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  1. #1
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    Ion Hazzikostas Interview, Patch 5.3 PTR Build 16954, Blue Tweets, The Daily Blink

    Diablo 3: A Look Back

    Ion Hazzikostas Interview
    As Patch 5.2 comes to an end, developer interviews begin again! Today we are taking a look at an interview with Ion Hazzikostas (Lead Encounter Designer) by Convert to Raid.



    Throne of Thunder
    • The team is happy with how Throne of Thunder turned out, as it really delivered on the varied and large environments, fun encounters, great art, and an interesting race for World First.
    • Lei Shen delivered on how great the final boss of a tier should be and is comparable to Heroic Ragnaros in terms of difficulty and structure.
    • The difficulty ramp up between bosses was not as smooth as it could have been, especially going from Jin'rokh to Horridon. This is something that can be improved upon in the next raid, and was addressed with hotfixes this time.
    • Throne of Thunder has a linear progression path, but many players missed the less linear progression that was seen in Ulduar and Icecrown. Giving players the option to work on another boss is helpful and there were areas in Throne of Thunder that could have been designed with this in mind.
    • Ra-Den didn't work out completely as envisioned. The sense of mystery associated with a boss that no one knows anything about is nice, making the content a bonus prize for defeating Lei Shen. It was hard to balance and test without the regular player testing, which resulted in clever use of game mechanics to defeat Ra-Den. Normally hotfixes would have been used to solve the problem, but limited attempts made it a more complicated situation.
    • There might have been slightly too much trash on Raid Finder difficulty, because there are no epic rewards that drop from the trash like Normal and Heroic difficulty. Trash is still an important pacing and environmental factor though, as you are progressing towards Lei Shen through his army.


    Raiding
    • During Sunwell progression, raiding 20 hours over several days to get a world first on M'uru was unprecedented. Blizzard tried attempt limits or time limits to reduce the need to raid constantly, but it has always been an arms race between the top guilds to raid longer hours.
    • Limited attempts in Icecrown resulted in using alts to practice encounters before doing them on main characters, increasing the amount of time top guilds spent raiding instead of decreasing it.
    • The devs would like to see more organized raiding, such as the organized PuGs that existed before Raid Finder.
    • There is a group of players that wants to do group raiding, but they aren't well served by the current difficulty choices. This would include the friends and family type guilds that don't remove players because they aren't performing at their best. In Wrath of the Lich King, 10 player normal difficulty raiding served these players well, but there is now a gap between Raid Finder and Normal difficulty.
    • When 10 and 25 player had separate lockouts and different loot, they were really different difficulty levels as well. Things were somewhat easier in 10 player difficulty, as it had the lower tier of loot and should be more accessible.
    • Now that both 10 and 25 player difficulty offer the same loot and have a shared lockout, there is a need to ensure the difficulty is similar for both raid sizes. This eliminated the lower difficulty 10 player raids, which left some players with no content to raid in a more casual organized group.
    • Removing shared lockouts would just make people feel that it was mandatory to do the raid on both sizes every week to get gear faster.


    Raid Finder
    • Raid Finder is great for letting players see content and progress their character with a more flexible schedule, but one of the best things MMOs offer is the cooperative social experience that is group raiding.
    • The success rates on Spine of Deathwing and Madness of Deathwing upon release in Raid Finder were about the same as they are on Lei Shen today. The success rate quickly went up on Madness of Deathwing, going from 25% during the first few weeks to 60 or 70% towards the end of the expansion.
    • Garalon was initially too difficult in Raid Finder difficulty, but hotfixes solved that problem.
    • Before the Determination buff was added, if a group failed at an encounter a few times, there wasn't much hope that anything was going to get better. This resulted in some churn in the group and continued failure. The only way to solve this problem was making the encounter easier so that groups failed less.
    • Determination allows the group to slowly make more progress on a boss, as well as give people who were thinking about leaving a reason to stick around.
    • This worked as intended, as the number of people leaving after failed attempts is significantly lower now. This also helps to reduce the amount of partially completed raids that people enter after a long queue.
    • Raid finder is designed to not be attractive to players that are doing most of the raid on Normal or Heroic difficulty, but for players that don't have a fixed raid group to play with.
    • In the past, relatively few people were able to see Arthas, Illidan, and other end bosses in raids. Raid finder allows millions of people to see the entire story.


