Developer Q&A Roundup
The Developers went to Reddit to answer some user questions today. We strongly recommend you skim through the roundup below and find the sections that interest you. Some Key highlights:

  • No flying in Draenor in Patch 6.1; though there will be some flight path improvements
  • Account-wide Heirloom system is still planned for Patch 6.1.
  • They're working on support for custom garrison music for Patch 6.1
  • The garrison may grow beyond Tier 3 in Patch 6.2
  • Level 3 salvage crates give something from the level 2 crate loot table plus another chance at an additional item.
  • Garrisons aren't coming to the mobile armory app, as they are a Warlords only feature for now and there are other tasks that would have more long-term use.

FinalBoss has an Interview with Ion Hazzikostas & Kris Zeirhut on Sunday. If you would like to suggest any question, place them over in this thread!

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Game Systems

When do we get the new Heirloom system?
We are currently planning to have this system ready for patch 6.1.0.

Do you tend to concern yourself with economics (other than gold sinks) or simply let the "market" do as it thinks best?
Definitely agree we need more things players can use core gathering materials for. In retrospect, we would have liked for there to have been more crafted items that use those materials without requiring the time-gated resources, so this problem is something we're hoping to address going forward.

For sure - the green fire questline was a great experience. We do want to do more of this in the future, especially in a way that highlights and reinforces class identity, and are actively working on some cool stuff along these lines.

How well do you think the charge system works for spells, verses the more traditional cooldown, and are you planning on converting any more spells to be charge based?
We're pretty happy with that system. The major advantage of that system is the way it allows for more open-ended decisionmaking in spell use that doesn't penalize a player for not using an ability the instant it comes off cooldown. It also lets you deliberately plan ahead and pool usage. I'm not sure we'd want to extend it to ALL abilities, but for abilities that commonly run into the two issues I just outlined, it can really improve usability without needing to add additional mechanics.

Can you guys explain the logic behind versatility, given this? It seems to be simple a +betterer stat, and feels neither interesting or fun.
Yeah I'm not sure that we actually accomplished that goal TBH. We're trying to strike a balance between the goal above and also the goal that we have enough variety in items, but I think we wound up with more secondary stats than we really need. This will be something we continue to refine in the future.

Spirit as a secondary/primary stat. It's super discouraging that we as healers don't have any enchants, gems, or flasks with spirit. The nerfing of that crystal recently you get in the inn was hard hit also. My question is: What is spirit? Secondary stat or Primary stat? Why can't we have it on either gems and enchants or flasks? It should really be treated as one or the other. It just seems unfair as the odd one out, when tanks even get a stam flask to use.
It's your best secondary stat as a healer, similar to what Armor is for tanks. Early on in beta, you actually could get Spirits gems/flasks/food, but we found that it undermined part of the point of consumable philosophy. We removed primary stats from gems and enchants in order to add some player choice and allow players to customize their secondary stats in a post-reforging world. If you want to try a crit-heavy build or want to stack mastery on your healer, you can use our profession system to accomplish that. But if Spirit were an option, it would clearly be the correct choice, and you'd never for a moment consider using any of those other secondary stat options. So in the interest of preserving some interesting choice, we removed Spirit and Armor food/gems/enchants and balanced healers around that change.

How do you guys determine what will become a toy?
We throw back a shot of vodka and take aim at the "toy or not-toy" dartboard. ;]

How well do you think the charge system works for spells, verses the more traditional cooldown, and are you planning on converting any more spells to be charge based?
We're pretty happy with that system. The major advantage of that system is the way it allows for more open-ended decisionmaking in spell use that doesn't penalize a player for not using an ability the instant it comes off cooldown. It also lets you deliberately plan ahead and pool usage. I'm not sure we'd want to extend it to ALL abilities, but for abilities that commonly run into the two issues I just outlined, it can really improve usability without needing to add additional mechanics.

What's the deal currently with your stance on flying, any new developments, or insights?
Overall, we’re happy with how ground travel in Draenor has played out thus far, and we’ve heard a lot of feedback to that effect as well, though we of course recognize that there are players who feel differently. We’ll have more to announce about our 6.1 patch plans in the very near future, but as the focus of our endgame outdoor content remains in the main Draenor zones, our reasons for disallowing flight in 6.0 continue to apply in 6.1. Whether you’re navigating your way to Orumo the Observer in Shattrath Rise, trying to reach a treasure cache atop a column in Spires, or working your way around the ledges encircling The Pit, you’re engaging in gameplay that simply would not exist in a world with unfettered flight. It was never our intent to make large-scale navigation of the world inconvenient, and in 6.1 we’re going to be improving our flight path system to always take the most direct route between two points, even if you have not discovered some of the intermediate nodes. Please keep the feedback coming – if you’re unhappy with the design, some of the most helpful feedback would be specific examples of situations or systems that feel frustrating without being able to fly in Draenor.

What's the long term plan for WoW?
As Ion said, we don't see an end to Wow coming anytime soon. As long as we have players that love the game, we will keep making new content for them!

Whatever happened to the appear invisible functionality that was promised to be coming soon in 2012?
It's an idea that's still on the table, but that team (which handles functionality for every Blizzard title, not just WoW) has a ton of higher-priority issues and features to work on, so it's not likely to happen in the very near future I'm afraid.

Scenarios were a great thing for DPS to jump in a quick queue for and do for slightly less rewards than a heroic. Is there any chance we will see end game scenario queues even if it is for the leveling scenarios already in game?
That was definitely one of the great benefits of the scenarios for sure. We don't anticipate having queued scenarios for WoD atm (although I wouldn't rule them out for future expansions), and we do have some ideas for how we can significantly improve dps queue times, but they will take some time for us to make happen.

