in your browser.
Transmog and 3D Models
Toy Box and UI Changes
Zones, Quests, and Exploration
Is it intended for Rogues to spam Evi 1CP to make 4P Combat set procs? Makes the gameplay really dumb : SS > Evi > SS > Evi...
1 day ago
Don't worry, it's actually 4% per combo point, not an automatic 20%. The tooltip will be updated in patch 6.1.
1 day ago
Does the patch note change wrt amulets/rings for tanks/healers apply to raids or just quests in Nagrand + Garrison missions?
1 day ago
Yes, it applies to all Garrison mission tokens, as well as raids and dungeons.
1 day ago
Concerned the new Piccolo is going to be another annoying item that interrupts eating/drinking, confirm it won't?
1 day ago
We've changed the way the item works specifically to avoid that. It will not interrupt eating or drinking.
1 day ago
Have y’all made any official announcement about raid finder testing this weekend? Specifically timeframe/available encounters
1 day ago
"...we will open up the Slagworks wing in Raid Finder over the weekend."
1 day ago
, Lead Game Designer
View All Blue Tweets
View All Blue Posts
Lil' Hogger For Sale, Method's Mythic Ko'ragh Guide, Randomized Profession Vendors in 6.1
New Site Feature: Garrison Follower Tracking and Mission Recommendations
6.1 PTR: Build 19551 - Spell Changes, Twitter Integration Live, New Toys
6.1 PTR Patch Notes: Updated January 29th
Shapeshifting Improvements for Cosmetic Effects Coming in 6.1, BRF and Mythic Highmaul Guides
Warlords of Draenor Follower Guide
Warlords of Draenor Legendary Ring Guide
Comprehensive Ashran Guide
View All Guides
News by Tags
Follower Tracking and Mission Suggestions
6.1 PTR: Build 19551
6.1 PTR Patch Notes
Blackrock Foundry Loot Preview
Method's Guide to Mythic Tectus
Wowhead Interview with Lead Game Designers Cory Stockton and Ion Hazzikostas, Oct 17th Hotfixes
2014/10/17 at 2:33 PM
We're giving away two BlizzCon ticket-holder exclusive Faerie Dragon Plushies and four BlizzCon Virtual Tickets! All you have to do to win is tell us what
new thing you're enjoying most in patch 6.0.2
in the comments below!
More details after the Video
Olivia Grace and Perculia interviewed Lead Game Designers Cory Stockton and Ion Hazzikostas at 1 pm PDT, the livestream is over but we have the YouTube video below.
The hour-long interview covered the pre-expansion patch, itemization in Warlords of Draenor, Garrisons, Legendary Questline, World Events, and Professions.
We also have some hotfixes for October 17th at the end of the blog, covering hunter buffs, fixes to some old-world encounters, and a fix for raid items that were losing item levels.
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Guide to How Wowhead Can Help You in the Prepatch, Wowhead Interview with Lead Game Designers 10/17
2014/10/16 at 12:16 PM
This guide covers some of the ways Wowhead’s database and tools can help you navigate the prepatch!
We’ve been working
very hard updating the site for Warlords of Draenor
and we wanted to highlight some of the useful features besides the general searches for quest objectives and post-squish items.
You can use Wowhead to compare your old and new character models, learn more about your class with our updated class guides, preview the items in the Toy Box, track your mounts and pets as you work towards
So. Many. Pets.
, easily filter for gear and enchants, and much more!
We've even included the option for you to easily browse your combat logs on
via the Profiler.
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News Roundup: Blizzard at PAX East, Top Tweets, Heroes Q&A, War Crimes excerpt
2014/03/17 at 4:52 PM
Blizzard has confirmed their attendance at PAX East, and let the world know what they'll be bringing to the Boston-based convention for their fans to try out. We've also got news on an upcoming Heroes of the Storm dev Q&A, an excerpt from the latest Warcraft novel, War Crimes, and some significant tweets from the Wowhead Blue Tweet Tracker.
We've also got a
contest open right now
to win a Diablo III computer!
Grab your gear and saddle up, because we’re headed to PAX East! PAX attendees should ready themselves for three days of demon slaying, sword swinging, hero playing, and card slinging awesomeness, as this year we’ll be featuring all-new builds for our most recent and upcoming games, hands-on time at demo stations, an epic developer panel, and awesome giveaways and prizes. Come by and check everything out at
We’ll be there from
Friday, April 11
Sunday, April 13.
Here’s what you can expect at this year’s Blizzard booth:
Warlords of Draenor
hands-on demo featuring updated character models and the intro experience for the upcoming expansion.
Hands-on time with the in-development
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition
, playable on PlayStation 4.
A chance to find out what’s in the cards for
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
, and play the mobile version on iPad.
A brand-new demo for
Heroes of the Storm
, featuring new Heroes playable for the first time anywhere outside of Blizzard.
Blizzard developers will be on-hand to chat about your favorite games.
Blizzard developers will also be giving a presentation at the Albatross Theatre on Friday, April 11 at 10:30 a.m. EDT titled
Heroes of the Storm: The Ultimate Blizzard Mashup
(streamed live on one of the official
PAX Twitch channels
for those not in attendance).
And did we mention there will be giveaways, prizes, and more? If not . . . there will be giveaways, prizes, and more!
Head on over to
for panel schedules and hotel and travel information.We hope to see you there!
The most notable significant tweets from the
Wowhead Blue Tracker
are as follows:
Watcher on Challenge Modes:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="
That said, we're still looking at how to best handle the CM titles as the season ends. May let everyone with the FoS keep them.</p>— Watcher (@WatcherDev) <a href="
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></scr
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EU Fansite Q&A with Brian Holinka and Ion Hazzikostas
2014/01/31 at 12:46 PM
Our friends at
attended an EU fansite/influencer event at Blizzard HQ in Versailles and had the opportunity to chat with Brian Holinka and Ion Hazzikostas. They were kind enough to provide us with a transcript of the Q&A, which we've posted below--check out their show and
give them a listen
! Topics covered include:
More challenging dungeons in Warlords of Draenor.
How to keep boss encounters fresh in Warlords.
Evolving questing and outdoor gameplay.
Why your friends who don't play WoW should check out Warlords.
Upcoming WoD features like Garrisons and the Toybox.
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Live WoW Developer Q&A Transcript
2013/04/25 at 7:22 PM
Blizzard's Live WoW Developer Q&A took place on Thursday, April 25th, 5:30 pm PDT. Designers Dave Kosak, Ion Hazzikostas, Brian Holinka, Cory Stockton, and Greg Street answered player questions--since they covered a ton of questions over the course of an hour, we've organized all of their answers below by topic!
You can also visit
to view a full chronological transcript of the Q&A.
Some epic battle pets are coming in 5.4.
The new Barrens content in 5.3 will not be CRZ, and will not affect low-level questing.
Think the Alliance was shortchanged on lore? Dave Kosak has some thoughts on that.
Plans are in the works for some server population issues.
Based on player feedback, the PvP Pet Battle system may continue to expand after 5.3.
While the 5.4 raid will include Orgrimmar, it won't just be recycled zones--plans will see some new stuff.
PvP questions included players asking about PvPers making gold and additional PvP rewards. They also asked about 5.3 changes, such as ilvl 496 item scaling for PvP and removing resilience from PvP gear.
Watcher evaluates the success of Ra-Den, a heroic-only limited attempts boss. Some bugs and tuning issues led to guilds skipping some intended mechanisms to beat the encounter.
Blizzard is happy with the number of bosses in Throne of Thunder and imagines the 5.4 raid will have a similar number of bosses.
The Skyclaw mount for engineers may be scrapped, but Engineering mounts are planned for 5.4.
The Siege of Orgrimmar will not be pushed back, and Blizzard is happy with the fast pace of their content patches.
Players were curious about Garrosh's motivations and how the Siege of Orgrimmar will play out. Dave Kosak described the 5.4 events as a "bloodbath."
The item squish is off the table for now.
Even though earlier parts of the legendary questline are just overpowered ways to strengthen your character, the reward in 5.4 will be an actual legendary weapon.
Click the cut to read the questions and answers organized by topic!
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World of Warcraft Customer Support Q&A
2012/12/13 at 7:43 PM
Blizzard held a Customer Support Q & A at 5pm PST, with representatives from the SC2, Diablo, and Warcraft teams answering your questions! They discussed the popular Item Restoration feature added recently and shared crazy stories like upset Diablo fans showing up at the office to protest Hardcore character deaths. And of course, they answered questions about what it's like to deal with difficult players screaming over Twitter.
Specific to Warcraft, they address the RP personas and names favored by GMs, botting and /afks in Battlegrounds, the Report feature, policy creation, and potentially updating the in-game interface for for CS requests.
Click the cut to read the transcript!
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Blizzard Dev Notes, Patch 5.0.5 Hotfixes
2012/11/08 at 11:35 AM
Earlier this week, the Blizzard Community Team shared notes from weekly developer meetings to fansites! While this is a partial transcript as not all questions and answers can be shared with the public, there's a ton of useful information covering a wide breadth of topics and it's a neat to see what's discussed at dev meetings.
We've summarized the highlights below, and be sure to check out
the complete Q&A over at Wowjuju
, as well as their extremely-useful
Several class issues and abilities were brought up:
pet storage, PvP Balance for
The instance creation cap can be dodged by resetting while inside the instance.
Challenge Mode mounts are intended to be account-wide.
Leaderboards are planned to not be reset this expansion.
Blizzard is happy with PvP vendors on the wall: map icons and in-game mail clarify their locations.
The rewards from random Battlegrounds and dungeon bonuses were changed to fit the new reward structure in MoP.
Discipline priests were not mentioned in the 5.1 PvP blog, but changes to
The devs are in favor of keeping some blanket silences ingame for PvP, and are happy with the state of CC.
The old model of just rewarding gear for PvPers is outdated--Blizzard may possibly have PvP vanity rewards in future patches. They're also open to discussing creative ways to acquire
Raids and Dungeons
The buff interface is a bit confusing and may be reworked.
Some LFR loot items may be flagged incorrectly for class and spec--this is being looked into. The queueing system for LFR is being addressed as well.
As part of the new
acquisition system, players who log on every day to run a Heroic get a small reward for their time now, over players that try to get everything done on the same day.
If you lose a player in a Scenario in 5.1, the queueing system will allow you to find another player.
The new vast array of quests in MoP is intended to be completed over many months instead of rushed into a few weeks, leading players to feel overwhelmed.
In Patch 5.2, new tech will be implemented that allows all grouped players to get credit for flip-the-switch type objectives.
It's strangely difficult to acquire Justice Points, especially if you focus on Scenarios and dailies. Blizzard is working to change this.
Pet battles will not be cross-faction in the future.
No future tracks will be added to pet battle music, but there are 10 rotating ones already.
will look awesome, with frozen whiskers and a trail of frost.
Blizzard is addressing the lag players feel when they switch zones, but it's complicated.
The temporary phasing of NPCs/players Pandaria is not tied to CRZ, but a result of loading information efficiently for players, especially crowded areas.
The gold cap when transferring servers will not be increased.
All epic-quality items in a raid dungeon that can be disenchanted will produce
Pandaria faction-based mounts are account-wide. However, each individual character must have
Some minor hotfixes went live last night covering raid encounters, which we have under the break!
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Mists of Pandaria: Developer Chat Hosted by Best Buy
2012/09/18 at 6:08 PM
Best Buy is holding a developer chat with Lead Systems Designer Greg Street, Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas, Lead Content Designer Cory Stockton, and Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak starting at
6 pm CST
! Community Managers Zarhym and Crithto will be moderating.
If you'd like to join in the conversation and have a question that didn't get answered at the Reddit AMA, you can join the Best Buy chat
Classes in MoP
What was the idea with Monk healing? What mix of elements inspired it and defined it?
Greg Street: Mostly we wanted it to feel different from existing healers, so there is an emphasis on a channeled spell as the main heal. We also wanted to emphasize movement and damage-dealing to heal, because those were core to the monk class.
Were Orges ever thought of as a playalbe race, at one time?
GhostCrawler: Yep. We considered them for Cataclysm instead of goblins. Figuring out the females and the two-headed mages would be (fun!) challenges. Maybe someday.
Is there any plans to allow players to have more then one Death Knight per server?
GhostCrawler: We agree that it feels like an antiquated rule at this point. We'll see how hard it is to remove that restriction.
Rogue's Shadow Blades visual effect is lacking, and needs more of a pop. Paladins get Ashbringer; could Rogues get something equally cool looking?
Ion Hazzikostas: We agree that some rogue visuals (Shadow Blades, Shadow Walk, etc.) could use some more love. That's something we'd like to do in a future patch.
Hey, I had a question regarding Arms Warrior PvE rotation. It feels like there is too much rng involved with the rotation. Very rarely do I get more than 2 stacks of Taste for Blood and sometimes I can use Overpower 5 or 6 times without a single proc of it, which then will leave me rage starved and without buttons to press. I was wondering if you could lower the damage bonus of the buff or damage of OP while also increasing the proc chance as well.
