Tagged: blizzard developers

Celestalon took to twitter today to tell us that the first big round of balance tuning changes will be coming up within the next couple days!

Today Convert to Raid got to interview lead game designer  Ion “Watcher” Hazzikostas and senior game designer Brian Holinka, who is mainly known for PvP. Here’s a summary of the new information from the interview:

  • For the live raid at blizzcon this year Method and  Midwinter will play through heroic Highmaul.
  • From a storypoint standpoint Ashran made sense as a faction hub. After the suicide mission going into Draenor it’s the place where the factions regroup.
  • There will be 5 items per boss on mythic difficulty.
  • If there will be a 1% chance mount drop in a new raid and personal loot is used in normal or heroic, it will work like the pet drop chance in LFR. It’ll be rare.
  • There were not many mechanics that needed adjusting in SoO. A few things that needed changing were Thok and Garrosh AoE bursts.
  • The foundry will have more bosses that user their environment more like Siegecrafter.
  • Mythic tuning will be similair to heroic tuning in MoP.
  • Blizzard has done their best to make sure having to be active with your garrison is not mandatory. Players are concerned with them being mandatory, but they will need to play with the Garrisons first to get a better feel for them. If they want to earn gold as much as possible then yes it will be more mandatory just like player trade skills for example.
  • PvP gear will have a certain item level in the regular world and when they are engaged in pvp it has a second pvp ilvl rataing which it will increase to. This way it’s easier to compare PvE gear to PvP gear if you decide to go to the other side of the game.
  • Currently there’s just the legendary ring planned. If it makes sense there will be a more traditional legendary. The cloak/ring type legendary is one they view as a participation type legendary, which is why the cloak is going away at WoD launch.
  • World bosses
    • 2 in gorgrond, highmaul  quality loot. They will alternate. So 1 week the first will be active and the next week the other will be active.
    • 1 in spires of arak, Foundry quality loot
  • If anything breaks in 6.0, they will do their best to fix everything as quickly as possible so that the WoD launch will go as smoothly as possible.

Watcher On Healing In WoD

Quote from: Blizzard
Our target for both healing and dungeon tuning is something of a middle ground between Mists and Cataclysm. It’s important to note that healer balance is not yet final, and damage output in our dungeons (especially pure melee damage on tanks, in light of recent mitigation changes) is still being adjusted. So in terms of the raw numbers, we’re not quite there yet. The most helpful thing testers can provide is actionable feedback with regard to specific encounters (also specifying difficulty and which spec you were playing). We’re listening and making changes on a daily basis.

That said, I’d like to help clarify our goals with respect to both healer gameplay and dungeon tuning. Healing in Mists, especially in raids and especially later in the expansion, suffered from three major problems: 1) the power of healing relative to player health pools meant that injured players could be topped off almost instantly; 2) mana became increasingly irrelevant as a constraint, with many healers actively reforging out of Spirit; and 3) “smart heals” accounted for a very large portion of healing done, meaning that for some healers their targeting decisions were almost meaningless.

Now, some might be thinking, “so you’re saying healers were really strong – that sounds great to me!” The problem is that when healing was in that state, the only way we could kill someone in a raid or dungeon was with massive damage, fatal if the healer didn’t react instantly; it led to sudden spike deaths, punished latency, and made healing more like whack-a-mole and less like a series of tactical decisions. And in raids, as soon as maximizing throughput becomes all that matters, healing risks turning into a rotation performed irrespective of the encounter or the incoming damage.

Our goal is not to make healing more difficult. Note that nowhere in the above did I say that a problem with Mists healing is that it was too “easy.” We want to slow down the pace a bit, and for the challenge in healing to lie more in making decisions about spell usage and targeting, and less in twitch-reaction and sustaining a DPS-style rotation. This also means that the cost of a mistake is not a dead player, but rather a more injured one, giving you a chance to fix your error.

In Cataclysm, fresh 85s had very little mana regen, and if they attempted to heal a dungeon the way they’d been accustomed in late Wrath (e.g. lots of Flash Heals), they’d quickly run out of mana. In Warlords, players have significantly higher base regen, and less available Spirit from items, so that you’ll start off with a much deeper mana pool than is usually the case as a new max-level healer, while avoiding the problem of mana becoming irrelevant once in endgame epics.

In Cataclysm, nearly your only efficient heal was also your smallest, and it was easy to run yourself out of mana and feel helpless as you watched your group die; in Warlords even if you are running on fumes mana-wise, you can still sustain a steady stream of Greater Heal or Healing Touch or the equivalent. You aren’t helpless.

Now, as for dungeon difficulty, one of the challenges in adapting to new dungeons at the start of an expansion has been the contrast between players’ habits at the end of the last expansion when they massively outgear every dungeon, and the different approach required when undergeared and running a dungeon for actual loot drops instead of currency. The ability to recklessly pull multiple packs of mobs at once and cleave everything down is something that you earn and grow into as your gear and knowledge of the content increases – that’s never been the intended dungeon gameplay when the content was brand new, even for our “easy” dungeons in Wrath or Mists.

