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Ask the Devs #11: Healing
2011/07/15 at 12:16 PM
Ask the Devs #11 was posted and this time it's all about healing. As someone who has played a healer since vanilla, I probably have too many opinions here so I'll let you guys do most of the reading--overall, there are some good questions, especially the one about Holy priest viability in top PvE content, but the answers aren't necessarily the best. And while Mana Tide is brought up, they don't talk much about how currently many guilds bring a Resto shaman in over another class solely for that buff.
I spend a lot of my time in raids keeping Water Shield up, which I rely on to maintain enough mana. There have been times I've neglected to heal someone because I had to refresh Water Shield. Why are shaman healers less effective compared to other healing classes? – Epistemology (NA), Ерз (EU-RU)
We’d like to be more consistent about what does and doesn’t trigger Water Shield. Having the shield trigger when taking direct damage, and consume an orb, is consistent with how all shaman shields work. On some encounters though, constant pulsing damage probably burns through those charges too quickly and doesn’t need to do so – that said, if you’re having to refresh Water Shield often, that also generally means that you’re getting a large amount of extra mana from all those procs that are burning through it. A situational glyph (like we have for Lightning Shield) could help with this issue, and that may be something we consider in the future.
Shaman raid tank healing is, if anything, underrated. With a combination of Earth Shield, Riptide, and Greater Healing Wave fuelled by Tidal Waves, a shaman’s throughput can be quite impressive. Yes, a Holy paladin using Beacon can more effectively heal two tanks who are simultaneously taking damage, but on the other hand, a shaman can deal better with multi-target damage or healing clumps of players. Healers have different strengths and weaknesses, which is fine as long as it doesn’t get too extreme, but we recognize that the core functionality of being able to heal a single tank who is taking heavy damage from a boss is something all healers need to be able to do, and we’re satisfied with the current balance in that regard. We will, of course, make adjustments if inequalities begin to appear.
The Mana Tide change in 4.2 was primarily aimed at reducing the mana available to non-shaman healers in raids. In short, shaman are balanced around always having their own Mana Tide, but other healers are instead balanced around their personal cooldowns (Shadowfiend, Innervate, etc.). Adding Tide on top of those often led to other healers having access to so much mana that managing the resource became a non-issue in many situations. The change from Improved Water Shield to Resurgence was designed to offset the Mana Tide reduction’s personal impact to the shaman.
Is it intended for “smart” heals and target capped aoe spells to heal companions/pets like bloodworms instead of players? Can you redesign Shaman’s Chain Heal, so that it can jump over full HP players to a target without full HP? Do you have any plans to make chain heal stronger/more appealing for 5man/10man content? – Epicfail (NA), 珍妮佛羅培根 (TW), Pikapika (NA)
True AoE heals (e.g. Healing Rain) will heal pets and guardians, but will not count those units towards the AoE cap. We’d prefer for “smart” heals to prioritize players over non-players whenever possible, and we’ll continue to improve the logic on such heals until that is the case – it certainly doesn’t feel particularly satisfying to see that you’ve just delivered a critical heal to a Bloodworm.
Chain Heal is inherently a situational spell – that situation tends to arise more often the more players are present, but we don’t have any plans to redesign the spell to make it the go-to heal when there are fewer players present, or they are all spread far apart. We’d rather augment other tools, or add new ones, if it appears that Shaman healing is inadequate for particular situations.
At the start of Cataclysm, the the idea was given that developers wanted to step away from niche healing and let all healers be capable tank or raid healers. Has this goal since changed? Is there any plan to change the dogma “Holy Paladin = Tank healer”? As I remember, devs said that they wanted to change this formula in a past interview but Holy Paladins are still considered as a tank healer, indispensable for raid. Even thought other healers can heal tankers, there are people who say that this job is hard for other healers. – Frazlo (NA), 트롤학개론 (KR)
The goal hasn’t changed. We added three new heals for paladins and changed their resource model to make them a better group healer. You can argue that we didn’t go far enough and we should have given paladins even more new heals, but we didn’t want the Holy spec to be unrecognizable for a long-time player.
We suspect several paladins would turn your question around and argue that it’s not that they are indispensible tank healers, but that they can’t compete against other healers for group healing. Ultimately, we think the problem is Holy Radiance. Light of Dawn is a finisher so it’s never going to be continuously available for periods of intense group healing without unshackling it from Holy Power. Holy Radiance could be changed however. Our original concept of Holy Radiance being a tool the paladin used to heal those around her never quite panned out – we had to keep bumping the range to make it a useful heal, which removed much of the positional gameplay. Currently it is potent, but fairly “fire and forget.” A paladin is never choosing not to use Holy Radiance, unless perhaps mana is very tight. A better model for Holy Radiance, and something we are considering for the next content patch, is as a cast-time spell with no cooldown that generates Holy Power (for Holy paladins at least). This would give Holy paladins an actual area-healing rotation -- Holy Radiance and Light of Dawn -- that they could use instead of the single-target heals. Currently Holy Radiance can just be layered on top of the other heals, so the paladin isn’t shifting into group-healing mode the way a shaman can focus on Chain Heal or a priest can focus on Prayer of Healing.