GhostCrawler: To Zawani Think of getting a high stack for Taste for Blood as a random bonus, much like getting enraged from a bunch of crits in a row. You shouldn't hold your whole rotation waiting for a 4 or 5 stack, because it won't happen that often. If you're at risk of rage capping, try to Slam. If you don't have the GCD to Slam then it's probably worth just using the Heroic Strike unless you think you'll be able to Colossus Smash really soon.
Hi. I've had a lot of concerns regarding hit / expertise with tanks. Currently in MoP it seems tanks would reforge most their defensive stats into hit / expertise. It's extremely annoying design
Greg Street: We felt like previously tanks could just ignore even hitting targets because threat was easy to maintain and survivability was based entirely around cooldowns. Now you'll need to hit the target, but you'll gain resources for doing so, so we hope the experience is more engaging to tanks. More *fighting* less standing there.
Considering Dispels remove ALL magic effects, even if they dispelled Fear the Flame shock would go with it, regardless of if they intended to dispel it or not. Would this not constitute it's reinstatement?
Ion Hazzikostas: Guessing this is a follow-up to my earlier reply. I meant that if you dispel Flame Shock off yourself, or off Teammate A, maybe you can't dispel Teammate B's Fear or Polymorph a few seconds later, and now they're stuck in CC for its full duration. In general, we expect that players have to be much more careful about how and when they use their magic dispels.
Rogues are famous for using daggers, and that's all that we seem to be able to use, but I like to play Combat Spec, and it's described as being a swashbuckler spec. As such, I'd like to use 1handed swords along with daggers, but there are next to no 1handed rogue compatible swords, will we ever get to use swords as part of a rogue's arsenal? Afterall, there is no longer a block on what weapons a rogue can use on their abilties.
GhostCrawler: It's less of a design concern and more about how many different items we can drop. Things like e.g. Intellect axes don't have a lot of customers, so we just don't make them very often. This might be the kind of thing that transmog can eventually help address too.
Windwalkers have been very upset with a couple things in particular with their spec. The first is Fists of Fury: we don't like being rooted and channeling an attack when our kit is supposed to be mobile. Can we please get this mechanic revisited? As well, we don't have literally any useful raid utility. Zen Meditation is very weak. Will this be addressed at all post-launch?
GhostCrawler: "Mobile" doesn't mean "never, ever stops moving." Like many specs, Windwalkers will do more damage when stationary but can still do some damage when moving. Deciding when you should FoF and when you can't is one of the decision points that separates good monks from great ones. We're not inclined to change it at this time. As far as raid utility goes, we're really reluctant to hand more "must have" buffs. We don't want Windwalkers to be mandatory, especially for smaller, 10-player raid groups. If they are never taken at all, we'll take some kind of action, but I'd be very surprised if that's the case.
Prior to patch 5.0.4 (when we still had the cataclysm 'revised' talent trees), Elemental shamans gained an addition to one of their talents entailing that when flame shock was dispelled we gained a temporary buff entitled 'Lave Flows' This most recent patch, with the new Mists 'revised' Talent trees highlighted the removal of the cataclysm talent system, and with it went Lava Flows, what is your reasoning for removing this valuable ability?
Ion Hazzikostas: Defensive dispels are significantly more limited in 5.0 than they were previously. Passives like Lava Flows were designed as an answer to an environment in which defensive dispel magic was spammed constantly, and it was nearly impossible to get a buffed Lava Burst off against an attentive dispeller who could remove your Flame Shock while you were casting the spell. With an 8-second cooldown on dispels now, a healer who dispels a Flame Shock may find that they are unable to dispel the Fear or Polymorph that targets another teammate immediately thereafter. We'll keep an eye on the evolving PvP metagame in light of the new dispel changes, and consider re-adding something like Lava Flows if it proves necessary.
What are your thoughts on healing classes in MoP? Are you seeing the type of balance you want in the new expansion between all classes/specs? I ask because we are seeing a lot of blending of healers into one unit, instead of variety. All healers can do everything now to state it plainly which is making certain classes stronger choices than others for non-healing reasons. Sure some do slightly better in certain situations, but the classic archetypes are no longer as valid.
GhostCrawler: We strive for harmony with the healer design. If healer niches are too well-defined, then you are encouraged to stack Resto druids for one fight and then Holy paladins for the next fight. We'd rather see a diversity of healers. As far as healer balance is currently, we're pretty happy with it at 90. We still need to see Disc priests really figure out all of the nuances of Spirit Shell and we want to make sure all of the healers are really strong for Challenge Mode gold runs.
Whats would your answer be to the players who feel that by making multiple classes bring similar buffs and abilities, that the classes are losing their 'uniqueness'? Introducing combo points to ShadowPriests/Ret Paladins for example.
Ion Hazzikostas: Ultimately, there are only so many distinct resource mechanisms, and many of them are not great from a gameplay perspective. We'd rather differentiate our classes and specs on the basis of their overall feel and unique capabilities such as Death Grip for Death Knights or shaman' totems. I don't think many people are likely to mistake a shadow priest for a rogue just because they build up a resource and then consume it to deal damage.
What exaclty (If you can answer without spoiling the story line!) has turned Garrosh Hellscream into the monster we all hate now?
Dave Kosak: Garrosh is not a monster. He has a very clear vision of the Horde, and the future of the orcs, and he gives very little thought to anyone who stands between him and that future. As he gets more powerful, and gets away with more, his vision becomes clearer. This has put him in conflict in the Alliance, and ultimately will cause problems within the Horde.
Will the storyline of the Sha continue with Patch 5.1 or later patches?
Dave Kosak: To drwuky For the most part, the Sha issues will be tackled by players in 5.0. BUT... not everyone wants to let sleeping Sha lie. Someone might start stirring up trouble beginning with the patches...
Were the stained glass windows in Ulduar forshadowing of the Sha? They look very similar to the Sha.
Dave Kosak: I'd like to say we planned that. But I would be lying. I think it's just a happy coincidence that fits wonderfully into our lore.
Will there be an appearance of the Burning Legion in the end of MoP?
Dave Kosak: The threat of the Burning Legion is still out there, and it's very much a threat to Azeroth. The mortal races are mostly focused on the current war, but not everyone has forgotten about what's out there and the challenges to come... Wrathion, in particular, is already trying to look ahead.
Is the second son of Deathwing going to be the Second Prince? The achievement "Two Princes" says that Wration and another 'Prince' will settle something important, is that true?
Dave Kosak: "Two Princes" is a placeholder name that may or may not reflect the final achievements in later patches. Suffice it to say, Wrathion's story will continue!
Where is N'Zoth? He was mentioned at Blizzcon, then was talked about in Dragon Soul. What is going on with him?!
Dave Kosak: N'zoth is still lurking. The Titans couldn't defeat it... maybe someday we'll get our chance? Don't expect to hear anything about him in Pandaria, though!
Will we ever see Magni Bronzebeard return from being frozen under Ironforge?
Dave Kosak: Magni is like the definition of BLING. :) If we continue his story, we'll make sure to handle it in-game. I wouldn't count on seeing him return during the Pandaren story arc, though.
"Turalyon and Alleria" is it possible in anyway to know if there are any plans to continue their story?
Dave Kosak: Oh, their story will continue!!
Where do you see races that are neutral leaning like the Blood Elves going within the Horde? They seem rather separate from the Horde story since Cata's launch.
Dave Kosak: Stick around for patch 5.1 - we pick up the Blood Elves' story and propel it forward. Finally, a chance to interact with Lor'themar! Most players don't even know who he is. :)
When will we see Sargeras?
Dave Kosak: Sargeras would be one monstrous raid boss! He's one of the most iconic, key villains of the franchise. Believe me, when he comes to Azeroth, you're going to feel it LONG before he even gets there.
Question for Dave Kosak. I have always wondered why the Alliance has continuously frowned upon the Scarlet Crusade. Their main purpose was to simply eradicate the undead. With their return in MoP, we are tasked with eliminating them -again- with the aid of Lillian Voss. Why is it that we have turned their organization down for so long when we more or less have the same goals in mind?
Dave Kosak: The complexities really aren't in the game, but the Scarlet Crusade was very much a rogue organization. Great priests and warriors who would've otherwise served the Alliance disappear into the crusade, who serves its own ends. (In Northrend, it was clear their leadership had succumbed to demonic influence. It's hard to make up for that.) To be honest, the main reason to revisit the Crusade in 5.0 was a gameplay reason and not a story reason - it was a favorite dungeon that we really wanted to revisit with new mechanics. We didn't think a lot of story was needed.
The reddit AMA gave some teasers that Sylvanas, Vol'jin, and Thrall (specifically in 5.1) would be integral parts to the story. Rexxar and Koltira were also mentioned. On the Alliance side, other than Varian, Anduin and Jaina are there any notable leaders/lore figures we can expect to see active through the Pandaria storyline?
Dave Kosak: Great question! Many of the Alliance leaders will come into play. Tyrande has a couple of moments in 5.1. We also want to do more with the dwarven storyline (we're still kicking around ideas of how best to do that.) The trick is making sure those characters have meaningful moments. We'll definitely spend a lot of time with Jaina and King Wrynn.
There has been some speculation as to whether Turalyon and Alleria might make a triumphant comeback in Mists of Pandaria. Any comments on this, or are they saved for a later expansion pack? The Alliance sure could use something to turn the tide of war.
Dave Kosak: and also, I think the Alliance can take this!
Dave Kosak: There's no plan to continue their story in Pandaria.
Dave Kosak: (Reverse the order of those replies. :)
I am wondering about the incentives to 25 man raiding. This game is a social game so why does it seem that 25 man guilds are dying off and raids are going down to 10 mans. Paragon recently posted that they were going to 10 man. Is there any other way to fix it so that people are drawn to do 25 mans because they want to raid with friends and get the good gear?
IonHazzikostas: In Paragon's specific case, I suspect they'd find no lack of capable people more than willing to raid with them, but maintaining a Finnish-speaking roster is a core part of their guild culture, and they've made what was no doubt a very difficult decision to scale down to 10-player raiding rather than compromise that culture. As I noted in the Reddit AMA, ultimately there are heavier logistical burdens, particularly placed on the officers and raid leaders, in sustaining a 25-player roster versus only needing 10 players. We're actively discussing ways of ensuring that 25-player raiders feel properly incentivized and rewarded without necessarily elevating one raid size over the other. We definitely welcome ongoing community discussion and feedback on that topic.
Greg just said on twitter that the 25s versus 10s situation was handled in the AMA a lot, but nothing came from that apart from an understanding that 25s do have it harder now and could use some more compensation, Don't you have concrete plans for that, more than the tiny bit of extra loot 25s will have? The issue will only get even more pronounced the next weeks during progression.
Ion Hazzikostas: It's something we discuss frequently internally. We don't have anything final to announce just yet, but we love 25-player raiding and intend to do what we can to preserve it.
CoryStockton: I know we sound like a broken record on this but we are really pushing hard to deliver content to you guys faster than ever with the Mists patch cycle. As Dave mentioned, we are already making awesome progress on the first set of patches.
Nobody I know is impressed with the promise of an extra piece of loot for normal 25 mans. What we would be impressed with is separate realm first achievements for each raid format. Any chance of seeing something like this?
Ion Hazzikostas: To Guest-261 Possibly. On several servers that have one top 25-player guild that's far above the rest of the server in progression, that might turn into incentivizing them to split up the week after their 25-player Realm First to snag the 10-player one. Not sure that's great gameplay for anyone. That said, we recognize that there's interest in making it a bit easier to distinguish between 10-player and 25-player kills in statistics or achievements.
Ok, I am going to be the one to ask the dreaded question, mainly because my guild members know that I continue to fight for them and have asked me to still chase this question. 25 mans - GC you have said it would be a good topic for a Watercooler, which is good, and recent tweets say not enough is being done for them.The only change we know about is the loot change and that is onl 1 item different for Normals from the majority of Cata which, excuse the sentiment here, seems a little underwhelmin...
GhostCrawler: Sadly, we don't have any details to announce yet, but we have a couple of ideas that should make the 25 players happy. We'll talk about them when we're confident that they are good ideas. Remember, the result can't be that all the 10 players stampede back to 25.
WoW has always been a mostly raid or die game. The changes in MoP to Justice Points, the item level difference on gear obtained outside of raid, are steps backwards from alternatives, pushing us back to raiding. Are there any plans to give the non-raiders / people with random avaiabilities any form of meaningful character progression in terms of player power, besides only raids?
Ion Hazzikostas: We have a number of gear acquisition routes that do not involve raiding. We've broadened the avenues for acquiring Valor Points, which can now be earned by doing dungeons, daily quests, scenarios, and so forth. That gear will be at least item level 489 (compared to 476 from LFR). There's also crafted gear. And of course future content updates will continue to provide upgrades outside of raiding. All of that said, I'd encourage you to check out the new raids as well -- the addition of the LFR system makes them more accessible than ever.
Do you feel the way of nerfing Dragon Soul through nerfing the bosses was more successful than the Icecrown Citadel version, which buffed the players health and damage?