Could you elaborate on how you would shorten DPS queue times?
We could potentially allow another dps in a dungeon and use scaling tech to accommodate both 5 and 6 player groups for them.

With all of the advances in scaling technology for both character and gear level, will we ever see a day when Wintergrasp and Tol Barad are playable at their original intended levels?
Tol Barad and Wintergrasp were implemented with the idea that only one server was playing on them. It would be difficult to convert them. We'd rather create new content. They had their moment in WoW and it was glorious.

Whats the go with Alchemy? Why does it have no transmutes anymore, no upgradeable class items etc etc.
We are working on some Alchemy updates, more info should be coming along soon.

will you open up the group finder to show groups from ALL realms in the region?
We've slowly been increasing the number of groups sent down from the server and monitoring it's affect on server performance. Our primary goal with the Group Finder is to help players find someone who is interested in doing the same activity. A leadership system is an interesting idea and we'll monitor whether we feel it's necessary. We're also pretty cautious about providing too much information during the application process. While we want to minimize the amount of time someone will get invited to a group, then immediately kicked, we don't want to encourage discriminatory behavior.

Any plan to get a better system for transmog?
This is something we hope to do do in a future expansion. We love the idea!

Are there plans to encourage making friends/connections in LFG/D groups?
We think a "Recently Seen" or something would be great. Definitely on our "want" list right now. We're definitely looking for more ways for people to find each other and build relationships. Let us know what works for you now!

What are your thoughts about the current system of talents in WoD? Are you satisfied with them or should we be looking forward to changes that make each tree more personalized and dynamic, much like the warrior tree?
One thing we like about the talent trees is the variety they provide. But often, it's a matter of picking the right tool for the job. WoW is a very big game, with a lot of different activities. As a result, some talents perform far better in certain situations (dungeons vs. raids, battlegrounds vs. arenas) and we're okay with that. In the end, every talent doesn't have to be equally viable for all activities. But it is certainly something we try to do when we can.

Any plans on making PvP and Battlegrounds a more viable way for low level characters and alts to level from?
Unfortunately, some changes we made to battleground rewards broke some of the biggest contributors to XP in low level battlegrounds. We're working on a fix but it may not be available until 6.1.

Our original plan was to use strongboxes at all levels, but we weren't able to get it done in time. We think this could make it a fun experience though.

Can you comment on the changes you did to mob pathing with WoD? As a tank player I find myself annoyed by that quite often when trying to position mobs properly. They seem to react much more twitchy to my own movement than they did in MoP.
We actually didn't change mob pathing directly -- we made a ton of improvements to server responsiveness, which means the server (and thus, the mobs) have a more precise idea of where your character is currently standing than they have in the past. The end result is that there's a noticeable difference in the feel of how certain mobs move around, especially for tanks. There really isn't a quick fix for this, but it's something on our radar for sure.


how do you feel about the success of Garrisons, and are there plans for a similar system in future expansions?
Super happy overall with how garrisons have worked out, at least for now. One of our goals for the expansion was to add a feature that felt like it gave players new gameplay that feels important and thematically tied to the expansion. We'll have to wait and see on future expansions. Certainly, we have a goal of providing awesome new gameplay that mixes up your experience for future expansions, but that can take many forms (be it "garrisons 2.0", elements of garrisons mixed in with other new stuff, other new stuff completely, etc). Regardless, new stuff that fits an expansion well and doesn't feel like an already-solved problem is definitely cool!

Thoughts on having race-specific garrison buildings?
We actually really love this idea, but in reality, it's not something that's really feasible for us to do. We have 13 races in the game and making unique buildings for all of them is just not in the cards. Instead, we tried to pick and choose specific buildings that could play to individual races character. (Tauren Leatherworking, Gnomish Workship, etc.)


The art resources for this definitely come directly at the expense of other new content like dungeons or raids. So, while we all totally 100% agree this would be awesome, and we'd likely steer more in that direction if we could, it's not likely for the WoD garrisons. If we were to do an updated version of garrisons in a future expansion, it's much more likely (and would probably be an important goal for us).

Is it intended that my friends are unable to use the portals in my spirit lodge or see my archaeology trophy room in my town hall?
Not intended, will be fixed in 6.1.

I don't like chaotic music in my garrison, but love wow music as a whole. Please let me put on something relaxing while mining instead of booming chaos themes.
We are working on a way for you to have custom music in your Garrison. Hoping to get this into patch 6.1.0. I am personally super stoked about this!

Thanks for the kind words! In regards to Garrisons carrying forward, we need to wait and see how it plays out. We designed the system in a way that it can be left behind, but we could also choose to take certain parts or technology and carry them on to new expansions.

Why is the loot table on level 3 salvage crates so damn big?
A common misconception is that large tables necessarily mean more randomness, or that items are competing with each other. There are lots of ways of constructing treasure tables to avoid this. After many reports from players concerned with seemingly poor yield of follower rewards from Level 3 salvage crates, we took a really thorough look through the data and tested extensively to make 100% sure we weren't missing something.

A level 3 salvage crate actually gives you a guaranteed direct pull from the level 2 salvage loot table, PLUS additional chances to get transmog, legacy, or current items for your character to use or sell. The loot table is large to offer tons of variety, and there are definitely some jackpot items in there (Everburning Candle says hi), but it's not coming at the expense of the core follower items or resources you got from level 1 and level 2.

Are there any plans to better integrate garrisons across a player's account, or perhaps even just realm/faction?
We agree with you on this. We are going to try and find ways to make Garrisons easier on alts though the patch cycle.

