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Transmog and 3D Models
Toy Box and UI Changes
Zones, Quests, and Exploration
Today in Draenor
Assault on the Everbloom Wilds
Battle in Ashran
Assault on Mok'gol Watchpost
Battle in Ashran
Death to Nullifier Darkoor!
Critters of Draenor
Bloodmaul Slag Mines
Put a Bird on It
Treasure Contract: The Thunderlord Sage
Blackhand's Crucible: Blackhand
Assault on Darktide Roost
Assault on the Pit
Assault on Lost Veil Anzu
Assault on the Pit
Death to Hivelord Ik'rix!
Critters of Draenor
Lessons of the Past
Raw Beast Hides
Treasure Contract: The Artificer
Blackhand's Crucible: Blackhand
Master Relic Hunter
Steamwheedle Preservation Society
Voidtalon of the Dark Star
Fandral's Seed Pouch
Did you boost a character to 90 and dive right in to Warlords of Draenor? Would love to hear your feedback for the boost experience!
3 days ago
, Senior Game Designer
So what do you DISLIKE about the Tanaan intro? Be honest, we can take it.
3 days ago
, Senior Game Designer
Q: Tanaan Intro, at the very end, now drops a trinket that is AWESOME for levels 90-100 (up to H dungeon). Would you do Tanaan or skip it? Y
3 days ago
, Senior Game Designer
The current xmog/voidstorage system seems incredibly dated. Very punishing for gear collectors like myself. Drowning in equipment.
4 days ago
Tom Chilton mentioned this in a previous interview, transmog revamp is def. something we'd like to tackle at some point.
4 days ago
, Senior Game Designer
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Children's Week 2015 Guide (April 27 - May 4)
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News Round Up: Class Beta Feedback, PvP Gear, Leaders of Azeroth
2012/05/07 at 6:21 PM
Today's news round up has a ton of blue posts. First off, there's a lot of detailed beta feedback for
s, including discussions about Level 90 Druid talents and Rapture for priests. There's also discussion about PvP gear in Mists,
Mass Spell Reflection
nerfs, Dungeon bugs on beta, and the recent completion of the Leaders of Azeroth short story series. Click the cut to see all the posts!
PvP Gear in Mists
You will have less resilience on your gear coming into beta. However, you will also have some base resilience and that base should offset the PvP power that everyone is getting. The net result should be that you take about the same damage you do today in a PvP setting, but will take less damage from someone not wearing PvP gear.
Currently on your beta build, I believe the ratio of power to resilience is off. You should have more resilience and less power than you do.
It is entirely possible that some new talents or spell changes will result in too much burst damage in isolated cases, but when giving feedback, it's useful for us if you distinguish between those and survivability in PvP in general.
is one of those mechanics that always feels weak to the warrior and overpowered to everyone else. We ran a bunch of internal BGs and Arenas and it was pretty universal that the casters were constantly having everything reflected if there was a warrior in the area.
We're still tweaking the
Mass Spell Reflection
talent. We want it to feel awesome, and we think that is a good way for warriors who want to be great at reflection to be able to make that commitment. Our current thought is that
Mass Spell Reflection
is a new ability (meaning that you'd have both spell reflects) and doesn't require a shield. We like that seeing the warrior strap on a shield signals to the caster that reflection is a risk -- the alternative is that sometimes your spells just bounce back at you, seemingly at random. That logic works for the core
, but already doesn't work with Mass, because you don't see the shield for the warrior's allies. Decoupling the two spells also lets us individually tweak their durations and cooldowns.
Druid Level 90 Talent Changes
We're not yet happy with the druid level 90 row. We still like the theme of it playing into the druid's hybrid nature and we want to reassure you (which I think most of you already know) that druids won't do lower damage or healing compared to other classes just because some other class has an unambiguous throughput increasing talent at level 90. Classes are balanced around their whole package.
Nonetheless, we want the bottom row of talents to be exciting. In the next (hopefully) build, you'll see a few changes.
-- no longer a talent. Shapeshifting for all druids just breaks roots.
Dream of Cenarius
-- increases damage spells by 70% (up from 30%).
-- now also grants 6% passive Agility and Intellect.
. Increases all damage and healing done by 30% for 30 sec, with a 3 min cooldown. While active, all healing spells also damage a nearby target for 50% of healing done, and all damage spells and abilities also heal a nearby friendly target for 50% of the damage done.
Let us know how they feel once you get a chance to try them.
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Noblegarden Giveaway Winners and News Round Up
2012/04/23 at 5:30 PM
Congrats to all the winners of the
The Great Noblegarden TCG Egg Giveaway
and thanks to all who participated (without cheating)!
WoW Annual Pass: Last Chance
As adventurers gear up to battle demonic hordes with
the impending launch of Diablo III
World of Warcraft Annual Pass
offer will soon close to new sign ups. If you plan on questing in both Sanctuary and Azeroth in the coming year and haven’t signed up yet, the Annual Pass is a great value that should not be missed.
You have until
Monday, April 30
to sign up for the WoW: Annual Pass, which includes a 12 month subscription commitment to World of Warcraft, a free digital version of Diablo III (available when the game launches), the Tyrael’s Charger flying mount for WoW (available immediately), and other epic benefits. If you’ve been waiting for the last possible moment to
for the Annual Pass, this is it! After April 30, this offer will no longer be available.
Click the cut for more blue posts on the newest Faction Leader short story, as well as Ghostcrawler explaining redesigned talent trees in Mists.
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News Round Up: Patch 4.3.4 Live, Hotfixes and Customer Support Changes
2012/04/17 at 3:21 PM
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm patch 4.3.4 is now available on all realms. Below you'll find the official patch notes.
Notes for all World of Warcraft patches can be found
Ticket Submission UI Improvements
A new Submit Bug button has been added. Clicking this option will open a report dialog box, along with basic instructions on what to include in your bug report.