Ion Hazzikostas: Yes, one of the awkward things about the Icecrown Citadel buff was that, over time, it caused players to feel weaker when they were doing anything other than raiding Icecrown. It also had some potentially distorting effects, benefiting some specs and roles more than others. Weakening the enemies instead, as we've done in Dragon Soul, is more in keeping with how we've traditionally handled our tuning adjustments, going all the way back to Vanilla raids.
Mists of Pandaria features an ambitious number of 18 raid bosses and I'm very excited about that. I'm curious though as to how many bosses we can expect to see in future tiers? Firelands and Dragon Soul felt like small tiers with only 7 or 8 encounters in the tier.
Ion Hazzikostas: We like big raid tiers too, and will do our best to continue delivering them. We're planning for the next tier after Heart of Fear/Terrace to be a fair bit larger than Firelands or Dragon Soul were.
Will the ability to obtain legendary mats on LFR mode make it required for raiders, at least until they complete the quest?
Ion Hazzikostas: "Required" is one of those tricky words. We understand that for many players anything that gives even an incremental power gain is seen as mandatory. Progress on one portion of the early steps of the legendary questline may be made in LFR mode, so players who want to obtain their gem from Wrathion as quickly as possible will likely benefit from doing LFR alongside their Normal or Heroic raiding. LFR wings will unlock incrementally, after Normal mode, so when someone in a top progression guild is defeating up to 16 bosses when Heart of Fear and Terrace open, doing LFR will only add 6 to that total (from Mogu'shan Vaults LFR). While in the long run, we'd like to minimize players' obligation to run LFR if they are part of progression raiding guilds, that's challenging at the start of an expansion when everyone is using the same dungeon blues. We hope it'll be different for future tiers. Finally, the true power of Wrathion's gem lies in the combined effect of the weapon and the gem itself; an LFR player's Sha-touched weapon will be significantly less powerful than a Heroic raider's.
You mentioned in a previous Q&A that legendary weapon components would be done in a manner to lessen drama within in a guild. One step was the implementation of components achievable through LFR. My question is how will components from normal and heroic raids be distributed. Will it be distributed similarly to how Deathwing's essences or new LFR are, or will the raid leaders still choose who to give those components to?
GhostCrawler: In 5.0 it's not a competitive issue at all. In Raid Finder, it's a random drop for some players. In Normal and Heroic there is a chance of a drop, at which point it is multi-lootable and every player on the quest will get it.
Any chance we will ever see attunements or rep based dungeons again or is that strictly a in-the-past type thing?
Ion Hazzikostas: There's something a bit like a traditional attunement in the 5.0 raids: Players must defeat Grand Empress Shek'zeer in the Heart of Fear raid before they may begin the Terrace of Endless Spring raid. It's definitely something we're open to exploring further in the future.
I know you guys recently changed the LFR loot (weapons) from the last boss in a LFR instance, are you guys going to do any other changes to LFR to make heroic raiders not feel as they have to raid 2 formats a week to be competitive?
Ion Hazzikostas: As I mentioned in reply to an earlier question, it's a goal of ours but it's a tough one to realize in a world where everyone is starting out in dungeon blues and looking to get their hands on any and all epics. It's our expectation that by the time Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring LFR unlock, most heroic raiders will have replaced their dungeon gear and have less to gain from also running LFR mode. In future raid tiers, people who are already in Heroic gear from the prior raid zone should not find the next tier's LFR gear to be an improvement over what they have.
The new LFR system you have in WoW now seems like a great way for people who dont have alot of time to donate to raiding guild environments a chance to see content that was most of the time closed to them, however I'm not a big fan of 25man raids. Is there any plans to add a 10man choice to the LFR system?
GhostCrawler: We think 25 works better for Raid Finder. The ratios of DPS to non DPS more matches the player population and there is less risk of getting an unviable group. In 25s you can afford to have a few deaths and you can even pull if you're backfilling a few players. Both really make you stop in your tracks on 10s. In 25, it's easier to fade back into the group if you're still not 100% confident in what you're doing. In 10s, it's harder to be a wallflower.
Any chance we will see the option to upgrade out current legendary to be maybe not the equal to the current ilvl but maybe raid finder ilvl or just a little below so that they are not just taking up space in out banks, or bags in the case of Dragonwrath.
GhostCrawler: Not sure we would let you upgrade a legendary, but we could potentially allow you to transmog them. Our reluctance has always been that Thunderfuy feels less special when you see 30 of them running around AV.
Have you changed your design philosophy of the quest flow in Mists of Pandaria? In previous expansions, moving to a new zone as soon as you are eligble left enough experience to cause no issues. Do you intend for all zones to be finished from beginning to end in order, and if so why did you feel the need to add breadcrumbs to the next zone prior to being able to go without issues further down the road?
Dave Kosak: Pandaria is like a huge novel that you can read in any order. You can skip ahead to other chapters as soon as you're eligible. It's worth it to stick through a full zone to wrap up the storylines and maybe get some blue quest rewards, but you're welcome to play through however you want. We definitely put in the effort to make this expansion much more open and non-linear.
Hello. If someone from a CRZ hits Level 90 as first player on my realm, will he get the Realm First! Level 90 achievement for my realm or for his realm?
Ion Hazzikostas: His realm.
Can one stand anywhere in Orgrimmar(including right next to the questgiver that sends you to the gunship) when MoP is activated or do we have to be outside the Garrosh building? Good to know for us who are rushing as fast as we can!
GhostCrawler: If you are online, you should get the quest pushed to you no matter where you are. We don't want to over-promise though. This is technically challenging stuff and it might be the case that we need everyone to relog. /crosses fingers
Can we expect mailboxes on the wandering isle on release? was the removal of the one that was there for quest testing purposes?
Dave Kosak: Pandaren Neutrality caused a lot of design issues we had to solve. Mail ended up being a headache. What was easiest -- for us AND for our users -- was to remove mail entirely until you choose a faction. That's nice and clean and prevents a lot of issues people saw on the beta. So, no mailboxes on the Wandering Isle - sorry!
I loved the "Visions of the Past" quest-line in Vashj'ir. Will we see anything similar in upcoming content?
Dave Kosak: This is the "Battle-Maiden" questline, where you got to play as a naga badass for a while. I think these are a great break from the standard gameplay if they're well-designed, but we would want to use them sparingly. (After all, it's not WoW if you're not playing your class and kicking butt!) That said, there's a couple fun moments in Pandaria that have similar gameplay. In the Valley of Four Winds, you get to play as Chen Stormstout for a little bit. After kicking around a lot of ideas, we ultimately decided to give you a single 'Chen-Fu' button that makes him randomly do awesome kung-fu moves. It's a short sequence, but it's fun for storytelling and gives you a chance to Chen it up.
Will we ever see cross-server mail or non-boa cross faction mailing feasibly within the 5.0 content?
Cory Stockton: It's on our list and something we really want to do. It's really just a matter of the engineering time it takes us to get it in.
Are there any plans to allow for heirloom items to be sent cross realm?
Cory Stockton: We want this as bad as you guys do. It's on the list and we are looking into it.
Will you guys decrease the experience needed from 88-89 and 89-90 or increase the experience gained in Townlong Steppes and Dread Wastes before release? At the moment you can NOT hit Level 89 if you start with Level 88 and 0% experience in Townlong Steppes (~10% experience missing) and also Level 90 is impossible with Dread Wastes quests only (~5% experience missing). These are datas with the 10% experience guild perk and yes, I've got both zone completed achievements.
Cory Stockton: We are still actively tuning the XP. We will look into it.
It seems like PVP never gets much attention from the devlopers during these type of events. As a hardcore lover of PVP and the many people that are in my guild, we have really gotten frustrated, bored, etc with how PVP is handled. Will you guys ever be implanting anything like how LFR system works. Were there will be healers on each side, for a better chance of your team succeeding? I don't know about anyone else but I really hate being on my side with 0 healers and the horde have 4 in E...
Greg Street: Our BG queueing system was built a long time ago. Since that time we've engineered the much more powerful system that we use for Dungeon Finder and Raid Finder. We'd now like to reengineer that system to work for BG queues as well, which would give us the ability to better balance healers, item levels, and perhaps even premade vs. PUG. No promises, but it's something we're working on.
With all these new changes to get players out into the world (great idea), is it a goal of the development team to possibly bring back World-PvP? Coming from someone who plays on a PvP Realm, I would love to relive the old days of huge scale open world PvP battles. I'm sure many others feel the same way.
GhostCrawler: We are trying to encourage it. Spots like the Black Market and the shrines (the faction "cities" in the Vale) will probably have a lot of PvP on PvP servers. Remember, guards are much weaker on PvP servers now and there are no sanctuaries in Pandaria.
Will Wintergrasp ever be added as a max level battleground?
GhostCrawler: Potentially, if there is enough demand for it. We would introduce it as you suggest as a true Battleground to avoid faction imbalance issues.
What is the design philosophy behind PvP balance and how satisfied are you with PvP balance in Mists of Pandaria?
GhostCrawler: One of the main ones was to allow more cross-over of gear at the lower end but not the upper end of content. (In 4.0 it was more of the opposite.) It's not fun to die in PvP over and over until you get decent gear.
Have you thought about implementing zones or battlegrounds where players are normalized by level, similar to the gear level normalization in the upcoming challenge mode dungeons? This could allow players to quest or PVP with lower-level friends, and it could be fun to see a trio of level 20s take down a level 90.
Dave Kosak: This is a tremendous question, because it's something we've been talking about and exploring. With Challenge Modes, we now have tech to scale your item level, so that we can guarantee the right level of difficulty. Having this tech opens lots of doors for us down the line. We don't have anything to announce, but it's a step toward a lot of the features you're describing.
The Theramore event was a little...underwhelming. Developers have previously stated they spent more time on the content in Pandaria than the Theramore event. Will we see more diversity and excitement in the scenarios in Pandaria?
Dave Kosak: There's a LOT of diversity in the scenarios. For example. there's a monkey pirate island where you're running around fetching up brew and fighting randomized bosses, and other insanity. We really tried to experiement with some different mechanics, and we got bolder as development continued.
Are we going to get more story-telling in scenarios? The Theramore scenario was lackluster compared to the book and key story elements haven't even been address in-game yet.(Kirin Tor leader)
Dave Kosak: I addressed this earlier, but keep in mind that we want scenarios to be replayable. We definitely didn't want to burden them with tons of story that you have to wade through every time you play it. As I said for Theramore, people obviously wanted more context, which probably was best served by some one-time quests on either end of the scenario. That's a lesson we're pulling forward. :)
The story of Tides of War is really interesting. I don't think players can get engaged if they have no idea what's happening though--the bomb dropping is really anticlimactic. I felt a bit disappointed that so little got included in the scenario. Was this because of lack of time of developers, or because you rather keep all that info in the novels.
DaveKosak: I've been watching the Theramore feedback closely, and this comment seems pretty universal. We tried to keep everything all in the scenario, to make it really self-contained, but not burden it with lots of story that you have to slog through every time you played the scenario. It's pretty clear from the feedback that people wanted more story. We should've surrounded the scenarios with more quests or explanations to help round out the story for the people who wanted to know what exactly was happening. Lesson learned!
Christie Golden mentioned in an interview that she worked closely with the quest team when she wrote Tides of War to make sure everything was very close. However, there are some notable differences between the book and the scenario during the Alliance side of it. Did the storyline of the scenario change late into the book's writing?
Dave Kosak: We worked hard to sync with Golden during development. The Alliance side of the scenario went through LOTS of iterations, including when it happend (before the attack? During the attack? After the attack?) Ultimately we went with the one that gave us the greatest gameplay. We want the events of the book and game to match as closely as possible, but we want the best book possible and the best game possible, so they won't be word-for-word identical. This can create some fun arguments. "Well, according to this book..." "YEAH, but I WAS THERE, MAN!" :) We work hard to make sure the discrepancies are minor, but we definitely don't struggle for perfection.
Will the gear in Theramore's Fall 85 version be available in the 90 version?
Cory Stockton: The gear and the rewards for the 85 version are only available now. The 90 version has standard scenario rewards (Valor and a chance at a dungeon blue).
Why is the Theramore event so boring? It's way too easy and if you didn't read the book then you have no idea what's going on. You also wouldn't know why Jaina isn't dead and why Azeroth isn't completely destroyed. Do you think it would've been smarter to put more lore in the scenario and would've made it more fun?
Zarhym: Dave already spoke to the story part of your question (if you missed it Best Buy will be providing a full transcript after the chat). To address your concern of difficulty, we agree it was too easy on release. We pushed a hotfix recently that increased the HP of all enemies in Theramore's Fall. The fact is that Scenarios in Mists will be more tailored for players in quest gear and dungeon blues. But players at level 85 were steamrolling through it in Dragon Soul gear, and the hotfix was to compensate for this a little.
Are we going to have the ability to remove players who dc or log off from scenario groups and add in new players from the queue?
Cory Stockton: Not at launch but we hope to have it in for the 5.1 patch. We understand the concern.
Compared to designing dungeons, how difficult is it to design scenarios? Does it take more or less resources to make scenarios?