Are you still considering creating a new heroic class of healer? Are there any plans for adding any new class with a healing talent tree in future expansions? – Molatuna (EU-FR), Elvenadoren (EU-EN)
Obviously, we can’t talk about future expansions yet. What we can share is that whenever we have discussed adding a new class that can heal, the biggest question we debate is whether the healing model should be similar to the existing classes or something radically different. Something different has the potential to attract players currently burned out on healing or maybe even new healers. On the other hand, it would be much harder to balance. We know the three-heal, mana-and-Spirit based system largely works.
What are the developers' thoughts on perhaps giving Discipline priests three strengths/types of shields/absorbs, in a similar manner as all other healers have three main heals? Discipline priests (especially those purely going for absorb) always were unique through this absorb, I mean: Shields. Why does this become shorter and shorter, always saying we should go for direct healing instead? In that case you could play another healing class that has better direct heals. – Kahlan (NA), Zerreshju (EU-DE)
Balancing the Discipline Priest is often challenging because they can provide so much more damage prevention than the other healers. If Discipline priests had all absorb spells instead of heals, it might make them mandatory for all raids but weak when healing a 5-player dungeon. That said, replacing one of the three mainstay heals with an absorb for Disc is certainly something we’ve talked about before. It’s too big a change for the current expansion but something we’d like to explore in the future. Power Word: Shield is instant so it’s hard to build a whole rotation around that spell. If Discipline had an efficient cast-time absorb and then used Power Word: Shield more for instant healing, their toolkit would feel more fleshed out. However, players who cling to the attitude of “I’m a Disc priest; I should only shield,” aren’t really understanding our design for the class. Ditto with druids who only want to cast hots, or paladins who only want to drop heal bombs on the main tank. “I’m good at something” isn’t the same as “I only do that thing.”
When healing, it is hard to see the overall screen because healers must keep an eye on the Raid frame. And due to PVP balance issues, dispels are only allowed for healer’s. This situation makes it too harsh for the healers and gives to much responsibility and also a burden because healers have to heal and move at the same time during raids. Isn’t this a little too harsh? – 스페이드 (KR), 신기하군 (KR)
Well, raiding isn’t only hard for healers. In fact, most of the time the damage seems unhealable, it’s probably because it is intended to be unhealable and there is some aspect of the fight that you’re missing or not executing as well as you could. While raiding healers have a lot of responsibility. It is our sense that most of them want that responsibility – that it is what attracts them to healing.
While we agree that we’ve had fights with too much “urgent dispelling” as you put it, we’ve tried to be better about that in more recent content. The dispels on Valiona and Theralion or Ascendant Council need to be done at the right moment, which is emphatically not as soon as the debuff appears. You need a smart dispeller for those mechanics, not a quick dispeller. We also had fairly “urgent interrupts” in Blackwing Descent and Bastion of Twilight, which are often the responsibility of melee, we continue to have situations where tanks need to respond immediately to something (say a tank swap or incoming adds), and we have mechanics where anyone who isn’t aware of their surroundings can wipe their whole group.
We definitely use incoming damage as a tuning mechanism, but we also use berserk timers to set a high bar for the DPS specs. There is a risk that if berserk timers are too tightly tuned that raids may attempt to replace healers with more DPS, which isn’t doing the healers any favors either. Note that limiting dispels to healers isn’t just a PvP balance issue. We wanted to know for sure that every 5-player group would be able to dispel magic. The alternatives were that there could never be important debuffs to dispel or some healers just wouldn’t be viable for some content.
Healers are usually responsible for the loss of the teammate, but not all the mistakes are made by healers, such as over taunt or damage zone avoidance. This also happens in the 5 man dungeons frequently. Is there any chance to add a design to punish damage classes with inappropriate behavior? Is there ever going to be a clear indicator that the indivdual died from "unhealable damage" in combat logs/on screen warning? – 明亮 (TW), Galadruin (EU-EN)
We see the mindset slowly changing from the notion that anytime someone dies, it’s the healer’s fault. We agree that there could be more situations where we make it obvious that the healer couldn’t realistically save the DPS from their mistake. On the other hand, saving other characters is part of the fun of playing a healer, so we don’t want to totally remove that gameplay. We also provide many specs with sprints, self-heals and emergency buttons of their owns, so the answer shouldn’t always be unhealable damage. We also are making more and more use of mechanics where “standing in the fire” doesn’t cause damage, but causes a debuff which lowers DPS, hitting those players where it hurts the most. Finally, we are exploring more on-screen warnings for dangerous debuffs in the same way we alert you when certain class procs have gone off. We just have to be careful not to turn the default UI into an unrecognizable sound and light show.