A new Submit Suggestion button has been added. Clicking this option will open a text dialog box, along with a description of what to include in your suggestion.
The Report Lag button has been removed.
The Report Abuse button is now called Report Player.
The Report Player function offers four categories: Spamming, Language, Name, and Cheating.
Reporting a player for Cheating now opens a text window in which a description of the occurrence can be written.
Reporting a Name opens a window with three categories: Player Name, Guild Name, and Arena Team Name. There is also a text field for optional information.
Report Player now includes text and visual instructions for how to submit a report.
Right-clicking a character’s portrait now offers additional reporting options.
no longer persists when the warlock changes to a spec that does not include the talent.
Fras Siabi's Barely Bigger Beer
is a now bit less big, and its effect no longer stacks.
Inactive guild leader replacement
now requires 90 days of absence, up from 30 days. Ascent to the rank of guild leader is now only available to guild members at Rank 2, 3, or 4.
Click the cut to read more about the customer support changes in 4.3.4, as well as the latest class beta feedback on Affliction warlocks and Mistweaver monks. There's also blue posts on the Pandaren models, the destruction of Theramore, balancing 10 and 25-player raids, and challenges for class designers in the beta.
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News Round Up: Mistweaver Changes, New Beta Spellbook, and More
2012/04/14 at 5:46 PM
There's been many blue posts related to the Mists of Pandaria beta this weekend:
Blue feedback on Mistweaver
s, and Demonology
The ability to respec on beta will be available soon--in the next patch or so.
Ghostcrawler explains the pros and cons behind the new spellbook redesign.
The 2012 Arena Pass registration is now open.
Finally, Blizzard put together a mini-guide to Cataclysm for Scroll of Resurrection players.
Click the cut to see the full list of posts.
Monk: Mistweaver Feedback
We're thinking that
saw a bit too much increase to mana last patch, and we’re going to reduce them somewhat.
We’ve increased the mana gain from
. This spell will change whenever we tune mana and healing numbers, which has been happening a lot lately.
We've changed the number of serpent statues you can have out at once from 2 to 1. However, while in
Stance of the Wise Serpent
, you now have
on yourself, causing half of your damage to be healing to nearby targets. This will allow “melee healing” monks to heal through dealing damage without having their statue down. The statue is intended to be more of a “cooldown” you use on tough fights, not similar to a totem you plop down.
We’re going to try having
also generate Chi (along with
) when you cast it. The bug with
not showing up on raid/party frames should also be fixed in an upcoming build.
We’re getting rid of
because we felt it was confusing to convert Mana to Chi, then Chi back to Mana with
We’re going to make
require a target rather than being a cast-time smart heal. The reason why it was originally a smart heal without requiring a target was to let you build up a stack of
, then cast an instant
without having to change your target. We think the right place for the original
smart heal is via a glyph.
One issue we’re concerned with is
generating Chi, making it harder for you to burn down your Chi. We’re likely going to add another high Chi ability, and/or adjust talents so you can have some choice.
We like how
bounces from friends and enemies, because the whole theme of the monk healer is weaving damage and healing together. If
was a pure heal, it would break away from that theme.
With regard to feedback on these subjects, what we're really looking for is playing as a DPS healer (as opposed to the traditional "pure healing" playstyle), or perhaps a mix of the two. We want both the traditional and dps-to-heal to be viable and fun.
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Mists of Pandaria - Build 15544 - New Items, Icons, and Spell Changes
2012/04/06 at 9:10 AM
So early this morning there was a patch for Mists of Pandaria which will probably hit live servers tonight. There were a lot of added mounts, as well as profession things starting to make their way onto the beta. We also learned that the World of Warcraft class team has, well, class--they sign their notes with "XOXO":
Check out the latest additions on our beta website
Like Cataclysm and Wrath of the Lich King, Scribes will have epic shoulder enchants:
Greater Tiger Claw Inscription
Greater Crane Wing Inscription
There will be a new Recruit-a-Friend mount:
RAF Mount III
will be new craftable mounts
Given its similarity to
Vial of the Sands
, it's likely this mount will end up being crafted by Alchemists:
Heart of the Nightwing
You will be able to favorite your pets, as well as release them: BATTLE_PET_FAVORITE = "Set Favorite"; BATTLE_PET_RELEASE = "Release";
Prime glyphs continue to become minor cosmetic ones:
Glyph of Decoy
New Priest talent:
New Rogue abilities:
New Monk abilities and talents:
New Paladin ability:
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New Ghostcrawler Blog: Mists of Pandaria Looting Explained
2012/03/27 at 12:03 PM
Well, we knew after the bombshells Blizzard dropped both at the press event and later that week about LFR and looting, Ghostcrawler would have to explain it for us. And here it is.
Hey, how about that landslide of Mists of Pandaria information? It has taken a few days, and will probably take a few more, for the nuance of everything to really sink in. One of the topics we've been getting lots of questions about is the crazy new loot model we're introducing in Mists. We've answered several related questions in the forums, but thought it might be prudent to just put all the information in one place.I should clarify that the systems we're introducing are actually pretty simple in practice. I'm only going into a fair amount of detail because those are the kinds of questions we are getting. You don't have to understand all the particulars to participate, and we're certain that it will just all make sense once you are experiencing it in-game instead of hearing it described (that whole "show, don't tell" thing). Let's begin:
Here is how looting works in today's Raid Finder groups:
The boss dies.
The game randomly decides which items off of the boss's loot table drop.
The group rolls Need, Greed, or Pass on each item.
If you were raiding with a group of friends, you might discuss who should get each item. Even if you ultimately lost, hopefully you are happy that a friend got an upgrade and that your group as a whole is now a little bit stronger.
But if you're in Raid Finder, you are quite possibly alone with a bunch of strangers.