Normal dungeons should be pretty easy. Some of them aren’t quite there yet. But you should feel confident that you can push the “Dungeon Finder” queue button and land in a random group with a high chance of success. If you don’t feel that way about a given Normal dungeon (especially a level-up dungeon), please let us know why not. We have a solid chunk of level 100 Normal dungeon content that everyone should be able to jump into when they hit max level, and Normal dungeon loot will be sufficient to qualify you for Highmaul LFR when that unlocks.

Heroic dungeons will be somewhat more challenging, which is the reason for the Silver Proving Grounds requirement to random-queue for them. We’re not looking to recreate Heroic Stonecore or Grim Batol or The Arcatraz, but there’s a middle ground where mechanics can still matter.

Finally, it’s also worth noting that in beta, we’re scaling players down to pretty much the lowest possible level and item level at which you could be running a given dungeon. Nearly all groups in the live game will be better-equipped, but we need to make sure the content is viable at the minimum threshold.

Blizzard had a Live Q&A on their livestream on twitch with Dave Kosak and Cory Stockton, here’s a summary of it (the VoD will be added later):

  • Originally the Garrisons were really big and it didn’t feel like something you built yourself.
  • You will not have access to the highest tier items with Garrison profession buildings if they are not one of your character’s professions.
  • When you’re in a group you can choose whose Garrison you enter.
  • Your friends can help you fight off the Garrison invasions.
  • The rare mobs and treasures give you a break from regular questing.
  • The max level areas will feel most like the timeless isle, they’ll be dynamic
  • Every week or so you’ll get a new weekly garrison story quest.
  • For the legendary ring you’ll be working with Khadgar to make it.
    • There will be no pvp quests.
    • There will be no rep grinds.
    • You’ll be able to start the quest at lvl 98.
  • Instead of dismissing followers you’ll be able to just deactivate them.
    • There will be a (gold) cost for reactivating them.
    • You will be able to reactivate one per day.
  • Outside of the 7 racial factions if you’re a Death Knight you’ll also be able to get DK guards for your Garrison.
    • You’ll need exalted with Knights of the Ebon Blade.
  • The Shadow Hunters will be Vol’jins bodyguards and eyes and ears.
  • Rexxar is in the max level content.
  • Magtheridon will probably not be in WoD.
  • The workshop will have an item called “the nuke” which has a day cooldown.

We’ve been quite busy the past few days, meaning we have not been able to do the daily news reporting. So instead here’s a round up of the news from the last few days!

Gaze of the Black Prince

The Gaze of the Black Prince buff has returned for 1 last time before Warlords of Draenor!

Quote from: Blizzard
The Gaze of the Black Prince Returns

Beginning Tuesday, September 2 at 10:00 a.m. PDT, through Tuesday, September 16 at 9:00 a.m. PDT, we’ll be applying the Gaze of the Black Prince buff for the final time before the Warlords of Draenor expansion. This buff will increase the reputation gained with the Black Prince by 100%. It will also increase the chance of obtaining items from his foes needed as a part of the Legendary Cloak quest line including: the Secrets of the Empire, Sigil of Wisdom, Sigil of Power, or Titan Runestones.

To learn more about the Legendary Cloak quest line, check out our previous blog posts: I am Legendary and The Time Has Come: Legendary Quest Line.

Valor Point Removal

As we already knew, Valor Points and Item Upgrades are being removed in WoD. However in the short timespan between 6.0 and WoD launch you’ll be able to use your lesser coins to upgrade any of your MoP items that still need upgrading! Also the quest Test of Valor for the legendary cloak will be removed in 6.0.

Quote from: Blizzard

As a couple posters have mentioned, we’re planning to remove the Test of Valor step from the Legendary chain.Regarding item upgrades, those are being converted to use Lesser Charms of Good Fortune as currency instead of Justice or Valor.

On a related note the quest for the raid bonus roll coins will no longer have it’s weekly restriction.

Quote from: Blizzard
One other related change worth mentioning is that the turn-in quest for Warforged Seals is having its weekly restriction lifted in 6.0, so you can get as many Warforged Seals as you have charms for!

Most other things will become purchasable with gold, such as the heirlooms that currently require Justice Points!

Quote from: Blizzard
Nearly everything that previously was purchased with Valor (or Justice) will now be purchased with gold instead. The only exception I’m aware of is Item Upgrades.

Live Q&A

On friday there will be a Live Q&A with Lead Game Designer Cory Stockton and Lead Narrative Designer Dave Kosak. This Q&A will focus more on story and garrisons and less on class design for example.

Quote from: Blizzard
Live Developer Q&A this Friday

This Friday, September 5, at 10:00 a.m. PDT, Community Manager Josh “Lore” Allen sits down with Lead Game Designer Cory Stockton and Lead Narrative Designer Dave Kosak for a special Q&A where they’ll answer your questions live on Twitch.TV. They’ll be discussing topics such as the world design of Draenor, the new exciting activities you’ll be able to take part in, and a ton of information on the highly anticipated new Garrisons feature.

The event will take place this Friday, September 5 at 10:00 a.m. PDT on our Twitch.TV channel. If you’ve got a question you’d like to see answered, send us a tweet using the hashtag #WarlordsQA.  We’ll see you there!

Obtaining Tier

In Warlords tier tokens will work like the tokens on the timeless isle work right now! This means that you’ll be able to wear your new piece of gear much quicker!