Tagged: Siege of Orgrimmar

As some of you might know the podcast had some troubles last week with recording. Here’s an edited version of the podcast where we talk about the stat squish and how it has effected Mythic Siege of Orgrimmar. Before the podcast is an announcement relating to our plans for the WoD launch, for which it’s own video will go live later today!

Blizzard came out with 2 interesting posts today. The first being on the changes that will happen in Siege of Orgrimmar when 6.0 hits (which will be 4 to 6 weeks before WoD launches!). And the second with a look at the design of the Spires of Arak, one of the new zones in Draenor.

Quote from: Blizzard
Siege of Orgrimmar Changes in Patch 6.0 and Warlords of Draenor

In the recent Dev Watercooler: Raiding Azeroth Part 3—Warlords of Draenor, we discussed some of the raid changes coming in the next WoW expansion. Before Warlords of Draenor launches, players will have a chance to experience the new raid structure firsthand in the Siege of Orgrimmar.

In the upcoming Patch 6.0, the pre-expansion “systems” update planned to go live in the weeks leading up to Warlords of Draenor’s release, we’ll be converting Siege of Orgrimmar to use the new Normal, Heroic, and Mythic difficulties. Both Normal and Heroic difficulties will support flexible raid sizes and our cross-server Group Finder tool, while Mythic will be a fixed 20-player size. At the same time, “stat squish” will be in effect, the new class changes will be live, and Hit and Expertise will no longer be stats on items, so those will be replaced with more useful ones on all existing items. The raid as a whole will be retuned for the new numbers and scaling size—overall, it should prove no more difficult than it is currently, and will likely be easier in many places.

With the end of an expansion and a raid tier, along with introduction of a new level cap, we’ll also be retiring a handful of rewards. We want to encourage everyone to enjoy one last hurrah in the Siege of Orgrimmar before your adventure on Draenor begins.

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In addition to the above changes, when Patch 6.0 arrives:

  • Flexible Raid difficulty will cease to exist as it does now, and will be removed from the raid queue interface. The new Normal difficulty of Siege of Orgrimmar will offer a similar experience to that of Flexible Raid.
  • The new Group Finder tool will be available, designed to help players create and find groups for Normal and Heroic Siege of Orgrimmar and other cross-realm group content.
  • Siege of Orgrimmar achievements will be relabeled according to the new difficulty structure (e.g. “Heroic: Malkorok” will now be “Mythic: Malkorok”). Credit for these will be retroactively awarded to players who earned them before Patch 6.0.
  • The Garrosh Hellscream “Ahead of the Curve” and “Cutting Edge” Feats of Strength will cease to be obtainable.
    • This means that the Kor’kron War Wolf, awarded by the “Ahead of the Curve” Feat of Strength, will also cease to be obtainable upon release of the pre-expansion Patch 6.0.
  • With the release of Patch 6.0, the drop rate of the Heirloom weapons from Garrosh Hellscream on Normal, Heroic, and Mythic difficulties will be significantly increased.
    • Players who have yet to get any Heirlooms will have a 100% (guaranteed) chance of getting a spec-appropriate Heirloom when defeating Garrosh on Normal difficulty or higher.
    • The chance of receiving additional Heirlooms beyond the first will also be increased.

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When Warlords of Draenor is released and players are able to head to Draenor and level past 90:

All other loot, achievements, and cosmetic rewards (e.g. the Kor’kron Dark Shaman transmog set, rare battle pets, etc.) will remain unchanged.

Quote from: Blizzard
Artcraft—The Spires of Arak

Hello, and welcome to another edition of Artcraft. I’m Chris Robinson, senior art director on World of Warcraft, and today our environment team is going to give you a look at one of the zones we’re creating for Warlords of Draenor, as well as share some insight into how we approach creating environment art. Take it away Gary!

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Hey, I’m Gary Platner, lead environment artist on World of Warcraft. I direct a team of artists who help create the world . . . of Warcraft. We shape the land; texture it; place the trees, rocks, and buildings; and design the “sets” where our quest team will later place the “actors.” Today we’re going to be showing you some of what’s going into the creation of the Spires of Arak. This location that would later become known as Terokkar Forest, but in Draenor-terms, this zone is the home of the regal, sinister, and flighted arakkoa.

One of the best parts about working on WoW for me is when we first start a new exterior zone. Creativity reigns, and almost anything goes—it’s real blue sky stuff. When we started working on Spires of Arak, we only had some basic ideas: tall rocky spires jutting out of a dense forest. So we got together to talk about what that might look like, and soon afterward, artist Jimmy Lo started making concepts.

Based on these concepts, we could tell right away that this zone was going to present some unique challenges. The biggest one was how we were going to build the large spiky rocks that would give the zone its distinctive look. We had two basic methods in mind to create those spires. Some of us thought that the best way would be to make most of the rocks as 3D props instead of using our terrain editor to sculpt the landscape into tall spires. 3D props have some distinct advantages, since building a prop allows for the creation of fully 3D objects of any shape, which gives us a lot of design freedom. The downside is they tend to be difficult to blend into the landscape in a natural-looking way (see the original Blade’s Edge Mountains in Outland). They’re also much more difficult to iterate on as design needs change. If instead we used our terrain editor to create the spires, that would allow us a lot of freedom to iterate on zone layout and design without needing to fidget with large pieces of premade geometry, with the potential downside of not being able to do the concept justice.