So, if you can Need, you probably do, because there's no time for discussion, some of the rollers may be AFK, and even if you piss someone off, you aren't likely to have to pay the social cost of doing so since you'll never see them again.
The highest roll wins.
Here's how the new Raid Finder system will work in Mists of Pandaria:
The boss dies.
The game automatically decides who won some loot, and gives those players a spec-appropriate item.
Some players may still get mad, but hopefully they are mad at the laws of probability and not at the rest of the raid.
So, realistically, that's really all you need to know to understand how it'll play out in-game. For those looking for more detail, here's what's happening behind the scenes:
The boss dies.
Each player has a chance to win loot, independent of the other players.
For each player who wins loot, the game randomly assigns them a spec-appropriate item from that boss's loot table. This subset contains only items that the game (meaning the designers in this case) thinks are appropriate for your class and current spec.
Notice that you aren't rolling Need or Greed. You don't have an option to Pass. The game just says "Take this."
You can't trade this item, or that would defeat the purpose of removing the social pressure on groups of strangers. If you don't want the item, you are free to vendor, delete, or disenchant it.
The big difference here is that instead of kill -> loot -> roll, the new system uses kill -> roll -> loot. The loot is not determined until the winners are determined. It's all automatic, and you're under no obligation to pass or roll — these choices no longer exist. The game decides who gets loot, not the players. The end. Nobody is going to be a callous jerk and take the item that you rightfully deserve. Nobody is going to try to talk you into trading an item to them because they are down on their luck and can't ever win a weapon. No DPS dude is going to ninja the tanking shield that you need for your guild to progress.We understand some players are interested in off-spec or transmogrification loot, and we will consider future changes to the system to accommodate those desires. However, we're not sure fundamentally that Raid Finder is the best avenue for acquiring that loot. You would either need to take it from another player who actually desires it for their main spec, or a conversation would have to take place to make sure nobody else needed it more than you do. In other words, you would have to stop people from just rolling Need whenever they could. I've seen some suggestions that we allow an option for essentially "I'm happy to get loot beyond just what my main spec can use," and maybe that's the kind of approach we could take, but let's make sure the basic design works first. For now, there are other avenues, such as dungeons, faction gear, normal raids or older content to provide off-spec or cosmetic gear.Here is a model I've seen some people say they want:
The boss dies.
I get the exact item or items I want.
I never have to come back and kill this boss again.
I politely ask Blizzard when there will be new content for me to run.
I added that, somewhat tongue in cheek, to point out that the intent of the new system is not to make killing bosses or getting loot more efficient, or to let you choose buffet-style which items you get. We like random loot being random, as long as it isn't so frustratingly random that you stop enjoying the experience. The intent of the new loot system is really to relieve social pressure on a group of random and anonymous strangers. We think it is reasonable for groups of friends, such as the typical raiding guild, to have a discussion about how to divvy up loot. That discussion is a tried and true RPG tradition going back to D&D or earlier. We don't think that is a reasonable expectation for Raid Finder, though.The personal loot system will initially be used for Raid Finder and for world bosses. We want to use it for world bosses because we want it to be fairly easy to form PUGs to take down these bosses when they're up. If my raiding guild is about to take on a world boss, and some lonely hunter is asking to join the group (it's always a lonely hunter, isn't it?), it would be nice to be able to bring him on without worrying about that jerk taking loot away from me or my friends. We want to foster a "the more the merrier" attitude with world bosses.This is why it's so important to us that the size of the group shouldn't matter. We don't want guilds to try to kill a world boss with the smallest number of players necessary in order to maximize loot per player. When everyone has their own chance at loot, why not make the group as large as you can? Note that you still have to be a member of the group that taps and kills the boss. We want to have a little bit of competition for world boss kills, especially between the Horde and the Alliance. We think that is part of the fun of world bosses; otherwise, why not just stick the gronn in a cave? (That sounds dirtier than I intended.) We don't want everyone in the zone to get credit just by lurking around. We want you to cooperate with other players, and we're trying to remove barriers to cooperation by eliminating loot drama.
We have one other new system that will use part of the personal loot model. This is what we're calling the bonus roll.Once upon a time, raiders had to invest a lot of time and effort every week preparing for a raid. This felt kind of cool in the abstract because it built anticipation, rewarded players who prepared for raid night, and otherwise just added a little more ceremony to the act of entering the dragon's lair to seek glory and treasure. The reality is that you spent your time killing mobs to farm flask materials or gathering Whipper Root Tubers. The reality didn't match the fantasy and we eventually greatly minimized the need to farm consumables altogether. Of course, that led to another problem, as raiders would log on for raid nights, finish, and then have nothing to do the rest of the week. The bonus roll is intended to give those players something to do that is hopefully more enjoyable than grinding elementals or Blasted Lands boars. We want to see players out in the world doing stuff, and we want that stuff to be a little more interesting (if not downright fun) than farming mats.The way it works is like this: We have two major Pandaren factions, the Elders and the Craftsmen. Completing daily quests and scenarios for each group earns you one of two currencies. The Craftsmen tokens are spent mostly on cosmetic items. The Elder tokens are spent mostly on power items. The intent here is to let players who want some optional content to be able to devote time to both Craftsmen and Elders, while more min-max focused players or players who don't want such a time commitment can stick to Elders. The Elder tokens can be used to purchase head enchants, some nice purple items, and the kind of gear you've come to expect from factions. However, they also sell an item called a Charm of Good Fortune. Imagine you can complete a quest once a week to buy one Charm for 25 Elder Tokens. You also might be able to save up a few charms, but you won't be able to hoard them until the next tier of content.If you have one or more Charms of Good Fortune, then whenever you kill a raid boss (in Raid Finder, normal or heroic) then a new UI window will pop up asking if you want to spend your Charm on a bonus roll. If you click yes, then you'll instantly get another shot at that boss's loot table! You will always win something from the bonus roll, such as a pile of gold, gems, or flasks. However, you also have a small (but not miniscule) chance of receiving a piece of epic loot. As with the personal loot system, the item will always be something designed for your current spec. Also, just as with personal loot, the game doesn't analyze if you already have the item, if the item would be an upgrade for you, or if you prefer axes to swords or anything like that.Most importantly, winning a bonus roll has no effect on what other players win on their bonus rolls or what the boss drops normally. If you have saved up several Charms (this will probably happen when you play but don't raid every week) then you can use one per boss, but you can't cash in multiples on a single boss kill. If you want to save up all of your Charms for the final boss because he (or she in the case of the mantid raid) drops weapons or whatever, that is your prerogative, but you'll only be able to spend one per kill. If you want to save up your Charms for heroic bosses, go for it.Here is an example of per-person loot and the bonus roll in action:
Stan is a death knight.