    Future / Misc
    • Patch 5.4 will have a raid that is similar in size to Throne of Thunder.
    • The team started working on Patch 5.4 as soon as they were done with work on the Patch 5.2 PTR content.
    • It would have been nice to have more dungeons while leveling in Pandaria, as there wasn't enough variety. This is something that can be improved upon in the future.
    • Requiring a group for Heroic Scenarios was done to ensure some level of communication between players, making it possible to make the content more difficult and interesting.


    Patch 5.3 PTR - Build 16958
    Build 16958 will be deployed to the PTR realms soon.

    Spell Changes
    Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
    Hunter (Forums, Talent Calculator)
    Pets
    • Sting now has a 1.5 min cooldown, up from 45 sec.



    Patch 5.3 PTR - Build 16954
    Build 16954 was not a release candidate.

    Spell Changes
    Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
    Hunter (Forums)
    Beast Mastery
    • Exotic Beasts once again lists a cooldown reduction of Pet Special Abilities by 30%, up from 0%.

    Shaman (Forums)
    Elemental & Restoration
    • Lava Burst now has a 2 sec cast time, up from 1.5 sec.

    Warrior (Forums)
    Talents



    Blue Posts
    Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
    RPPM and Item Upgrades
    Definitely worth confirmation!

    Yes. For these special trinkets like RoRO or UVLS the proc rate increases with ilvl.
    And here it is. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

    Paladins in Throne of Thunder
    This is what they've told us: Paladins are quite useful but they feel cases like solo tanking Heroic Megaera (which was mentioned on this thread) has more to do with how encounter mechanics work than the way the class is designed. It's something the developers will work on to be more careful in the future.

    Also, with patch 5.3, there'll be some adjustments to certain Paladin abilities, including a nerf to Shield of the Righteous and Glyph of the Battle Healer (which was meant for Retribution Paladins to begin with). (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

    Blue Tweets
    Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
    Character
    interesting tweet, what do you mean by this? Like old days where armor/stam values were different based on armor type?
    Perhaps. Armor matters much less with so much non-physical damage. (Source)

    had 10 85's 5 DS geared in Cata, have 4 90's and 1 ToT geared now. Stopped alt playing completely now. Better? Just curious.
    You are comparing the final raid tier to the not-final raid tier.... (Source)
    It is irrelevant that they are different tiers GC, you have made alt playing not fun in MoP.
    The tons of raid-geared alts didn't happen until Dragon Soul. Then players naturally expected to keep the into 5.0. (Source)
    I'm not saying there weren't alts before, but the average player having 4-5 happened in Dragon Soul. (Source)

    Lots of discussion lately about gear and its place. Why not simplify? Do away with bracer, belt, boots and 1 trinket?
    Would that make loot feel more fun? (Source)

    You say you have the best programmers, any chance they can programme the lucky coins to not give you an item you already have?
    Trivially. But should they? There are downsides to getting all the gear you want as fast as you want it. (Source)

    Looking at the evolution of ilvl of gear in MOP in pvp/pve, do you think it should be done differently next expansion?
    We're still trying to solve letting PvE have better upgrades in later tiers without making PvP have huge catchup mechanics. (Source)
    In PvE, you can just avoid the harder instances until you have better gear. In PvP, you're going to run into everybody. (Source)

    Feel like BoAs take fun away, never replacing gear is lame. Love the XP buff but not trivialized content #toolatetochange
    I see where you're coming from, but they're more aimed at people who feel like they're done with the gear w/ leveling thing. (Source)

