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Ask the Devs is request for questions from Official forums users with answers intended to appear roughly a week after questions to be answered are voted on. The answering of questions had been very consistent until #10 which seemed to have been skipped entirely. The posting of the question thread has been less consistent with EU and Asia questions seeming to get more attention than the U.S. (the questions #10 post for EU appeared more than a full day before the U.S. one).
Ask Creative Development appeared to be focused on lore, whereas this Q&A appears to be more general in nature with users focusing on game mechanics issues.
|Ask the Devs - Answers #1|
Q: Will updated textures be applied to the Vanilla and TBC races in the future to coincide with the new Goblin and Worgen race textures? – Tank (Latin America), Welcome (North America/ANZ), Mizah (Europe [English])
A: The art team very much wants to update the older races. We feel like it’s something we owe the game and the players. We’re just looking for the right time to dive into that enormous task, without having to take too much time away from making new creatures or armor. We also have to be very careful to improve the graphics without fundamentally changing the way the models look. Players are quite attached to the look of their character, and they can be pretty sensitive to even small changes. We’re continually reminded of that fact.
Q: Are there any plans to update Outland and TBC zones to facilitate better level flow? – Atreydes (Latin America)
A: We think the flow of the zones works out well. It is true that you can finish the continents before hitting every zone because of the accelerated quest experience (further enhanced by mechanics such as heirlooms) but most players going back through the content on new characters seem perfectly happy to get through it faster than they did with their original character. What we don’t like is the strange way you go back in time when you go to Outland and Northrend and then back to the future (heh) when you go to the level 80-85 zones. That is definitely something we want to fix.
Q: Will the Outland and Northrend be “renewed”? Will there be new quests? - Мандрэйк (Europe [Russian])
A: Because we did those areas more recently than Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor, we don’t feel the same urgency to go update them. They just don’t have the level design and quest flow problems to the same extent as the original content. We recognize though that some players are getting awfully tired of Hellfire Peninsula, and we’d like to come up with a good solution there.
Q: Mastery rating has become the most important attribute for Death Knight tanks, yet there isn’t any Rune Forge for mastery. Will you consider adding a new Rune Forge for Death Knight tanks? - Highlordkahn (Taiwan)
A: We want to do another pass at the Rune Forge enchants. We think we can make some more compelling choices.
Q: What is your favorite escape/distraction when you arent working on WoW? – Danksz (North America/ANZ)
A: We polled the entire World of Warcraft development team and included the most interesting, unusual, and potentially terrifying responses. They included: roasting my own coffee; hiking all over SoCal; gardening with yuccas and bamboo; building my own 3D printer; attempting to turn my living room into a live action scene from Tron using blacklights, stencils and a helluva lot of paint; autocross racing my sweet ride; board games (I have over 450 of them); being spinal tapped to Tumblr, Reddit and 4chan; mastering cooking (duck confit, breads, pastas, more breads); building Star Wars Lego sets; trying to control my computer using brainwaves and an EEG reader; plein air/outdoor watercolor painting; geocaching; hockey; painting miniatures; swing dancing; crafting old-time cocktails; running 5 / 10 Ks / mud runs; motorcycling; go; blending smoothies; skydiving; work on my Jaina/Varian fanfic; baking bread; playing drums; reading sci-fi; comics; playing WoW.
Q: Will we ever see a feature like the Appearance Tab - some way to make use of all the different equipment art for items we already have without having to give up on stats in order to do so? If no, then why not? – Welcome (North America/ANZ), Ферундал (Europe [Russian])
A: Having more ways to customize the appearance of their character is something players often ask for and something we’d love to improve. Seriously. We hear you loud and clear on this one. We do have some ideas we’re discussing, but we’re not ready to share them quite yet. Our concerns have always included making sure that the character art still maintains a level of quality even if extensively customized, and making sure that character silhouettes are easily recognizable. Those aren’t show-stopping concerns that would prevent us from ever taking the plunge, but they are concerns.
Q: Are there any plans to bring new items to Archaeology with each future patch? - Idej (North America/ANZ)
A: We may not make it every patch, but we designed Archaeology specifically with this kind of expandability in mind. Our most immediate plans are to add rare items to the Vrykul and especially Troll races, since they have so few, and add more to Fossils in general since you end up with so many Fossil sites. We also have some plans to make it slightly easier to focus on races upon which you want to focus.
Q: Will the devs consider giving us reason to interact in the new world of cataclysm? We sit in cities waiting on queues. Theres little reason to leave the city gates outside of farming and archeology. The *main* cities feel alive, the world however feels quite dead. - Odiem (North America/ANZ)
A: While you’re leveling up your character and gathering professions, you’re more than likely interacting with the world plenty. World of Warcraft’s endgame has centered on dungeons, raids, Battlegrounds and Arenas for some time, so it’s natural that you spend more time in cities organizing and preparing for those group-based events. We do think there is more that we can do to promote compelling solo gameplay for max level characters, though. The 4.2 patch has a pretty epic questing experience involving the Firelands and we’re really excited to see how players respond to it.
Q: PvP realms are getting indistinctive from the PvE realm as players are not engaging into PvP contents, since they are not finding it attractive. The only difference from the PvE realm is that it’s possible to attack opponent around zones in Conflict. Is there any plan to strengthen the difference between PvP and PvE realms? – Soulcube (Korea)
A: We don’t think it’s that world PvP is unattractive, we just think it’s just the cumulative effect of a lot of changes we made to the game to meet other goals. For example, flying mounts are really cool and convenient, but they mean you are much less likely to stumble upon someone from the opposite faction while travelling. We considered teleportation a mandatory feature for Dungeon Finder to succeed, but then you are less likely to bump into an enemy outside of a dungeon. To get world PvP back in some form, we’d have to develop something like the Isle of Quel’danas: a non-flight zone that is not a sanctuary where players congregate to finish quests or earn rewards. We’ll think about ways to do something like that again in the future.
Q: I think a lot of people would like to see some more options for inventory storage are there plans for any of the following? Bank slots/Equipment manager storage/Upgrade backpack/storage for costume, cosmetic, toys/tabard storage. – Shinysparkle (North America/ANZ)
A: We do have some storage solutions in the works. We’d like to convert tabards in particular to something like the current UI to manage titles. We don’t want to just keep giving players larger and larger bags in which to lose items. We’re focusing more on better ways to organize items.
Q: Were hero classes considered a failed experiment, or are there plans for more? – Grozzil (North America/ANZ)
A: No, we still like the concept a lot. The story behind the death knight character was that you were this fallen champion risen by the Lich King, who you eventually turn against (spoiler alert). It wouldn’t have made sense to start you in a forest killing gnolls and boars. You were supposed to feel like a high level character already! We also wanted to make the DK mechanics slightly more complex, so we wanted to make sure only veteran players were exposed to them. In general we want to add classes to the game very selectively because the game can probably only support so many and it’s a lot of new stuff to learn; even if you don’t play the new class yourself, you’ll group with them or fight against them. Introducing the DK was a learning experience for us, to say the least, but we aren’t afraid to try it again when the time is right.