Jim Bob is a warrior.
Naomi is a hunter.
The three friends run Raid Finder together and tackle Mogu'shan Vaults. They get matched with a bunch of random folks from across their region. On the fourth boss, the Council of Kings, the game decides that Jim Bob wins an item. Jim Bob is a Fury warrior, so the game is either going to give him a two-handed Strength axe or a Strength bracer, because those are the two Fury-appropriate items on the Council of Kings loot table (in this theoretical example). Regardless of what Jim Bob wins, Stan might also win the same items. Naomi won't ever be offered those items, because they aren't appropriate hunter loot. If she had gotten lucky and earned loot for the kill, it would have been hunter appropriate.
Let's say Naomi is frustrated because Bob and Stan both won loot and because the trinket she wants won't ever drop. So, she decides to use a Charm of Good Fortune. Let's say she gets lucky and the game decides that she won an item instead of gold, flasks, etc. (Thanks, game!) She might get the trinket she wants, or she might get an Agility neckpiece that is also on the Council of Kings loot table. Her winning an item doesn't affect Stan or Jim Bob or anyone else, even if they use their Charms as well.
Okay, we're almost done here, but I did want to mention two other relevant changes.
Area of Effect Looting
doing area looting. After killing a group of enemies, you may have a bunch of corpses lying around (perhaps because you went all Bladestorm on a bunch of hozen). If you loot one of the corpses, the loot window will include items from all of the nearby corpses for which you have loot rights. Some recent games have incorporated a similar feature, and it's one of those things that players just want in their MMO these days. It's already in and it works fine.
The Future of Valor
The second change I want to mention is that we plan to adjust the role of Valor points. Valor (or the various other names that the currency has had over the years) was originally added to WoW for two reasons: it helped to mitigate really bad luck, for those times when the boss just refused to drop the item you wanted, and it helped encourage players to stay with the group even if they didn't need anything off the next boss.Over time, we have felt like Valor has taken on too prominent a role, to the point that it risks becoming more important than actual boss loot. This is particularly the case when the tier sets are available on the Valor vendors. We think killing dragons and ransacking their hoard is more epic than shopping at the magic armor store, so we want to shift back toward boss kills being the primary source of epic PvE gear.In Mists of Pandaria, Valor will be used to power a new feature that allows you to increase the item level of your existing epic items. This means that each week, you can become a little more powerful, hopefully allowing you to kill that boss that has eluded you thus far. There will be a bit of a game in trying to decide when to upgrade your gear versus hoping for a new piece to drop from a raid boss, but our plan is that even heroic gear can be upgraded slightly in this way.We won't allow you to upgrade Raid Finder gear so much that it becomes better than normal gear, but imagine if you can increase your item level by around eight points. At this time, we're thinking there won't be gear on the Valor vendors at all, but we'll see how that shakes out. Valor will come primarily from dungeons (including challenge modes) and scenarios. You might earn a little from daily quests and raiding as well, but that won't be as efficient.
That's a lot of information to absorb all at once I know, and I'm sure it will lead to dozens of questions. It'd be more helpful to us if you were to focus your discussion on how things will feel, and the basic rules of the system, instead of immediately leaping to the conclusion that you've figured out some exploit and ergo the whole thing is doomed to failure. We've stitched up a lot of the egregious loopholes already and the system is a little more complicated behind the scenes than I figured was worth getting into here.Check it out in beta if you get the chance. Let us know how it feels. We have time to iterate and refine this stuff. Good luck on getting the loot you want, too... but not too quickly.
Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street is the lead systems designer of World of Warcraft. The first epic item he can recall getting was the Drillborer Disk.
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Interviews with Greg Street, Cory Stockton, Tom Chilton, and J Allen Brack
2012/03/19 at 2:00 AM
We had a chance to sit down with Cory Stockton and Tom Chilton for exclusive interviews about Mists of Pandaria. Lore from
got to sit down with Greg Street (Ghostcrawler) and J Allen Brack. Their answers are great and we've transcribed all of them down below.
However, in case you just aren't
into reading, we've also uploaded videos of all four interviews as well!
Make sure you also read our huge guide
the Mists of Pandaria official FAQ
for even more information!
J. Allen Brack
Question: I noticed that Prime Glyphs were removed while playing today, and there were some new fun glyphs--like the one that turned druids into a ridable stag. What's the direction for Inscription in MoP--and can we plan on seeing more fun cosmetic glyphs?
There's definitely going to be more cosmetic glyphs in general. It's something we wanted to do more of initially--and even more important now. Major glyphs have more prominence without primes, so minor glyphs take on more cosmetic stuff to feel more cool and meaningful--almost like a form of transmogrification. It's really cool for druids--if they want to be in tree form all time, you can now. I think we made a few glyphs for mages to modify polymorph too.
