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PAX East Developer Interview, Top 5 Plays of the Week, Funny and Lucky Moments #37

Heroes of the Storm PAX East 2014 Recap: Interface Changes, New Heroes, New Hero Models and Skins, Developer Interview

Warlords of Draenor - Garrison and Zone Screenshots
Blizzard released a few new Warlords of Draenor screenshots at PAX. These include four garrison screenshots, along with one of Spires of Arak, Frostfire Ridge, and Shadowmoon Valley.

Warlords of Draenor Developer Interviews
There were a few developer interviews recently, so today we are taking a look at an interview from ConvertToRaid with Celestalon and Zarhym.

  • Blizzcon 2014 is something that everyone would really love to do. If there is more information, it will be be shared at some point in the near future.

Alpha and Beta
  • The expansion has been in internal alpha for "quite a while".
  • The alpha is currently an employee take home alpha. It will remain alpha when friends and family are invited, as well as when a small amount of players are invited. After that some opt-in players will be invited and it will be beta.
  • The ramp up of invites will be slower than Mists of Pandaria beta, as there is the new filesystem to test.
  • The Warlords of Draenor beta will also have a more limited number of people invited compared to the Mists of Pandaria beta. There is no Annual Pass this time, so Blizzard isn't obligated to invite more than a million players as fast as possible again.
  • The alpha announcement was made because the build had to be uploaded publicly to let employees play from home, which would allow datamining. The notes and announcement helped to provide context for some of the reported changes.
  • The alpha patch notes were delayed in order to not step on D3 and Hearthstone's news. The alpha builds being produced were also somewhat unstable.

Blog Posts and Patch Notes
  • There will be a blog post on Professions at some point.
  • Garrisons will have four blog posts, starting with an overview sometime in the next few weeks. Other blogs will talk about how you interact with your garrison as you level and at level 100.
  • There is more information coming, as the notes that went up originally were slightly dated, and significantly more information has been added to the notes since then.

  • Garrisons have come a long way since Blizzcon!
  • Garrisons will be part of the leveling experience.
  • NPCs in your garrison will actually notice you and walk around you, as to not bump into you when they are walking down the road to work.
  • NPCs in your garrison will also wave to each other and dance with you if you start dancing with them.

  • Velen is not the new male character model for the Draenei, as he is older and more distinguished than the average Draenei.
  • WoW already feels very responsive, but the team is working on a way for it to be even more responsive. This means things like heals will take effect faster, or if you cast a shield it will have less of a delay.
  • Scenarios and Challenge Modes worked out well, so there won't be major changes to them, just small refinements.
  • There are no plans to do anything with guild levels or rewards.

  • Vengeance in Mists of Pandaria worked out well as far as the defensive value goes, but the offensive value of it was problematic.
  • The defensive component of Vengeance is staying and is now called Resolve.
  • Tank damage varied significantly based on the situation and the mechanic encouraged tanks to take more damage so that they could do more damage.
  • Encouraging tanks to take extra damage made healers upset and tanks being able to beat DPS on many fights because of the damage they took made DPS upset. When tanks weren't taking a lot of damage, it made the tanks very low on the meters and upset them.
  • Everyone was upset at the offensive component of Vengeance at some point!
  • Tank damage will be balanced just like DPS is now, rather than having it vary based on the amount of damage they are taking. The new bonus armor may give tanks offensive power as well.
  • Tank swapping at X stacks was not a great thing to see on so many fights, so in Warlords of Draenor both tanks will be actively tanking much more often.
  • The Saber Lash mechanic from previous expansions was fairly boring, as one tank could just stand there and do nothing for most of the fight. However, in current encounters, the other tank would actually have to use their active mitigation skills to survive, making it a viable mechanic again.