Q: Would you tell me your thoughts about the recent PvP balance? I’m wondering about the future plans that Devs has on PvP balance change. For example, only a few number of Hunter are found in the Arena and this has not been changed for years. - Stormnreaker (Korea)
A: We are pretty happy with PvP balance overall. We think this season may be the best overall in terms of balance. There are definitely some areas where we can improve. Remember that part of our goal with Cataclysm was to encourage more players to try Rated Battlegrounds as an alternative to Arenas. Some classes that struggle in Arena, like hunters and Balance druids, perform very well in Battlegrounds. We recognize that Rated Battlegrounds haven’t yet caught on with players, especially more casual PvP players, as much as we’d like.
Q: While mining and herbalism both supports two other professions (jewel crafting and blacksmith for mining, inscription and alchemy for herbalism), skinning only support leather working and is less viable. Will you consider adding some small advantages for skinning, for example, chances to get more cooking material, to make skinning more attractive? - 柴德洛夫 (Taiwan)
A: Skinning has its own advantages though. For example, you can skin the same targets you are killing for quests or while running a dungeon, while Mining and Herbalism often require you to go out of your way to gather that resource. Sometimes you get lucky and find a field of recently-killed corpses, just waiting to be skinned.
Q: Is the Holy Paladin mastery going to remain as is, or will it see a change in the future? – Judgesyou (North America/ANZ)
A: We like the mechanic. Having a shield complements their potent single-target heals rather than competing against them. As you have probably seen by now, we did increase the duration of the absorb so that it would come into play more often. We believe the Holy mastery, as is the case with some of the other healing masteries, is not an easy thing to simulate or sometimes even determine from logs. It’s hard to put numbers on it in the same way you can assign values to haste and crit. We believe this had led some players to undervalue it. We’ll see how it feels with the longer duration.
Q: Gatherable nodes inside a phase area is really disturbing, especially in Twilight Highland, where nodes often appear on mini-map and vanish upon approach. Could you fix that, or move all the nodes outside of the phasing area? – 補釘 (Taiwan)
A: Yes, this is very frustrating and it happens to us all the time when we’re playing as well. Ultimately we want to fix it in a robust way so that when you see a node on the mini-map, it is something from which you can actually gather. We don’t want to have to just avoid phased areas when placing herb or mining nodes, because some phased areas are quite large and ultimately we don’t want the fact that we thought the questing experience would be enhanced by phasing to spoil the gathering experience down the road.
Q: Considering how often changes meant to balance PVE performance for certain classes then creates imbalance in their performance in PVP, and vice verse, have the developers ever considered completely separating the two? – Azunya (North America/ANZ)
A: That’s a common solution proposed by our active forum participants for whom balance may be the single most important concern when they play. You have to put yourself in the mind of a new player just trying to pick up the game though. Already there are a bewildering array of class abilities and talents, many with their own idiosyncrasies or special rules. Now you have to virtually double that if you want all of the player spells to have a PvE and a PvP tooltip. We prefer solutions like resilience and diminishing returns on crowd control that are more global rules rather than virtually every ability having a PvE vs. a PvP coefficient. We want it to feel like one game with a unified set of rules.
Q: Daily Battlegrounds only reward 25 conquest points, which is really low (considering the fact that daily heroic dungeon rewards 70 valor points). Would you consider to adjust that, as Battlegrounds attracts PvP beginner more than Arena does. –賽君 (Taiwan)
A: I think it’s fair to say that Rated Battlegrounds aren’t yet offering rewards commensurate with the logistical and time commitments that they ask. We really wanted Rated Battlegrounds to be attractive to players who loved PvP but weren’t huge fans of Arenas. We don’t think we’re quite there yet and Arenas continue to be very popular just because they take fewer players and can be completed quickly. If you love Arenas, great. But we want there to be alternatives.
Q: Moonkins lack the “execution” phase spell or talent, is that an intended design and why? –輕體小子 (Taiwan)
A: While it’s true that a lot of character classes have a special ability they can use at the 20% health mark, we didn’t set out to make sure everyone had one. Balance druids have changed a lot in the last two expansions and went from a pretty simple rotation (spam Wrath or Starfire) to a pretty complex one. We’re not sure at this time they need yet another mechanic to manage, but it’s a potential design direction to explore for the future.
Q: During the expansions released since vanilla, the specialities of the different classes were watered down more and more. By now, many classes can do almost everything and almost none is still special. Are there any steps planned to give the classes more “charisma”, so that they are more distinguished from each other and regain their special flair? – Blades (Europe [German])
A: Sometimes when players say “special flair” what they really mean is “something so awesome that everyone will have to take me.” We really don’t want to go back to that model, which just isn’t tenable in a game with 10-player raids and 30 different talent trees. We have no problem spreading around buffs and utility that we consider more-or-less mandatory, such as the battle rezes and raid buffs. At the same time, we think there are enough unique abilities out there to make the various talent trees shine. Shaman have a great interrupt with Wind Shear. Warlocks can get out of danger with Demonic Portal. Discipline priests can mitigate a lot of damage with Power Word: Barrier, but Unholy death knights have their own version in Anti-Magic Zone. We struggle a lot with how much homogenization is good for the game, largely so that you can play with your friends, and how much is bad for the game, because then your character feels less special. It’s something we’ll continue to work on in an attempt to strike that perfect balance.
Q: What do the developers think of the current state of hunters? (PVP balance) – Albevil (Europe [Spanish])
A: Hunters are good for very skilled players and particularly in Rated Battlegrounds. Our challenge has always been to make the class a little more forgiving to play in PvP at the medium level without making them unbeatable in the hands of a truly talented player. We think the recent changes, such as Auto Shot on the move and allowing Deterrence to prevent attacks that typically always hit, will help bridge that gap. We’re starting to discuss more whether hunters need the opportunity to do some damage in melee range instead of always focusing on escape. While the hunter is ultimately a ranged class, it is true that other casters can make the decision to keep casting while in melee range, even if they suffer consequences for doing so.
Q: Players don’t use the client-implemented Voice Chat feature because third party applications are much betters. Can I expect improvements in the voice quality and a fix in the delay issue in the future? – 밥상의달인 (Korea)
A: We aren’t at all happy with the quality and feature set of Voice Chat. We think we can do a lot better. While we aren’t working on it right this moment, the next time we revisit Voice Chat, we want it to be an epic improvement, the same way Dungeon Finder redefined Looking for Group.
Q: Healers cannot get Flask of Flowing Water from Guild Cauldron, which means Guild Cauldron is useless to healers. Can I expect any improvement for this? –꼬꼬마샷다 (Korea)
A: We couldn’t figure out an elegant way to determine if healers wanted the Spirit flask or the Intellect flask, so we erred on the side of throughput and gave them Intellect. Healers who would prefer Spirit can just get the normal flasks. We’ll think about another way to handle this. Spirit is obviously very popular among healers, but we don’t want to have a system that pops up a window asking you which flask you want.
Q: Could we see more dynamic events in WoW? For example something like sand storms in Uldum that would blind everyone affecting the agro of the mobs. – Dagoûu (Europe ([French])
A: We would like to ultimately have the world feel more dynamic and a bit less predictable. We would want for these events to feel epic though and not just annoying. We’re going to test the waters here a little in a future patch and see what feels good.