As far as it affects how it hits the profession--I don't think it will change too much, with specifically how major and minor glyphs align differently. Most things we're doing is fixing gaps and holes in places that it was too hard to get the next skillup. We changed the skillup system a little bit in Cata by items that give multi-skillups.
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Mists of Pandaria Buff and Debuff Design
2012/03/08 at 8:06 PM
We recently released an update to the
Mists of Pandaria talent tree
. Since the expansion is still in development, these updates represent a snapshot of where we are at any given moment and not a final design where we step back and say “Ladies and gentlemen, we have achieved perfection. Let us not change a thing.” If you’ve been playing the game for a while, you’ve probably realized by now that we never think we’ll hit perfection, and we probably never will.
One design that we haven’t focused on much yet is the plan for various group buffs and debuffs. Some specs have their buffs in place and some do not. Rather than trying to describe each omission, we thought we’d just dump the whole design on you here. As with the rest of the expansion’s systems, we’re not even in beta yet, so there’s plenty of time for things to change.
First, some underlying design goals, so you might understand where we’re coming from. Our main goals for group buffs are:
Make you feel more powerful when grouped with other players.
Give you lots of freedom to invite whom you want. This gets to be a problem when there are too many mandatory buffs spread out among too many specs. . .
. . . But not offer too many incentives to class stack. If you can achieve every buff with, say, only three players, then there might be a tendency to fill all of the other slots with whoever is best for a particular situation. Some class stacking is inevitable at the cutting-edge level, but to some extent, the players on the cutting edge of raiding enjoy extreme min-maxing. For the rest of us, we try to make sure you can finish all of the encounters without feeling like you need a huge roster of folks waiting in the wings for their one fight.
We tend to be more generous to DPS specs, since groups -- especially raids -- already have ample reasons to bring tanks and healers.
We generally don’t want a DPS spec to have to switch to a different spec in the same role just to bring a different buff. An example would be a Combat rogue who has to go Assassination just for a buff. In our experience, players are less likely to switch from a ranged to a melee DPS spec just for a buff, so DPS shaman and DPS druids might bring different buffs.
And finally some notes on the categories below:
The list only includes what we consider “traditional” buffs, such as Prayer of Fortitude. It doesn’t include utility like being great at snaring, battle rez, knock backs, high DPS while moving, and other mechanics. Those ultimately all factor into a raid or Battleground comp as well.
The matrix is a little more complex than it appears. A paladin, for example, can only offer one Blessing at a time, while a warrior can only do one shout at a time. You can’t assume one character can cover every buff or debuff listed below at the same time.
Some of these are active (you must cast them, like Prayer of Fortitude) while others are passive. Note that totems no longer bring passive buffs as a rule.
You’ll see several categories consolidated or gone. Bleeds no longer made sense, since everyone who cared about bleeds already buffed themselves. Magical resistance we just removed from the game, though there are some abilities that provide magical damage reduction.
We are still likely to use the design that hunters, especially Beastmaster hunters, can fill in for missing buffs or debuffs by using certain pets.
As always, we’d love to get your feedback on this design.
Effect: +5% Strength, Agility, and Intellect
Example: Blessing of Kings
Brought by: Any druid, any monk, any paladin
Effect: +10% Stamina
Example: Power Word: Fortitude
Brought by: Any priest, any warlock, any warrior
Effect: +10% melee and ranged attack power (which will be the same value again)
Example: Battle Shout
Brought by: Any death knight, any hunter, any warrior
Effect: +10% spell power (there will no longer be a 6% version)
Example: Arcane Brilliance
Brought by: Any mage, any shaman, any warlock
Effect: +10% melee and ranged haste
Example: Improved Icy Talons
Brought by: Frost and Unholy death knights, any rogue, Enhancement shaman
Effect: +5% spell haste
Example: Moonkin Aura
Brought by: Balance druids, Shadow priests, Elemental shaman
Effect: +5% ranged, melee, and spell critical chance
Example: Leader of the Pack
Brought by: Guardian and Feral druids, any hunter, any mage
Effect: +5 mastery
Example: This is a new category
Brought by: Windwalker monks, any paladin, any shaman
Effect: -12% armor
Example: Sunder Armor
Brought by: Any druid, any rogue, any warrior
Effect: +4% physical damage taken
Example: Brittle Bones
Brought by: Frost and Unholy death knights, Retribution paladins, Arms and Fury warriors
Effect: +8% spell damage taken
Example: Curse of the Elements
Brought by: Any rogue, any warlock
Effect: -10% physical damage done
Example: Previously Demoralizing Shout; now Thunder Clap
Brought by: Blood death knight, Feral and Guardian druid, Brewmaster monk, Protection or Retribution paladin, any warrior (any tank)
Effect: -30% casting speed
Example: Mind-numbing Poison
Brought by: Any death knight, any rogue, any warlock
Effect: -25% healing received
Example: Mortal Strike
Brought by: Arms or Fury warrior, any rogue, any hunter
Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street is the lead systems designer for World of Warcraft. He was unsuccessful in convincing the rest of the class team to change Arms warrior mastery to decreased falling damage taken.
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Cataclysm Post Mortem -- Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street
2012/03/07 at 11:16 AM
As part of our World of Warcraft: Cataclysm post mortem series, we sat down with World of Warcraft Lead Systems Designer Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street to talk about his thoughts on World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.
Q. What were your main goals going into Cataclysm?
A: Westfall was a seven-year-old zone with seven-year-old trees and seven-year-old quests. It naturally felt old. It felt tired for players going back to level up an alt, and it wasn’t inspiring for new players coming to the game. We just felt like it was time to give all of those old 1-60 zones some attention again. Beyond that though, we wanted to update the classes at low level as well. The spell flow, by which we mean the level you get certain spells, just hadn’t aged well. You would get some very group-focused buffs at low level and some powerful leveling tools at high level, which would have made more sense reversed. There were some specs that just weren’t functional at low level before because they lacked the damage abilities or tools to effectively solo. Similarly, we took a look at all of the quest rewards at 1-60 because some specs just didn’t have adequate itemization to support them.