  • Healer's mana regeneration abilities are being nerfed and removed because they didn't add any gameplay value. For example, Innervate was just a button to press when it was off of cooldown. Base mana regeneration and mana costs were rebalanced to compensate.
  • Active mana regeneration mechanics are still being considered.
  • All of the challenging to heal parts of fights in Mists of Pandaria were handled by having the DPS use defensive cooldowns. Healing should be the healer's job, so the team wants to tone down the amount of stackable raid utility that DPS and tanks bring so that the healers are there to handle the challenging to heal moments.
  • Having a DPS using Healing Tide or Tranquility to heal the raid to full doesn't feel good for the healers.
  • A raid shouldn't feel like they need to bring a Warlock for Healthstones, which is why Healing Potions and Healthstones will share a cooldown and only be usable once per fight. DPS potions are not on the same cooldown as Healing Potions.
  • Caring about the efficiency of a spell or minimizing overhealing can be done without making healers run out of mana all of the time. For example, baseline mana regeneration is being significantly increased so that you have decent heals you can cast with just that base regen.
  • Mana regen will scale less over the course of the expansion than it did before, but the gain will be worth more as you will have more expensive and powerful heals to cast.
  • For example, Paladins will start the expansion being able to cast Holy Light as their slow and efficient big heal, similar to Divine Light now, and filling with a few Flash of Lights. By the end of the expansion, they will be able to cast a lot more Flash of Lights and fill with Holy Lights.
  • The point isn't to make healing harder, just less one dimensional.
  • If you can currently heal Flex raids fine, you should be able to continue to do so with the same level of success in Warlords of Draenor.
  • Thok would never exist in his current form with the new healing model.
  • Someone dying to a huge spike of damage before you can even react is not fun and these changes should help to avoid that.

  • Perks are intended to make leveling feel rewarding again. They are a mixture of static power increases and tweaks to your rotation that you earn in a random order as you level from 90 to 100.
  • Readiness won't affect all abilities and the current build's tooltips aren't updated yet.
  • Secondary stats will be closer in value to each other than they have been in the past.

Death Knight (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
  • Army of the Dead might come back for all specs as an instant cast rather than a channel.
  • Blood Death Knights will get some more active mitigation tools. Rune Tap as a big absorb and Rune Strike's small shields are two examples.
  • Dual Wield is going to remain Frost Death Knights only, as it doesn't fit the Unholy theme.
  • Frost might see Cinderglacier being the more attractive Runeforge in the future.

Druid (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
  • Symbiosis was a cool spell, but it was hard to understand and added a ton of button bloat.

Hunter (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
  • Hunters have different specs that don't feel very different. Their rotation was very similar between the specs, so some abilities are being removed from each spec to help with differentiation.
  • Marksmanship is going put more emphasis on higher damage cast time spells.
  • Survival is going to put more emphasis on DoTs, multidotting, and traps.

Mage (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
  • Prismatic Crystal will hopefully be targeted automatically when summoned. When you attack it, damage you do to it is replicated to nearby enemies, but stronger.
  • Fire mages didn't scale well, so the team tried to solve that with Inferno Blast. That ended up not being enough, so the Enhanced Fireball perk was added to help when you have a lower level of crit.

Monk (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
  • Mistweaver Monks needed some significant changes that couldn't be done mid expansion, so the changes were delayed until Warlords of Draenor.
  • Spirit isn't valuable to Mistweavers right now, as the majority of their healing is cheap.
  • Fistweaving is intended to be a split between damage and healing. It is intended for when you don't need all of your healing throughput and could use some extra damage.
  • Renewing Mist and Expel Harm will give you a nice baseline Chi generation.
  • Surging Mist and Spinning Crane Kick will give you more Chi generation as you get more Spirit. Surging Mist will be improved in Warlords of Draenor, it won't be as bad as it is now.
  • Rushing Jade Wind won't work with the Empowered Spinning Crane Kick perk.
  • Touch of Death doesn't work well in raiding, which is why they made it easier to use.

Paladin (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
  • Retribution is in a good place design wise, but their numbers are a little low. This will be addressed in a later tuning pass.
  • Shining Protector will give Protection Paladins extra healing.

Priest (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
  • Shadow Priests won't need completely different sets of gear for single target and AoE fights. They could swap out a few slots of gear to use for a single target fight though.

Rogue (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
  • Rogue specs are somewhat similar now, but not as bad as Hunters.
  • The team is removing some skills from each spec to make them more distinct.
  • Positional requirements were relaxed somewhat as a quality of life change. You still have a 3% chance to be parried from the front, so you still want to stand behind the boss.
  • Leeching Poison isn't planned to be a lethal poison.

Shaman (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
  • Mana Regeneration is being significantly increased to compensate for the removal of Healing Wave.
  • Enhancement Shamans should have some ramp up time for their AoE, but after the ramp up time it will be strong. The Tier 16 4pc bonus worked out well to help with this. Tuning of Enhancement AoE in the past wasn't great, but the team is going to be sure it is done right this time.
  • Crit will be improved for Elemental Shamans.
  • Lightning Bolt no longer being castable on the move is a big change, but it was done to make movement reduce the damage that ranged DPS does. There are other spells that you can cast while moving, such as Shocks and Unleash Weapon.