It seems as if a lot of the elements of Garrisons (follwer missions, work orders, etc.) were designed with the mobile Armory in mind. Will we be seeing an update to the mobile app to include Garrions features?
Not likely. It's a really cool idea (one we've heard a lot), but as the Garrison is intended as a Warlords-only feature, there are several other potential improvements we could make to the mobile app that would have more long-term use, if we decided to expand its feature set.

I should clarify: it's intended as a feature that we don't have to bring along with us into the next expansion (like a new profession would be, for example). However, it's something we can bring along if we want to, or even repurpose a lot of the same tech to provide something else. Opens up a lot of options for future expansions.

Are there plans to expand the garrison further than level 3? The phase where the garrison is seems to be a little bit big for what they are.
There are plans to do more with garrison building progression in patch 6.2. Details at a future date since we're still fairly early working on 6.2.

Why does the amount of Missions decrease substantially when all the active followers are level 100?
We were hoping not to have a bunch of irrelevant missions spamming up your mission list. We didn't plan well enough for the fact that those missions aren't really irrelevant when the salvage yard is OP. It's definitely an issue we talk about here, but solutions are complex and can have a lot of ripple-effect consequences on the rest of the system/game.


Originally missions all pulled from a single pool; players found that as they got their first level 100 followers they got fewer low-level missions and had a harder time leveling their weaker followers, so we made a change to ensure that some low-level missions would always pop if you had a follower in that range who needed them. We recognize this causes some odd incentives (you're encouraged to NOT max all your followers) and are discussing good solutions to that problem.

do you guys plan on improving upon garrisons every patch e.g more buildings, more plots, extra interactions (similar to invasions) and more customization (faction guards) to prevent the garrisons from becoming stale?
We plan to add some form of Garrison content in every patch, we want to keep it fresh too.

Any more info about how the Mine is supposed to work in regards to Carts?
Carts showing up without a follower parked is a bug on our end. The carts are bonus you get based on having a Mining follower parked at the Mine. We reduced the overall number of carts but increased the amount of loot you get from each one. Thanks for the questions!

Is it intentional to be garrison mission starved once all your followers are 100? It feels crappy to have to bring in a scrub level 90 and level 95 to spawn as many missions as possible for the salvage yard.
Not intended. Don't have any details on a fix just yet, but we're looking into it.

The Dwarven Bunker/War Mill transmog armor is currently Account Bound as opposed to Account Bound. It's pretty frustrating to not be able to send it between my accounts, especially considering how rare the Iron Horde scraps seem to be. Is this intended or an oversight?
That's an oversight on our part. We will get that fixed up. Thanks!

Why do some Garrison work orders count towards such achievements like Working More Orders and others do not? Mines and Herbalist work orders don't seem to count.
This is a bug, we are working to hotfix it ASAP.

Just a quick question, would it be possible to convert Broken Bones to a currency?
Definitely hear the feedback on broken bones.

Art / Character Models

are new worgen and goblin models in the works? Any updates on that?
No plans for that at the moment.

Are the already released new character models still being tweaked and worked on?
We are planning to make some additional updates and tweaks to the new character models, yes.

Does this include new customisation options? Because I'd love to see Mag'har/Blackrock/Dragonmaw/Laughing Skull skins for player Orc characters.
Chris Robinson (our Art Director) has mentioned that he'd love to see stuff like that as well, there's just a lot of higher-priority projects that need the art team's attention first.

Is there any consideration into redoing the run animation for Night Elves?
Yes, I believe that's on the list of things to refine, potentially in patch 6.1. Don't quote me on that though. =]

Any update on class accessories?
The idea is still alive! We actually just had a meeting about this a few weeks ago. It's not on the table for 6.0, but we are certainly discussing it for a future expansion.

Are there any plans for Moonkin remodels, bear remodels and warlock pet remodels? (Looking at you Felguard.)
We hear you - primary focus for Warlords was on the main player models, but this is definitely something we want to do.

There are a lot of spells out there that could really use some love, like Fire mage (Fireball, Pyroblast), Shadow Priest (Mind Flay, Shadow Word: Pain, and some others) and a lot of the effects for the melee classes are pretty poor, too.
We totally hear you guys on this. We have a team of folks working to improve the overall sound, look and feel of Wow combat in general for future expansions. More updates to come on this in the future.


The time required can vary quite a bit depending on the particulars of the spell. We'd definitely like to take a look at some of the older spell visuals and update them though.

PvP / Arena / Ashran

What are you current feelings overall about the state of PVP. What's good, what's bad and where to from here?
We had three big additions to PvP in Warlords: Skirmishes, Ashran and the Strongbox reward system. I think Skirmishes and Strongboxes have worked out really well, but Ashran has some definite problems.

With respect to class balance in Arena and RBGs, we're evaluating it and making adjustments when appropriate. It's important that in each new expansion, we give classes cool new toys. The addition of new talents/abilities/glyphs and changes to tuning really rattle the status quo in terms of balance. Our first focus is to ensure that the general gameplay environment is fun (i.e. people aren't invincible or dying in a global). Then we move towards balancing out outlier classes. But, classes are going to have things that feel "too strong." We just need to make sure they have weaknesses as well.

What was the reasoning as to taking RBGS weekly conquest cap out and placing with ashran weekly 200 cap? Please allow RBGS 1 cap for 200 and keep ashran cap for weekly!
Though many players understand how the rating to conquest cap system works, it's quite complicated. One number (my rating) converts to another rating (my cap) in a rather mysterious way. With the separate cap for RBGs, this became even more complicated.