How do you plan on addressing our inflating spirit and mana pools later in the expansion to keep mana a resource, rather than a solid blue bar? Do you plan to preserve a principle of rational use of mana, which makes it interesting to play a healer? In the beginning of Cataclysm we had to use almost every spell to succeed, while now everything is about pushing a couple of your best healing spells. With the release of a new patch the level of equipment will raise significantly, and we won’t have to think about mana regeneration any more. Do you plan to somehow adjust encounters or healing mechanics perhaps? – Nehalim (NA), Ксенас (EU-RU)
Our plan was always that healers could gradually grow out of being very mana-limited, but we didn’t want that to happen in the very first tier of content. If it happens in the final tier of content, that’s fine. It will help healers feel like they have actually become more powerful from accumulating so much gear. Consider that tank health, mitigation and avoidance increase with each tier, as does the size of heals and the rate at which you cast them, and those are probably sufficient to offset the increased damage being done by bosses and trash.
In heroic raids, even today, healers often rely on their inefficient heals a great deal, so there isn’t a ton of room to expand into becoming even more inefficient (and therefore requiring more mana regeneration). As such, you should consider Spirit somewhere in between the stat continuum of hit and something like haste or crit. For the former, there are hard caps. For the latter, there are inflexion points where the value of a stat grows faster or slower, but in general more is always helpful. For Spirit you need enough to feel good about your healing longevity and anything beyond that is probably of diminishing value. We think this actually makes itemization as a healer more interesting for the player than just grabbing more and more of a particular uber stat.
With the raid content we have released for Cataclysm so far, we feel like we can put pressure on healers to keep tanks alive without repeating the gameplay we had in Wrath of the Lich King, where the smart way to play was to keep heals constantly going because of the risk of the tank dying in two back to back hits. Even with increasing regeneration, we don’t think we’ll get back to a two-shot the tank situation for Cataclysm. If your tanks are dying faster than you can heal them currently, again, you’re probably missing something about the encounter or aren’t quite ready for it yet.
We had originally planned on having bosses in later tiers scale so that players would need more crit, hit, expertise, dodge and parry for later tiers. We ultimately decided not to do this, at least for the current expansion. That decision was driven partially because we couldn’t figure out an elegant way for stats like haste to scale with boss power and partially because we weren’t convinced our planned UI would communicate the concept clearly enough to players. For example, would just bosses be affected? Just raid bosses? If not, would you want separate sets of gear for dungeons vs. raids? Those are solvable problems, but we weren’t convinced the path we were on would solve them as well as we would like.
Our current numbers wouldn’t work if we had a dozen raid tiers before increasing the level cap, but that’s not our plan.
Are there any plans to give Holy Priests access to a viable 3-minute raid cooldown? There are concerns that without a cooldown along the lines of Power Word: Barrier, Spirit Link Totem, or Tranquility, we may need to play disc a lot in firelands. Maybe simply an improved Divine Hymn? – Maladi (NA)
You can make the argument that the Holy priest doesn’t have a similar raid cooldown like Power Word: Barrier, or that Divine Hymn isn’t as powerful as Tranquility. However, we feel the Holy priest toolkit overall is strong, that they provide meaningful contributions to raid healing, and are well represented in actual raid groups. It’s possible we may make Divine Hymn more of a Holy (rather than Discipline) priest thing in the future, and bump it up to around where Tranquility is, if the need presents itself. Overall, Holy priests are fine. They have enough benefits that few guilds seem to be sitting them for want of yet another raid cooldown, and Guardian Spirit remains an exceptional tank cooldown.
Looking at the healer changes with patch 4.2, there are changes being made to paladins and druids, but there doesn't appear to be any for either the priest or shaman. Do you feel comfortable with where these two classes are? Where do you feel the other healers are at currently? – Sergan (LA)
As we write this, heroic attempts on the Firelands raid have just begun and the new PvP season has started. At this time, we are happy with all five of the healing specs. We don’t think there is a weak or mandatory healer. We try not to change things just for the sake of change. We know that constant changes can be exhausting for players, so we try to resist the urge to tinker with mechanics, specs or classes that are basically working fine. We suspect that sometimes players fall into a mode where if they don’t see copious patch notes for their character that they feel like we don’t love them anymore. We love all of our classes. If you don’t see any changes in patch notes it either means that we don’t think changes are warranted yet, or that we have future plans to change things that we haven’t quite solidified or lack the ability to implement exactly how we want. This doesn’t mean every class is now perfect and requires no additional tweaks – far from it. Just try and distinguish between “my dude hasn’t changed lately” and “my dude is fundamentally broken and the developers don’t know or don’t care.” We can assure you the latter sentiment is never the case.