Warlock (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
  • Warlock Gateways were too strong this expansion, so the range is being reduced and cooldown increased.

Warrior (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
  • Berserker Rage doesn't Enrage you anymore, but the team is considering changing that, as well as changes to Berserker Stance.
  • Arms originally had Overpower removed, but it didn't work out well.

  • Celestalon has been at Blizzard for ~3 years.
  • Zarhym has been at Blizzard for ~9 years.
  • The WoW CM team has 9 members.
  • Celestalon works on the team that works on different systems of the game, including classes, perks, combat mechanics, and other things.

PAX Beta Key Redemption Issue
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
At PAX East in Boston this weekend we’re handing out Beta keys to those who wait in line and play the Warlords of Draenor demo at the show. As the expansion is still in an internal Alpha, the keys we’re handing out are inactive, with the intention that they are redeemable for a future test phase. However, yesterday we discovered that a small amount of people were actually able to claim their keys and log in to the Alpha.

We’ve resolved the key claim issue and no further key claims should be possible. Those who were able to claim a key will need to redeem it again once the proper Beta phase begins.

We’re not looking to take action against accounts or content involved in this unintended access. We know everyone is excited to play Warlords of Draenor, is looking forward to additional information about the expansion, and we hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve seen thus far—keeping in mind, of course, that we are still at an early testing phase.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
How do you feel about warriors/pallies/bears being able to tank by just macroing in SD or Shield Block/Barrier/of the righteous?
It's probably a little too good to do that, but not much. However, simultaneously, I wouldn't say that the difference between an unskilled tank and a skilled tank is the wrong size. It's big, but that's good. (Celestalon)

with haste breakpoints being removed why would aff locks want any haste?
You probably misunderstood what removing haste breakpoints means. It still makes DoTs tick faster and spells cast faster. (Celestalon)
That confuses me, so we still get extra dot ticks?
Yes, absolutely. It's just smooth, not with breakpoints. (Celestalon)

Death Knight (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
wondered why DKs haven't been designed like monks for DW vs 2h
You mean having different rotations/priorities/strengths/weaknesses, but still balanced, like Frost DKs? Just different classes. (Celestalon)
Frost DKs having two different subspecs was an evolutionary thing. Masterfrost was an accident, but cool, so we formalized it. (Celestalon)
He was probably talking abt basing abilities on wpn DPS rather than dmg so 2H/DW are balanced and play identically.
We want 2H vs DW monks to play identically. We *don't* want 2H vs DW Frost DKs to play identically. (Celestalon)
How can you say that? One of the two will always be inferior. Historically, that is usually 2H Frost.
How inferior and in what situation? There have been many times they've balanced enough that it varies by fight/gear (Celestalon)

Paladin (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
Is there a chance seal of faith will make it into the game? Was looking forward to paladin melee healing
Maybe at some later point. It's on our "Shelf of Ideas That Have Potential But Aren't Ready Yet". (Celestalon)

Priest (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
outside of Divine Insight, is there a way for Shadow Orb generation to scale with haste? Only resource not to, seems off.
Haste already has high value for you, and you get more value per orb with more haste (haste = more DP ticks). (Celestalon)

Warlords of Draenor Stats
Are you concerned that without enough Readiness to get in an extra CD usage, Readiness Rating is wasted for the most part?
It'll effect more that just 3min CDs, and CDs earlier are always better. There'll be breakpoints, but they'll be really soft. (Celestalon)
(But to more directly answer, yes, it's a concern, but it's one we think we can mitigate and handle) (Celestalon)
Are you worried about people gearing around encounter specific breakpoints? For example-major CD for every belt.
It's a concern, sure, like I said. We actually don't mind if you end up in a situation where you keep a few (FEW, not 30)... (Celestalon)
...pieces of alternate gear around, and swap based on the encounter. (Celestalon)

Hey, are there going to be some 1-2 boss raids like in tbc? or did you scrap that concept? (or onyxia etc.)
None is planned for 6.0 - I wouldn't say we've scrapped the concept, though. (WatcherDev)

Thoughts on Tarren Mill vs Southshore BG?
certainly an idea we've tossed around a number of times. (holinka)

Well, in the interest of crafting having a more prevalent role. Instead of items primarily being on rep or currency vendors.
What would you want the role of rep/currency items to be in that world? (hwoome)
Perhaps reputation accesses content and narrative, instead of another item faucet?
You'd prefer no item rewards from reputation? (hwoome)

Reputation / Questing
WoD will have quests that "pop up" when you're around, will these scale up/down like we've seen with Public Quests in other games?
Rare spawns on IoT/TI scale with # of attackers, improving this in WoD so they don't blow up so fast. (Muffinus)

I disagree. I see “farm on 11 chars per day” as negative. Most players would agree. Doesn’t make your opinion invalid.
When doing things on an alt is a fun/different experience, it's good repeat gameplay. When it's not, questionable. (Muffinus)

Dark Legacy Comics - #436
DLC #436 reminds us that tax season is almost over!