Bashiok 3/22/11 6:02 PM; Edited by Bashiok on 3/23/11 6:34 PM (UTC)
|Ask the Devs - Answers #2 "PvP"|
Q: Is it a possibility that the premade group requirement will be dropped from Rated Battlegrounds, allowing players to queue for a Random Rated Battleground? I'm sure many people would be ok with the inherent risk and disadvantage of grouping with random players for rated content if it meant they could at least make use of the rating system. – Gëtmastiffd (North America/ANZ), Kaymac (North America/ANZ)
A: If you take away the group requirements for Rated Battlegrounds, then you don’t have Rated Battlegrounds – you just have the same old Battlegrounds we’ve always had except they now reward the best loot in the game. We understand there are heavy logistical requirements to organizing teams – that is in part why the rewards are so good. We believe that if we just opened the doors to random queuing that the system would be less about organized teams competing against organized teams and more about the luck of whether you got a good team or not. You are much more optimistic than we are about how forgiving players would be when Blizzard ignorantly / cruelly stuck them in a team with one Prot paladin and six rogues with no resilience. Teams on the other hand have all the responsibility themselves. If they feel comfortable bringing an experienced player with sub-optimal gear, they can make that call. If they think a certain number of healers or particular comp is required, they can try to locate them. Most importantly, there is a leader with some level of power. If you ignore the leader and just do your own thing, the leader can choose to replace you.
This is our first stab at offering very powerful gear through Battlegrounds and it is going to take some tweaking to get right. We understand that some more casual players may have given up on the system and we want a chance to fix that. It’s possible we could require fewer players to form a team, such as merging two groups of 5 together – at least we’d know for sure that you had 2 healers and had put some thought into your comp. We could also put in some kind of browsing system to make it easier to find people looking for Rated Battlegrounds.
Q: Why can't we have a pure, straight up, unadulterated Death Match style Battleground? - ???? ???? (Taiwan), Gulantor (North America/ANZ)
A: We think Battlegrounds work better when there is a goal that the team can work towards. Huge melees with lots of players tend to be chaotic by nature so there is less room for skill to influence the outcome. It feels more random, and the more random the system is, the more arbitrary the rewards will feel. It might be something we try someday.
For example, emergency buttons are balanced around the assumption that only a few players are ganged up against you. Even in the 5v5 Arena bracket, it’s very difficult to survive being focused by so many players at once, so you feel like you don’t have many options. There is a reason that most of our Arena attention is on 3v3 – it just feels the best.
Q: Arena Skirmishes: What happened to them? They were a useful tool in trying new compositions, testing out a new teammate, or just having some fun during downtime. Wargames are nice, but did skirmishes have to go in order for them to be implemented? – Zubzar (North America/ANZ), Nølfen (Europe [French]), Jinusek (Europe [English]), Whoohoo (Europe [German])
A: We didn’t cut Skirmishes because they were flawed. We just thought we’d get more bang for the buck out of Wargames. While some players enjoyed Skirmishes, we can tell you that overall they were used very rarely. We would have kept them if it had been relatively easy to do so, and we may add them back someday, but it’s just not a huge priority based on their previous popularity.
Q: In Cataclysm, PvP fights were supposed to be slow and everyone should spend longer in a wounded state. But from what I’m seeing, healers are still able to bring someone up from 1% to 100% in 2 or 3 global CDs. So it comes down back to the WOTLK style, either you burst someone in a CD and damage spike, or you need a setup with tons of CC. There simply is not a state where someone is at 50% health and you can keep him around that way with your damage. He will be at 100% in the next 2 global CDs. Any plans to address this? – Noidealol (Europe [English])
A: We just don’t think that is the case in Cataclysm relative to Lich King. Players have roughly 100,000 health, and even the big heals, which are very hard to use in PvP, only heal by 30,000 or so. Most healers do have some kind of emergency button (say Nature’s Swiftness plus Healing Touch) and that may be what you’re seeing, or else hots are ticking away for a longer period of time (longer than 2-3 GCDs for sure). We have had some burst issues rise up from time to time (say Aimed Shot, or more recently warriors), but we take pains to stomp them out when they happen. Overall we’re seeing a wide variety of classes and specs participating in Arenas, which argues that there are several strategies that work, not just the focus on one dude and blow him up strategy that prevailed in the previous expansion.
All that said, we are looking closely at healing in PvP right now. It can be really hard to kill say a flag carrier being assisted by multiple healers (especially once there is less burst damage from Balance druids and warriors).
Q: Will guilds focused on PvP be able to progress and have rewards just like guilds focused on PvE?/ Will it be possible in the future to advance guild reputation through PvP? – Smrt (Europe [German]), Ypsen (Europe [French])
A: We did try and emphasize Rated Battlegrounds as a way that guilds could progress. We thought it made more sense to have guilds focused on BGs than on Arenas, since the latter just don’t require the large infrastructure of a guild for support. It was a purposefully limited approach as the Guild Advancement system was new and rather complex, but now that we've had time to watch and see how it's being used we're a bit more comfortable opening it up where it makes sense. So in 4.1 we are actually making it so you can earn guild XP and reputation from Battlegrounds, Arenas, or just Honorable Kills. Details aren't totally nailed down yet so we'll let you know the specifics in upcoming PTR patch note updates.
Q: With the proliferation of spell interrupts and other control mechanisms, and the ever-increasing value of mobility, how do the developers plan to successfully move casters away from instant casts and make hard casting in PvP more viable? – Maldramere (North America/ANZ)
A: It will require several changes. We feel these changes will ultimately make the game better, but they are big, scary changes, so they aren’t the kind of thing we can just make in patch 4.1. For starters, we need to make instant spells less powerful. The fact that they are instant should be the big thing those spells have going for them, because immunity from interruption and the ability to shoot and scoot are gigantic advantages. Those spells don’t need anything else to be attractive. Secondly, we need to tone down the role of interrupts and silences so that casters are actually casting their spells more often. We’ll also have to look at crowd control, because once you can’t interrupt every Polymorph being cast, you’re going to spend a lot of time as a sheep. Ghostcrawler has an upcoming blog in which he speculates about this issue a bit more.
Q: Players’ skill level in PvP between rated and random battlegrounds are very different. Could a personal rating system such as the one in Starcraft II be implemented so similar level players can be matched up? – ?? (Korea)
A: We have a personal rating system for Rated Battlegrounds. We don’t use it in the random Battlegrounds because random Battlegrounds are engineered for speed of matchmaking, not for setting up perfectly balanced teams. We do evaluate gear with random BGs, which often (but certainly not always) correlates with your skill. The system begins to break down when you're balancing skill versus how quickly people want to just get in and play. Creating a system that's more stringent in how it chooses players means longer wait times, so we try to strike a balance with random Battlegrounds to have some factors (gear) but not so much that queue times become even longer. It's also worth stating that the matchmaking employed by StarCraft II is just much simpler than what it would require to assemble a viable Battleground team.
Q: CC used to be the big thing for arena, but now it’s all about damage. Is it the direction you are taking at the moment? – Thatis (Taiwan)
A: If crowd control really was as weak in Arenas as you’re claiming, then Holy paladins would be the healer of choice and Resto druids wouldn’t have much of a role. But the Entangling Roots and Cyclone of the druid make a huge difference in Arena, and we see a lot of healing druids.
