Patch 4.2 Preview: The Regrowth and Molten Front Daily Quest Hubs
Originally Posted by BlizzardFollowing the Cataclysm, Ragnaros's elemental minions assaulted Mount Hyjal in a bid to set the ancient World Tree of Nordrassil ablaze. Although the Guardians of Hyjal and their allies heroically repelled this invasion, their work on the sacred mount is far from over. In the newly healed Regrowth, Archdruid Malfurion Stormrage and his comrades have transformed the Sanctuary of Malorne into a staging ground for an assault on Ragnaros's domain: the Firelands. Thus far, their efforts have been frustrated by a resurgence in elemental activity that has engulfed the Regrowth and divided Malfurion's forces.
If Hyjal's defenders quell this counterattack, they have plans to create a permanent outpost in the Firelands from which to maintain an eternal vigil over the molten elemental realm. To do so, Malfurion's druids are planning to use an enchanted Sentinel Tree. With its roots sunk deep in Azeroth itself, this extraordinary tree's protective canopy will grow in the Elemental Plane, providing a much-needed shelter for the Guardians of Hyjal. Yet accomplishing such a feat will take weeks of brutal fighting against foes such as the treacherous Druids of the Flame, a splinter group of night elves bristling with Ragnaros's fiery powers. Regardless of the many challenges ahead, Hyjal's protectors and other heroes remain steadfast in their goal to establish a foothold in the Firelands. The safety of Hyjal and Nordrassil hinges on the campaign's success.
In patch 4.2, stalwart adventurers will have the opportunity to test their mettle at two new daily quest areas located in the fertile hillsides of Mount Hyjal and the burning depths of the Firelands. Known as the Regrowth and Molten Front, these areas will offer an unprecedented amount of daily solo content for level-85 players to enjoy -- including over 60 new quests, four "unlockable" iLevel 365 gear vendors, and a world that evolves right before your eyes.
Unlock Your Destiny
Like many of the daily quest areas already in the game, the Regrowth and Molten Front will feature several stages of content. Players will begin their journeys at the renewed Sanctuary of Malorne in Mount Hyjal, joining forces once again with Matoclaw and Archdruid Hamuul Runetotem to repel invading armies of elementals. From there, they must open a portal directly to the Firelands and establish a forward outpost that the Guardians of Hyjal, led by Malfurion Stormrage, can use to thwart further incursions by Ragnaros's forces.
Rather than these stages only becoming available after a certain period of time or at the end of a long quest series, players will instead get to use a new alternate currency called Marks of the World Tree to unlock them at their own pace.
Similar to Champion's Seals from the Argent Tournament in Wrath of the Lich King, Marks of the World Tree can be earned by completing quests located in both daily quest areas. These marks can then be turned in to NPCs to open up individual daily quests, unique daily quest chains (detailed further below), up to four vendors selling a brand-new tier of gear, and important fortifications including a moonwell, an armory, and a legion of Ancients.
You'll have a lot of freedom in choosing what content you unlock and when, giving you more control than ever over your questing experience. What's more, this element of choice won’t only be reflected in the content you can access, but also in the world around you. As you help Malfurion's druids gain a stronger foothold in the Firelands, you'll start to see new NPCs and structures appear, and the fledgling Sentinel Tree planted at your arrival at the Molten Front will begin to grow into a massive protective canopy.
(For those who assisted the Shattered Sun Offensive in The Burning Crusade, these types of environment changes will likely feel similar to the transitions that occurred on the Isle of Quel'Danas.)
Personal Progression, Personal Gain
Unlike the Isle of Quel'Danas, though, which unlocked in stages for all players on an entire realm (at the same time), progression at the Regrowth and Molten Front will be completely personal. Your actions will have a direct impact on what quests you'll unlock next, and how each hub will evolve visually.
To ensure that friends can play together even if they're not progressing identically, we've avoided separating players through phasing for all but a couple individual quests. The hub may look very different from one player to another, but they can all still adventure together. No matter where you are in the progression, the Sentinel Tree will be alive and thriving with fellow defenders of Mount Hyjal!
I Choose You, Druids of the Talon! (Or maybe you, Shadow Wardens!)
Within the Regrowth and Molten Front daily quest areas, players will have numerous options, both in terms of the content they unlock and what quests they might play through on a daily basis. One of the first places players will get to experience this type of "modular" gameplay is near the entrance to the Molten Front, in the forward base known as Malfurion's Breach.
In addition to your normal duties at this outpost, you'll also be asked to secure the aid of two benevolent orders stationed in Mount Hyjal: the Druids of the Talon, led by Skylord Omuron, and the Shadow Wardens, a fierce group of night elves under the guidance of Captain Saynna Stormrunner. This will be a pivotal point in your progression within the Molten Front and represents the first big unlock of new content for the area.