This article was originally published in forum thread: WoD Screenshots, Dev Interviews, PAX Beta Key Redemption Issue, Blue Tweets, DLC #436 started by chaud View original post
Comments 73 Comments
  1. Nozuka's Avatar
    i love the elekk screenshot. the new textures make it look like WoW 2.0.
    or maybe 1.5
  1. mmoca8d63b53c1's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Toiran View Post
    Eh? That will never happen, never.

    It's not only WoW's style, it's Blizzard's style, Diablo is a bit more realistic because of the tone of the game, but it's still using a similar palette and hand painted textures and so on.
    Maybe cartoonish wasn't the right word to use. I understand they have their own style, which is ok I guess, and I care for gameplay more. But when I see new character models (and they look nice) in a world that doesn't look in line with those models, it feels out of place. When going to an old instance of zone, will it still feel like being part of the same world? Why the spikey mountains, which mountain has spikes like that?

    I find Diablo more "the same game" than WoW at the moment and by the looks of the gameplay screenshots. Just my 2 cents
  1. ttak82's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Darksolo View Post
    Rather disappointed about the screenshots. I was hoping that WoW would finally lose it's cartoonisch look in WoD, but mountains are still as pointy as well, not real mountains, and the tusks are not rounded at the bottom. Also the textures are all the same for the Elekks. Go big or go home imho. Trees look a bit better though, as well does a campfire.
    I wish spires of Arak had forest green sky (like that in Skettis/Terokkar - one of my favorite skies/ambiences) or something reddish. Maybe its me just being nostalgic. At the end of the day, Will have to experience it on live to see how it feels. It feels very bright at the moment. Maybe it has something to do with a) a theme of being high in the mountains and therefore somewhat sunny or b) a bright theme to match the whole Arakkoa sun god worship.
  1. mmoceac36c5e9f's Avatar
    Really enjoyed reading the interview points, it really puts things into perspective and i believe will cool a lot of people down who are not too fond of the changes being made. Very happy to see

    Enhancement AOE addressed a bit more and will be excited to see what they do . Also really like the changes being made to hunter specs to make them feel different. Making an emphasis on Survival being based around traps and dots vs MM which is more long ranged cast times is a great idea- looking forward to the next installation
  1. Arvandor's Avatar
    the pics look fantastic! good job blizzard!

    but please bring more and deeper hunter news..

    on petopia you can see the new pet families spells.. amazing! pls blizzard post this official..
  1. SecPro's Avatar
    Oh my...those Garrison pictures. That looks amazing.
  1. Jueles's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by F-Minus View Post
    Another expansion another 180 degree turn on healing, it's getting superior boring now. Tired of re-learning healing each and every expansion. ...

    Playing a priest since Classic, I feel like healers are the only ones who really need to work in this game.
    I too have been healing on a holy priest since vanilla, and getting fed up of relearning how to heal each expansion. As to healers needing to work in the game....and this is old school...when I took my first rDPS alt into MC, I realized the healers and tanks were the only ones playing 100% of the time...as a rDPS I could put myself at the back of the 40 man pack and go AFK for a minute mid fight and nobody noticed (yeah no dps meters running). Kinda funny in retrospect.
  1. mmocf0a8756358's Avatar
    Garrisons will be part of the leveling experience.

    bad idea blizzard forcing people to use garrisons just like google force you to use google+ when you sign up for youtube
  1. Mellrod's Avatar
    Maybe cartoonish wasn't the right word to use. I understand they have their own style, which is ok I guess, and I care for gameplay more. But when I see new character models (and they look nice) in a world that doesn't look in line with those models, it feels out of place. When going to an old instance of zone, will it still feel like being part of the same world?

    I find Diablo more "the same game" than WoW at the moment and by the looks of the gameplay screenshots. Just my 2 cents
    It's an art-style adapted from the Warcraft 3 series since this is World of Warcraft. The character models do look in line with the new zones. Definitely. Have you not seen any screenshots? they look HD but still keep that 'cartoony' feel that WoW has always had.