Ultimately, we think there has to be a place for both crowd control and damage. It can be just as frustrating to be chained from a fear to a poly to a stun without having an answer as it can be to die to two dudes killing you in a few GCDs without an answer. We don’t want Arena in particular to be all about which comp has the best layering of crowd controls that don’t share diminishing returns, because that greatly lowers the number of viable comps out there (and why rogue-mage-priest dominated in earlier seasons). We have taken steps this season already to nerf both out of control damage and excessive crowd control for some classes.
The best thing you can do is just keep providing feedback when you think something is broken. Many other players will disagree with you, and at times so will we. The signal to noise ratio for PvP balance is frankly always going to be bad, and the design calls are extremely subjective. We are constantly amazed that some players playing very powerful specs perceive themselves as weak or interpret very gentle nerfs as soul-crushing. That doesn’t mean that we’re never going to listen, but it does mean the burden of convincing us something is broken is going to be high, probably higher than it is for PvE.
Q: Warrior damage is currently game-breakingly out of control and looking at the 4.1 patch notes it is only set to get worse. Your attempts at toning down the burst from Colossus Smash will have very little effect on high armor targets and absolutley no effect on medium to low armor targets, factor in the compensation you have given to Slam, Overpower and Mortal Strike and it ultimately leads to a significant damage increase. With warrior damage already absurdly high and a resilience nerf in the works what is the reasoning behind these changes? – Albany (Europe [English])
A: This question was most likely written before the most recent 4.1 patch notes, but we think it was totally valid at the time it was written. We were in a tricky spot with warriors where we couldn’t nerf their burst damage without affecting their sustained PvE damage. A few things contributed to this, Colossus Smash for sure, but also the new design for Heroic Strike, allowing them to sandwich in extra damage on the same GCD as Mortal Strike or Raging Blow. We finally bit the bullet and made Colossus Smash work differently in PvP and PvE. That type of separation is always a last resort for us, but we feel like it was the right call in this case. We also toned down the base amount of Fury mastery while keeping mastery scaling the same, and compensated them with auto attack damage. We also fixed a sneaky bug where trinket effects that were not intended to stack, were stacking. Despite some of the more hyperbolic responses, we think warriors will continue to use Colossus Smash in PvP. They may think about it a little more before using on a clothie, and we’re actually fine with that. (It’s still probably a 13% damage increase vs. cloth.)
Q: Can I hear your thoughts of the survival abilities of the Warlock on PvP? – Mccoll (Korea)
A: Overall, we think they’re fine. Warlocks in PvP often compare themselves to Shadow priest, and to be fair, Shadow priests have some very potent emergency buttons, particularly Dispersion. Warlocks have good self-healing (which also to be fair, was nerfed recently), abilities like Demonic Circle and fears that are good for both offense and defense. Once Shadow priests lose their defensive dispel capabilities, we think they will be less versatile and their entire package will be more comparable to warlocks.
Q: Balance druids are widely recognized as deficient in PvP. Can you describe your motivation for nerfing Balance druids' burst damage, crowd control, and self-healing in 4.1? This seems like a lot, given that you have acknowledged that Balance druids are currently weak in Arena (during your first Q&A). (It would be great if you could speak generally to what your vision or plan is for this class, in PvP. Some players believe that Blizzard does not intend for feral or balance druids to be played in arena. Please tell us for the record that this is not true!) Thank you. – Jynks (North America/ANZ)
A: Last week the words actually used were that Balance druids struggle in Arena. They are exceptional in Battlegrounds. But Balance druids cast hard spells a lot, which are more likely to be interrupted in Arenas. They do good damage in Battlegrounds when they can dot multiple targets, but those are more likely to be dispelled in Arenas. Despite those weaknesses, Starsurge needed to be nerfed. Broken spells shouldn’t make up for being weak in Arena.
We want Feral and Balance to be played in PvP and ideally in Arena. It is hard to make every spec equally viable in Arenas without giving everyone all the same set of tools, which was part of the entire genesis towards the emphasis on Rated Battlegrounds for Cataclysm. We know some players scratch their heads when we nerf Balance and Feral in PvP because they historically haven’t been as highly represented as some other specs. However, it’s not cool for a spec to be super annoying or frustrating to play against just because they aren’t common. But to answer your question for the record, yes we want them to be viable.
Q: Elemental Shaman are rarely seen in high rating Arena teams nowadays. I want to know the thoughts and opinions of the Dev. Team regarding the PVP abilities of the Elemental Shaman. Can I expect any improvement? – ?? (Korea), Mythren (Europe [English])
A: As with Balance above, Elemental was hurt by several of the Cataclysm changes. They hard cast spells a lot in a world where every melee spec (and many casters) have a reliable interrupt. (And as we’re saying elsewhere, we think interrupts are too good in PvP overall). Likewise, Elemental is hurt by dispels. Our intent was to make dispels more expensive, but that hasn’t really toned them down as much as we wanted. Long-term, as with the interrupts, we do need to chill dispels out even more. But certainly dispelling Flame Shock hurts Elemental’s damage a lot. Similarly, Elemental’s big claim to fame in Lich King was how much burst they could do in a small window, and we have toned that down a lot with the larger health pools that players have. Finally, the Heroism / Bloodlust buff was once mandatory for 5v5 brackets, and obviously isn’t any longer. Elemental could probably benefit from another survivability cooldown. Elemental Mastery doesn’t fit that niche as well as we’d like, since you need it for offense as well.
Q: Why do hunter traps continue to be resisted when the hunter is both spell pen capped, and specced 2/2 into Survival Tactics? – Zubzar (North America/ANZ)
A: It’s just a technical limitation. The way the code works, the traps are objects and not part of the player. We can calculate how much damage they should do based on player stats, but it is currently impossible for them to inherit things like spell pen. Spell Penetration does nothing for your traps. We don’t even have a way to make them always hit, because then they would always hit, even against a cloaked rogue for instance (which we’re sure is a solution hunters would be perfectly happy with). We know it’s not a very satisfying answer, but at the end of the day, World of Warcraft is a piece of software and given that we have some of the best programmers in the industry working on it, there aren’t any simple solutions that are going to fix this problem in the short term. It is absolutely a problem though and we do want to fix it.
Q: The healing abilities of hybrid classes are being severely limited (eg. Retribution Paladin, Shadow Priest). Compared to this why do DPS Classes such as Rogue, Warlock have strong healing capabilities? Can I get some explanations for this? – ????? (Korea)
A: Our definition of hybrid is a class that can respec to tank or heal. That versatility is much less relevant in PvP than in PvE. So it isn’t all our intention that classes who have a healing talent tree are good healers at all times and more than you might expect Restoration or Balance druids to be tanky just because they have a tank spec.
We don’t specify a set amount of self-healing and try to adjust everyone to hit those targets. Instead we balance specs around their entire package. If rogues die a lot, then we can explore the option of increasing their mitigation, giving them stronger survival cooldowns, or increasing their self-healing. We found that rogues were one of the most painful classes to level, so when we revamped them for Cataclysm, we wanted to make sure they didn’t have to stop and eat or bandage every few pulls. Warlocks self healing did get nerfed, but also remember that their resource mechanic is burning health to generate mana, so they need a way to replenish that health.
