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Developer Q&A Highlights

Raylan13 April 26, 2013 User blog:Raylan13
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DeveloperQA

In case you missed it, we put together the highlights from the Q&A and were nice enough to sort them for you Winky. Keep in mind this is not the full transcript, but it does cover roughly 90% of the material presented.

Your Blizzard crew:

  • Desvin: Brian Holinka; Senior Designer, PvP
  • Fargo: Dave Kosak; Lead Quest Designer
  • Ghostcrawler: Greg Street; Lead Systems Designer
  • Watcher: Ion Hazzikostas; Lead Encounter Designer
  • Mumper: Cory Stockton; Lead Content Designer

Arenas

Is there a possibility of Arenas going cross realm?

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.

Will there be any spectator mode added to arena/rbgs?

Desvin: We don't have any plans for a spectator mode in arena/rbgs.

Battlegrounds

Battlegrounds such as Warsong Gulch and Twin Peaks, players are focused more on "Farming Middle" or getting as many Killing Blows as possible rather then completing objectives. Any thoughts on trying to make Battlegrounds objectives or tasks more appealing? E.g.: You gain 5 Conquest Points for killing flag carrier/return flag

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.

Crowd control

Any plans of putting all CCs on the same DR? Would be much nicer in pvp if you can't be feared, stunned, feared, stunned, feared, dead.

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.

Do you think less CC spells with larger effects or many CC spells with smaller effects are best for the game?

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.

CRZ

How will cross-realm zones work in the new Barrens quest hubs? Seems like it could get pretty crowded.

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.

Item levels

You have mentioned before that you are able to compensate for the increase in item levels. Has the recent item level jumps led to more talks on the whole "great item squish," first proposed during Mist's Alpha?

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.

Item upgrading

About item upgrades coming back next patch-with the Thunderforge "thing" in ToT its realy annoying to have to upgrade items that you MIGHT replace.Everyone in a top raiding guild feels obligated to upgrade all of his items but that feeling that you dont have TF version of something will rankles alot.Can you maybe implement a limit of how many items you can upgrade (limit on how many upgraded items you can have equiped)? It will bring some sort of strategising and make item upgrading much less annoying.Also something that bothers me-Heroic 25 man Lei Shen awards the same amount of VPs as clearing Temple of the Jade Serpent.Like srsly?Dont you think that if you can clear ToT 25 HC (or normal atleast) is worth a valor cap so you dont have to do random HCs or LFR for those extra points?Thats from me cheers.

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.

Lore

There has been a lot of talk of the alliance being shortchanged lore-wise this expansion. Are there any plans to change this? (aka where is the fist pumping moment?)

Fargo: I think the Alliance has had some strong moments this expansion: Jaina's 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 Varian and Anduin 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 Garrosh.

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.

Is there going to continue to be more story development involving more of the female world leaders, quest NPCs and such? Pandaria gave us people like Suna and Taoshi, but we also have Alleria, Tyrande, Moira, etc?

Fargo: We got to spend more time with Jaina lately, and Moira gets a great moment in 5.3. (I really like Moira.) I'm also a fan of Zaela of the Dragonmaw - do you guys think she should survive the war?

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.

Now, Sylvanas? UP TO SOMETHING, I guarantee.

Admiral Rogers seems to strike a chord with people, she's pretty badass. We also spent a little time with Vereesa Windrunner, 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.

With MoP there was a vast improvement in Lore/Story telling with Lorewalker Cho narrations and the lore objects. In which ways are you going to continue to improve Storytelling after MoP?

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...

What happened to the "Trials of the High King" quest that was proposed even before MoP was announced?

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?

I loved the epic feeling to the pre lich king world event where you were involved in it for as much or as little time as you wanted. Is there any plans to bring world events like that back instead of the one shot 15 min events that currently seem to be happening?

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.

That 7th Sha, still lurking?

Fargo: You'll hear about it in 5.3... but that won't be the end of it!

Turalyon and Alleria are still absent after all these years. Did they find a portal to a tropical island planet and are sitting on the beach drinking cocktails with the little umbrellas in them right now or something?

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.

Whatever happened to Koltira Deathweaver? As a Death Knight, that's one plotline that's left me hanging. Mograine can't be to happy about one of his best getting kidnapped either...

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.

LFR

Any plans to make the LFR queuing system allow you to queue to more then one at a time

Mumper: Yes. Not for 5.3, though.

Pet Battle System

About rare pet battle-stones, i have about 7 of a family that i don't need anymore, any chance we may be able to "trade" them for other family stones?

Mumper: Working on something for this exact issue in 5.4. I feel your pain. :)

Will there be any spectator mode added to Pet Battles? :D

Mumper: 5.3!

Will we see the second set of BC raid pets in 5.3?

Mumper: We do intend to make a second set to fill out the BC expansion, just not sure when yet.

Can we ever expect to see a more in depth pet battle pvp system? With how popular they are would you guys be open to adding a win/loss tracker. I see that we are getting a win tracker but a rating or season type system would be amazing!!!!

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.

Phasing

The advent of phasing in the game in Wrath and increased use in Cata and MoP has been good. It's allowed to show some permanent results for quests and such. Will phasing be used more in the upcoming patches and expansions to show the results of questing in a more permanent manner that doesn't affect lower level characters leveling?

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!

Playable races

Ogres as a playable race? Any chance of this happening (however remote)?

Ghostcrawler: We considered them for Cataclysm. We got to the point of trying to figure out what ogre ladies looked like.

Professions

Regarding Professions, what are your feelings on the idea of separating gathering professions from other, crafting-based professions?

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.

Is there any chance of Engineers seeing the new crafted items in 5.4?

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. :)

Quests

RE: Green fire quest. Lessons learned? Any plans you can elaborate on for other classes? (Mages please!)

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.

Will the barrens bg interfere with the leveling process in the area

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! ;)

Scenarios

Will you be using scenarios as a way to level our characters similar to dungeons?

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.

Seasonal events

I personally feel like the seasonal events are great fun but after having completed all of them on multiple toons as well as each year tried to get new pets I've become slightly bored with them. I've thought and wondered why arn't there every couple of months some sort of small event that gratifies groups of players for completing tasks. Maybe its some sort of scavenger hunt and or blood bath. Like what if the 3rd tuesday of each month a random event was on the board at org and we had to show up somewhere to complete a task and the winner and or winners got some sort of transmog item or pet and or achievment.

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!

Server population

Do you plan on addressing the server population issues soon or you just planing on keeping exploiting it to make further revenue off of server transfers?

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.

Tabards

Any chance of Tabards getting their own form of storage eventually? I have so many clogging up my bank!

Ghostcrawler: High chance. It won't be 5.3 or 5.4 though.

Will there ever be account-wide tabards in the same way you handled mounts?

Mumper: Very good chance, but probably not in this patch cycle.

UI

Any plans to allow players to adjust settings for particle density from other players' spells? Need to see boss's spells, hard to through everything else in a raid.

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.

Miscellaneous

Do you feel that delivering the reputation-based story quests as in 5.1 was a success, and will it be used again?

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.

How do you guys feel about the state of burst in PVP?

Desvin: We are going to make some adjustments to damage and healing overall through PvP Power in 5.3

any plans to add unattained mounts to the journal similar to pets?

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.


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