We think having a variety of competitive activities is important for WoW PvP to continue to be a success. RBGs require significantly more time to coordinate and run than 2v2 arenas, for example. So it's important that we incentivize people to do them in a way that feels good.

To make the system simpler, we eliminated the additional conquest cap and provided bonus chances at loot for RBG victories.

For Ashran, we felt like it was worthwhile to give end game PvPers that participate a unique bonus. It's a fixed size cap, so it feels good if you do it, but ignoring it doesn't really hurt your progression through the season.

AMA question - Does Blizzard think PvP Healing -in general- is OP? If yes, what ways you're looking to adress it? For example, nerfing classes' healing individually, Resilience/Battle Fatigue or just gonna do it with 'turning bit of healing into kill buffs'.
We don't think healing -in general- is OP. We do think that certain specs and spells are too strong. We recently removed the healing benefits of Predatory Swiftness from Ferals and halved the benefits of Heart of the Wild in PvP. Today, we have a hotfix to reduce the healing of Paladin Flash of Light by 20%.

But at the same time, I think people often get overly fixated on the scoreboard. Healing is one type of defense a player can use in PvP, but there are a lot of others that don't show up on the scoreboard. For example, we have no "damage mitigated" column to show that a Warriors Defensive stance is effectively reducing a significant amount of damage being done to them. We also can't quantify the defensive benefit of a Warlock teleporting behind a pillar when they get in trouble. Some classes do not have strong escapes and their only strategy is to heal through the pressure.

Now, this doesn't mean we won't continue to look at healing (specifically self-healing and off-healing) as way to tune PvP balance. We want every class to feel like they can compete.

Anyways, could you talk about the design decisions behind the balance of racials? I know I'm not alone here when I say it feels like the Alliance has a definite upper hand compared to the Horde.
Ah well, it is time for the alliance to shine. Horde has been quite the trendy thing for the last decade it seems. ;]

Will you add new battlegrounds?
We want to add new battlegrounds. Not sure when though.

After the start of the pvp season.. are you guys committed to fixing the faction imbalance in arena due to racial passives?
I addressed this in another post but the TLDR answer is that we think there is more at play than racials at determing faction representation on the ladder. Specifically, you cannot play arenas cross-faction and people usually play arenas with their friends. People will decide that one faction is the "best faction" and go to that one (even if the advantage is marginal).

Throughout the Blizzcon tournament, we saw players playing different factions based on the comp they were playing against.

Are there any fixes in the works to balance WoD PvP? If so, how soon can we expect them? The statistics on are quite frankly disturbing, even considering how new the season is.
First, Vanguards is a great guy and we would all be so lucky if this was Warlords of Vanguard. Second, I think if you compared the representation at the beginning of this season to the beginning of Mists you'd be surprised at the diversity. Certainly, Disc priests have significantly higher representation than any other spec. But we've seen warriors or shamans doubling everyone else's representation in the past.

But I'm more concerned about the general gameplay in arena and not that classes that traditionally don't have high representation now have high representation.

Quick question, Will Oceanic get our own PvP bracket? Or stay in US with the old latency?
No plans for a unique Oceanic bracket at this time. The small pool of players would make queue times atrocious.


We also find that small regions have a harder time with collusion and win-trading. Right now it's best to keep ANZ with NA.

Will there be balance changes throughout the PvP season or will we have to wait whole seasons again for things to get adjusted?
We'll be tuning classes throughout the season. Early on in the expansion, we realize we've made a lot of big changes to classes and balance will be rather volatile. So, you could expect more changes early on and then the rate of change tapering off towards the expansion's end.

What are some of the things you learned from Ashran?
Some things we've learned our: - We haven't educated players enough about the benefits of the outer parts of the zone. The best way to earn honor is collecting fragments and there are a lot of powerful buffs littered out there. - We could use a good system for automatic raid management in certain areas. We don't put everyone in a raid in Ashran because not everyone is in the middle. Players that want to focus on the middle usually take care of that themselves. But we could do a better job with this. - We don't have any "doppleganger" servers so trying to balance factions by pairing servers is hard. In China, there are a lot more Horde players than Alliance. In other regions, PvP servers are mostly Horde players. PvP servers tend to be far more polarized by faction than PvE servers. It creates a lot of problems bringing people together. But we really wanted Ashran to feel like a zone attached to your server more than just a battleground you go to.

When will Kronos be fixed in Ashran?
We're working on it! We tried some new things with the AI for NPCs in Ashran's center road. Unfortunately, a lot of those techniques haven't stood up to large player counts. We've been hotfixing them and simplifying their AI. Before, they would try to navigate to whatever capture point was active. Now, they'll just get pissed and head straight for the enemy base attacking any enemy they come in contact with.

Generally, we acknowledge Ashran has both design problems and technical ones (queueing). We're continuing to work to fix them.

Creating a PvP zone for 200+ people is a really unique challenge and the way that rewards influence behavior is pretty profound. We're seeing a lot of different problems than what we saw on beta.

please allow full, x-realm raids to enter ashran whole
We have enabled cross-realm raids in Ashran. We held back on this until we felt we could enforce faction parity more. Otherwise, people would just starting looking for the "all-alliance" ashran. Definitely feel you on the Broken Bones.

Any plans on making PvP and Battlegrounds a more viable way for low level characters and alts to level from?
Unfortunately, some changes we made to battleground rewards broke some of the biggest contributors to XP in low level battlegrounds. We're working on a fix but it may not be available until 6.1.

Our original plan was to use strongboxes at all levels, but we weren't able to get it done in time. We think this could make it a fun experience though.