To secure the allegiance of the druids and wardens, you'll need to collect Marks of the World Tree to present to each order's leader. Once you've gained the appropriate amount of marks and turn them in, you'll unlock a unique set of daily quests tailored to either the Druids of the Talon or the Shadow Wardens. If you unlock the Druids of the Talon dailies, your journeys will take you into the shadow of the Furnace, an area wreathed in constant flame; the Molten Flow, a river of lava inhabited by flamewakers for as far as the eye can see; and Fireplume Peak, a floating island protected by hot-tempered fire hawks. If you opt to unlock the Shadow Warden dailies, you'll lay siege to the Forlorn Spire, wresting it from the enemy's grasp and establishing a new forward outpost. From there, you’ll be poised to attack the Widow’s Clutch, the breeding grounds for hordes of fire spiders, and Wildflame Point, a base of operations for the nefarious Druids of the Flame.
Once you've recruited both the Druids of the Talon and the Shadow Wardens, you'll have the option to choose which set of daily quests you complete each day. You'll only able to be complete one set of daily quests per reset (either the Druid of the Talon dailies or the Shadow Warden dailies), but the choice of which path you take is up to you.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Earlier, we mentioned that over 60 new quests would be available at the Regrowth and the Molten Front. Since this is quite a lot of content -- almost half a zone's worth! -- many of these quests will be randomized into smaller groups. Out of 15 possible quests at a certain hub, for example, you might be able to pick up between three to five each day. This should help keep the content feeling fresh and fun, and your daily quest load a lot more manageable.
This randomization will also play off the environment. On one day, you may be tasked to bolster the defenses outside of Malfurion’s Breach against an onslaught of Molten Giants. On another, you'll be pitted against lava worms that have surfaced throughout the outpost. These quests will be based on the events taking place around you and are likely to change daily.
Rewards? I Love Rewards! Hippogryphs all around!
You'll be rewarded handsomely for your efforts in these embattled regions. In addition to all the new gear you'll be able to purchase from the unlockable vendors, you'll also receive an additional set of rewards upon opening up all the available content at both daily quest areas.
Players who take on this task will be presented with a stunning Flameward Hippogryph (shown below), as well a special one-time quest line that will explore the origins of Leyara, the powerful Druid of the Flame who commands the Firelord’s forces at the Regrowth and Molten Front, and why her hatred for Malfurion Stormrage burns so brightly.
After years of preparation and maneuvering, the Firelord's power is now potent enough to threaten Azeroth with a devastating invasion. The Guardians of Hyjal will require the aid of the mightiest heroes to have a chance of survival. You've heard their call -- will you answer?
BlizzCast 16 on World of Warcraft Patch 4.2 [Video]
We're excited to present the first-ever video BlizzCast, now in beautiful full-motion 2D! (Don't forget to wear your 2D glasses.) We've also jam-packed this episode with juicy information on World of Warcraft patch 4.2. Rob sits down with Game Director Tom Chilton to find out what the patch is all about, Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak lays out info on the new Firelands quest hub, and Lead Content Designer Cory Stockton spits and flows on Ragnaros and the upcoming raid content.
Head over to the BlizzCast site to download the video. We also have an mp3 audio version available if you prefer to digest your BlizzCasts the old-fashioned way.
Originally Posted by Blizzard EntertainmentThe Firelands - Not enough content?
Yes, Firelands is the raid in 4.2, and 7 is the total number of bosses.
We think 7 is our current ideal for number of bosses in a raid. (We launched Cataclysm with two full raids of 4-6 bosses each.) We're also spending a lot of time making the Firelands bosses as awesome as possible - - creating unique models, animations, effects, sounds, etc. etc. Previously a lot of bosses were larger versions of existing models, which was fine, but that tradeoff is made somewhere. We shift to making fewer but more epic boss fights and there's a tradeoff somewhere. We're concentrating our efforts into a smaller number of fights so that each fight is bigger and better, they're still obviously going to be extremely challenging, but once it is on farm you're not having to spend two, three, maybe four nights just to clear it because the raid is so huge.
Our ideal situation would, of course, be to launch as many raids as possible with this current ideal number of around 7 bosses, but that's not something we're ever going to promise. We'd love to be able to produce unlimited amounts of content anywhere, not just raids, for that matter. We think one raid per patch with around 7 bosses is a super solid experience, though, especially with how much effort is going into Firelands. We don't think anyone is going to be disappointed.
On a side note, the whole daily quest thing hasn't sparked much excitement yet, but with the preview going live here in a few hours (and BlizzCast 16) hopefully we can impress how awesome that's going to be, too.
Again, there's a pretty aggressive development cycle for 4.2, so it's not going to be very long before we're on the PTR, and not very long (comparatively) before release. (Source)
Firelands Raid - Only 7 Bosses?