    Working stiff, almost no time to play now, so I don't; dailies too time consuming/no catchup method for gear. Fix next xpac?
    Is the issue that you can't get into dungeons or raids, or that you want to be able to do charms, valor and rep in addition? (Source)
    I ask because a major problem with Cata (we were told) was that raiders had little to do when they weren't raiding. (Source)
    We added other supplemental loot systems for players looking for more to do. But players with less time felt left out. (Source)
    (And before anyone suggests it, alts suffer from the same problem. Alts used to be something you could do if you had free time.) (Source)
    (But now we hear from folks that they don't have time for their alts. It's tough to solve.) (Source)
    It's a Catch 22 being able to provide meaningful content for players with a lot and without a lot of time. (Source)

    UI / Addons
    Greg, srsly. What kind of answer is that? Nothing in the game itself uses a questhelper either. Still you added it.
    The game has quests though and that info wasn't available. Nothing in the game points you to coordinates. They feel optional to me. (Source)

    please fix lag on Lei Shen. seems to be tied with stampede
    It is, but we can't reproduce it except for players with out of date Recount or Skada. (Source)

    not fun having half our 25m get d/c on bosses when a hunter decides to stampede. and this is with recount off. please fix
    Are you certain none of the 25 players have recount or skada enabled? We haven't been able to reproduce that case. (Source)
    I never used a damage meter and lagged like crazy on Sha of Fear Heroic. Maybe something deeper... DBM? Ace?
    It is definitely related to the stabled pets showing up as "unknown" and then flooding the log when the names are realized. (Source)
    We're not giving up, but it's definitely one of those holycrapwhatisthisactualbug? moments. (Source)

    Official LFGuild forums unusable mess. Like finding a job on craigslist with not categories, just by post date. Discouraging.
    We agree with that, and the Guild Finder tool doesn't solve the problem either. (Source)
    WE need a good, robust guild finding system, but you can't just throw good, robust systems together. (Source)

    You 'could' does not mean you 'should'. Why would you even design abilities for bosses, if they were to be ignored?
    An example is a tank swap mechanic relevant to tanks and perhaps healers that doesn't need to be shouted out to the raid. (Source)
    Another is when a boss mod yells out a countdown for a minor boss debuff that adds to the healing requirements but isn't urgent. (Source)
    Bossmods focus your awareness when used/configured well, but they're never judicious about what's on by default.
    They are better about not stealing your raid markers as much as they used to. (Source)

    If you could remove 1 addon and all like it from the game, ie: Recount/skada, DBM which would you remove and why?
    I'm not sure I'd want to remove any of those. Mods are generally good for the game and players like them. (Source)
    Maybe a mod that is cheating (which we tend to block anyway) or something so unstable that it causes players a lot of grief. (Source)

    The Daily Blink - Ready Level One
    The Daily Blink takes a look at the future of WoW...

    Last edited by chaud; 2013-05-16 at 10:25 AM.

  2. #2
    Im looking forward to 5.4 and the new raid. Is ToT was anything to go off of, it will be amazing.

  3. #3
    The Lightbringer Romire's Avatar
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    MMO Champ better share the bloody money!

  4. #4
    I think ToT was bland.

  5. #5
    not shure if GC doesn't get that tons of raidgeared Alts in DS resulted of LFR and 3 5man epic loot heroics, which we indeed had in wrath too but with way more ilvl difference

  6. #6
    Ready Player One is an excellent book. It should be required reading for any MMO gamer.

  7. #7
    Soooo.... Sounds like BLizzard is ready to throw the bomb and push 10 mans back down to lower quality gear and easier encounters. Gonna be fun to see the second class citizens react to that .

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Belgrad View Post
    not shure if GC doesn't get that tons of raidgeared Alts in DS resulted of LFR and 3 5man epic loot heroics, which we indeed had in wrath too but with way more ilvl difference
    I don´t think GC was saying the opposite. I think he was just saying to wait until 5 months after SoO before you compare it to the end of WOTLK or the end of DS. My guess is that 5 months after SoO.. there will be a lot of people with 5 alts in epics.