Really looking for answers about how pvp is going to be balanced this expansion. Can we expect balance hotfixes every week?
I wouldn't expect balance hotfixes every week. Players often look at representation as a measure of balance and it takes significant changes to really move the needle in the representation department.

Early on in the expansion, we're aware that a lot of class changes have been very disruptive to balance. We're also aware that a lot of bugs creep into the game. For example, Disc priest absorb shields were critting for a full 200% while other classes had their crit heals reduced. Fixing this bug will have a pretty profound effect on balance.

We'll be spending a lot of time playing the game, gathering feedback and adjusting accordingly. But we don't want to change people's classes from underneath them throughout the expansion.

how do you guys approach balance in terms of PVE vs PVP? I know in the past the PVP guy was told to just shut up by Jay Wilson of course that was a different game and I hope that doesn't happen in WoW.
Also, the whole Jay Wilson "Shut up PvP guy" thing is absolute rubbish. I know Jay. I talked to him all the time. He is super nice and super supportive of everything we do. If anything I am the "PvP guy" and no one at Blizzard has ever told me to "Shut Up PvP guy." It has always been the opposite. They hired me to help the team make PvP better because it is a goal they have.


Healing overall in Highmaul, even on normals (at least as a holy paladin) is hard. Everyone seems to take a considerable amount of damage at the same time. If the fights are relativly short it's something that is handable. But any fights that last beyond 4 minutes and holy paladins have a hard time keeping up. There is very little AoE healing going on as a paladin. Our 2 AoE heals without a cooldown either cost way more mana and heal for little, or cost no mana and heal for a little more. I can't keep people up using Holy Radiance or Light of Dawn. Eternal Flame as a finisher is way better to use then Light of Dawn, especially with Beacon of Faith and spamming Flash of Light is the only way holy paladins can keep up with the other healers AoE wise, and it causes me to run on fumes for at least 1/4th of the fight. Is this a concern seen by the Dev team? I know we are supposed to use Holy Light as much as possible, but it's just too slow.
We're keeping a very close eye on healing overall as raiding begins. From personal experience, observation, and talking to other healers, a lot of what we're seeing is a mix of learning new fights (and thus people in general taking large amounts of avoidable damage) and healers getting used to not panicking when someone is at 60% or 70% health. Both of those are things that should improve over time. We recognize that it's one of the risks of a more deliberate healing pace: in Mists mistakes might have been instantly lethal due to spikier damage, while in Warlords they're survivable in the short-term, but are bleeding healers try in the long term. If you aren't cleaning out the stands on Kargath, or people are triggering arcane mines on Mar'gok, that might not instantly wipe you, but it'll absolutely lead to your healers running out of gas eventually. That said, raid healing in particular tends to lend itself towards more specialization, and raid leaders may find that it makes sense to have their paladins focus a bit more on single-target healing, which is a clear niche thanks to Beacon, while other classes blanket the raid.

Please comment on direction of Mages going forward.
Mages going forward will be going forward. Unless they aren't.

in regards to the ability pruning, I know that the most iconic abilities tended to be spared, and yet... Protection Paladins lost Avenging Wrath?
We felt like both the Guardian and Wings were cool and wanted to keep them but thought it was a good opportunity to have some spec variation.

Do you agree that the Shaman class has lost much of it's identity over the years?
Probably the biggest blow to shaman identity came in Wrath (2008) when most buffs were changed to raidwide and were generally standardized among classes as a result. There was certainly something cool about bringing unique buffs like Windfury, and having a large number of those buffs that you could call uniquely your own. But it was quite a bit less cool being the Fury warrior who was only a viable endgame raid DPS with a shaman in your party, or being the raid leader playing party Tetris and cycling Bloodlusts through the melee group, or the elemental shaman who didn't get a raid spot because the spec's damage output was mediocre and they were only worthwhile if there was an open spot in the warlock/warlock/warlock/spriest group. I don't think returning to that would be the answer.

So, yes, the shaman is no longer a buff-bot. What, then, is the shaman identity? We do see totems as remaining a large part of that identity, and tried in Mists to remove passive buff totems and refocus them as more concentrated and intense effects that do something powerful in the short-term -- Capacitor, Tremor, Grounding, Healing Tide, etc. (not going to argue that Searing fits into this model or is particularly sexy, though). I'd be curious to hear (from you, from everyone) what it is about the shaman class that most resonates (or resonated, in the event that you've lost that lovin' feeling) with you.

"...or the elemental shaman who didn't get a raid spot because the spec's damage output was mediocre..."
I don't mean to be disrespectful, Mr. Hazzikostas, but the very thing you said you were avoiding is happening right now as we speak.

I really should have said "abysmal" rather than mediocre. When DPS shaman brought a suite of unique buffs in TBC, their damage was routinely 30-40% behind "real" damage-dealers, not the 10% that is often bemoaned today.

Even with states of Normal Butcher, Heroic Butcher and Normal Ogron you feel enhancement and elemental is perfoming strongly?

Check out Tectus or Mar'gok for a different picture, though.

I realize it's not that simple (and no, I'm not going to argue that Fire Nova should be the defining niche of the Enhancement shaman) but what matters is the game in its totality, not a specific encounter.

