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|read more... May 24, 2013 News Roundup 5/24 by Raylan13|
Unless you've been hiding under a rock or just haven't played in a while, you know that Patch 5.3.0 dropped this week. The Escalation patch has quite a few features packed into it, including a new battleground, new arena, four new scenarios, epic questlines, and some changes miners and herbalists might appreciate (yes, you, too can mine and herb in Pandaria, low-skill gatherers!). Blizzard has posted a great roundup of their own on the official site, including content overview, developer tidbits, and links to interviews.
From the tone of the article, it doesn't seem that Blizzard is panicking in any way. Just the opposite, as they're looking at what factors might be playing into this decline (age of the game, market in the East, ways to woo back players).
Probably as it refers to their attention on those declining numbers and how to retain current players and woo others back: Also, we're constantly paying attention to feedback from our fans and our players, seeing what they enjoy, what characters resonate with them the most. Characters that are beloved by the players are ones that we're likely to pay more attention to going forward because we see there's already been a clear response.
Well, that's it for this week. Until next time, have fun with the current patch!
|read more... April 25, 2013 Developer Q&A Highlights by Raylan13|
In case you missed it, we put together the highlights from the Q&A and were nice enough to sort them for you . Keep in mind this is not the full transcript, but it does cover roughly 90% of the material presented.
Your Blizzard crew:
Desvin: Not sure if you mean making cross-realm teams or cross-team ladders. In both cases, we think they are good ideas and there is a strong chance we'll move in that direction.
Desvin: We don't have any plans for a spectator mode in arena/rbgs.
Desvin: We've talked about revising how we reward honor in a way that promotes players focusing on objectives. We have to be careful of how we do this since more passive things, like guarding an objective in Arathi Basin, are important and help your team win.
Desvin: We don't think this is a very good solution, especially with the number of CCs in the game. Ultimately, it would lead to casting spells ending with an "Immune" message and that doesn't feel good. But, we do appreciate that players aren't happy with the current state of Crowd Control and we're talking about how to fix it and make the DR system easier to understand.
Desvin: We understand that many players would like to see less PvP but with more impact. The challenge is that in PvP, players have to be able to kill each other. Healers have to be strong enough that they have an impact when they're healing, but that means the only way to get a kill is shutting them down for a short time. It's definitely a goal of ours to improve the Crowd Control experience in the future.
Fargo: The current plan is for Barrens to NOT CRZ at the launch of 5.3. We can always turn that off or on if we want to.
Ghostcrawler: We think the item level inflation has worked fine in MoP. We havent' given up on the idea of a squish, though TBH we were hoping to see even more demand for from players.
Watcher: The major change we're making to item upgrades in 5.3 is drastically reducing their cost. We agree that it felt pretty bad to upgrade a non-best-in-slot item in 5.1 and then end up replacing it. 1500 Valor was a pretty hefty investment. But at 250 VP per upgrade, you can realistically upgrade all your gear over the course of a tier, which should change things a bit. As for sources of Valor, part of the intent of the system is to encourage players to experience a wide variety of content. Heroic Lei Shen drops slightly better loot than Sha of Doubt, so it's not like killing him is strictly underrewarded. That said, we are significantly buffing the amount of Valor rewarded by activities like Challenge Modes (and the new Heroic Scenarios) in 5.3, so you should be able to do more challenging content with your guildmates to get the remainder of your VP for the week, if you feel that LFR or random heroics aren't of interest.
Fargo: I think the Alliance has had some strong moments this expansion: arc is interesting, it's nice to see her engaged in world events again. The Dalaran sequence was a pretty awesome Alliance win. We've spent more time with and than in any other expansion. (Though if your complaint is that we've been human-heavy with the lore, we're pretty guilty! An informal survey of our team reveals that that most of us are human.)
When we tried to figure out the story arc for this expansion, we wanted to focus on war. And we thought, after Cataclysm, we really needed an Alliance win. We're getting to raid a capital city and overthrow its Warchief - something that's never happened before! POW! Obviously we needed to spend some time developing the major expansion villain, so we're seeing a lot of .
The overall story depicts the Alliance drawing together while the horde is splintering apart. By 5.4 the Alliance war machine is hitting the beaches of Durotar, having softened them up with wetworks in advance. Fun stuff.
We really focused on Varian, Jaina, and Anduin this time around. We'll be able to spotlight other characters in the future.
Feedback from 5.1 shows that not everyone was happy with Tyrande being so hotheaded. We were trying to get her a little back to her impulsive War3 roots, but it doesn't seem to have played well with fans. So I'd like to revisit Tyrande at some point.
seems to strike a chord with people, she's pretty badass. We also spent a little time with , who's coping with the loss of her husband... all interesting story hooks. We can only follow up on so much story, but we like to spend time with interesting characters whenever gameplay allows.