GhostCrawler: The biggest challenge for us was just figuring out what scenarios should be. How long should they last? Should they be hard? How much variability should they have from run to run? Now that we've gone through that process, they should take much less time to design than dungeons. The biggest time expenditure on dungeons is the amazing art that goes into them.
Beside the lifting on the Mists with the clock strikes midnight on the 25th, we have come to expect events to complement the new expansion. They have been fascinating and very fun. Should we expect events over the next 6 days? Or was the Scenario it?
Cory Stockton: The Theramore scenario is intended to be a preview of what players can expect from scenarios in Mists. It is by no means a launch event and thats intentional. We made a call early on to put that time into developing more content for Mists that will last and not be over in a week.
I love the little mana bomb received from the Theramoore scenario, but the cooldown is making it really hard to have fun with. Any chance this will be reduced to allow a bit more spammability? Maybe like a 30 second cd?
Cory Stockton: Glad you liked the reward! Unfortunately, that kind of mana power takes a long time to recharge!
When will transmog rules be loosened up a little? Main hand/one hand weapons, for instance.
GhostCrawler: If I had to guess, we will loosen them at some point. We would probably wait until some time after the MoP launch when players will appreciate it more. It's easy for smaller features to get lost when there is so much new content. The designers will discuss it soon (tm).
Transmog has become a very important part of my gaming fun. Will we be able to farm Dragon Soul LFR recolor gear at level 90, since the LFR tool won't work for it at that level ? This goes for future expansions and MoP content, of course.
GhostCrawler: To Guest-776 We aren't going to support Raid Finder for content that is much lower level than your character, but we are going to allow you to enter old raids solo without being in a raid in a future patch (ideally the next major one, but standard no promises). That should facilitiate a lot of transmog farming.
With the creation of the farms at Halfhill, the base structure for player and guild housing has subsequently been created as well. Is this the direction you have chosen to go with for player housing or was this even considered as an option? One very good point about this option is that multiple locations for housing can be placed thoughout the game world, preventing the issue of removing players from the world.
Cory Stockton: It's certainly a baby step in that direction. We are really excited to see how players react to it in Mists. We already have lots of ideas on how we can expand this kind of content in the future too!
Recently in Twitter Ghostcrawler mentioned the possibility of making subraces such as Maghar orcs and Wildhammer dwarfs available with the player character model updates, how high chance is there that this would also allow us to play as Broken or Taunka?
GhostCrawler: If we ever opened up more races, I suspect we'd be pretty liberal about it, but to be clear, that feature is no more than a twinkle in some designer's eye at this stage.
At the end of the Klaxxi questline, the mantid mentioned that at one point in time, they worshipped Y'shaarj, an old god. However, he was slain by the Titans and was split into "shadows of his former self". Is he, in some way, in relations with the Sha and will we see Y'shaarj in future content patches?
Dave Kosak: Y'shaarj breathed love and exhaled hate, inhaled peace and breathed violence... Plus, his name was y'SHAarj. It's pretty safe to connect the dots. :) But Y'shaarj itself is very, very, very dead.
Dave Kosak: Regarding DeathFish's question (Love the name, Deathfish!) when we think about things like player-housing, we really want to look at how this can contribute to gameplay. The farm is awesome because it ties into a lot of systems, it creates some fun crafting opportunities, it impacts the economy, etc. It's a great experiment for us because if it's popular, it gives us a lot of data into how to create this type of content in the future.
Is there a chance we might see class specific factions developed more? Kirin Tor, Ebon Blade, Argent Bros, Ravenholdt...Could we see something similar arise for Warriors, Hunters etc?
Dave Kosak: We're cooking up some cool Warlock stuff we can hopefully announce soon. In a more general sense, we LOVE class-specific content, but to do it right takes development time (believe me, I have to somehow schedule all this stuff.). When it came down to deciding between more zones of content and more faction content OR class-specific stuff, we opted to create more content for everyone. But, again, we love class-specific content, we'll try to squeeze in some cool challenges for the various challenges in the patches to come...
The Reliquary is an interesting faction (at least in my opinion), but it hasn't been really visible in Cataclysm. Any chance we'll see them in Pandaria, as a counterpart to Brann ? Or at least some way to get their tabard ?
DaveKosak: No plan for a tabard, but starting in 5.1 they're going to start poking around Pandaria for relics...
Will there be a Realm First achievement that involves Pet Battles?
CoryStockton: We did not make any realm first achievements for pet battles. Our intention for the feature is that its more of a casual activity and a realm first just did not feel like a good fit.
Will the baby shark pet ever get added back into the game?
Cory Stockton: Yes! That's what those sweet new water bubbles are for!
With the pet battle system, pets which you can acquire multiples of, have lost the 'Already Known' tag. This is pretty annoying when shopping for pets for example, as you constantly have to search through your journal ("Do I have the red tickbird or the white one?"). Will this be changed? perhaps add an 'Already Known' tag in a different color?
Cory Stockton: Sorry for the inconvenience on that, we have already redesigned the tooltips to fix this in patch 5.1.0. Tooltips will display if you already own the pet in addition to how many.
Would say that the new challenge mode dungeon gold times are going to be the "Gladiator" equivalent of PVE?
Ion Hazzikostas: That would be our hope. Seeing someone sporting a set of challenge mode armor in town should be akin to seeing someone on a Gladiator mount -- you know they did something extremely skillful to earn it, and it's not the sort of reward you can outgear and obtain later on.
Cory Stockton: That's probably a pretty close comparison. Beyond gold times we will have server and guild leaderboards too. That's probably where the highest level of competition will be.
Do you guys plan on giving out title for challgenge modes, like how you do for PvP (0.0% - 0.5%: Gladiator 0.5% - 3%: Duelist 3% - 10%: Rival 10% - 35%: Challenger)
Ion Hazzikostas: If and when we move on to future challenge mode "seasons", titles to recognize players' past accomplishments are definitely something we'll consider.
We saw some of the animations on the challenge mode gear--will the druid set animations be visible when the druid is shapeshifted?
CoryStockton: The custom effects are based on the armor itself so they will only be visible when you are in caster form.
Have you thought of introducing titles to reward realm 1st times for the new challenge mode dungeons. Something similar to how the PvP titles work now.
Cory Stockton: We actually have! The idea was that you would only have the title for as long as you held the top time. Main issue we ran into was that the title could be changing hands so fast that you might only have it for a few seconds. It's an awesome idea though and we want to explore it more.
How are group compositions gonna work into Challenge Modes? Surely every group would want to have a Bloodlust. And at least a Kings buff.
Ion Hazzikostas: Realistically, if you're aiming for Gold, you're going to want a shaman or a mage or a hunter in your group, though Gold is absolutely possible without using Heroism/Bloodlust or equivalent effects. Realistically that probably saves you 15-20 seconds at best, and we've seen groups beat some Gold times by more than that. When constructing a 5-player dungeon group, you're inevitably going to have some strengths and some weaknesses in your composition, and players may find that the sorts of abilities they find invaluable are not the ones they're used to viewing in that light. (Pop quiz -- Which is likely to help you more in an 18-minute challenge mode run: Bloodlust, or an AoE stun that you can a couple of times a minute?)
As the Cataclysm Expansion is now over, as a team what were your take-aways both good and bad?
Dave Kosak: From a quest perspective, we thought that the storytelling in Cataclysm was very strong, but that the zones were very linear. For Pandaria, we wanted to swing the pendulum the other way and open up the game more, rewarding exploration. I think we found a much better balance. Kun-lai Summit, for example, is pretty open-ended, even though it's got some great stories in there. That's just one example - we're always learning from expansions. The other big takeaway was that we wanted more things for players to do, depending on what sort of challenges they want. Challenge Modes, Pet battles, and the new Daily Quest structure all appeal to different people, hoepfully with the goal of giving everyone more content no matter what your playstyle!
How much game time do you think will we get exploring the continent of Pandaria?
Cory Stockton: We really packed in the content with Mists, that being said the amount of time it takes you is really going to depend on your playstyle. We have so many different things for players to do. Quests, reputations, dailys, sceanrios, pet battles.... The idea is to let players make progress doing whatever kind of activity they like best.
How come with this expansion you choose to go with Pandas and not something that was already in the game, such as The Emerald Dream?
Ion Hazzikostas: The pandaren are a race we've been looking to introduce into the WoW universe for some time now, since their introduction as a neutral hero back in the Warcraft 3 expansion. They were originally a top contender for the Alliance race back in Burning Crusade, but we ended up going with the draenei at the time because they better fit the Outland-focused story we were trying to tell, and because it didn't feel right forcing a historically neutral race like the pandaren into one specific faction. When we were looking to make an expansion centered around themes of exploration and discovery against a backdrop of Alliance-Horde conflict, the pandaren just seemed like the right fit: Noble and enigmatic race caught in the middle of the war between the Alliance and Horde as it spirals out of control, forced to choose sides as the outside world descends upon their homeland.
In Pandaria, will we see another 9 month period without new content?
Cory Stockton: We are doing everything within our power to avoid this. We all feel that 9 months without content is pretty much unacceptable to our players. A glimmer of hope: we are already knee deep into both patch 5.1 and 5.2. Our plan is to deliver these much faster than anyone is expecting.
I really love the real ID system which has helped me communicate with my cousin who lives in Hawaii. The only downfall is, he's Horde. Neither of us want to change fractions but we'd love to run together doing something. Will you guys ever considor letting us 'group' toghther and duke it out in battlegrounds, but disabling chat (even in real ID terms) so the no communcation rules still apply?
Ghostcrawler: We don't have huge design problems with letting you play with friends from other factions. The biggest challenge is the game was never designed with the concept of letting you be allied with the opposing faction, so it would be a tremendous amount of work. I won't give up hope for it though! (We always joke about a tauren having the Hallow's End 2D gnome mask when you're grouped with him.)
Will content come at a faster rate in MoP? It seems that we might be pushing thought content at a much faster rate.
Dave Kosak: That is definitely our goal! As we speak the quest team is simultaneously working on patches 5.1 and 5.2. Our hope is to keep the story and content rolling forward. It's definitely a focus for the team - I can't make any promises, but I guarantee we're trying and I hope you'll notice the results.
Are there plans on fixing the broken Engineering Flying Machine that has been broken since patch 4.1?
Cory Stockton: We will look into this and make sure we get it fixed.
Any updates on future guild leveling past 25?
Cory Stockton: To Gehn We are totally open to increasing guild levels and the associated rewards but only when the game feels like it needs more of that content. A large number of guilds are still nowhere near level 25 so Mists did not feel like a good fit to add more guild levels.
Question from Munich, Germany. As the Octoberfest here and Brewfest in WoW are coming up, I wondered whether anyone at Blizzard did "field research" for designing Brewfest at the real Octoberfest ? The costumes and music are done really well.
Cory Stockton: We do field research on Brewfest every Friday. :)
Do all designers use the same in-house editor? Or do you have different tools for different jobs? How do you handle collisions in your edits?
Ion Hazzikostas: We all use a massive proprietary tool called WoWEdit, which has been showcased a couple of times at Blizzcons in the past. We all use this tool to create and edit everything from creatures to spells to quests, and our level designers use it to actually shape the terrain of the outdoor world. At the end of the day, there are countless columns and rows in tables that define the properties of the game world and the players and monsters that inhabit it. We're only able to do the work that we do because of our amazing Tools team, a dedicated group that is constantly refining and updating our editor to enable us to create content more quickly and with fewer bugs.
On the World of Warcraft website, it lists tradeskill patterns, plans, etc. that the player is missing. Some of those items are no longer in game. Are there any plans to reincorporate those missing plans back into the game so the players have an opportunity to try to get all of their missing tradeskill plans?
GhostCrawler: I'd hate to add back plans with no real game purpose just for sake of completeness. To be honest, I'd rather get rid of more of the older recipes that don't have a strong purpose.
I assume I ask this question on behalf of thousands of vanilla WoW fans: Do you ever plan on bringing back "Server-wide" Events? An example would be the Opening of AQ, which allowed the entire server to collaborate their efforts. An event of the same theory would be an incredible experience for all players to witness. It was incredibly rewarding when the whole server gathered enough materials for the opening ceremony!
Dave Kosak: From the standpoint of, "Everyone gather at the same place at the same time to see a big event and if you miss it its gone forever assuming you all don't crash the server," then no, no more events like that. :) BUT, we love the feeling of server progression, similar to the Isle of Quel'denas. Is there a way to build that progression into the game such that players who come in a couple months later don't miss out on all the fun? We think there is. And we're planning something that we'd like to try in the 5.0 patch cycle... so stay tuned!
Can we have a rough timeframe on when we can expect the Trials of the High King questline to be implimented? Are we taking around patch 5.1 or something closer to the Siege of Orgrimmar patch?
Dave Kosak: Varian Wrynn's first trial will happen in 5.1. But to set expectations, the development of Varian's character happens across the entire patch cycle and beyond - it doesn't all happen in one event or one scenario. His trials are many.
As Developers, what was your biggest hurdle in building the new features we will see in Mists and how did you overcome them? Also I want to send kudos out to the art team - the beta was visually stunning!
CoryStockton: Our biggest issue with new features is adding more complexity to the game. It's somethign we struggle with every expansion. I will pass your kind words on to the art team too!