Do you feel that Shaman-balance should take the form of number tweaking, or is the sudden outcry for an all-out rework justified?
We've already made some numbers tweaks, and we'll make some more as needed. There's no question that Enhance and especially Elemental were weak during the initial days of Warlords, but at this point we're seeing both specs performing very solidly in dungeons as well as a range of encounters in Highmaul. We'll of course continue to watch balance as gear and strategies evolve, and watch PvP representation and success as the arena/RBG season really gets underway. In the short term, I would not expect a drastic overhaul. Drastic overhauls of classes are something we do rarely, and then almost exclusively with expansions and not patches. There are plenty of shaman out there who are having fun who don't want to log in to find their class completely changed overnight. But that doesn't that there isn't room for improvement. A number of the points above regarding talents are very valid, and there's definitely room for more differentiation through that avenue. And the Call/Persistence/Projection row is terrible.

What would you like to tell Shamans who feel like second class Druids?
Druids are cats/bears/turkeys/trees; you are mail-clad warriors of the elements. Have faith, and try to focus feedback in a constructive way that focuses on specific areas of discontent. We're listening.

In any case, the numbers don't entirely bear out that assertion (Elemental has very strong single-target DPS, as Butcher parses will attest) though there was regrettably some real damage done in terms of overall community perception during the first couple of weeks before the hotfixes. We are keeping an eye not just on damage, but on representation.

With the loss of Ancestral Vigor and Mana Tide and the output of other healers, it seems R Sham's only justifiable presence is the ability to continue to heal during HTT. Do you have any ideas to remedy our plight?
Ancestral Vigor was honestly a stopgap measure at a time (mid-Cata) when Resto Shaman was by far the dominant arena healer, but the weakest healer in raids. We used AV to prop the spec up and help ensure they'd usually have at least a single raid slot while we tried to sort out the thornier balance issues with the spec. At this point, however, we feel that the overall Resto healing toolkit holds up against other specs head-to-head, and there's no longer a need for Vigor.

Why does the Vers + 505 Int proc pvp trinket proc when using burning rush.
Looking into that.


Your game is helping me through a very rough time right now. I don't have a question, I just wanted to say thank you and hope you all see it.
Hi five! Gaming has gotten me through some rough times as well.




I don't have an answer, I just wanted to respond to your comment because everyone else was doing it and I want to feel included.

(but srsly glad you're enjoying the game, and hoping for the best for you!)

Hey guys love the expansion. How much attention do you pay to the outside community. The Instance, Wow Insider and MMO-Champion in particular
I have a long commute and listen to a lot of community podcasts. Specifically Convert to Raid and the Instance.

As a huge fan of Legendary, The Weekly Marmot, PST, and PST Rapid Fire, I miss your videos a ton, but I was wondering if you ever miss making that content. Also, what was your favorite moment during your YouTube/Tankspot/GamebreakerTV times?
Definitely miss making that content. I've actually started a new podcast with Mike B recently -- I won't directly promote it here, but you could probably find it on Google or something.

Favorite moment would probably be the original "Halo MMO" tinfoil hat stuff, especially now that I've been able to peek behind the curtain as a Blizzard employee :P

What Dev throws the best parties?
Chilton: "Stockton! But Holinka throws a mean Mary Kay party."


I don't know, but my money is on Alex Afrasiabi being the most interesting guest at a party.

WoW Development

What do you guys look for in applicants to work on the Game design team for WoW?
We honestly look for great game design instincts above all else. Clearly someone needs to be a good personality fit as well, but it all starts with a key understanding of the fundamentals of great gameplay.

Why was this boss fight fun? Break that down for us and tell us why. Why was this quest terrible? Break that down for us and tell us how you would improve it.

We are always looking for well rounded designers that can handle lots of different situations and problems. We hire designers from all sorts of different sources, it all just comes down to their individual talent.

How many of you actively play the game outside of work hours and now many reached level cap in this expansion?
Almost all of us I'd say. It's actually a very different experience playing at home with friends/family than it is playtesting at work, so it doesn't feel like "work" when playing from home. For example, even though I've run missions like crazy for the better part of a year, it has still been a blast logging in every chance I get to make sure my followers are being used efficiently. =]


All of us play, with a wide variety of playstyles. Garrison missions have probably had a non-trivial impact on office productivity the past few weeks.... We love the game, and of course it's also essential to be experiencing the gameplay and potential issues firsthand so that we can really understand what's working well, what isn't, what's frustrating, etc. Personally, I've been doing tons of Heroics, daily CMs, and jumped right into Highmaul last night (I couldn't raid on Tuesday night either!).

How long does it take to create, test and ship out a raid instance at this point in time?
The anniversary video was talking specifically of the encounter creation part of it (a week didn't encompass the environment and creature art time). No doubt that was still a feat though, it was amazing to see it come together so quickly. Certainly, the production value of the raid encounters these days is significantly higher (environmental gameplay, visual effects, encounter mechanics, flex difficulty, etc) so it takes many more hours to make an encounter today than it did back then. So, lots of time!


Making a raid zone nowadays is a huge endeavor that touches virtually all parts of the team in some form. From start to finish, Throne of Thunder or Siege of Orgrimmar each took 6-7 months to go from a 2D layout and a general concept to a playable, tested, tuning, and polished experience. (Spoilers: We're working on the next big raid zone right now.)


Is there a chance that we could have an option to stop moving background in certain dungeons/raids? Grimrail Depot causes 2 of my guildmates to have motion sickness when we are doing the second and third bosses.
Ugh, sorry to hear that. =[ Not sure that we have a quick/easy solution for that, but we'll take into consideration.


Sorry, there's actual motion going on and not a simple graphical effect that can be disabled. Agree it's rough for your friend. All I can suggest is to zoom in a bit and you can largely avoid having much movement in your field of view.