A second goal, from the systems design point of view, was to improve the class talent trees. We thought the trees had become bloated with filler instead of legitimately interesting talents. We also embraced the notion of class specialization to a much greater degree, by letting you choose your spec formally at level 10.
We also knew we needed to provide more content to players focused on maximum level, which meant we couldn’t just re-do 1-60, but we had to provide questing zones, class mechanics, and new PvP and PvE content for players who would be at level 85 too.
Finally, we wanted to deliver all of this content more aggressively. We know players can only wait so long for something new to do before they start to get bored. This has been a goal for some time, but it has been a challenging one for us. When you compare the graphic fidelity of a raid like Firelands to an older raid like Molten Core, you can imagine how it takes both more time and more people to make a raid these days. That’s exactly the opposite of what we want to be doing though, which is providing players content at faster rates.
Q. What do you think worked best in Cataclysm?
A. We’re really happy with the 1-60 revamp. Each zone looks amazing, we improved their quest flow, and they all have a story that has a (hopefully) meaningful climax, often with a blue item reward. Zones that didn’t have much going on before have an actual plot now, many of which are related to Deathwing’s return. We also did a better job of integrating the dungeons in a zone into the questing experience for that zone, so you feel like you have a good reason to explore them.
We really like how having players choose a spec at level 10 worked out. I’d say nearly every single design decision we make ends up being at least somewhat controversial in that some players agree with them and some players disagree with them -- that’s just the reality of having such a large and diverse player base. But choosing a spec at level 10 was as close to universally acclaimed by players as anything we’ve ever done. It just works. You get a meaningful choice early on, and powerful, useful, and fun abilities to go along with it. It leads to each spec having a stronger sense of identity, even at higher level.
We’re pretty happy with the level 80-85 content that we offered. The zones looked great and the stories were good. We offered several new dungeons, raids, and Battlegrounds. Late in the cycle of Cataclysm, we introduced Raid Finder, which provided a new type of content to players who historically weren’t raiders. We’re at the part of the lifespan of the game where some original features no longer have the cachet they used to -- you can only roll up so many alts, and by this point you might very well be done with achievements or convinced yourself that that type of gameplay isn’t for you. When we can offer a whole new way to play the game -- in this case provide raids to non-raiders -- it’s a big win.
Transmogrification is another one of those features -- it opened up an entirely new avenue of gameplay. One of the great things it’s done, aside from giving players more tools to personalize their characters of course, is make a lot of old content relevant again. Now players are doing old raids and dungeons looking for Transmogrification pieces, and that’s really cool.
I could name a few smaller features we thought worked out as well. The Justice / Honor badge system in Cataclysm cleaned up the crazy system from Lich King. All things considered, we’re happy with the healing model. We encountered issues with mana being in short supply at lower gear levels and conversely too abundant at the higher levels, eliminating much of the challenge for healers when the content is supposed to be the most difficult, but overall the model did what we wanted, and we’ll be refining it in Mists.
Q. What didn’t work out as planned?
Everything else! Seriously though, we tend to be our own harshest critics, so it’s actually easy for us to point out things that didn’t work out as expected.
While zones like Uldum and Deepholm look fantastic, they didn’t fit together as well as we’d have liked. In the planning phases, we didn’t think that having scattered end game zones would be a big deal. It turned out to feel a lot weirder than expected. Players ended up teleporting to nearly every destination, and it gave Cataclysm a disjointed feeling, detracting from that feeling of exploration and discovery. We learned that giving players a land to explore, a sense of place, is valuable. Ultimately, the scattered zones and the portals both served to kind of shrink the world, when we want to make the world a place you want to go out and be in. We’re definitely looking forward to getting back to a continent in Mists. We underestimated how important that was.
In addition, while we liked that each zone has a story, questing ended up being too linear. It didn’t feel like you could fly into a zone, find some quest givers, and explore. Instead, you kind of had to start at the beginning and follow all the quests to the end, and if you didn’t like a quest, well, you had to stick with it to get to the next one. We want zones to have an identity, flavor and a story, but we don’t want to railroad players through a zone either.
The difficulty at which we pegged our heroic dungeons and raids was controversial. They were designed to be about as tough as the dungeons were back in Burning Crusade, but the game has changed since then. Coming out of Lich King, we’d gotten the message loud and clear from players that they wanted tougher challenges. They liked the convenience of Dungeon Finder, but they missed using their crowd control and survival abilities and having to strategize about how to beat a given encounter. We designed the Cataclysm heroics with that in mind, and the players who wanted challenging content were thrilled.
The problem was that we had this whole group of players who felt like they couldn’t make any progress on their characters. Even if they wanted to end up raiding with their friends, they couldn’t earn the gear they needed to get into those raids (especially in the absence of Raid Finder). I don’t believe that the instances were too hard; it’s obvious there are players who enjoy that content. I believe the problem was that there were no alternatives. With such a diverse community, the goal is to have experiences that players from all over the spectrum can enjoy. We don’t want to shut anyone out. So, we’re addressing that with Challenge Modes in Mists. You’ll have normal and heroic mode dungeons, and then Challenge Modes, for players who are looking to prove their mettle. Likewise, you’ll have normal and heroic raids, and Raid Finder for players who don’t enjoy wiping on a boss week after week until they can master it.
While choosing a spec at level 10 felt great, we weren’t very happy with the rest of the talent tree overhaul. We definitely pruned some dead wood from the trees and got rid of some talents that weren’t a lot of fun, but players felt like they weren’t getting anything out of the bargain. Having simpler trees is a good goal, but it would have felt better if players felt like they got something cool in return for losing some boring fluff. Unfortunately, as is the case with many compromises, this one didn’t fully solve the original problems it was intended to solve, while it created new ones.