Our design team wanted to at least give the terrain editor option a chance, so they embarked on creating a proof of concept to see how well it could work. A lot of us contributed to the Spires of Arak, but ultimately Matt Sanders (exterior level designer) and Kelli Hoover (environment artist) were tasked with creating the zone. Kelli gathered resource material and started to do some paint-overs of our concepts in order to unify a distinctive new color palette. Meanwhile, Matt created the proof of concept in our editing tools in order to test ideas for creating large spiky rocks with the exterior terrain editor.

Kelli gathered a lot of reference pictures, paying special attention to color and mood. She then slightly recolored Jimmy’s concepts to model different times of day.

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Then Kelli moved on to testing texture ideas by creating rough and quick block-out textures, which aren’t intended to look final but help give us an idea of color and detail. We can paint these rough textures over the landscape and do various tests to help us see how they interact. We can also see how the textures change and distort as they are painted on steep mountain terrain.

 

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As you can see here, Matt and Kelli experimented with different textures and geometry in an attempt to duplicate the concepts from Jimmy.

Kelli and Matt discovered that using a striated rock texture would actually work better than a simpler rock pattern, and the striations give the impression of upward movement. These linear texture shapes would also bend and stretch well over the exterior terrain creating a really unique look for the zone.

Once Matt and Kelli finalized their demo zone and we agreed that everything was heading in the right direction, the real work could begin. Now the whole zone could be completed using the style and techniques that worked in the small demo zone. They’d still have to work out the look for some of the smaller subzones, though, like dense forests, beaches, and a massive thorny bramble where the Shattered Hand orcs dwell.

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Last but not least, we’ve prepared a short video for you to demonstrate the various steps involved in creating the Spires of Arak. Thanks for tuning in, and we look forward to sharing more with you in the future!

It’s Saturday again, technical issues have been solved so it’s time for a new podcast! This week we talked about history of WoW Beta’s and their starting times, the changes to cross realming Siege of Orgrimmar and why do we still play World of Warcraft?

In a rather unexpected move blizard has now allowed players to group up for Siege of Orgrimmar Normal and Heroic crossrealm! This change is already live in the US and should go live in the other regions in the next few days.

Quote from: Blizzard
We’ve recently implemented an often requested feature to enable cross-realm raiding for Siege of Orgrimmar. Cross-realm BattleTag™ and Real ID friends can now raid together and take the fight to Garrosh on Normal or Heroic difficulty. Players will be able to earn greater rewards such as Reins of the Kor’kron War Wolf or the title of Conqueror/Liberator of Orgrimmar; both of which aren’t available to be earned within Flexible or Raid Finder difficulty.

This change is currently live.

Ion Hazzikostas (Watcher) clarified a few things:

Quote from: Blizzard
Current-tier Mythic raiding in Warlords will still be limited to players from a single server. In the meantime, though, this change may help guilds that are trying to recruit and grow in preparation for Mythic raiding.

As for realm firsts, realm firsts are guild achievements; you need to be in a guild group, which is by definition 8/10 or 20/25 members coming from a single guild on a single server. You could theoretically have a couple of guests from a different server and still claim the realm first, but ultimately 80% of the group still has to be from the same guild.

Ion Hazzikostas, lead encounter designer recently talked to PCGamesN about the raid currencies (Valor and Justice). Ion had the following to say:

Quote from: Blizzard
We are planning on simplifying our currency structure. The traditional role of valor was to offer compensation for bad luck – and that goes all the way back to badges in Burning Crusade, where you’d go, “Okay, I’ve run this raid 15 times now and never seen a shoulder piece dropped – so I’ll take this currency and buy a shoulder piece for myself”. The bonus rolls system that we have these days actually goes a long way towards helping counteract that.

We think we can take the bonus rolls system and make it a little bit more intelligent, so that it tries to avoid giving you duplicate loots – and allow that to be the way players counteract bad RNG. It removes a little bit of the grind and a little bit of the awkwardness of the current valor system.

What about PvP?

We are trying to get rid of one of the two, but at the end of the day a purely random system probably would not work as well for higher PvP gear. Conquest makes a lot of sense.

So we could possibly see Valor Points and Justice Points dissapear. As far as Valor is concerned, it hasn’t been used for extra items in Siege of Orgrimmar, but instead just the item upgrading. So does this mean item upgrading is going to dissapear again as well? And then there’s the question of Justice Points, whose relevance are really when you just reach the maximum level and you can use them to buy items to gear up quicker for raiding when items don’t drop in Heroic Dungeons. Will that helpful stepping stone dissapear as well? Only time will tell.. until Blizzard does!