WIll we see a Heroic Version of Ragefire Chasm?
Cory Stockton: Certainly not out of the question. Heroic versions of classic dungeons have been some of our most popular content. We will keep doing them as long as people keem playing em'.
If some gamers are thinking about coming back to WoW to experience Mist of Pandaria content, is there any special program "come back" that will launch with the release?
Cory Stockton: Scroll of Resurrection is awesome for returning players!
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Ask Blizzard Anything: Blizzard's Reddit Q&A
2012/09/11 at 7:28 PM
Blizzard is following the trend of many gaming companies tonight by taking to Reddit to do their interaction with the community! Tonight Blizzard developers and community team members are going to be hosting a Q&A session through the popular website.
The Q&A is now done and we feel like this was a tremendous one. Blizzard really outdid themselves with transparency, talking extensively about issues they'd previously avoided. The PvE section is especially illuminating. Thanks Blizzard!
Given what Sylvanas and the Forsaken have been up to regarding the Plague, isn't it inevitable that her desire to "procreate" the undead will bring the Forsaken into direct conflict with all the living factions?
Well, first she'd have to run out of corpses, so from that perspective, the war is REALLY helping the Forsaken out... ;)
This is a good question, because the nature of the Forsaken makes them a really unstable ally. That leads to some great stories. At the moment, Sylvanas is fortifying her position - she's making a landgrab, she's fortifying her borders, she's using the Valkyr to boost her numbers... But what's her long-term plan?
At least Garrosh called her out on it. What will the next Warchief do about it? Better question: What if SYLVANAS is the next Warchief? Oh man.
Is Thrall going to lead an attack against Garrosh?
It's hard to tackle these questions without just straight-up spoiling stuff. I argue that the best stories are experienced through gameplay.
So: Thrall. Obviously Thrall feels that Garrosh is his mistake. We explored some of his emotions around this in the "Elemental Bonds" questline in patch 4.2. For that reason, he'll DEFINITELY play a role in the ultimate conflict in Orgrimmar. But maybe not the role you'd expect.
He'll be lying low in 5.0, but the current plan is for you to catch up with him in 5.1. (That content is still in development, so don't hold me to that.)
Also, Horde and Alliance players will be happy to know that he'll be focused on Horde content this time around, not a neutral NPC helping both factions (which made sense in Cataclysm, but overwhlemingly the feedback is players want to see him be Hordey again. Yeah, I just made that word up.)
Why did Blizzard decide not to rebuild Stormwind and Orgrimmar this expansion?
I wish I had a better response to this, but the truth is that our team was focused on making Pandaria itself absolutely beautiful. Stormwind and Orgrimmar are complex pieces of architecture, and while there's a great story reason to fix them, there's no gameplay that results from that work.
I think we all want to see the gates of Stormwind patched up, but it'll take some time. Apparently the King has a bad track record with the local masons.... ;)
How significant are the Sha to Mists of Pandaria?
Great question! Sha energy is CENTRAL to the story in Pandaria. It's the reason that pandaren culture has evolved along the lines it has. (If you're really curious about the Lore, follow the story of the Last Pandaren Emperor by finding all of his lore objects hidden in the world and talking to Lorewalker Cho.)
The arrival of the Alliance and Horde on the continent really uncorks the bottle - this long suppressed energy explodes out, causing havoc from coast to coast. You can earn the trust of the wary pandaren by helping to clean up your mess. There's a real cultural exchange that happens: The pandaren learn a lot about the Alliance and Horde, and hopefully the factions learn a lot about the pandaren that they can apply to their own situation.
At a deeper level, there's a lot of symbology with the sha, which is good from a storytelling perspective. There are some wonderful moments in the game - one of my favorite stories has to do with a Shado-Pan warrior dealing with the death of her husband, which opens up her heart to the Sha of Hatred.
If you're intrigued by the concept, you'll find that the sha plays a big role in a lot of the quests, dungeons, and raids. Sweet!
Is the sha a threat to Azeroth as a whole? Possibly. I'd be more worried about the orc with the nukes. ;)
How many novels are planned to be released over this expansion?
I'm glad you enjoyed the novel! Golden is a fantastic author who works very closely with us to do justice to the franchise.
If you're getting psyched about the storyline, I think you'll love the next novel which focuses on Vol'jin. Have you played the troll 1-10 intro experience? Vol'jin flat-out tells Garrosh he doesn't trust him and he'll stab him in the back the moment he sees an opportunity. The novel carries his story forward and really meshes in with the events of patch 5.1.
One of our ongoing goals is to make sure that the games and novels compliment each other, and that major lore events don't happen in the novels without some kind of representation in-game. This is a huge challenge for us!! But I think we're getting better at it.
How pleased are you with the lore and storyline in MoP? Any hints or teasers?
The story for Mists was a real challenge because we wanted to tell a story that didn't have a big giant villain on the cover of the box. I'm immensely pleased with how it all came together; it's a real journey. After the widespread destruction of Cataclysm, Pandaria is a great change of pace. You can really delve in and explore a beautiful place.
We kick things off with a bang and then strand you on the continent to fend for yourself. You'll get to know the locals, solve some local problems, and learn what makes this land so different from the rest of Azeroth.
We've got a whole story arc planned out for the subsequent patches, where the war between the Alliance and Horde really heats up and splashes onto Pandaria itself. The pandaren force us to question what we're really fighting over - perhaps ultimately, it's a story about the factions defining who they want to be.
Don't worry - just because there's no villain on the box doesn't mean you won't be fighting for your life against some really brutal badasses...
Are we going to get more Old God lore in Mists?
I'll tackle the lore part of your question, about the Old Gods.
Obviously the Old Gods have had a major impact all over the world. They aren't directly pulling any strings in Pandaria, however, you can still feel the cold grip of their influence, many thousands of years later. If you're interested in the lore, you owe it to yourself to reach exalted with the Klaxxi faction to learn a little more about their origins.
Can the devs shed some light on Jaina and Lordaeron since the events of Cataclysm?
GREAT questions! Re: Jaina. The novel gets inside her head and traces all of her reactions before, during, and after Theramore. At the end she's heading up the Kirin-Tor, and she really sees them as a beacon of light that will help the world ultimately move forward and on from the war. EXCEPT... her story doesn't end there. We'll catch up with her in the patches.
Re: Lordaeron. Without having the book in front of me, I'm not sure which passage you're talking about. The Alliance can't retake Lordaeron until they get to it; Sylvanas held them off at Andorhal, as depicted in-game.
What's Varian been up to? Well, after focusing on the Lich King, he wasn't using Alliance military might to conquer new territory. He used it to, among other things, provide aid and rescue the Gilneans. Does this make him a bad leader, or a noble one? That's a good question.
What is Cataclysm's official place in the timeline?
This is the most red-shirtiest of questions so far! Congrats!
But it's a good question.
Matoclaw was just estimating when she says "a decade ago." It was closer to ... what, seven years I think?
I can tell you that the quest team is definitely being a little ambitious with Anduin - we write him as though he's 17 or so, but in reality his age is younger.
And since we're being honest, we're intentionally a little bit vague about exact time periods in-game. The content we put in will be played for years, so sometimes things get a little ... spongy.
Why did Thrall let Gallywix live if he's a slaveowner? Why did Thrall ever even allow slavery in the Horde?
Thrall's vision of the Horde is a refuge for people in need. He's a helpful guy. The Bilgewater Goblins just had their home destroyed, and they were refugees (he can certainly relate to that). They helped him in the Lost Isles, so he offered them a home. Presumably he'd put a stop to any slave trade (the player characters don't remain slaves once they join the Horde.)
Of course... afterwards he was no longer the Warchief. Garrosh was probably a lot more hands-off of the goblins, so long as they showed their usefulness - as they demonstrated immediately in Azshara. An excellent question, BTW!
Is the story of the Knights of the Ebon Blade over?
There are many many loose ends in the Warcraft lore, and often we pick them up later and run with them. What are the Knights of the Ebon Blade up to? Ahhhh... we'll probably catch up with them eventually, when they're doing something cool. (But not in Pandaria...)
Are Koltira Deathweaver and Sylvanas Windrunner showing up in Mists of Pandaria?
Sylvanas will DEFINITELY play a role in the Alliance and Horde conflict. We might not catch up with her until one of the later patches. We've been debating on whether or not we catch up with Koltira now or later... The guy's in bad straights.
Would Queen Azshara lead an attack on the shores of Pandaria after the war between the factions is calmed down?
Queen Azshara - what's she been up to there under the sea? Glorious things!! But... nothing that we're going to see in 5.0. Pandaria is safe from her advances for now.
What happened to the Abyssal Maw?
We weren't happy with the way Abyssal Maw was shaping up. It managed to take on a life of its own in players' minds, but believe me, if it had been an awesome raid, we would have shipped it. One of the hardest parts of this job is killing a feature you're excited about because it doesn't meet our quality bar. I suspect you'd see far more complaints if we had shipped a bad raid than not shipping one at all. We took the resources and put them back into Firelands and got a couple of extra bosses out of it.
What is the process of naming achievements?
We all contribute to coming up with achievement names. It's fun. Kaplan used to name them all, then named them all, but now everyone pitches in. Quest designers name quest achievements, encounter designers name encounter achievements and so on. It's one of the areas of the game where it's acceptable to be a little goofy.
What's your most memorable moment while working on WoW?
At some event, I met a man who said he had trouble communicating with his teenaged son. Somehow they managed to start playing WoW together, and through that they were able to start talking, at first about the game, and then about life in general. They still had trouble talking face to face, but the barriers were relaxed over chat or voice chat or whatever they were using.
We're making a game here. We're not going to save the world. I get that. But it was a really memorable conversation.
Was there anything that didn't make the cut for release but will pop up in a 5.x patch?
One feature we had mentioned previously, but which didn't make it in for Mists launch, is the Proving Grounds feature. For those who aren't familiar with it, the idea was to add what would be a type of single-player scenario that would allow players to both learn and demonstrate the core skills associated with a given role or class. You can think of them as something akin to Challenges in Starcraft II.
These might take the form of testing how long a tank can protect an NPC healer from a stream of oncoming enemies, or how much damage a rogue can deal to targets while avoiding awareness and movement checks of increasing difficulty. The hope is that the system will be a fun way for players to practice some of the skills that are essential for group gameplay, and for expert players to demonstrate mastery and compete for positions atop leaderboards, similar to our upcoming Challenge Mode feature.
I'm thinking about coming back for Mists of Pandaria, tell me why I should?
The way I see it, our player base has just diversified greatly. In vanilla and BC, very few players had the expectation of raiding, but fortunately things like questing and making a bunch of alts still felt new and rewarding. These days, we have been able to encourage many more players to participate in dungeons and raids and PvP, which is fantastic, but those players come with very different skill and commitment levels. Making the game very easy would alienate players as would making the game too difficult. The answer we believe is to have different content for different kinds of players.
Someone like you might enjoy the heroic raids, particularly the optional elite modes for bosses in the Terrace of Eternal Spring. You also might try Challenge Modes. Challenge Mode dungeons, when shooting for gold especially, may very well be the hardest content we've ever offered.
Would you ever consider adding a "Want To Buy" system to the auction house?
We have discussed buy orders specifically for those big ticket, risky items like end-game gear or expensive mounts. They would be nice for anything expensive but low volume. We don't think buy orders are needed for things like flasks or normal enchants that are pretty much always available.
We had buy orders on the MoP feature list, but had to punt it in order to get some other features out. This is a very common phenomenon for us. We often start and expansion with double or triple the number of features that we can reasonably do. We get around to doing all of the good ideas eventually.
Do you feel there has been a change in how things are done since the merger with Activision, either within game development or the company in general?
I'll come out and say it. Activision gets an unfair reputation among our players for this, as does Bobby Kotick. We do demos for the Activision executive team about twice per year (sometimes only once). They ask intelligent questions about why we're doing what we're doing, but at no point have any mandates (or even "suggestions") about the game's design been issued.
What do you think the biggest challenge was in wanting to change how Mists plays compared to Cataclysm?
I'll answer as the Lead Quest Designer, although others can chime in.
We wanted Pandaria to have a wide swath of content for all different types of players. To this end we wanted to add really awesome hardcore skill-based challenges (getting gold in all the Challenge Mode dungeons is a FEAT to be PROUD of!), as well as more casual experiences (Pet Battles is a really wonderful, low-stress, turn-based system that everyone can enjoy.)
From the quest perspective, we've always wanted more things to do with your max-level character, especially if you're not into Dungeons or Raids. One entire zone (Vale of Eternal Blossoms) is dedicated to level-90 content. It's a randomized series of missions to experience every day. The Mogu attack different parts of the Veil every day. New quests and hubs will unlock as you adventure. And as you earn reputation with the Golden Lotus faction, you'll unlock a story arc that carries through until you're exalted.
That's just one example. All of the factions have something special going on, so that they're not just a bar that grows along the bottom of your screen. The Tillers give you your own personal farm. The Shado-Pan companions accompany you on your quests every day, and you can unlock more companions. Etc. etc. These are just a couple examples.