    If you follow the advice from the blog last week, it is pretty trivial to get caught up with LFR. Get to 90, go to the island and start getting your elder coins (kill a rare and get your key every week is the secret). It is pretty easy to run MSV, HOF and Throne and have a bonus roll on every boss. Also, at the end of the expansion, like WOTLK and Cata is when those ilvl 476ish type craftable epics become dirt cheap.

    I see now reason to doubt that I will start the next expansion with as many ´epiced´ alts as I did with Cata. GC is right though, it isn´t fair to compare ´now´ with the end of an expansion. Most of us are trying to eek out any power gains on our mains. Once you beat Garrosh, most players don´t have as much motivation for small power gains on your mains.. that is when you switch to your alts and get them ready for next expansion.

    ---------- Post added 2013-05-16 at 09:53 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Duster505 View Post
    Soooo.... Sounds like BLizzard is ready to throw the bomb and push 10 mans back down to lower quality gear and easier encounters. Gonna be fun to see the second class citizens react to that .
    Defintly sounds like they are leaning to do something like that.

  9. #9
    Bloodsail Admiral Getreuer's Avatar
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    Warrior (Forums)
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    Enraged Regeneration now costs 30 Rage.


    Ouch!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Romire View Post
    MMO Champ better share the bloody money!
    I think in 2044 some of us might already be dead.

  11. #11
    Mechagnome TrollShaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azrile View Post
    I don´t think GC was saying the opposite. I think he was just saying to wait until 5 months after SoO before you compare it to the end of WOTLK or the end of DS. My guess is that 5 months after SoO.. there will be a lot of people with 5 alts in epics.

    If you follow the advice from the blog last week, it is pretty trivial to get caught up with LFR. Get to 90, go to the island and start getting your elder coins (kill a rare and get your key every week is the secret). It is pretty easy to run MSV, HOF and Throne and have a bonus roll on every boss. Also, at the end of the expansion, like WOTLK and Cata is when those ilvl 476ish type craftable epics become dirt cheap.

    I see now reason to doubt that I will start the next expansion with as many ´epiced´ alts as I did with Cata. GC is right though, it isn´t fair to compare ´now´ with the end of an expansion. Most of us are trying to eek out any power gains on our mains. Once you beat Garrosh, most players don´t have as much motivation for small power gains on your mains.. that is when you switch to your alts and get them ready for next expansion.
    I wanted to question GC's statement about geared alts since I really enjoyed having lots of 85s geared back then, but after looking at this comment, it's fair enough I suppose. Dragon Soul lasted really long for a tier which is around 9 months, so it felt like I had all day to gear one alt at a time. However that tier also only had 2 LFR wings, unlike the MoP tiers which have 4 and 5 wings respectively. Take account of 20-40 minute DPS queues and possible boss/trash wipes per wing it's gonna take quite a while to finish a day's worth of gearing. If I ask for less wings though the possibility is that Blizz will either lower the amount of the tier's bosses (which I don't want them to), or just make one wing contain more bosses (preferable imo).

    tl;dr only time will tell if Siege of Orgimmar will even be comparable to Dragon Soul in terms of gearing alts. I'll restrain my QQs for now.

    Troll altoholic | Windrunner and Barthilas Horde

  12. #12
    Scarab Lord Descense's Avatar
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    *There might have been slightly too much trash on Raid Finder difficulty, because there are no epic rewards that drop from the trash like Normal and Heroic difficulty. Trash is still an important pacing and environmental factor though, as you are progressing towards Lei Shen through his army. *

    Trash in lfr = waste of time
    I dont know why they didnt add a ability too drop normal epics. That would at least have some bonus for normal/heroic raiders too go there.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Descense View Post
    Trash in lfr = waste of time
    I dont know why they didnt add a ability too drop normal epics. That would at least have some bonus for normal/heroic raiders too go there.
    noraml/heroic raiders do not want to do lfr