Finally, hybrids can absolutely swing the outcome of battles with their self or off-healing. Feral druids can stop, shift, and heal themselves up. It happens all the time (though obviously not while being focused). That doesn’t mean that those specs are supposed to be chain healing the whole time (that’s what actual healers do).
Q: Frost Mage and Blood Death Knight are almost unbeatable in PvP situations. Do you have any plan to adjust balance issues regarding the two Classes? – ????? (Korea)
A: The kit of the Frost mage is to have a lot of control and emergency buttons. This gives them a high skill cap, both in that it can be hard to stop a good Frost mage and it can be hard for less skilled PvP players to handle even a decent Frost mage. At the high end of PvP, we think Frost mages are balanced. It’s everything below that where they can be frustrating to handle. We need to figure out ways to affect the latter without affecting the former. One solution is to take some of their control away, but make some of the remaining abilities undispellable. Those spells are always dispelled in high-end games, but less often in lower-end
With the exception of a few (kind of silly) dual Blood comps in the 2v2 bracket, we see most of the Blood DK complaints when they are Battleground flag carriers. Tanks are hard to kill – that’s their thing. When tanks do obnoxious amounts of damage in PvP in addition to high survivability, as happened in some of the Lich King seasons, that feels broken. In Cataclysm, their damage is a lot lower in PvP, but their survivability is high, which feels more appropriate. We did nerf the Glyph of Dark Succor to keep it from being abusive. We’d rather the role of tanks in PvP be as flag carriers and defenders rather than the dude chasing you around trying to kill you.
Bashiok 3/28/11 4:05 PM; Edited by Bashiok on 3/28/11 4:06 PM (UTC)
|Ask the Devs - Answers #3 "UI"|
Q: Do the developers have any plans in regards to overhauling the Combat Log so that players can easier examine the results after a battle? – Jito (Europe [English])
A: The Combat Log needs some love for sure. It was originally designed with the intent of providing players with immediate feedback, sort of like an extension to scrolling combat text and the buff / debuff panel. It turns out to be much more useful after the fact, to figure out what was that thing that hit you so hard, or what caused that proc to go off. We would like to redesign the feature with more of a post-hoc analysis in mind. It can also be a resource hog if you have it up during combat and the filtering isn’t super intuitive. One thing we have done in the meantime is made it easy for the combat logs to be analyzed by third-party sites, which makes it easier to analyze results quickly.
Q: Some Addons are so powerful they simplified the game content to a degree (e.g., boss fights). Do you think that when the majority are using these Addons, the original reasoning behind the game design is violated? And isn’t it unfair for players who don’t use Addons? - ???? (Taiwan)
A: This really deserves a long answer. It sounds like a good topic for a future developer blog. To tide you over until then, we can say that some addons do a great job of providing information we really should be providing (and have long-term plans to provide).This includes information like threat, the distance you are from other players , when you have a killer debuff on you and things like that. On the other hand, when addons are too helpful, they are playing the game for you and you’re just doing what the addon tells you to do. When the mod tells you so much information about the fight that you don’t even really need to pay attention to what is happening in the world at all, then we feel that crosses the line. I don’t know that we could put the djinn back in the bottle at this point though. It would feel really harsh to prevent addons from tracking some of that information, and in some cases we’re not even sure how we would prevent it.
We continue to try and come up with new mechanics that ask players to pay attention to the fight itself instead of just pushing whatever button the addon tells them to push. You might be alerted to when Atramedes emits a Sonar Pulse, but you don’t know where it is going to be. Sinestra’s Twilight Slicer requires you to look at the battle field and not just your UI. To be fair, we are also trying to do a better job of telegraphing to players when bosses will use predictable abilities. The Conclave of Wind and Nefarian for example do their special abilities at predictable intervals along their resource or health bar.
It is a fine line to decide when an addon becomes mandatory. Ideally you could raid without any addons, and some players do. Information is often power in complex raid encounters though, and we agree that in some cases we don’t provide enough information yet. Does that mean Blizzard needs to replicate some of the screenshots produced by players who install thirty mods and completely overhaul their UI? Probably not. Our raid UI is a good example of what we are going for. It provides enough information for many players (and we have plans to add more to it overtime). It’s not going to incorporate the favorite feature of every raider out there, and for them, a very customizable third-party addon is a perfectly reasonable solution.
Q: Will there be changes related to the bank and bags system? E.g. for set pieces (wardrobe), quest items, tabards... will the 16-slot-standard-bag be extended? - Yenaeia (Europe [German])
A: We think bags are about as big as we can make them. Imagine if you got rid of all of the folders or directories on your computer and just stuffed everything into one big directory. That feels like the direction we’ll head if we keep down the path we’re on. Instead, we think a better solution is to make it easier to find what you’re looking for and provide alternative storage for things you don’t use often. We do have plans to convert tabards into a manager similar to our Title UI on the character page. We also are exploring some ways to let players store old set pieces and the like that they don’t use often. We debate the quest item issue a lot. Our concern is that if quest items are squirreled away in some special UI that they feel less like items at all. Why require you to collect bear asses instead of just incrementing the bear asses counter? That might help solve your storage problems, but it makes quests feel even less like you are doing something in the real world.
Q: Previously, the character was not interfered by the nameplate because there was always some space between the character and nameplates. I don’t exactly remember when but suddenly the nameplate covered the top section of the characters making it hard to identify the character/NPC’s status. I’m just wondering it was changed to be like that. – ?????? (Korea)
A: [We’re assuming this question is referring to the V-nameplates. If not, this answer won’t make sense.] We changed the way nameplates work quite a bit in Cataclysm. One mistake we made was anchoring the nameplate to the top of the frame. This means that when you are zoomed in close to your character that the nameplate can obscure your face. In 4.1 we’re changing the anchor point to the bottom of the frame so that it will grow up as you zoom in instead of growing down.
Q: Milling and Prospecting are incredibly dull and very manual tasks at present, especially when you do them in bulk. Speaking as a scribe, the entire manufacturing process from herb to pigment to ink to glyph is both time-consuming, boring and sending me well on my way to repetitive stress wrist and index finger injuries. – Keb (North America/ANZ), googce (Taiwan)
A: Yes, we totally understand why this is a problem. The reason we can’t make it work just like other trade skills, is that we don’t know which herbs and ore you want to use. If you have some cheap ore and some very expensive ore, we don’t want to accidentally use the expensive ore. There are a few ways to fix this. One is we just redesign Milling and Prospecting. If they were recipe-based, then we would know exactly which material to use. It would also add a huge list of repetitive recipes to your Professions pages. We could also make some kind of new UI (think of something simple, like the Reforging UI) to let you drag and drop the materials you want to use. The advantage of the “box” solution is we could also use it for Disenchanting.