I would say that's one of the major differences between Mists and Cata - there's just plain MORE TO DO, regardless of your playstyle!
Why doesn't Blizzard do more to promote player interaction?
I think it's a fair criticism that too often your response to seeing another player (even of the same faction) is negative because it means more competition rather than positive because it means more cooperation.
We're concerned that just turning off mob tapping would lead to everyone just joining the raid in that zone to share experience. This was common back in the farming furbolg days, and we don't see any reason why players wouldn't still gravitate towards the most efficient way to level. However, there are some other ideas we can explore to encourage cooperation without mandating it.
We were promised shorter development cycles, but the wait between Cataclysm and Mists has been too long...
To be fair, Dragonsoul -> Pandaria will have been several months faster than ICC -> Cata. That being said, I totally agree that it's still way too long. This is something we're committed to making better.
Are you still working on redoing character models?
Actively working on updating character models! It's a high priority for us.
Part of doing new models would have to be doing new animations. The pandaren are just capable of so many more evocative or even charming animations than the older models with their older rigs can do. Obviously, that makes the task bigger, but that's what we'd like to do.
Could you describe the process of balancing PvE?
The challenge for us for sims such as Simulation Craft is that we don't know why it varies from our internal testing unless we poke around in the sims and essentially debug what they're doing. As the guys who work on the sims will tell you (and I'm sure you know this), the quality of the sims has everything to do with how much blood and sweat the individual contributors put in. Some units of Simulation Craft are pretty accurate and others need a lot of work. You can go back and look at the results for say patch 4.2 or 4.3 and some of the numbers don't match reality at all. Others do.
The most important numbers for us is what players are actually capable of doing on live. Those numbers are real. Those are the numbers players care about. Obviously we would prefer to have the numbers solid before an expansion or patch goes live, so we do a lot of internal testing, run our own simulations (which we know are correct), and look at the numbers players generate on betas or PTR.
I have a lot of confidence in my team to balance the game now. We have just gotten worlds better from where we were a couple of expansions ago. When we find problems now it's often because there is a bug causing damage to be higher or lower than anticipated, or players figure out some new rotation or gear combination that we didn't anticipate.
As you also know, different encounters tend to benefit different specs and play styles. That's actually what we want, within reason. It adds interest and depth to the game when players can min max to an extent.
TDLR we think Balance DPS is in a pretty good place. If you disagree, please be as specific as possible when posting about it. Just posting a link to Simulation Craft or any sim isn't very helpful in that regard.
Sims are great for making gear decisions or suggesting where you can alter your rotation. Historically, they have not been great for predicting how specs will stack rank.
(The stack ranks themselves are a little frustrating, just because some players will only look at where they fall on the stack, and not consider whether that position is statistically different from the others. There is a big difference between a delta of 15% DPS and a delta of 1.5% DPS.)
Are you aware of the current state of hybrid healing and do you have any plans to adjust it?
We have been discussing having PvP Power affect either damage or healing, depending on spec. If that's too punitive, then it could affect healing by 50% of what it does for damage.
We understand there is a lot of concern about hybrid healing in PvP, and we'll be keeping a close eye on it. Shadow, Ret, Ele etc. are intended to have some off-healing capability, but they shouldn't be able to replace a healer completely.
Are 10-mans designed for certain melee and ranged compositions?
We initially balanced melee and casters to do about the same damage, figuring that melee ability to do damage while moving would offset the caster target switching. Over time, we gave casters so many ways to do damage while moving that they just ended up dominating on any movement fight. (Melee still did great on static encounters.)
We now give an even bigger edge to melee DPS, knowing that on actual encounters the damage done will even out with the casters.
You should be fine mixing melee and casters in MoP. Let us know if you don't think it is working out.
Wouldn't it be better if all combat-enhancing racials would be removed and replaced with non-combat racials?
Ultimately, we feel that racials such as goblins' Rocket Jump, worgens' Darkflight, or trolls' Berserking both add interesting gameplay and meaningfully reinforce racial identities, though they are definitely harder for us to balance than Bouncy and Treasure Finding. We'd rather continue to focus on the handful of races that feel they have lacking combat racials, and improve those. The addition of the undead Touch of the Grave passive is one example of this.
Will there be any runeforging changes as mentioned a while back?
As with many things, if we can't do something right, we end up not doing it (yet). We still aren't close to satisfied with the Runeforging system as it currently stands, but we also didn't have an overhaul to that system that we were happy with. It's a feature we're still discussing and working on.
What will the shadow priest changes mean?
We try not to design classes by filling out forms -- where is this dude's gap closer? Where is his DPS cooldown? That's a great recipe for every class feeling alike.
That said, in addition to PI we also made the Shadow Fiend do pretty serious damage for Shadow.
Why not release the internal tools you use for balancing to theorycrafters?
A couple of reasons. First, there is a long history of theorycraft in this game. I think if we remove too much of the mystery and experimentation, then the game loses some of its charm. There is less motivation to try out different rotations or gems to increase your DPS if you know with near certainty even before you begin what your max DPS is.
Second, I feel like we'd have to monitor players using it correctly. Within seconds a bunch of "My DPS is lower than you said it is" posts (whether unintentionally or maliciously) would spring up, which we would then have to troubleshoot or verify.
Why does Ghostcrawler like mages so much?
Because they are so, so pretty.
Honestly, I think it's a bit of a cop out to assume that we buff the specs we like and nerf the specs we hate. That would be a pretty dumb strategy to keep players happy and I am certain I would have been fired long ago if that's how we operated.
Will there be changes to the shaman talents?
We're certainly going to continue to iterate on the design of the talent system over the course of Mists. There are 198 talents. The odds that all 198 are perfect are rather slim.
With regard to that shaman tier in particular, the cutoff for Call of the Elements was changed to 3 minutes to prevent it from being mandatory as a throughput increase, or essentially demanding that it be paired with Healing Tide in the 75 tier. Beyond that, a shaman who drops Spirit Link to equalize his group's health and then picks it up instantly for a 90sec cooldown refund from Totemic Restoration, or a shaman who stuns his enemies with an expertly-flung Capacitor Totem via Totemic Projection, will probably be experiencing some meaningful gameplay difference as a result of his or her talent choices. That said, that tier is certainly a candidate for further adjustment.
What are your thoughts on archeology?
I agree that archaeology ended up with too much travel relative to the time you spend doing something fun. We have improved that in MoP with more dig sites per zone, and honestly Pandaria is a little more compact in general so you'll be traveling less. You should also check out some of the Archaeology gameplay in the Seat of Knowledge in Pandaria. We did some cool stuff there (IMO) and we would like to do more.
Are there any plans to update older professions to be easier to level?
Yeah. Check out what we've done with Cooking and Inscription specifically. They have some good catch-up mechanics, and we'd like to weave those into the older recipes if the systems prove popular.
Why is there a hesitation on adding new features to make things better for leveling and professions?
From somebody that has worked for nine years in an effort to provide fun, thanks for being such a dedicated long-time player!
We'd definitely love to expand raid finder and scenarios to lower-level characters. There are a lot of hurdles to overcome as it relates to scaling/tuning the content and appropriately rewarding characters of varying levels though, so it isn't something we've gotten to yet. Someday I think it'll happen. Although, we're certain to be accused of trying to pawn off "rehashed content" when we get to it. =
What is the benefit to players on a PvE server of CRZ?
CRZ is intended to make emptier zones, especially low level ones, less empty. WoW is an MMO and we think it's more fun when you see other players while you're out adventuring (and perhaps even group up with them).
We understand some players have gotten used to the idea of farming nodes or rares without any competition, but we designed all of those features with a certain population in mind. At the end of the day, WoW isn't a single player game.
CRZ won't fix the economy for underpopulated realms and it wasn't intended to. It will make it easier to group with friends from other realms, or to help you make new friends (or just someone to quest with).
There are some bugs with the feature that we are working through, and we understand players can't easily tell what's a bug from what is intended. I also think CRZ has become a bit of a bogeyman, blamed for some bugs that it has nothing to do with. :)
Why are high population realms still getting CRZ?
We have a target number of players for a zone. If you're on a high pop realm, then in general you won't get merged as often with other realms. However, CRZ is more static than say Dungeon Finder. The latter can spin up more instances as needed. With CRZ, we didn't want realms to be merged and unmerged constantly. If you saw someone in Silverpine, we wanted the possibility that you would also run into them in Hilsbrad. Now that the system is live, we'll gain a lot of data to help calibrate actual zone populations better. If our estimates were off and a zone is too full, then we'll merge it with fewer realms or not merge it at all. But that will take some time to adjust -- it doesn't adjust on the fly.
Can we get CRZ turned off during the Fishing Derby and STV Fishing Tournament? The Darkmoon rabbit? Tol Barad and Wintergrasp?
CRZ isn't intended to affect fishing tournaments. We'll get that fixed if the patch today didn't fix it.
The Darkmoon Rabbit issues are a bug. We'll definitely make other changes based on player feedback. For example, we changed the rules to only merge time zones within 3 hours of each other. If that still feels odd, we can lower that threshold even more.
Wintergrasp and Tol Barad aren't intended to be merged together. Hopefully that was fixed today.
What are you doing for dead and dying low population servers?
Cross-realm zones are definitely our first move toward improving the play experience for low-pop servers (or even medium population).
Beyond just the fact that the world will be more populated, the ability to make friends at the battle tag level (since that friendship level is cross-server) combined with the ability to do group content with those players represents a huge step forward in the ability for players on smaller servers to access a huge community to play with.
With regard to the auction house, I can imagine a future where we might decide to make auction houses cross-server. It's not something to jump into lightly, but there may be ways to design a cross-realm auction house that ensures a viable economy without getting "too big".
I'll add to this by saying that the nature of the way the player population distributes itself, merging servers ends up not really being the great solution many players imagine.
At this point, the overwhelming majority of players online at any given time are at max level and hanging around in major population centers. Merging servers makes the cities far more populated, but the outdoor world still ends up feeling dead, nothing like what the world feels like when the player population in general is still leveling-up. Even if you assume MoP succeeds in getting people back out into the world, it's important to understand that that will mean people will be out in the world in Pandaria, but the rest of the world would still feel abandoned.
Questing and Storytelling
I know that cinametics must take a long time to plan and create, but I sincerely hope they keep coming!
Hopefully this isn't too buried, I wanted to talk briefly about cutscenes. If you've been playing the game since vanilla, you know that our storytelling is constantly evolving. We're always trying new things.
When it comes to full-on cinematics, we definitely have more of them in Pandaria. They highlight KEY moments in the game and the lore; you'll see one when you first get your mission to go to Pandaria, and there's a whopper of a movie when you play through the climax of the Jade Forest. This stuff is AWESOME, we've got a great team who's put together some really magical pre-rendered moments.
It's way more important to us to convey story through gameplay, not movies. To that end, there's a lot of "less flashy" stuff we do in Pandaria to surround your character with story as you play. NPCs will seamlessly start to follow you or fight with you, the environment will change around you as you do things, and we try to have a lot more key lore characters directly involved in your experience. We're trying to do all of these things without breaking players into different phases constantly (there's less phasing in Pandaria than in previous expansions), and we're trying to do it without having super-linear zones anymore.
It's tricky. I can't say we've "nailed it." But I think Pandaria has the best in-game storytelling we've ever had in an expansion. I'm really looking forward to seeing it all play out!!
Will you be able to repeat the legendary quest?
You won't need to repeat the quest. Think of the quest as earning the right to buy gems, at which point you can buy as many as you need (not necessarily for cheap). The gem itself is unique equipped. You can equip two sha-touched daggers, but only one can have the gem. You can have another gemmed sha-touched dagger in your bags.
Could you tell me any of your favorite scrapped ideas?
Personally, Azjol (first as a zone, then as a raid) was one of the scrapped ideas I was saddest to let go. I love the idea of deepearth / underdark (Deepholm was cool, but really more of a single huge cavern than a network) and particularly coupled with the alien architecture of the nerubians. I was sad we weren't able to do more with them in the LK expansion, but I hope we can revisit them someday.
As much as you are able to go into, can you explain the thought process behind the legendary gems and the future of the legendary Black Prince quest line in MoP?
I can tackle the middle question (FWIW, it's better if you separate your questions in different posts.) Wrathion has a vision for the future of Azeroth - a united Azeroth - and he's not too particular about how we get there. We're big fans of characters who flirt along the line between hero and villain.
In 5.0, Wrathion is definitely feeling out the factions and trying to formulate a plan. It's up to you to impress him. You'll have another chance in 5.1, when the war rolls up onto the pandaren shores. As for his next move... well, no spoilers.
One of our goals with the Legendary in 5.0 is to remove some of the guild headaches and drama often associated with Legendaries. Everyone can begin working on getting a Legendary immediately, even if you use LFR. (You'll be able to gather faster with your guild, though.) Getting the final legendary (whatever form it takes) won't be an easy feat - you'll have to participate in content throughout ALL the patches.
It's a great opportunity for ALL players to experience a legendary questline!
Are we having more questlines like Angrathar the Wrath Gate?