    Why the spikey mountains, which mountain has spikes like that?
    To you, and anyone else complaining about the spikey mountains, let me just refer to their vision of the zone:

    "For travelers limited to two legs, Arak is an autumnal, swampy forest, framed in crooked trees that rest chin-level with giants. High above the trees towers a landscape rarely seen by outsiders: impossibly tall rock spires too steep to scale. The Arakkoa gaze out from these treacherous perches, watching their land like incarnate gods . . . and paying homage to the blessed sun by burning the “low races” alive."

    It's Alpha so of course it'll be touched up. I imagine they'll refer back to their concept art, but it's supposed to have high peaks that stretch to the sky. It's called Spires of Arakk for pete's sake. Not Hills of Arakk, lol.

    Anyways, i love they detail they are putting into Garrisons. it shows that they are improving their AI and they could definitely apply the level of detail for NPCs in Garrisons to other places such as Stormwind & Orgrimmar. Or more importantly, Karabor and Bladespire Keep (The two main citiy hubs for H & A this expansion).

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by warcraftmew View Post
    Garrisons will be part of the leveling experience.

    bad idea blizzard forcing people to use garrisons just like google force you to use google+ when you sign up for youtube
    Please note that it does NOT say "*Garrisons will be a mandatory part of the leveling experience"
  1. mmoc3514689de5's Avatar
    NPCs in your garrison will also wave to each other and dance with you if you start dancing with them.
    That's why so many 5mans had to be replaced with some more crappy scenarios.
  1. Nutri's Avatar
    Well I sure like the ambiance, look at that darkness!
    Hope this is not just the zone, but an actual day/night cycle like we had in vanilla. :-)
  1. mmoc7c3de5af98's Avatar
    Dear MMO Champion team,
    Please do use Lightbox everytime you post some photos. It's a nightmare to check them oout without it.
  1. Frozenbeef's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Necrot View Post
    Well I sure like the ambiance, look at that darkness!
    Hope this is not just the zone, but an actual day/night cycle like we had in vanilla. :-)
    Think it's just the zone >.<
  1. SkyTides's Avatar
    The colour palette on Spires looks a lot better in the concept art than that screenshot - hope they tweak it a bit
  1. mmoce83f2c4e48's Avatar
    nice ele shaman explanation there i can cast shocks and unleash weapon(which no longer does any dmg) while i am moving... its a good thing all of those spells do a lot of dmg and are not on cd otherwise i might be in a little bit of a trouble! OHHH WAIT! And its even better that we are not the only class that is loosing his chance of moving and doing medicore dmg. Actually wait wait wait i think i got this one wrong too.

    I just cant bring myself take blizz seriously when i see them open their mouth and say something so utterly stupid.Like someone said a while ago `Take your stupid and go away noone wants you here!` -.- get a little bit of a grip come on!
  1. Nutri's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Frozenbeef View Post
    Think it's just the zone >.<
    Afraid it was :-(
  1. TheBaron87's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Frozenbeef View Post
    It provided a utility that allowed healers to slack in their mana management or to provide a boost in damage heavy situations... that's kind of the definition of gameplay value...
    A button doesn't allow you to slack when fights are designed around having the button. Fights in Cata and MoP were designed with the fact you have innervate in mind. What let you slack was playing below your skill level or overgearing for spirit.

    Giving a boost in heavy damage situations is called a healing cooldown. You don't need a mana cooldown for that unless mana regen is balanced around you having one. You're just copying a single function (dealing with heavy damage) to two different buttons (burst healing and burst mana regen). That's not more gameplay, that's just bloat.

    By removing everything that gives it dimensions? 0o Yay no mana management, yay no choosing the best spells for the situation, yay no more utility spells, yay removing all unique class spells <3
    Yay you didn't read anything else regarding their goals for healer design in WoD. Yay you're stating the exact opposite of everything they've said aside from this one line you've chosen to take out of context.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darksolo View Post
    which mountain has spikes like that?
    I thought the point of fantasy was being able to create things that don't exist in reality.
  1. Darksoldierr's Avatar
    Those screenshots looks amazing
  1. Asphyxiate9's Avatar
    Well I was going to choose nagrand but now I'm not too sure....
  1. Ardourdan's Avatar
    I cannot believe they are genuinely removing the lightning bolt movement. Have they forgotten how utterly gimped elemental shamans are in PvP and movement fights without it?

    Hopefully the glyph will be available again. Odd change. Can't realistically see it happening.

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