Q: Would you please implement a feature that allows players to change the order of their characters on the Character select screen? – ???? (Korea), Fanahlia (North America/ANZ), Perle (Latin America)
A: Sure. Does 4.2 work for you? :)
Q: Are there any plans to implement further things into the standard UI that we currently rely on addons to provide? More specifically I mean things like Recount and Omen. - Bauertehpala (Europe [English]), ????????? (Europe [Russian]), ???? (Taiwan), Terini (North America/ANZ)
A: We are experimenting with adding a threat meter to our new party and raid frames. Tracking DPS is a little trickier. We feel like it’s something we should offer but we’re still debating the right way to do it. It could be something that the combat log or the achievement statistics system (neither of which are anywhere as good as they could be) morphs into.
Q: Any plans to improve the Trade channel to allow buying and trading directly from chat? – Abolita (North America/ANZ)
A: Ultimately, if you want a centralized location where buyers and sellers could meet, we already provide that. If you’re trying to just circumvent the 10% Auction House cut, we don’t really want to encourage that. If you want to use chat channels to haggle, you can do that already. The one situation where we think the current systems don’t work well is for really expensive crafted armor and weapons. We understand that players may not want to waste the materials until they have a buyer. Nor do they want to pay the Auction House cut on a 20,000 gold item when the volume on these items moving through the market is always going to be low. We are exploring some ways to solve this problem.
Q: Internal Cooldowns are pretty hard to track currently (I'm thinking of Nature's Grace, since it's an important element of my gameplay as a Resto Druid). Do you plan to add a feature in order to make it easier to track Internal Cooldowns? - Anyä (Europe [English])
A: This is a difficult problem to solve without a lot of additional UI bloat. We could put a debuff on the player, which is the solution we sometimes take with long cooldowns like the 60 sec one of Nature’s Grace. We could also consider something like letting players put passive abilities on their action bar, and then provide an option to view cooldowns as numbers instead of the current ‘sonar wipe’. The way some of the third-party addons handle the issue is by just throwing up more UI in between the player and the character, which is the kind of thing we are very, very cautious about adding.
Q: Are there any plans to expand on the current mail system? It's rather cumbersome to have to withdraw, one-by-one, my mail when I have pages of it. – Patrïck (Latin America)
A: This sounds like it is really an Auction House problem. The mail system is intended to be a little throttled and slow to discourage spam and junk mail, and works just fine for “real” mail between friends, alts or guildies. The problem is the design choice we made to hitch the mail system to the Auction House. Players dealing with a high volume of commodities have no choice but to deal with tons and tons of mail (and this is particularly bad for diverse commodities with low margins, like glyphs). We are discussing different ways the Auction House can work, but we’re not convinced the right answer is just to make the mail system more automated.
Q: Before Cataclysm launch, you talked about maybe giving the chance to players of increasing their main bagpack number of slots. Are you still having that in mind or did you forget about that idea? It has been 6 long years with the same bagpack! – Proenix (Europe [Spanish])
A: Believe it or not, it’s just technically challenging. The original backpack just wasn’t coded with expandability in mind, and bumping it up now carries the risk of losing players gear, which of course would be catastrophic. It’s still on the list, but it’s not as simple as someone changing a 16 to a 24.
Q: Will the Defualt UI ever be moveable and re-arrangeable without the use of mods? – Ruind (North America/ANZ)
A: We are taking baby steps in that direction. We already allow you to move the focus target, and in the 4.1 patch we will let you move your player frame (your health and resource bar) and your target frame as well. We also allow quite a bit of customization of size and position with the party and raid frames. If you consider what the screen looks like with every possible UI element turned on at once (including things like the durability dummy and Arena team frames) there is almost no space left to actually see the world. If we allow players to start moving every element around, it would be very easy to stack elements on top of each other and obscure information. More hardcore players probably understand this risk and how to fix things if they break the UI for themselves. The challenge for us is making sure that players who really shouldn’t be messing with their UI don’t stumble into it. If you aren’t in the game industry (or maybe even the software industry at large) you might think it’s as simple as burying the check box deep in the options or adding a big, red “I screwed up! Please reset me!” button. But we can assure you that it’s not.
Q: What if there was a separated target system? For example, if I can set defensive and offensive target at same time then I don’t have to switch target to use heal or other emergency skills for our friend no matter what target I’m attacking. I think this feature is especially useful for some classes, such as Retribution Paladin and Shadow Priest. – Whitewnd (Korea)
A: We understand why that might be beneficial, and some games have gone that route, but we’re not huge fans of the idea for a couple of reasons. One, it just adds more complexity to the UI, which you can see from previous questions is something we’re trying to remain vigilant against. More importantly, we like players having to make the choice of who their target is. We don’t want to make the game so smart that harmful spells always seek out enemies and helpful spells always seek out allies. We do this in a few rare cases, like Discipline’s Atonement, but in general we want players to make the second-to-second choice about whether they are playing offensively or defensively.
Lylirra 4/5/11 6:00 PM; Edited by Lylirra on 4/5/11 6:45 PM (UTC)
|Ask the Devs - Answers #4: Armor and Weapons|
Q: Is there any chance we could have caster weapons involved in casting animations? It would look cool to be holding a staff and casting a spell through it, at least as a customization option. - Dromanthis (NA/ANZ)
A: This is something we would dearly love to do. We agree that melee specs get to see their weapons a lot more often in combat while it's easy for casters to forget about them. It's definitely on the list, but understand that we have so many races now (and two sexes for all existing races) that the animations take more time to do right/well.
Q: Would it be possible for city quartermasters to sell the same equipment that guards wear? Stats wouldn't matter. - Pokemonmasta (EU|English), Tajit (NA/ANZ)
A: Cool idea. We'll talk about it.
Q: Are you planning to return to the original principle of designing the Tiers, when the sets were themed with the classes, not with the bosses that drop them? Do you have any plans to make the tier items visually different depending on your spec? - Анви (EU|Russian), Trafalgarlaw (Latin America)
A: We try and alternate the themes in order to keep things feeling fresh. Players can get bored if things feel too formulaic. The Firelands raid has a really strong theme, so the tier sets are based on the various creatures that live on the elemental plane: for example, fire spiders for the warlock set. Other tiers don’t have as strong a unifying theme so we go back to the classes for that. In the Call of the Crusade patch, we did faction-specific armor to solidify the military feel and Horde vs. Alliance rivalry.
Varying tiers depending on spec is a cool idea, but it does add more work to the individual armor which usually means we’ll get less of it. Color shifts are one option, but tend to already use all of those. We have more unique art these days than ever before, but the number of items overall has grown tremendously faster.
Q: I like the creative items that are dropped from Icecrown Citadel such as Nibelung, Heartpierce, Deathbringer's Will. Can I see more of such items containing unique proc-effects in the near futuer? - Whitewnd (Korea)
A: Yes. We think the procs are a good way from keeping the weapons from just feeling like a predictable bag of stats. There will be more in Firelands.
Q: Will enchanters be getting back the ability to make wands? - Trustybee (Taiwan)
A: We have been discussing what role in the game wands are supposed to fill. We generally consider it a failure these days if a caster ever wants to wand for dps instead of using their spells. Working the wand into the cast animation (as in the question above) is one idea. In any event, we want to figure out what we want wands to do before we give them any more prominence.
