question! Many of the Alliance leaders will come into play. Tyrande has a couple of moments in 5.1. We also want to do more with the dwarven storyline (we're still kicking around ideas of how best to do that.) The trick is making sure those characters have meaningful moments. We'll definitely spend a lot of time with Jaina and King Wrynn.
Will we ever see cross-server mail or non-boa cross faction mailing phiesibly within the 5.0 content?
It's on our list and something we really want to do. It's really just a matter of the engineering time it takes us to get it in.
WoW has always been a mostly raid or die game. The changes in MoP to Justice Points, the item level difference on gear obtained outside of raid, are kind of steps backwards away from alternatives, pushing us back to having our only choice to be a raid. Are there any plans to give the non-raiders / people with random avaiabilities any form of meaningful character progression in terms of player power, besides only raids?
We have a number of gear acquisition routes that do not involve raiding. We've broadened the avenues for acquiring Valor Points, which can now be earned by doing dungeons, daily quests, scenarios, and so forth. That gear will be at least item level 489 (compared to 476 from LFR). There's also crafted gear. And of course future content updates will continue to provide upgrades outside of raiding. All of that said, I'd encourage you to check out the new raids as well -- the addition of the LFR system makes them more accessible than ever.
Would say that the new challenge mode dungeon gold times are going to be the "Gladiator" equivalent of PVE?
That would be our hope. Seeing someone sporting a set of challenge mode armor in town should be akin to seeing someone on a Gladiator mount -- you know they did something extremely skillful to earn it, and it's not the sort of reward you can outgear and obtain later on.
That's probably a pretty close comparison. Beyond gold times we will have server and guild leaderboards too. That's probably where the highest level of competition will be.
Christie Golden mentioned in an interview that she worked closely with the quest team when she wrote Tides of War to make sure everything was very close. However, there are some notable differences between the book and the scenario during the Alliance side of it. Did the storyline of the scenario change late into the book's writing?
We worked hard to sync with Golden during development. The Alliance side of the scenario went through LOTS of iterations, including when it happened (before the attack? During the attack? After the attack?) Ultimately we went with the one that gave us the greatest gameplay. We want the events of the book and game to match as closely as possible, but we want the best book possible and the best game possible, so they won't be word-for-word identical. This can create some fun arguments. "Well, according to this book..." "YEAH, but I WAS THERE, MAN!" We work hard to make sure the discrepancies are minor, but we definitely don't struggle for perfection.
I know you guys recently changed the LFR loot (weapons) from the last boss in a LFR instance, are you guys going to do any other changes to LFR to make heroic raiders not feel as they have to raid 2 formats a week to be competitive?
As I mentioned in reply to an earlier question, it's a goal of ours but it's a tough one to realize in a world where everyone is starting out in dungeon blues and looking to get their hands on any and all epics. It's our expectation that by the time Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring LFR unlock, most heroic raiders will have replaced their dungeon gear and have less to gain from also running LFR mode. In future raid tiers, people who are already in Heroic gear from the prior raid zone should not find the next tier's LFR gear to be an improvement over what they have.
Will there be an appearance of the Burning Legion in the end of MoP?
The threat of the Burning Legion is still out there, and it's very much a threat to Azeroth. The mortal races are mostly focused on the current war, but not everyone has forgotten about what's out there and the challenges to come... Wrathion, in particular, is already trying to look ahead.
Would say that the new challenge mode dungeon gold times are going to be the "Gladiator" equivalent of PVE?
That would be our hope. Seeing someone sporting a set of challenge mode armor in town should be akin to seeing someone on a Gladiator mount -- you know they did something extremely skillful to earn it, and it's not the sort of reward you can outgear and obtain later on.
Can we expect mailboxes on the wandering isle on release? was the removal of the one that was there for quest testing purposes?
Pandaren Neutrality caused a lot of design issues we had to solve. Mail ended up being a headache. What was easiest -- for us AND for our users -- was to remove mail entirely until you choose a faction. That's nice and clean and prevents a lot of issues people saw on the beta. So, no mailboxes on the Wandering Isle - sorry!
Will the storyline of the Sha continue with Patch 5.1 or later patches?
For the most part, the Sha issues will be tackled by players in 5.0. BUT... not everyone wants to let sleeping Sha lie. Someone might start stirring up trouble beginning with the patches...
Prior to patch 5.0.4, When we still had the cataclysm 'revised' talent trees, Elemental shamans gained an addition to one of their talents entailing that when flame shock was dispelled we gained a temporary buff entitled 'Lave Flows' This most recent patch, with the new Mists 'revised' Talent trees highlighted the removal of the cataclysm talent system, and with it went Lava Flows, what is your reasoning for removing this valuable ability?
Defensive dispels are significantly more limited in 5.0 than they were previously. Passives like Lava Flows were designed as an answer to an environment in which defensive dispel magic was spammed constantly, and it was nearly impossible to get a buffed Lava Burst off against an attentive dispeller who could remove your Flame Shock while you were casting the spell. With an 8-second cooldown on dispels now, a healer who dispels a Flame Shock may find that they are unable to dispel the Fear or Polymorph that targets another teammate immediately thereafter. We'll keep an eye on the evolving PvP metagame in light of the new dispel changes, and consider re-adding something like Lava Flows if it proves necessary.
How much game time do you think will we get in exploration of the continent of Pandaria?
We really packed in the content with Mists, that being said the amount of time it takes you is really going to depend on your playstyle. We have so many different things for players to do. Quests, reputations, dailys, sceanrios, pet battles.... The idea is to let players make progress doing whatever kind of activity they like best.