Fundamentally, taking into account what we’ve learned about talent trees over the years, we’ve come to the conclusion that the talent tree model where you pick up tiny performance increases here and there (and where there’s, mathematically, nearly always a ‘right’ answer and a ‘wrong’ answer) is not a great model. The Mists talent design is a major revamp that should fix this problem once and for all. Talents should be meaningful game-changers. At absolute worst a given talent may be the right one only situationally, and at best, players will have a lot more customization to make their play-style stand out. Furthermore, the fact that you’ll have more flexibility to change your talents should help keep gameplay fresh, even with that character that you play most often.
I feel like I should mention Abyssal Maw again. As with many cancelled features, it somehow took on a life of its own in the minds of players. Believe me, though -- you just don’t cancel things that you think are going to be awesome. It was three bosses inside Nespirah, with no unique art. The reason it was originally appealing to us was because we had so many Vashj’ir assets that we could use. But by the time it was time to do the work, we felt like we (and many players) had Vashj’ir fatigue. Now don’t get me wrong -- I loved Vashj’ir. I was an oceanographer, remember? Vashj’ir delivered on the promise of an underwater zone, but we feel like most players were ready to be done with it by the time they had quested through that. (Individuals will feel differently -- it’s that diverse player base thing again.) Firelands received a lot of new art, from bosses to environments, and we just didn’t feel like Abyssal Maw was going to compete. Who knows, though! We haven’t totally given up on the idea of cool underwater experiences, so maybe there’s potential we’d visit it again someday. (For my money, the zone I am personally saddest about cancelling is not Abyssal Maw; it was the Azjol-Nerub quest zone in Wrath of the Lich King.)
Speaking of raids, we also weren’t particularly happy with how accessible legendary items became in Cataclysm. Multiple characters in a single raiding guild were getting, and worse,
a legendary weapon. Legendaries are supposed to be rare and exciting, not a bar you fill up like some reputation grind, and certainly not something you feel entitled to get because it’s “your turn.” Dragonwrath in particular was usable by a large variety of class specs, which coupled with the guarantee to completion, just made them too ubiquitous. In the future, legendaries will be more legendary, perhaps so much so that not every raiding guild will have one. In that model, there might be those who almost, but not quite, complete one, but there will also be those who finish one and feel truly honored.
I have mixed feelings about Archaeology. I feel like it’s a good addition to professions and offers more, and more varied, gameplay than our existing professions. Still, it’s clear that some players wanted more. We wanted Archaeology to be hard to complete. We didn’t want it to be one of those professions you can max out by buying up mats at the Auction House. But random reward systems whose long-term goals are more interesting than the short term ones can feel grindy. Archaeology had too much travel time. It could be punishingly random, especially for players who imagined that it would be a guaranteed delivery mechanism for Zin’rokh (which was never the intention). Players missed a lot of the lore, which was delivered in the Archaeology journal and not as part of the survey or digging experience. We think the Mists of Pandaria expansion will be really good for Archaeology. Players will be focused on a couple of new races on a single continent, so travel and randomness will be reduced automatically, and leveling Archaeology should be a bit more convenient since there will be more opportunities to dig at a single site. We have other tricks up our sleeve too.
Q. What lessons have you learned and what are some of your top goals for Mists of Pandaria?
There are four big goals for Mists:
1. Get players out into the world. We don’t want to totally eliminate convenience, so it’s fine to queue for some features from capital cities, but we also want players to see other players out in the world, questing, trying world bosses, engaging in PvP, and just travelling from place to place.
2. Give players plenty to do. It’s a sad feeling, and a real failure on our part, whenever someone says “I want to play WoW this evening, but I just don’t have anything to do.” Like I said above, achievements and alts were great in their time, and we’ll continue to support them, but we understand the need for new ways to play as well. The new expansion will have entirely new systems, like scenarios and challenge modes. We are designing the initial zones to have features similar to the Molten Front daily area, so you don’t feel like questing is something you finish at level 90 (and so you don’t feel like daily quests are synonymous with ‘boring’ or ‘grind’). We want to make the Pandaria factions interesting. We want Exalted to be something you earn for bragging rights, not something every player has. We are adding a lot of mounts that will be hard to get, and awesome-looking armor that you’ll want just for transmogrification. We’re considering ways to let you increase the number of Conquest points you can earn per week or a way to translate questing into bonus loot from instances. We want to hide lots of cool little things all over Pandaria. Some will offer your character more power and some won’t. And if you really like achievements and alts, well hopefully we’ve got you covered there too, with account-level achievements and a new race and class.
3. Appeal to a broad audience. I’m always surprised by the number of players who want the game to be easier and the equal number who want the game to be harder (and can’t understand why anyone would disagree with them!) We approach the issue in a different way -- we think that what all of those players are really saying is that they want content for them. Message received. We’ll be offering Raid Finder versions of all of our raids going forward. We’ll be offering brutally difficult challenge modes of dungeons for players who thought the Cataclysm heroics were too easy. We’re experimenting with some tricky boss encounters for players who loved the hard-mode Ulduar achievements. We want to provide more cross-over between PvE and PvP, for those who are interested, so that it doesn’t feel like you have to play two different games to progress your character. We want to continually add new Battlegrounds, so those players have fresh experiences to look forward to. We’ll provide players with ways to upgrade their gear incrementally, while reserving tier sets for actual boss kills.
Get great content out faster. Enough said.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this entry in the Cataclysm post mortem series and that this has proven to be an enlightening opportunity to take in our perspective on what worked, what didn’t, and some of what’s coming. If you missed the chance, you can join us in looking back at Cataclysm by checking out the other entries in the post mortem series with
Lead Encounter Designer Scott Mercer
Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak
Now it’s time to look forward, since we have more to share about World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria coming on March 19. Stay tuned!