Q: Any chance we can start heading away from WWE-esque belts? - Catriona (NA/ANZ)
A: Azeroth is stricken by a terrible plague that inflates the size of shoulders and belts over time. Our artists like the belts because they have more room for detail when they’re larger. That said, your concern is duly noted.
Q: Do you have plans to make is so that the tabards don't suddenly cut off whenever we wear long vestments? - Hôwl (Latin America)
A: This is a technical issue that’s fairly nasty to fix and ultimately trimming the tabard ended up looking better, at least as a short-term solution.
Q: Can we see gear won via need rolls become soulbound? - Lorinall (NA/ANZ)
A: Yes. We plan on implementing a system where winning an item via Need (when using the Dungeon Finder Need Before Greed loot system) will make a BoE item soulbound. We hope to have this working for the 4.2 patch.
To expand on that idea in case it’s not obvious, we don’t think players should be able to claim certain loot drops based on their class if their only intent is to sell the item. If you want to use the item yourself, awesome, go ahead and roll Need on it and you’ll get preference over players who can’t use that armor type. But if all you want to do is run to the Auction House, then everyone should have equal dibs.
Q: How do you plan on normalizing Legendary weapon aquisition rate between 10 man and 25 man raids? If the drop rate is the same for 'shards' in 10 and 25 man raids, this may 'force' 25 man guilds to run 2-3 10 mans in order to maximize shard/legendary aquisition. If the drop rate for 'shards' in 25 man raids was 2.5 times than that in 10 man, it could take a 10 man guild say, 2.5 months to gain a legendary whereas a 25 man guild would take 1 month. - Deathsaint (NA/ANZ)
A: Our main goal is to offer the Legendary in both 10 and 25 without requiring say a 25-player raid to feel like they have to switch to running 10s for the sole purpose of Legendary fragment acquisition (and the same is true for 10s). Our plan is to make Legendary completion take longer to acquire in 10-player raids. The exact ratio will be somewhat obfuscated because of the variation in the amount of fragments dropped per boss based on both raid size and raid difficulty. However, you can plan on it being maybe 2 to 2.5 times faster for the 25-player raid. It should feel analogous to number of Valor points or gold dropped in 25s, and is being treated the same.
Without giving too much away, the Firelands legendary weapon has an amazing story and quest chain associated with it. We think it truly delivers on the fantasy of a legendary weapon.
Q: I feel that the current item drop ratio per part for caster's is little bit weird. While belt slot items are very common, wrist and ranged (wand) item are drastically rare. Now players don't like going to Throne of the Four Winds because belt and pants are so easily acquired via other way. What if the drops of Throne of the Four Winds changed into rare slot items, such as wrist and wand? - 빛그리고사제 (Korea)
A: There are a few issues embedded in this question. One is that while we like the random nature of the Throne of the Four Winds gear overall, it occupies a strange niche in the current itemization scheme. Al'Akir for example is fairly challenging, but so are Cho'gall and Nefarian. The net result is that many players lack epic legs, heads or shoulders and so have a strong incentive to spend Valor Point on their tier set of legs. By the time they defeat Al'Akir, nobody wants his legs. We plan on tweaking those loot tables a little for 4.1; Al'Akir will drop some random necks and cloaks as well as helm or shoulder tokens in addition or in some cases instead of his current loot.
As far as some items being rarer than others, that is the kind of thing we vary so that every tier of content doesn’t feel like a photocopy of the previous tier with bigger numbers. Our PvP gear for a variety of reasons has become very formulaic, and we don’t want the same thing to befall PvE. Bracers are hard to get now (though the trolls in 4.1 have a lot!), but next tier it might be a different item that becomes precious.
Q: What are the criteria you use to design the loots in a certain dungeon/ raid? Is it the backgrounds of the encounters, the preference of the designers, or basing on the existing models? - Kiolds (Taiwan)
A: All of that and more. As in the question above, if the dungeon or raid has a really strong visual kit, then we definitely jump on that. When you consider say the Cataclysm dungeon tier, there was a really diverse set of environments with no strong unifying theme. We could have tried to plan ahead of time that say Corborus would drop a certain weapon so we should theme it like a ring worm. That kind of rigid planning though doesn’t allow us a lot of room to maneuver if we decide to add a boss, change the source of certain items or so on. Naming the items can come from a variety of sources. Sometimes we play off of the boss (Symbiotic Worm from Magmaw), but there are pop-culture references (License to Slay), inside jokes (Chestplate of Hubris), and words that just sounded appealing together (Battleplate of the Apocalypse).
Q: Is there any plan to allow Account Bound items to be transfer to other realms? This could really give meaning to the phrase "Account Bound". - 텔레토비아스 (Korea), Деадхил (EU|Russian), Åtchøûm (EU|French), Tellua (NA/ANZ)
A: Yes. Some day. It will take a lot of programmer time to implement, but it’s something we want to do.
Q: Is it possible to let the players create/edit their own looks? - Zed Loft (Taiwan), Vysha (NA/ANZ), Ráchel (EU|German)
A: As we said in an earlier Q&A, we definitely hear loud and clear from players that they want more customization for their character. This is something we want to provide, but we want to do it in the right way. Consider the Barber Shop feature. It lets you change your character's hair, but there’s not a lot of gameplay to it. We're not sure that feature really added a lot to the game in retrospect. Is WoW more fun for you now that you have a Barber Shop? Are you more likely to keep playing because of it? Maybe, but it wasn’t a cheap feature to add in terms of development time. Dumping a bunch of dyes on the game might have a similar effect, where some players might have fun playing around with the system for a bit, but a lot of players might change their colors once or twice and then forget about the feature after that. Now, not every aspect of the game needs a ton of depth and a lot of interesting decisions, but we tend to attract more players to a feature the more robust the feature is.
We also think it's fair to argue that the game just needs more armor and weapon art. As we said above, we deliver a lot of art these days, but we also produce an enormous number of new items every expansion or patch and it’s understandably disappointing whenever items use the same art. It would be really cool if not every mage or priest converged on the same look after a given expansion or patch.
Bashiok 4/13/11 4:24 PM; Edited by Zarhym on 4/13/11 8:26 PM (UTC)
|Ask the Devs - Answers #5: Achievements|
Q: When will achievements finally be awarded account-wide? – Larosh (Europe [German]), Eneia & Payasos (Europe [Spanish]), Rageudder & Kellgros (Europe [English]), ??????? (Europe [Russian]), Nyn (North America/ANZ), ?????? (Korea)
A: Making achievements Battle.net account-wide is something we'd like to do, but it's not a goal we could provide a current timetable for. All of the original World of Warcraft coding was done with the expectation that the data on every realm would always be independent. Now that we are trying to make as many things as possible account-wide, we’re having to rebuild all of those systems. It is absolutely something we want to do, but it will take a lot of time away from other features.
Q: Will we ever be able to spend our achievement points on something? Or will there be a feature where it will be required to have x amount of points? – Nordicberry (Europe [English]), Hogosha & Wulkuhr (Europe [German]), Neroth (Europe [French]), Kularia (Northa America/ANZ), Trafalgarlaw (Latin America)
A: We want Achievements to remain as an optional thing you can do as bragging rights, or to challenge yourself. As soon as we add any kind of player power, or use them to gate anything, then they feel mandatory for a lot of players. In fact, we think one of the reason achievements are fun is that the drive to complete them is totally up to you, which keeps them (hopefully!) from feeling like a chore. If you want to go after some achievements that's a choice, and choosing not to care about achievements doesn't mean you're making your character less powerful.