    ---------- Post added 2013-05-16 at 08:12 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Azrile View Post

    Defintly sounds like they are leaning to do something like that.
    even tho i hate 10/25 shared lockout but i doubt they will do it

    that will make more than 70% of the raiding community sad,
    "We always knew that our rights can only be regained by force and that is why we have chosen the ammunition box instead of the ballot box"
    "الامة التي لا تحسن صناعة الموت لا تحسن صناعة الحياة"

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Azrile View Post
    I don´t think GC was saying the opposite. I think he was just saying to wait until 5 months after SoO before you compare it to the end of WOTLK or the end of DS. My guess is that 5 months after SoO.. there will be a lot of people with 5 alts in epics.

    If you follow the advice from the blog last week, it is pretty trivial to get caught up with LFR. Get to 90, go to the island and start getting your elder coins (kill a rare and get your key every week is the secret). It is pretty easy to run MSV, HOF and Throne and have a bonus roll on every boss. Also, at the end of the expansion, like WOTLK and Cata is when those ilvl 476ish type craftable epics become dirt cheap.

    I see now reason to doubt that I will start the next expansion with as many ´epiced´ alts as I did with Cata. GC is right though, it isn´t fair to compare ´now´ with the end of an expansion. Most of us are trying to eek out any power gains on our mains. Once you beat Garrosh, most players don´t have as much motivation for small power gains on your mains.. that is when you switch to your alts and get them ready for next expansion.
    Part of the issue with WOW atm is that Blizzard seems to want to control if and when players play their alts. Considering that Cata was left dead in terms of content for 8 months towards the end and alot of players grew fond of their ALT.... it was simply NOT acceptable to throw things back 1000% the other way at start of the expansion. And thats also exactly the same with the end of MOP. We were told that there are plans to change the empty space between last raid and new expansion. Sounds to me there are no changes planned and ppl are back forced to play alts if they want to continue to play. But Im pretty sure many players will think twice this time around considering the very unfriendly systems for alts in MOP and knowing that Blizzard will be putting up same blocks for those alts to progress in next expansion.

    Personally - I think WOW will see the biggest drop in sub numbers ever in the last 6 months of this expansion. Cause ppl are not going to bother with alts if they are then just punished for bothering to level them when new expansion comes out. Whenever that will happen.

  15. #15
    I really love Ion as the lead encounter designer. I appreciate how open to talk he is about everything and he always shares his thoughts about how stuff turned out etc.

    Big props!

  16. #16
    ToT was bland as somebody said, dull and boring with it's atmosphere and music was also a letdown... Hope SoO will be much better (reminds me of DS , both have potential and they blew it with DS).
    More curious about when will they announce the new feature that comes with 5.4... Please please scale us down in old raids with good rewards.

  17. #17
    Beast Mastery
    * Exotic Beasts once again lists a cooldown reduction of Pet Special Abilities by 30%, up from 0%.
    Wait... what?
    Ok... my head officially hurts now, what I just don't even...

  18. #18
    Maybe having LFR / Easy(10/25) / Normal(10/25) / Heroic modes(10/25), all sharing lockout?

  19. #19
    Moderator Nobleshield's Avatar
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    What I think they should do is make 25 man drop higher iLevel gear (not a lot, about the difference between normal and Thunderforged gear), but keep the drops the same; the problem before was that most of the 25M gear was awesome, and a lot of 10M gear was shit, so you felt like you had to raid 25M for the good drops. If the gear drops were the same but 25M was a bit higher, yeah you still might be enticed to run 25M for the slightly better stats, but you don't feel like you HAVE to.

  20. #20
    The Lightbringer Romire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Exerus View Post
    I think in 2044 some of us might already be dead.
    With the current alive people :P
    Quote Originally Posted by Azerox View Post
    Hahaha this is funny.

    In daytime i am Varian, King of the Alliance ... but @ night i dress up like a mage and troll arround in Origins of Order.
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