Discuss the latest Cataclysm Post Mortem here.
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New Ghostcrawler Blog: Mists of Pandaria Stat Changes
2012/03/01 at 8:06 PM
Our recent talent calculator changes led to some players asking questions about how character and item stats were changing, because some spell and talent tooltips suggest that changes are coming. We compiled this list to attempt to explain more of what’s coming in Mists of Pandaria. First of all, please note that we actually aren’t making many stat changes compared to the ones we made in Cataclysm (“armor penetration -- gone!”). Second, the stuff below can get a little technical. If you’re not into the subtle nuance of gear itemization, then don’t worry about it -- you don’t need to be to enjoy the expansion -- but we know there are plenty of you who enjoy some nuts and bolts talk, so here we go.
Spell resistance is gone. There are no buffs that improve it and there shouldn’t be much, if any, spell resist gear left. We always thought the system was hard to understand and we weren’t getting much gameplay out of it. Now taking a step back, we can imagine how to develop a game where you’d want various forms of resist gear for certain situations and opponents. Resist gear could potentially be interesting, but it isn’t currently in World of Warcraft -- the game has just been moving away from that sort of thing for years.
Hit and Expertise
We still think having stats that can be capped is a good game design. Rather than focusing solely on stacking your best stat, you have to decide how valuable it is to hit your target before you go back to stacking your best stat. However, we are making some changes.
Hit and spell hit will no longer be separate stats. The hit stat negates melee miss and spell miss.
Expertise will negate dodge and spell miss,
Expertise will be listed as a percentage, just like hit, instead of having an intermediary stat.
We are normalizing hit with expertise, so that 1% of each stat will require the same amount of rating.
We are normalizing melee and spell hit, so that spell hit is equal to miss plus dodge.
Against an equal level creature: 6% spell miss, 3% melee miss, 3% dodge, 3% parry (from the front only), 3% block (from the front only).
Against a +1 level creature: 9% spell miss, 4.5% melee miss, 4.5% dodge, 4.5% parry (from the front only), 4.5% Block (from the front only).
Against a +2 level creature: 12% spell miss, 6% melee miss, 6% dodge, 6% parry (from the front only), 6% Block (from the front only).
Against a +3/boss level creature: 15% spell miss, 7.5% melee miss, 7.5% dodge, 7.5% parry (from the front only), 7.5% block (from the front only).
Ranged attacks will be able to be dodged. Hunters will benefit from expertise and will have it on their gear, which will also allow hunters and Enhancement shaman to share gear more easily.
The chance to block will be handled by a separate combat roll for each attack that is not avoided. In other words, we first determine if an attack misses, or is dodged or parried. If it is not, then the attack has a chance to be blocked.
This gives block a consistent value, regardless of avoidance. Currently block becomes more valuable the more you have.
Block will also have diminishing returns, much like dodge and parry. This doesn’t mean that the value of block will go down as you get more block. It means that it won’t go up by as much when you get more block.
We don’t expect Protection warriors or paladins to get “block capped” other than during temporary effects, such as mastery procs on trinkets. Block tanks will be balanced around this change. Our intent is to make playing block tanks more fun, not to nerf them.
Also notice how Shield Block and Shield of the Righteous have changed in Mists.
All spells and abilities will crit for double damage, baseline. There are a few exceptions where crits can get larger, but the default is x 2.0 for everyone.
This means that Enhancement shaman spells and rogue poisons will crit for double damage. Rogue poisons will also use the melee hit chance.
We are renaming this stat to “Defense (PvP)” or possibly “PvP Defense.” All players will have 30% base Defense, the same way all characters have some base Stamina.
PvP gear will have Defense on it, as well as a new stat, “Power (PvP).” Power increases the damage you do to other players as well as the healing you do to other players in PvP situations.
If you have a lot of Power, you’ll do more damage to other players, but they likely have Defense as well. If you fight players in lots of PvE gear, they’ll take more damage. Likewise, a player in PvE gear won’t have enough Power to effectively penetrate your Defense.
The names PvP Power and PvP Defense may not be final, but we’re leaning towards going with stat names that are obviously PvP-related, rather than “fluffier” names that might not be as easy to grasp. We want it to be clear to players that neither Power nor Defense have any relevance when fighting creatures, such as in dungeons or raids.
PvP gear will be lower in item level than PvE gear of an equivalent tier, however the Power and Defense stats will make sure that PvP gear is more powerful in PvP (both offensively and defensively) than PvE gear. In our budgeting system, the PvP stats will be free rather than causing other stats, such as Strength or haste, to be smaller as a result of including Power or Defense.
The goal of this change is to make it easier for a PvP player to participate in PvE, or for a PvE player to get started in PvP. Currently, we feel it is too large a barrier to go from one to the other, and the result has been that we see more and more players choosing to focus exclusively on only PvP or PvE. In earlier expansions, it was more feasible to use PvE gear in Arenas or Battlegrounds until you acquired the more useful PvP gear. The same was true of being able to use your PvP gear in a dungeon or raid until you acquired something better. In Cataclysm, stepping into PvP with no PvP gear would result in a player being so ineffective that it was difficult to even make progress towards acquiring PvP gear.
For the higher-end of PvP or PvE (say Gladiators or heroic raiders), we believe those players will still gravitate towards the dedicated PvP or PvE gear. It is the players who are working towards those two end games that will benefit more from some cross over.
That’s a lot of information, and it probably sounds more set-in-stone than it really is. We’ll continue to iterate as players poke holes in our ideas, tell us what is working out and what isn’t, and finally get to experience it first hand in beta.
Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street is the lead systems designer for World of Warcraft. He didn’t name Mogu’dar, Blade of a Thousand Slaves, but he wishes he had.
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