We do offer pets, mounts and titles for specific achievements, and we’re unlikely to ever do anything much more “mandatory” than those.
Q: Do you plan to implement more achievements directly linked to professions or classes? – Cith (Europe [French]), Tsuteymanga (Europe [English]), Sergan (Latin America)
A: Until we can do Battle.net account-wide achievements it would be pretty cruel of us to offer achievements for say Illustrious Grand Master Alchemy, Blacksmithing and Jewelcrafting on the same character. The same is true of classes. The best we could do today would be to have something like “Land a Pyroblast for X damage” and have an equivalent one for all 10 classes, since you could get only one. We do have more room with the guild achievements, since not every task needs to be completed by one player. We’ll continue to look for fun achievements for Cooking, Fishing, First Aid and Archaeology until then.
Q: Will we ever see a change to the Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin exalted achievement /reputation grinds? While normally a fan of time consuming achievements, these two seem to be a tad excessive. Warsong moreso as you can go entire games without gaining any reputation at all. You could in theory lose every AB you ever do, and eventually get exalted at a "reasonable" pace. Perhaps award rep for Flag returns, killing efcs, capping bases, HKs similar to Alteracy Valley, etc. – Idkmybffyata (North America/ANZ), Lunaticheart (Korea)
A: We think those are fine as achievements. They definitely take a huge time commitment, but so do some of the other achievements. And you don’t need to get them for the meta achievements.
Q: As some achievements like The Keymaster and the Shen’dralar reputations have been removed, have you considered creating a Feat of Strength for those achievements or is it possible that we get them back in the future like normal achievements? – Enarhion (Europe [Spanish]), ??????? (Europe [Russian])
A: We added a Feat for Exalted Shen’dralar rep in 4.1. We’re unlikely to add a Keymaster feat.
We added the Keymaster achievement and then almost immediately decided to deemphasize the existence of keys in the game, and thus removed the achievement. Unfortunately it probably isn't even possible to track who had the older keys now.
Q: Guild Achievements related with professions are much more difficult than other Guild Achievements. Is there any plan to give a chance for small guilds to get those Achievement rewards? –???? (Korea), Joq (North America/ANZ)
A: We think some of these are way too high and we plan on lowering them to more sane numbers for 4.1. The Pen is Mightier glyph achievement for example would have been reasonable with the old glyph model but is ridiculous today. We were waiting to collect some additional data from guilds currently working on those achievements, but we feel like we have enough information now to lower them. Pen is Mightier for example will go from 25,000 glyphs to 2,500 in 4.1.
Q: I'd like to see the achievement system become more active and dynamic, will we ever see achievements that unlock quest lines, dungeons, or other Easter egg content as a reward for dedicating so much time in Azeroth? – Grandevil (North America/ANZ)
A: Probably not. As we said above, we want Achievements to feel optional. Some players don’t care for the game of collecting pets or mounts, so they still feel like they can opt out of achievements. If there was a cool quest line involved, then players who felt like they could safely ignore achievements in the past would now have to go back and play catch up. If you are doing achievements today, it should be because you like to do them, not because you’re hoping for some additional reward to materialize in the future.
Q: Currently, the achievement rewards are more focused to common tasks, such as raids, events, PvP. Have you considered creating achievements with rewards that ask to do crazy things around the world, like for example, soloing bosses or mobs, or more achievements like the “Jenkins” one, that are meant to do crazy things. – Thodyr (Europe [Spanish]), Khaelthas (Europe [French]), Assmira (Europe [German])
A: We like for achievements to be fun, but we don’t want for players working on achievements to have a huge negative impact on other players. At first glance, soloing a boss mob might sound like a decent achievement. But consider that if the achievement is very easy to do then hitting all those dungeons may just feel like a chore. On the other hand, if it’s challenging to do then we suddenly have to go back and worry about class balance in a way we never had to before. Blood DKs for example excel at soloing older bosses because of their self-healing mechanic, but the same isn't true of most other classes and specs. We try not to have achievements that require you to ask your group to do something really bizarre or not fun. “Run a dungeon without picking up any loot,” would just be frustrating every time you had to debate with your group whether you were going for the achievement or not. “Jenkins” is fun for a silly achievement, considering its history, but too much of that sort of thing would get tedious pretty quickly.
Q: Will we ever see a "search" feature in the achievement window? That's a lot of achievements to search through if you're looking for something specific. – Grandevil (North America/ANZ), Lonik (Europe [Spanish])
A: Yes, this is something we plan on doing. The current UI makes it hard to find specific achievements. There are several places in the current UI that could benefit from a smarter search.
Q: Will you ever bring back the mounts for achievements that were removed (Naxx Glory runs) as you didn't remove the later mounts? – Joyia (North America/ANZ)
A: This is a tough one. On the one hand, we know there are a lot of players who would still like to get their hands on these mounts. On the other hand, we were pretty clear that they would only be available for a limited time, and we hate to go back on our word because we know some groups went through heroic efforts to get them before the door closed. This is the kind of thing that is not set in stone and player feedback might eventually convince us to change our minds.
Q: The Achievement reward for “What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been” still remains as a purple proto-drake, which is a WotLK model. How about coordinating the color of the reward upon each expansion theme? – Shory (Korea)
A: The issue with meta-achievements like this is deciding how to structure them for the future. Do current players with the achievement just get a new mount every expansion? Do the old mounts go away and the new mount replaces it? Do we require you to just do one additional holiday and now you can get a second mount? We added Long Strange Trip when achievements first went in the game, and we didn’t always do a great job of designing some achievements with expandability in mind. If we had made the Long Strange Trip reward a protodrake at level 80 and then had a new achievement for doing the holidays again at level 85 that rewarded a different drake, then we might have some easily expandable content. We didn’t do that though, and it’s hard to go back and mess with existing achievements, especially ones that were hard to complete.
Q: There are still no Achievements beyond “Collect 75 unique companion pets”. Can I expect a reward for 100 companion pets in the future? – Whitewnd (Korea)
A: Patch 4.1 has achievements for 100 and 125 companions. Those particular achievements don’t reward pets, but we’ll probably do another reward at some tier in the future, perhaps 150 or 200 pets.
Q: Are we going to see more PvP achievements that reward mounts? Currently most of the cool mounts are awarded for PvE achievements. – Demodras (Europe [English])
A: PvP achievements are even trickier to design than PvE achievements because it’s harder to come up with something cool to do that doesn’t make the experience worse for everyone else. You don’t want to see the one dude who is trying to engineer capturing and losing a flag twenty times in one BG just so he can get the achievement for capturing a lot of flags. As a result, many of the PvP achievements are just for winning a lot of Arenas or BGs, which we feel already come with a lot of rewards. On that note, we are adding unique ground mounts to winning rated Battlegrounds similar to the flying mounts you get for excelling at Arenas.
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- Round 11 questions appeared before round 10 answers.
- Round 11 questions
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- 5.3 PTR edition