Fargo: I'm glad you liked Cho! A very talented voice actor, Jim Cummings, really brought that character to life for us. (Trivia: He was also Minsc in the Baldur's gate series!) We're really happy with how those events played out - it's optional content, so it's not in your face, but lots of people took the time to do it and were rewarded with some fun stories. Lorewalker Cho may not accompany us into other expansions, but we'd like to keep rolling with a similar system...
Fargo: The first trial, the trial of Patience, was in 5.1. Player response wasn't 100% positive so we really went back to the drawing board and the next one, the trial of Loyalty, isn't coming out until 5.3. As players have noted on the PTR, it's less of a "Trial" and more of a demonstration of Loyalty that moves the whole Alliance. We wanted to do these as scenarios so that we could invest maximum resources and really make them cool and repeatable. Now the question is whether or not scenarios are the right place for this type of content. What do you guys think?
Ghostcrawler: A lot of players have responded that they really missed some kind of big world event. We were a little surprised by how frequently we heard that, so we'll definitely try to work in something epic in the future. When it comes down to it, we'd rather invest our time in something players will play for months than for days, which is why it became much lower priority this time.
Fargo: You'll hear about it in 5.3... but that won't be the end of it!
Fargo: I LIKE that answer! But I suspect they opted to do something heroic instead. We'll come back to them when the time is right.
Fargo: Poor Koltira. I guess you should NEVER cross Sylvanas... you'll be chained beneath Undercity for multiple expansions! He's one of those plotlines we'd like to return to... eventually.
Mumper: Yes. Not for 5.3, though.
Pet Battle System
Mumper: Working on something for this exact issue in 5.4. I feel your pain. :)
Mumper: We do intend to make a second set to fill out the BC expansion, just not sure when yet.
Mumper: We are taking a watch and see approach on it. We added a weekly quest and some tracking to 5.3. If that pans out successful, we will continue to add to the PVP side of pet battles.
Mumper: There are a lot of things about phasing that we like. Also a number of things we would like to solve. We are hoping to introduce some tech to help groups of friends be able to play together even if they are in differnet phases. Stay tuned!
Ghostcrawler: We considered them for Cataclysm. We got to the point of trying to figure out what ogre ladies looked like.
Ghostcrawler: We like gathering professions and think it's more fun to explore and level up when you have gathering. Not sure we're ready to pull the handle on everyone getting a gathering prof, but it is something we discuss. We have a different solution that hopefully isnt too clever for its own good that we are currently exploring.
Ghostcrawler: That is the plan, though I will be honest that we're not sure we can make the Skyclaw work. We are currently working on a different Engineering mount. Stay tuned. :)
Fargo: We LOVE class-specific quests, especially ones that really sell the fantasy of the class and feel epic. Feedback on the green fire quest has been great, with two exceptions: 1. Nobody liked the hook to get started, so we should revisit that (although we definitely wanted green fire to be exclusive) and 2. many complained that the last fight was too difficult (although we ALSO got feedback that many players loved the challenge.)
Unfortunately, really strong class quests take a lot of time to make. A LOT of time. So we have to pick and choose our moments. I wouldn't expect to see a lot of class stuff in the future, but hopefully we can shine the spotlight around.
Fargo: Nope - it doesn't impact the levelling content and low-level players are neutral with the Kor'kron, who consider you beneath them. Uh... you're welcome to try to take one out, though! ;)
Mumper: Certainly something that we have an interest in trying moving forward. We think scenarios can fill a lot of roles and earning XP could certainly be one of them.
Mumper: This is something we have been thinking about and we would like to have more things like it. the fishing tournaments are great examples. We have actually been thinking about a pet scavanger hunt... just have to find time to implement it!
Ghostcrawler: We do have plans and we are actively (as in I was in a meeting on it yesterday) working on a plan. We don't want to share that plan until we are reasonably confident that it is going to work. We want to be clear that we don't think the experience for players on very low pop realms (which includes very imbalanced factions on otherwise active realms) is a good one. We want to solve it.
Ghostcrawler: High chance. It won't be 5.3 or 5.4 though.
Mumper: Very good chance, but probably not in this patch cycle.
Ghostcrawler: Totally agree. We had a decent handle on this last expansion but it's gotten out of control again. We have a meeting tomorrow in fact to discuss solutions.
Fargo: Love this question! We got a very positive response to the way 5.1 story quests rolled out over time as you did dailies. It was pretty time-consuming from a development standpoint but was totally worth it, as opposed to - for example - adding 40 new randomized blue bangs instead. Expect to see more like that in the future.
Desvin: We are going to make some adjustments to damage and healing overall through PvP Power in 5.3
Mumper: It's something we want to do, we have actually already done some work on it. It would work very similar to the pet journal. No timeframe on it though, it's a big undertaking.
|read more... April 22, 2013 Live WoW Developer Q&A by Raylan13|
Good people of Azeroth, lend me your eyes!