Yeah, I mean that's a tough situation because our feeling is simply that people shouldn't be forced to play the game more than a couple nights a week to keep up on progression. We realize though that some people legitimately like playing every night, and having real reasons to be in the game and playing with raid groups and such. There's obviously things like alts, professions, achievements, PvP, to keep people busy, but it's ultimately something we'd like to get a better handle on. Having content that isn't forcing people to log in every night, but still offering something that's meaningful for those that do. Understand though that by definition those types of things can't lead to player power or else everyone will be back to having to log on every single night to keep pace. Anyway, it's something we very much want to get a better handle on, but it's not something we're going to solve easily. (Source)
[...] I think the thing to probably take away from this is that content is not infinite, and so we have to look at everyone who plays the game and try to be smart about where we focus this finite pool of development resources we have.
As someone else very astutely mentioned earlier, Sunwell had 6 bosses, and I remember people being outraged that they were gated to unlock over time to stretch out that content. Firelands has 7 bosses and they aren't gated. We hope people enjoy them as much, and will be able to look back as fondly on it as they do on Sunwell. (Source)
Molten Front Dailies and Rewards
Well, someone doing the dailies every day will certainly achieve the rewards faster than someone who doesn't... But there's no comparison between coordinating 10 or 25 people to put all their concentration into the game for many hours a night, multiple nights, and someone choosing to log in and do a few quests by themselves every day. (Source)
If you're speaking at all about boss encounters, I think you'll dig the Dungeon Journal (formerly referred to as Encounter Journal) coming in patch 4.2. Once we're able to catalog more of our dungeons in this journal, you'll get a lot of essential information for each boss fight. It's not going to tell you how to beat the fight, but it's going to tell you what kind of abilities the boss will be using against you. You'll just have to figure out with your party or raid how to deal with those abilities when they're used. Dungeon Journal will also help you find the loot you're looking for from each boss ahead of time, so you have items in mind you hope to get before even setting foot in the dungeon. (Source)
Engineering - Rocket Fuel Leak
"Rocket Fuel Leak" was specifically meant as an alternative failure for dungeons, raids, and battlegrounds so we weren't launching people up into unknown invisible (or otherwise) roofs and getting them stuck or allowing content exploitation. In 4.1 it was fixed so that this failure was actually properly going off in these specific types of content.
Reevaluating the damage though, we're going to apply a hotfix to bring it down quite a bit (it won't be able to kill you outright anymore). (Source)
New Content - Quality over Quantity
I think you're right, though. We've trended toward choosing quality over quantity with some of our content creation, and while that isn't usually a bad thing, it's rarely a good thing from a perception point of view. I think that's something we realize but - - and this is sort of a difficult concept to get across sometimes - - is that the game is... really big, and by the laws of physics really big things don't change direction very quickly. Depending on which part of the development team or individual developers you're talking about, they could be working on content we won't even announce until six months later. Maybe longer. That's just the necessity of our development to ensure we're getting patches and expansions out. So these types of evaluations of what direction the game is in and any changes or general philosophy we want to alter, we may begin making a course correction, but we're just not able to hit that new heading until the entire ship finishes turning. It's also not too rare that in the middle of altering our direction, we change our minds.
Anyway, I don't want that to be discouraging because it's not true of all things, but it is generally true of things like planning patch content which takes many, many months of development. And even then, like I said, things can change midway, but that's not always a bad thing. (Source)
Goblins and Worgens missing /roar sound
You don't like it when we take stuff away from you!? ;P
So the actual issue was that there was a bug where emote /attacktarget for goblin and worgen played the sounds associated with both /roar and /attack at the same time, which sounded broken. Since no other race but goblin and worgen have roar sounds, the fix for the bug was to make them behave the same as all other races by removing the sounds.
I know, I know, but it's done. OR IS IT!?
Obviously people miss their roar sounds. What we're going to do is hook the goblin/worgen roar sounds back up in a 'future patch' (it's not hotfixable), hurray, and then attempt to record /roar sounds for all the other races to add to the game in a patch after that.
Goblin/worgen, unfortunately lose their roars for a short while, but in the end everyone wins! Or at least roars. (Source)
Cannot /dance while in Combat
Dancing while in combat was disabled to fix some unfortunate animation bugs. For example, several races do a torso twist as part of their special attack animation, and that would go haywire when the character was also trying to dance.
Part of what makes WoW a compelling experience is the sense of immersion in this alternate world, and that is a sense that can be disrupted by graphic glitches.
We definitely hear the outcry over the dancing in combat. Our tactic is going to be to try to let characters dance while they are in combat, and always break the dance when a foe is engaged (so you could dance while in combat, but only when your character is idle). We are just starting to investigate this solution, but I can assure you that it is being evaluated. I’ve heard that directly from the mouths of the devs.
Having said that, we realize there are plenty of other areas in the game where the art can get into a less than optimal state, and nobody should assume that we just don’t care about those – they are all on the radar. (Source)