The UI community, especially those of us from EU, would really love a dedicated CM for that department, there currently is no easy way for us to report problems and we tend to find them first
I know our UI team reads the UI forums regularly, but feel free to contact me about addon development issues if you like. Easiest way to do that is probably through Twitter at @CM_Lore.

Oh one other thing I should note just to be clear: that includes the EU UI forums.

The “Currency” tab has been bugging me since WoD ever since the start of the expansion, as it’s always sorted alphabetically (and always last) and the “collapse”/”expand” state is never saved upon a reload of the UI.
Currency tab is a known issue. We'll get that fixed.

In regards to addons, how do you determine what will become baseline in the client? For example, being able to determine and sort by the cost per item in a stack on the AH is extremely useful.
We try to add things that feel like they would be useful to the majority of our player base, but without adding bloat or confusion. Good examples of this would be armor sets, raid frames, bag sorting and cooldown counters. We tend to stay away from addons that are very complicated with lots of options since those lean towards smaller groups of players and would complicate the game for others.

How do you feel about this shift over time, and have you thought about any new ways to inspire the growth of closer-knit communities and cameraderie, like your addition of the Premade Group Finder and Guild Achievements?
We feel like it's crucial that we support both the "easy in, easy out" gameplay of dungeon/raid finder for players that are just in the mood to quickly run some content. However, the addition of the group finder is a first step toward improving the other side of the coin, as we also want the game to do a better job of fostering cooperative play and enabling longer-term relationships to be created. We have more stuff in mind for the future to continue to make this better/cooler.

So where are the fungal whales in the Zangar Sea?
Sounds like we need a follower mission for that... The Fungal Whale Expedition.

Are you able to reveal any plans you have for future expansions?
We have plans for an expansion that will come after this expansion, and it will be the next expansion. That is all for now. ;]

Just a quick question: Why not add a title for having lots of titles? Like , the Entitled?
Where is the "Like" button on Reddit

Is Sargeras going to eventually be a 10 phase fight that takes 2 hours to complete and rewards us with a 10 minute cinematic farewell to WoW?
Multiply all that by 10!

This is a lore question, but I think it could be game related as well, where on Draenor is Dentarg? I have not seen him at all.
Good question, I can't say I have a good answer that I wouldn't be making up on the spot.

it seems like recently taxis have been eating pets, elementals, and demons.
This is a bug, and we're working on a fix in the near future.

Would you consider adding a keybind / casting modifier that allows us to target "targetable spells" at our current target or ourselves?
I don't know about using a player's location as a target for the spell, but it could be cool to have some type of smartcast interface to cast a spell at your mouse's location. Maybe in the future.

There seems to be a lot of people that have an issue with Garosh's father being the last boss in WOD. Is he definatelu the last boss or may there be a surprise for people?
There will be a surprise, and we're looking forward to players hearing more sometime "soon"!

How about randomizing secondary stats on Apexis Crystal gear? Same way it happens with gear from all other sources. Also adding something like a 1000 crystal re-roll thingy will make it worthwhile.
Fair point, probably would have been a good idea to do so in retrospect.

When will Thrall reveal the secrets of full beards, standing up straight, and eyebrows to his fellow male orcs?
Do you think he would have landed Aggra if he had?

Hotfixes for December 4th
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
December 4

Garrisons, Followers, and Outposts
  • Resolved an issue where players may become stuck or be disconnected while attempting to visit other Garrisons.
  • Garrison Buildings
    • Gladiator's Sanctum Level 3: The Coliseum scenario now requires 15 players to start (up from 10).
    • Herb Garden Level 3: The Draenor fruit tree should now always bear fruit even if no Followers are assigned to work there.

  • Player pets should now correctly rejoin the player after taking a flight path or using a vehicle.
  • Paladin
    • General
      • Eternal Flame's initial healing has been increased by 25% for Protection and Retribution Paladins.
      • Flash of Light's healing has been reduced by 20% for Protection and Retribution Paladins.
      • Word of Glory's healing has been increased by 25% for Protection and Retribution Paladins.
  • Priest
    • General
      • Mass Dispel should no longer be incorrectly dispelling Cyclone without a Glyph of Mass Dispel equipped.
      • Power Word: Shield critical hits should now correctly absorb only 150% of normal in PvP.
    • Discipline
      • Divine Aegis' should now correctly absorb only 50% as much in PvP.

Dungeons, Raids, and Scenarios
  • Raids
    • Highmaul
      • Tectus: If Tectus enters Berserk mode while in the process of shattering, the resulting Shards of Tectus and Motes of Tectus should now correctly enter Beserk mode as well.
      • Tectus: Resolved an issue where Tectus could have no loot if the entire raid dies before his death event was complete.
      • Twin Ogron: Resolved an issue where credit for completing the achievement Brothers in Arms was being incorrectly awarded.

  • Critical Heals should now correctly heal for 150% of normal in PvP (they were incorrectly healing for 175% of normal).
  • Gladiator's Distinction, the 2-piece set bonus now reduces damage taken from players by 15% (up from 10%).
  • Being attacked in PvP combat and triggering the secondary item level on PvP gear should no longer cause the player's health to decrease by more than intended.

Battlegrounds and Arenas
  • Battleground Flag Carriers should now correctly have a 45-second delay before their location is revealed to the enemy team (was incorrectly revealing their location immediately).
  • Resurrection times in Rated Battlegrounds has been corrected to be*25 seconds (was 15 seconds).

  • Guild news should no longer be displaying (and getting spammed with) entries for characters looting items for the Legendary Ring Quest Line.