I guess this depends on what you think defines that event. Are you asking for more quests that have an awesome climactic cinematic? Are you asking for more quests that require you to do a whole lot of things over one or more zones before it all comes together? Are you asking for quests where you delve into major cities for huge lore events?
The answer is: Yes, yes, and ... yes. :)
Although these events are few and far between - we want them to feel special. And some big events will happen in the patches. Glad you liked the Wrathgate! It was a big milestone for WoW storytelling.
Will you add gold income to PvP? A system to find fellow teammmates? What's the state of PvP in Mists?
Hi Eldacar. Yes, a system like this is something we'd like to see. We have a variety of improvements we're planning for both rated and unrated bgs.
As for gold income, it has been considered, but isn't currently in the works. We'll see how the MoP endgame plays out before further consideration. Bear in mind I say this as a habitually broke WoW player that spends a lot of time doing PvP and would definitely benefit from it.
As for the state of PvP, 85 the numbers are kind of wild... healers heal for a ton as a percentage of a health bar and non-healers die too quickly. At 90, health pools increase more than damage does (by roughly a 3:2 ratio, although your mileage may vary), so it should be noticeably better.
Dungeons and Raids
The LFR loot system is fairly anti-climatic. Did you all go through any other ideas?
We agree that the system could use some more visual oomph. Especially when you don't win an item from a boss, you feel the lack of some of the ceremony of downing a boss that used to be present, with a bunch of Need/Greed loot dialogues popping up on your screen, reviewing the loot to see if you needed anything (or, let's be honest, clicking every Dice icon that was clickable...) and then watching the rolls unfold.
There's room for improvement there, and it's something we're continuing to polish.
What is the new feature in MoP you're excited the most for?
Challenge mode dungeons. Our 5-player instanced content at this point is primarily consumed by randomly matchmade groups through the Looking for Dungeon system, and it needs to be tuned accordingly (a lesson learned from Cataclysm release Heroics). Challenge modes offer us an opportunity to return to some of the really fun core MMO gameplay that will test the skill and coordination of groups of friends and guildmates. Crowd control, assisting, target prioritization, and so forth are essential to success, and because we're normalizing any gear that is superior to level 90 dungeon blues, you can't outgear them, only outskill them.
Could LFR tokens be tradable?
The entire premise of the new LFR loot system is that your chance of winning loot is independent of absolutely all external factors. The moment you can trade items to and from your guildmates, that ceases to be the case.
And sadly, even if you would only use the ability to trade items to make the day of a random stranger in LFR, others would use it to have 24 alts funnel items to their main in a premade group.
What are Blizzard's views on 25-man raiding? Can anything be done to save 25-man raiding or make it more appealing?
In short, we're not satisfied with the current status of 25-player raids. There are clear logistical challenges to sustaining a 25-player raiding group. It's inherently 2.5 times as much churn, and thus 2.5 times as much recruitment needed. In terms of actual encounter difficulty, while we haven't always succeeded, we feel that we can deliver on a comparable experience between the two modes: 10-player raiding often involves greater personal responsibility, while 25-player raiding is more complex on a macro level (more moving pieces). Even perfect tuning doesn't compensate for the logistical difficulties, though.
Our hope and intent when introducing the parallel 10/25 structure in Cataclysm was that people would be free to pick the raid size that they prefer, but I'll admit that in light of the organizational challenges of maintaining a 25-player roster, we may need a slightly larger incentive to make that choice a truly free and fair one. When you're the guild leader of a 25-player raid group, and you realize that you only have 21 people regularly showing up, it's much easier to just forge ahead in 10-player mode than it is to go through a fresh recruitment cycle to bolster your ranks. And if Mechanar taught us anything, it's that players will always take the path of least resistance when the rewards are equal. (Note that this doesn't mean that it's necessarily the most fun path or what players would choose in the absence of any outside forces pulling them one way or another.)
A small step we've taken to that end has been to increase the amount of loot dropped in 25-player Normal mode in 5.0 to 6 pieces per boss, matching the Heroic loot rate as it has stood in Cataclysm. That's something. But it's not a true solution to the problem. It's something we continue to discuss on a regular basis.
What happened to the observer mode mentioned during BlizzCon 2011?
Observer modes are still on our want list, it's just a question of when we get to it. So far, other features and changes have been higher priority but hopefully one of these days we'll finally get it done.
What are you worried about with the raid observer feature mentioned at BlizzCon 2011?
On the raid front, I think the trick would be making sure that it doesn't end up becoming the most effective way to raid. One of the great challenges of raid leading is executing the mechanics of the encounter as required of your own specific class and role, while also keeping tabs on the macro-level raid assignments and the ways in which the fight is unfolding. Imagine how much better someone would be at leading a raid if they could do it entirely from a third-person POV. It'd almost be mandatory for competitive players, and while some raid leaders might not mind being relegated to the role of "coach" if it gives them a better vantage from which to scold people for standing in fire, we'd rather avoid encouraging that.
That said, some sort of built-in delay might avoid this issue. In short, there are technical issues to solve, but we agree that it'd be really cool.
How will you save 25-man raiding?
We want to make sure the loot you get is commensurate with the logistical effort involved. That doesn't meant the loot has to be higher item level, but it could mean you earn loot faster.
We're not trying to kill 25 raiding. I totally agree we haven't yet done a good job of saving it.
How does an encounter like Heroic Spine happen? What went wrong?
One of the dangers when we tune a Heroic raid encounter to the razor's edge is that we stress areas of our class design that aren't as well-balanced (nor were they ever intended to be). We can promise that classes will do comparable DPS on a fight like Ultraxion. We can't promise that every class will do comparable DPS in a 20 second burst window, a 40 second burst window, while cleaving two targets, while AoEing 8 targets for a minute straight, while damaging 4 targets that are all spread out, and so forth. (And a world in which those were all equal would be a rather boring, homogeneous world. We think it's pretty cool for a Combat Rogue to get excited when a fight is going to involve two enemies tanked next to each other, or for a Fire mage to get giddy when thinking of Yor'sahj or Halfus.)
That doesn't mean that we can't tune brutally hard encounters, nor does it mean that we can't stress specific class mechanics, but it does mean that we need to be careful to vary the types of mechanics that matter most in a given fight when we're tuning it that way. It was really interesting to watch guilds progress on Heroic Ragnaros, to use a specific example. Guilds ran into a hard brick wall in phase 2 of the encounter initially, just trying to deal with Molten Elementals, and we saw some of them bring as many as 9 or 10 Balance Druids because they had the best burst targeted AoE in the game. And that got them to phase 3, where they promptly realized they had no hope at all of meeting the DPS check to avoid having more than 2 meteors spawn while stacking so many moonkins, because while their targeted AoE was excellent, their single-target sustained DPS while dodging World in Flames was not. And so guilds gradually brought fewer and fewer druids, adapted to handle Phase 2 in other ways, and ultimately ended up defeating the encounter with balanced compositions.
But if not for the Phase 3 DPS check, it's safe to say that the first Heroic Ragnaros kills would have looked suspiciously like the first Heroic Nefarian kill.... So there definitely were lessons learned from Spine: specifically the importance of stressing varied and conflicting mechanics at the same time, instead of just one.
Is LFR the end or have we hit rock bottom with no requirements or preparation for free rewards?
I don't think Raid Finder is a good substitute for having a group of friends to play with. I think it's a good substitute for when your friends aren't online or you don't currently have a solid group or so on.
Raids with friends >> Raid Finder >> no raiding at all.
Do we have a chance to see a return of the event-based hard mode design instead of a toggle?
The Protectors of the Endless encounter in the Terrace of Endless Spring raid in 5.0 works exactly like the Iron Council hardmode from Ulduar; if you defeat Protector Kaolan last on that encounter, you get "Elite" loot that is even more powerful than the normal rewards from the encounter.
It's the sort of thing we'd like to continue to experiment with and introduce where it makes sense. For some of the Ulduar encounters it was intuitive (kill Freya while her protectors are still alive), but in other cases it was obscure (how many people would have discovered the Vezax hardmode without an achievement describing what to do?) or an outright trap ("Why is XT hitting so hard?"). We literally spent as much time arguing over how to trigger the Mimiron hardmode as we did designing the fight itself, before someone half-jokingly suggested, "what if we just put a big red button on the wall?"
So the toggle is here to stay, but we're definitely keeping our eyes open for places where it makes sense to apply the Ulduar model.
Will there be more environmental variety in future raids?
We're keenly aware of the importance of visual variety when planning and designing our raid content. Having multiple zones definitely helps with that, but there is still room for quite a bit of variation within even a single zone. One of the many cool things about Ulduar is that being in Mimiron's wing felt like an entirely different zone than clearing to Freya, which in turn stood apart from Ignis's forge and the entire outdoor section preceding him.
Will we ever get another Ulduar or will we be stuck with Dragon Souls and ToCs after the first tier in MoP?
We liked Ulduar and Icecrown Citadel too. Just because the 18 raid bosses in 5.0 are spread across three instances (plus two in the outside world) doesn't mean that we're never going to release another raid zone the size of Ulduar -- it just reflects the specific stories we were trying to tell about the mogu, the mantid, and the sha in this first patch of the expansion.
In fact, our next raid zone after these may be right up your alley....
What plans do you have to keep the end-game relevant and rewarding to hardcore players between content releases?
Getting content out faster is probably the best thing we can do. It's okay if guilds that work really hard get a short break. It's when that break grows long than players start to lose interest.
I know we've been saying "more faster, more better" for years, but it can often take years to turn a ship this big. :(
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Q&A with Blizzard's Creative Development Team
2012/09/05 at 1:30 PM
We're used to hearing answers about class balance in beta from Blizzard developers, but today we have some details about WoW's lore moving forward from the Creative Development team!
The heroes of Azeroth have faced down many foes; blazing Elemental Lords freed from titanic prisons, mighty demons from beyond the stars, armies of shambling corpses and even eldritch gods who defy explanation. And yet, there exist only a chosen few equipped to deal with the powerful beast that is . . . Ask CDev. Through the heroic efforts of our brave loremasters here at CDev Publishing, we proudly present to you the answers to Ask CDev #3! We even managed to get them out before our stated deadline of “when the Andromeda galaxy collides with our own.”
Here, there be dragons and magical beasts
Wrathion constantly claims that he is the last black dragon, but what of Sabellian and the other black dragons in Outland (and even the Netherwing)? Did Wrathion somehow have them killed, or is he ignorant of their existence?
Wrathion states, “To my knowledge, I am the only black dragon who remains.” Thankfully, Wrathion is not omniscient, and he is simply ignorant of the dragons beyond the Dark Portal. Both the black dragons under his elder half-brother Sabellian and the Netherwing flight remain in Outland. There is also the possibility that some black dragons on Azeroth have managed to evade Wrathion’s detection as well.
Alexstrasza states that the Aspects' "great purpose" has been fulfilled. However, the titans empowered the Aspects to watch over Azeroth and not to just stop Deathwing's second Cataclysm. Since Aman'Thul gifted Nozdormu with his powers over time, it's possible he predicted Deathwing's ultimate corruption, but that doesn't explain why the Aspects would be like, "alright, job's done, vacation time" when there's still other threats to consider (N'zoth and the Burning Legion, for example). Is this a retcon or are we missing something?
Aman’Thul, the wise leader of the titan Pantheon, had seen in a vision that the Old Gods would one day cause a catastrophe with the potential to wipe out all life on Azeroth. He and a few members of the Pantheon empowered the five Dragon Aspects with the ultimate goal of averting this single catastrophe, this Hour of Twilight, though they strove to defend Azeroth whenever a suitably apocalyptic threat emerged. Despite Aman’Thul’s vast powers, however, he was not omniscient: neither he, nor any of the other titans or Aspects knew that Neltharion the Earth-Warder would become a pawn of the Old Gods and the herald of the apocalypse. However, following the War of the Ancients and Neltharion’s betrayal, Nozdormu received another vision of the future that made it clear that their own brother would be the Hour of Twilight’s harbinger. The titans bestowed upon all five Aspects enough power to avert the apocalypse, and by turning one of the Aspects to their side, the Old Gods believed this would make their ultimate plan foolproof.
Why don’t we see mountain giants, faerie dragons, chimaera, and certain ancient units from Warcraft III like the ancients of winds or wonders and trees of life aiding the night elves now?
Many of the forest creatures that assisted the night elves were not, obviously, part of the actual military hierarchy of the Sentinels. The mountain giants, for instance, hold allegiance only to the titans, while the faerie dragons and chimaera are simply somewhat intelligent animals with ties to the Emerald Dream and Nordrassil, respectively. These beings all assisted the night elves not due to a desire to help them in particular, but because the night elves were the largest local force who opposed the Burning Legion. Short of a planetary threat, it is rare to see mountain giants, faerie dragons or chimaera fighting with a mortal army. The ancients, on the other hand, suffered heavy losses during the Third War, with many, especially the varieties that were never in great supply to begin with, returning to the forests to hopefully spread their seeds and replenish their numbers undisturbed.
Magic and Elements
Is there a reason that many priest spells, especially shadow priest spells, have names that refer to psychic phenomena like "Mind Spike" or "Psychic Horror?” Are priests implicitly telepaths?