We'll be hosting a live World of Warcraft developer Q&A open to the community on Thursday, April 25 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. PDT. Designers Dave Kosak, Ion Hazzikostas, Brian Holinka, Cory Stockton, and Greg Street will be available to field your questions about Mists of Pandaria gameplay and design, patch 5.2 and beyond. This will be a moderated chat on the Cover it Live platform hosted on the front page of our official site. Community managers Bashiok, Crithto, Daxxarri, Rygarius, and I will be there to filter your submissions for the developers.
We receive thousands of questions each time we host these events, so please be patient with us and bear in mind that we won't get to every question. You can help by keeping your inquiries concise and focused on one topic per entry. Submissions that are well over 200 characters, or contain multiple questions on an array of topics, are much less likely to receive responses. We want to cover as much ground as possible and appreciate your assistance in helping us to achieve that.
We look forward to chatting with you on Thursday!
About the Panelists:
|read more... March 23, 2013 Introducing Hearthstone by Raylan13|
Players will be able to battle head to head against the AI, random opponents, or even their Battle.net friends. A variety of heroes can be chosen, from to , all corresponding with the players' favorite classes. Pair your heroes with devastating abilities, terrible weapons, and fearsome minions to dominate the gameboard - boards emulating the appearance of Orgrimmar or Stormwind!
A handful of game modes will allow players to learn at their own pace, challenge friends and foes, and delve into the practice of deck-building. Additional decks and cards can be acquired via these modes, through achievements, and even visiting the Blizzard Store.
Head on over to our Hearthstone page to find more information, screenshots, and artwork!
|read more... March 5, 2013 The Thunder King news round-up by Raylan13|
Yes, today marks the release of Patch 5.2.0, The Thunder King. A whole lot of new changes and additions have come down the line, so here's a list of Blizzard links that showcase all the great, recently added content!
|read more... December 21, 2012 Blizzard 2012 Card by Raylan13|
|Happy holidays from Blizzard Entertainment! Featuring a pandaren using his brew to bring together a dwarf and orc, as only those from Pandaria can! Also features autographs from the Blizz team. Enjoy!
(Click here to access the full hi-res version.)
|read more... December 4, 2012 Cinder Kitten available! by Raylan13|
From the halls of Blizzard:
Now up for adoption in the Pet Store: the Cinder Kitten, a fiery little feline looking for a home to warm. Adopt this adorable rascal, and you’ll help bring relief to the victims of Superstorm Sandy in the process.
From now until December 31, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. PST, 100% of the $10 USD/10€ (9£) adoption fee will be donated to the American Red Cross's Superstorm Sandy relief efforts. This support will enable the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, emotional support, and other assistance to victims of this disaster.
|read more... December 22, 2012 2012 WoWWiki holiday card! by Fandyllic|
|Wikia doesn't seem to be asking for holiday cards from it's wikis this year, but I updated the one from last year for 2012. Enjoy!|
|read more... December 15, 2011 Wikia sends Fandyllic a nice holiday card by Fandyllic|
|Just thought I'd share the nice holiday card Wikia staff sent me.
|read more... August 31, 2011 Some ideas to get back subscribers for World of Warcraft by Fandyllic|
Commentary and ideas
As much press as hardcore players get around World of Warcraft, the difference in making money or not for Blizzard Entertainment is not the hardcore players. Hardcore players don't represent the majority of players, but use up a vast majority of the resources in the game. This is because it is obvious that Blizzard spends a majority of its time catering to hardcore players. They spend inordinate amounts of time creating, refining and tweaking top-level raids, creating and tinkering with itemization for top-level raids and heroic instances, and responding to complaints and support requests from raiders. Blizzard is falling into the squeaky wheel trap.
Because of this misplaced focus on hardcore players and their desire for top-level content, Blizzard is losing casuals. Casuals is what separates World of Warcraft from most MMOs. When the game first came out it was by far the most casual friendly MMO with the most depth and wise gameplay compromises. Blizzard has lost its way from this winning formula and so it is losing casuals at a rate too fast to maintain growth or even keeping at a plateau.
Why are casuals so important? Because they pay as much as hardcore players, but use far less of Blizzard's resources. If the trend continues, Blizzard will continue to spend more and more resources on less and less players. It could become a vicious cycle. This time is still probably quite far off, since Blizzard can probably justify and maintain adequate content release cycles as long as their player base remains in the multiple millions, but they appear to be on the downside of the game's life-cycle and are doing very little to really reverse the trend.
Another group of players, some of whom could actually be considered "hardcore" in many respects, that Blizzard is also neglecting is the twink community. Blizzard has apparently long voiced its support for the twink community, but hasn't really delivered in their laser focus on end-game content. Although they acknowledge the problem, Blizzard has actually stated that their priority is on max-level PvP and that they apparently don't want to divert resources away from that. The twink community is less interested in immersion, lore, and quests than some of the casual community, but they definitely want focus on non-level cap, non-end game content. The twinks want attention to class balance and itemization at lower levels. So, as casuals will spend more time leveling at low levels, some of the benefits gained from aiding either twinks or casuals will benefit both.
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