Bug Fixes
  • Recruit-a-Friend characters should now be correctly receiving a 300% bonus to the experience awarded for completing a Dungeon (was incorrectly awarding 900% instead).
  • New Pandaren Hunters that use the Level 90 Character Boost should now start with a turtle pet.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Developer Q&A Roundup - No flying in Draenor in Patch 6.1, Hotfixes for December 4th started by molster View original post
Comments 132 Comments
  1. rapyzak's Avatar
    I'm okay with no flying.
  1. mmoc10bda09cc4's Avatar
    tbh, haven't needed flying yet, so yay I guess
  1. ihyln's Avatar
    they will add flying back in once the sub numbers drop
  1. Greenmagoo's Avatar
    All that no fight rage on official forums with tinfoil hatred of the q&a on reddit. Such entertainment.
  1. Stevecow's Avatar
    Decided today I would just wait until 6.1 to fly around killing the daily mobs for stable quest since most are in Nagrand and in spots that take a long time to get to. Well guess I'm going to wait to 6.2 now. I will continue to sit in my garrison and have locks summon me to my raid until 6.2 comes out and the world is fun to explore.
  1. Fenzha's Avatar
    I have killed the rares, looted the treasures and even traversed the dreaded pit. Currently these reasons being stated for not flying mean nothing to me and getting around is just an inconvenience.
  1. Mementomori1993's Avatar
    "How about randomizing secondary stats on Apexis Crystal gear? Same way it happens with gear from all other sources. Also adding something like a 1000 crystal re-roll thingy will make it worthwhile."

    "Fair point, probably would have been a good idea to do so in retrospect."

    Fuck. That. Shit. Can you even imagine spending 5k crystals on a shoulder item only to have it be itemized with your two worst stats?
  1. Mormolyce's Avatar
    How do you guys determine what will become a toy?
    Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
    We throw back a shot of vodka and take aim at the "toy or not-toy" dartboard. ;]
    I KNEW IT!!!
  1. Dawnshadow's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Mementomori1993 View Post
    "How about randomizing secondary stats on Apexis Crystal gear? Same way it happens with gear from all other sources. Also adding something like a 1000 crystal re-roll thingy will make it worthwhile."

    "Fair point, probably would have been a good idea to do so in retrospect."

    Fuck. That. Shit. Can you even imagine spending 5k crystals on a shoulder item only to have it be itemized with your two worst stats?
    Beats spending 5k on a shoulder item that has your two worst stats and can't be rerolled or randomized in any way, shape or form.
  1. Serj Tankian's Avatar
    I'm so happy we're not getting flying in 6.1! I am having so much more fun without it.
  1. yotus's Avatar
    I'm also very happy with the no-flying ! I've never enjoyed engineering so much, especially my goblin glider that takes me just everywhere =)

    I also love the little "wall-climbing" that we have to do to get some of the treasures.. remembers me of the "Under-Stormwind", The Old Ironforge (before it was cool), the Karazhan Smiley and all that good stuff
  1. lokithor's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Mementomori1993 View Post
    "How about randomizing secondary stats on Apexis Crystal gear? Same way it happens with gear from all other sources. Also adding something like a 1000 crystal re-roll thingy will make it worthwhile."

    "Fair point, probably would have been a good idea to do so in retrospect."

    Fuck. That. Shit. Can you even imagine spending 5k crystals on a shoulder item only to have it be itemized with your two worst stats?
    Well all the gear for me has 2 shitty stats on it, would rather be able to try and reroll than to just not buy them.
  1. Doomchicken's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ihyln View Post
    they will add flying back in once the sub numbers drop
    You mean like they added it back after the subs dropped in cata? Or when the subs dropped in MoP? Oh wait...they weren't the cause for the drops, not did it stop the peak to 10 mill. I wonder what that means. Hint: Flying does not effect subs in any way, shape or form.
  1. Entrophius's Avatar
    I hoped they would add some kind of transmog revamp in this expansion, my bags, bank and void storage are already filled... a third tab for the void storage could work as a band-aid though
  1. Cthulhu 2020's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ihyln View Post
    they will add flying back in once the sub numbers drop
    "They will add flight once they see all of the complaints about it in beta."
    "They will add flight once the expansion flops and subs drop below 5m."
    "They will add flight once 6.1 hits."
    "They will add flight once..."
  1. Zyphrus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Stevecow View Post
    Decided today I would just wait until 6.1 to fly around killing the daily mobs for stable quest since most are in Nagrand and in spots that take a long time to get to. Well guess I'm going to wait to 6.2 now. I will continue to sit in my garrison and have locks summon me to my raid until 6.2 comes out and the world is fun to explore.
    I will travel to a raid/world boss on my own but aside from that I am exactly like you. We see the world, in detail, with every alt we level. Looks like I will be garrison bound even longer now. : /
  1. Wulfey's Avatar
    The Defensive Stance mitigation example for warriors is pretty funny considering Gladiator stance warriors (only viable warriors right now) cannot go defensive stance in combat.
  1. ABEEnr2's Avatar
    Well blizzard prepare for the sub to drop.
  1. Howard Moon's Avatar
    Cool, I hope they don't add flying for a while.
  1. Shampro's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ABEEnr2 View Post
    Well blizzard prepare for the sub to drop.
    Where have I heard this before? Oh right, months and months through out beta and when it was announced by the vocal people on the forums. And this expansion was the one that sold the most in it's firt 24 hours. Please. I'm screen saving this to see the huge drop that you're claiming.

    And even if they lose all 100 peolple to this, I'm sure that they'be happier to make the game how they like it, a game they want to play. It's obvious that the devs resent the idea of it, and I agree. Hope it doesn't come back til the last patch or when Draenor's main land is irrelevant.

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