The Light is often said to bring about feelings of positive emotion -- hope, courage, comfort -- and the like. Shadow abilities are just the opposite, able to impart feelings like despair, doubt, and panic. In a poetic sense, it can be said that the emotions which the Light brings about come from the “heart,” whereas the emotions manipulated by shadow are often based on survival logic, and therefore affect the “mind.” That said, priests and their abilities are not necessarily always psychic or telepathic in nature.
Throughout the events of Cataclysm, every Elemental Lord except Therazane is killed or captured. What happens to the political structure of the Elemental Planes with their lords gone?
There are many elementals imprisoned within the Elemental Planes, though only the most powerful have intelligence comparable to that of a civilized humanoid. Most of these elementals were pressed into service by the Twilight’s Hammer and their Old God masters during the events of the Cataclysm, and most perished. As such, it will take a long, long time for the elemental planes to rebuild their forces into an army that could threaten Azeroth again, as most of the remaining elementals are of relatively bestial intelligence and have no desire to rule over much of anything. For the Firelands in specific, the Avengers of Hyjal are guarding its few remaining portals, to ensure that a new Firelord can never rise again.
Of the Gods
Is there truly an Old God underneath the Tirisfal Glade?
Nope! There’s something incredibly unsettling there, but it’s not an Old God. It isn’t recommended to go digging through the Glades, though.
What is Elune? Is she tied to any other beings (Naaru, Titans, Loa, Elementals, An’she, etc.) in the setting’s cosmology?
See the final answer in Ask Creative Development, Round 2. Velen has been a prophet of the naaru for many thousands of years, and it’s unlikely that he would propose such a theory without significant evidence and consideration.
Why do some Alliance soldiers raised by the Forsaken immediately become loyal to the Forsaken while others do not? Are they being mind controlled? If so, by whom: Sylvanas or the Val’kyr? How does this relate to the fact that the Forsaken cultural identity is based on their free will and rebellion against the Lich King?
Free will is one of the cornerstones of Forsaken culture, with the great capacity for both good and evil that it entails. However, some undead, especially those who die in combat or under extreme stress and are raised soon after, enter into a violent, frenzied state. Undead in this state are easily manipulated and their rage is often directed at the foes of those who raised them. After the effects wear off, if the risen corpse has not been destroyed, they are given the same ultimatum that other Forsaken are offered: join the Dark Lady or return to the grave.
From the quest “A Special Surprise,” a Worgen Death Knight could learn from Lord Harford that they were servants of Arugal before their death and resurrection. But, how did they keep their humanity and intelligence without drinking the Ritual Water?
When the player death knights are pressed into the service of the Lich King, their minds are flooded with his indomitable will. The mind of a worgen who has not undergone the purification ritual beneath Tal’doren is in a state of constant battle between the wild, animal instincts of the curse and the rational mind of a human. Almost invariably, the curse overwhelms the human mind and renders the worgen little more than a ravenous beast. With the addition of the Lich King’s control, however, the instincts of the curse are shattered by his power, leaving the logical, human mind in the service of the Scourge. And with the Lich King’s will removed, as was the case with the Knights of the Ebon Blade at Light’s Hope Chapel, only the human portions of the mind remain, giving the now free, undead worgen control over its destiny. Similarly, the Forsaken discovered that the Archmage Arugal had access to enchantments that allowed his favored worgen servants -- which included Lord Harford -- to retain a fair deal of their human intelligence as well. The source of these enchantments remains a mystery to this day, as Arugal took these secrets with him to his grave.
The Price of Rule
Why did the throne of Khaz Modan fall into the hands of the Bronzebeard clan, when the Anvilmar family still had descendants? Was it one of the causes of the War of the Three Hammers? Did the Bronzebeard clan usurp the throne from the Anvilmars?
Though the bloodline of the Anvilmar family was running thin by the death of Modimus Anvilmar, it was by no means defunct, as evidenced by its modern-day descendants Thargas and Hjalmar Anvilmar. Modimus had done an admirable job of easing the tensions between the three main clans of Ironforge during his tenure as high king, though tensions always simmered under the society’s surface. After Modimus’ death and before his eldest son could be officially crowned, civil war broke out between the three clans. None know who struck the first blow -- Bronzebeard and Wildhammer dwarves blame the Dark Irons, while the Dark Irons blame the Wildhammers -- all that we know is that the Bronzebeard dwarves emerged victorious due to owning the largest, best equipped army of the three clans. Madoran Bronzebeard, leader of the Bronzebeard clan, became the ruler of the now shattered nation of Ironforge. However, due to his clan’s close ties with the Anvilmar family, he offered the now-deposed prince and his descendants a permanent seat on Ironforge’s senate as a token of reconciliation.
Can we get some information on Garithos? Where he was from and on whose orders was he acting? Was there any significant event in his past that caused his hatred of non-human races?
Grand Marshal Othmar Garithos was the only son of a baron who ruled over lands in what would later be the Eastern Plaguelands that bordered Quel’Thalas. While his father ruled from the town of Blackwood on the shores of the similarly-named lake, Garithos joined the army as a knight during the Second War, where he saw combat in Quel’Thalas defending the elves’ homeland from invading orcs. While he was in Quel’Thalas, however, a small band of orcs broke off from the main invading force and burned his home town to the ground, killing all of its inhabitants in spite of the valorous defense marshaled by its lord. Othmar’s family perished doing their duty, defending the homes and lives of their subjects. He blamed the elves for the loss of his town and family, believing that the elves diverted forces away from the Alliance’s true goal: the defense of humanity alone. After his father’s death, Garithos was awarded his title and continued his service in the armies of Lordaeron. By the time of the Scourging of Lordaeron, he had attained the rank of Grand Marshal and was the highest ranked surviving military officer in the region, promoted not necessarily due to his own abilities, but his father’s reputation and title. Cut off from the chain of command, Garithos amassed a small army of volunteers and conscripted civilians, and gave them the mission that he assumed the Alliance should have always had: the preservation of humanity above all else. Despite the ad-hoc nature of his forces, other states recognized him as potentially the last remnant of Lordaeron’s government and certainly the strongest warlord in the area. As such, officials from neighboring non-human states such as Ironforge and Quel’Thalas sent him aid, ignorant of his intolerant policies.
For the Alliance
What is the lore behind Gilnean druidism and the existence of “harvest-witches”? Is it a native practice, developed by the humans? Did they somehow pick it up from the night elves, even before the Eastern Kingdoms’ discovery of Kalimdor?
In the early days of humanity and its civilization, many tribes of humans had primitive belief systems that incorporated simple nature magic. However, the rise of organized religion such as the Holy Light and the potent arcane magics introduced by the high elves quickly supplanted such traditions. Gilneas, due to its relative isolation, has retained a degree of their ancient culture in the contemporary era. The religious leaders of what was in Gilneas referred to as the “old ways” eventually became “harvest-witches”; those who used their nature powers to augment Gilneas’ agricultural output during and following its period of industrialization. Due to the presence of harvest-witches in their culture, when Gilneans learned about night elf druids (albeit through second, third and even fourth-hand sources) they became fascinated by them and their exotic connotations, to the point where many started referring to harvest witches as “druids”, though this was quite far from the truth, as few Gilneans had any idea what a druid actually was! Harvest-witches have a limited control over nature, especially plant life, and the powers of harvest witches bear a coincidental resemblance to the low-level abilities of actual druids. Harvest witches who contracted the worgen curse (which was druidic in origin) found that their powers were somewhat amplified, and after making first contact with the night elves cursed harvest witches were offered induction into the Cenarion Circle for both study and training.
In Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, Maiev Shadowsong mentions the Night Elves wiping out various races in the past. Was this just bluster, or have they actually engaged in genocidal campaigns?
Maiev may not be the most balanced individual on Azeroth, but she does understand the value of intimidating her enemies. The night elves have never completely wiped out a species, though they have engaged in brutal and efficient campaigns of total war that have shattered their enemies’ civilizations, such as the War of the Satyr, in which they completely decimated any semblance of central leadership for the satyrs, forcing them to live in small sects to this day.
For the Horde
How did the blood elven fel eye glint become so widespread? The Warcraft Encyclopedia suggests that Rommath only taught the blood elves of Azeroth about how to siphon arcane magic, as most of the populace would likely be “horrified” if they knew the true extent of Kael’s dealings with Illidan.
The situation regarding blood elf eyes is, in fact, extremely similar to that of the green skin of orcs: just being around heavy use of fel magic turned the eyes of the blood elves green. You could be the most pious of priests or most outdoorsy of Farstriders, chances are, if you were a high elf in Quel’Thalas or Outland following the Third War, you were around fel energies, and your eyes would turn green. Like the orcs’ skin color, such an effect would take a very long time to wear off. Fel magic works a bit like radiation in this sense; it permeates the area and seeps into anything in the vicinity. Anything near a source of fel magic shows signs of slight corruption, it just so happens that high elves and orcs manifest it in a very visual way.
How does Cenarius view the Horde? Considering that Cenarius’ first instinct upon seeing orcs in his forest was to attack them, and Cenarius was killed by the father of the current warchief, it seems odd that Cenarius and his allies are so cordial to the Horde and orcs in particular in Hyjal.
Despite no longer having warlocks in their ranks, the orcs of Thrall’s Horde still carried within them the unmistakable mark of the Burning Legion upon their very souls up until the moment that Grom Hellscream defeated Mannoroth. Cenarius, as a being so attuned to nature that he can sense the slightest corruption, assumed that the orcs in Ashenvale were scouts of the Legion. This, ironically, sent the Warsong clan back into the service of Mannoroth and lead to the reestablishment of their connection to the potent fel magics that first bound them to the Legion. Cenarius’s spirit returned to the Emerald Dream after his defeat, and within it, he was able to sense the events of the Battle of Mount Hyjal. Cenarius saw the orcs defend Nordrassil hand-in-hand with the night elves and humans, and developed a growing respect for them. Cenarius saw that, despite their fel taint, they were allies against the Legion and defenders of the land (noting Garrosh’s father’s victory over his former enslaver in particular), so when both he and the Horde returned to Hyjal to defend the World Tree once again, Cenarius saw the orcs and their allies in a new light.
Are the Wastewander Bandits of Tanaris and nomadic humans of Uldum native to the region or did they come to Kalimdor during the period of the Third War? If it’s the latter, why did their societies change so much in the short amount of time between then and WoW?
The Wastewander Bandits descend from a small band of human pirates who arrived in Kalimdor shortly after its discovery by the peoples of the Eastern Kingdoms. When the Southsea pirates arrived and entered into competition with them, they were essentially marooned in Tanaris after their few ships were stolen. They took to a new life as bandits and started raiding rich goblin settlements and capturing their life-giving water wells. After the failure of Uldum’s cloaking device a few bandits split off from the Wastewanders to pilfer the treasures of the titans.
The New Council of Tirisfal stated in the comic that they intended to investigate Cho’gall and the Twilight’s Hammer. However, in Cataclysm itself and the Bastion of Twilight in specific, the New Council of Tirisfal is nowhere to be found. What have its members, such as Meryl Firestorm or Med’an been up to?
Most of the members of the New Council of Tirisfal have scattered to the winds, as it was not quite the secret and binding order that the original Council was. Reghar Earthfury is a member of the Earthen Ring and compatriot of Thrall. Vindicator Maraad returned to the Exodar and helped quash a riot caused by asylum seekers. High Priest Rohan returned to Ironforge, assisting Prince Anduin Wrynn of Stormwind with relief efforts following the Cataclysm, and also helped sort out the short succession crisis during the city’s Dark Iron occupation. Hamuul Runetotem joined the Cenarion Circle in battling the fire elemental forces of Ragnaros and the Twilight’s Hammer invading Mount Hyjal. Broll Bearmantle settled in Darnassus, temporarily assuming Malfurion’s duties of overseeing druid scouting parties while he assisted Tyrande in combat in Feralas. Jaina Proudmoore’s recent adventures following her tenure on the New Council of Tirisfal can be read in Christie Golden’s upcoming novel Tides of War. Meryl Felstorm, though not officially part of the new Counci, has been seen in various ancient libraries researching ancient tomes related to binding, imprisoning and banishing demons, in hopes that he might find a permanent prison for the dreadlord possessing him, Kathra’natir. As for the wonderfully unique Med’an, no one has seen hide, nor hair of him following Maraad’s return to the Exodar, leading some to believe that he has traveled to a new world or plane to continue his training.
Why is Tol Barad apparently home to a population of tauren?
The island of Tol Barad’s location on sea lanes and lack of policing due to the collapse of many of the Alliance’s states during the events of the Third War made it a very attractive location for pirates. The town of Rustberg, originally housing many of the nearby prison’s staff, was abandoned when they were recalled to Stromgarde to deal with the catastrophes back home. The town was repurposed by a band of pirates into a base from which they would strike at the wealthy trade towns along the shores of the Baradin Bay. Over the years, some pirates had journeyed to Kalimdor and recruited or impressed various tauren into their crews, tauren who would later call Rustberg home just as their shipmates do.
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