What is the reasoning behind certain classes that lack a healing spec (such as a rogue) being able to self-heal better than a dps spec of a healing class (such as a balance druid)? – Idej (NA)
A great recipe for class homogenization is to go down the list of every ability and make sure that every class has their own version of that ability. We don’t think powerful self-healing is mandatory for every character. Some classes are inherently better at it than others. As long as the overall package is competitive, it’s okay for specs or classes to have strengths and weaknesses. If the overall package isn’t competitive, we’ll certainly hear about it.
Our definition of hybrid class is a class that has a tank or healing spec. We don’t spend much effort to make sure that the DPS specs of hybrid classes are more “hybridy” than the DPS specs of mage, warlock, rogue or hunter. Sometimes hybrid DPS specs might be able to throw out a heal, but unless used very strategically, those contributions are often in the rounding error of the healing provided by the dedicated healers. And when DPS specs are healing themselves (Frost and Unholy DKs before 4.2) or others (Ret paladins before 4.1) too much, we take action there as well. So it’s not a priority for us that Balance druids are great healers. We recognized going into Cataclysm that rogues had a lot of down time while solo, that they didn’t have many options for spending combo points after a target died prematurely, and that too much rogue survivability was based around crowd controlling an opponent. Thus we thought there was a need for Recuperate. If Balance druids have similar challenges, then we’d look for solutions for them as well, but they would hopefully be unique or at least kit-appropriate solutions.
With the changes being made to critical heals, do you feel that crit will become a more prominent stat for healers, up there with haste and mastery? Or is it a less important change aimed at balancing between the pve and pvp aspects of the game? – Derëk (LA)
Even with the 4.2 changes, haste may very well be a more attractive stat for healers. We’re just trying to narrow the gap. It’s not important for all stats to be identical as long as they aren’t so far apart that you’re tempted to keep perfectly optimized gear from a previous tier instead of less perfectly optimized gear from a new tier. We want a healer to take gear with crit seriously (even if he would ultimately prefer haste) rather than passing or sharding it. We made the change mostly for itemization reasons and for any PvP vs. PvE concerns. PvP healers tend to have low crit chances anyway and we have other ways to balance healing in PvP should it become too powerful (predominantly the Mortal Strike and related debuffs).
Do you feel that the three-heal model you implemented at the start of Cataclysm is a success? Have you changed your expectations or goals in regards to the three-heal model after watching a tier of raiding? How do you feel about how the various specs are using or avoiding these three core heals? – Anohako (NA)
Overall, we still like the model and we intend to keep supporting it. One flaw with the system is that healers in 5-player dungeons often have to make harder choices about which of the three core heals to use at any given moment. In raids, especially in 25-player mode, healers can afford to specialize more. To be fair, raids often replace spell-choice complexity with encounter complexity, but overall it would be nice if players graduated from less complexity to more complexity as they went into more challenging content rather than the reverse. As a theoretical example, imagine that priests didn’t have access to Greater Heal in 5-player dungeons, so the choice would be between the fast, expensive Flash Heal vs. the slower, efficient Heal (in addition to all their other tools of course). It’s hard to develop a system that would make such a restriction make sense, but you get the idea.
When comparing classes, the intent was always that the druid and Disc priest would use those three core heals the least. It is a design problem (though not a massive one) that those two specs can specialize so much in 25-player raids that they can forsake their three core heals to a great extent. In smaller groups, they still need to look at their full toolbox. We like the way the shaman works, particularly with Tidal Waves providing synergy among the three core heals. The paladin model is close but as mentioned above, they have to rely on the three heals too much because they don’t have another heal like Riptide or Penance to add to the mix. Holy priests still suffer a bit of the reverse where there are so many heals that it’s hard to provide niches for them all. We’ve talked about a spec model where there are even more specialization spells (like the ones you get at level 10) so that we can have more spells for each healer without players having to spend talent points on them.
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Ask the Devs #10: Damage Dealing
2011/06/24 at 11:37 AM
Another couple of weeks have rolled by, and another set of questions has been answered by the Blizzard developer team. Last time it was all about tanks, but this week DPS specs and characters can rejoice, because they are in the spotlight. Some of the more interesting questions cover things like DPS warriors and Frost Death Knights building up threat too quickly and whether this will be addressed in the future; ingame damage meter similar to Recount and Skada; positional requirements for some abilities, and whether they are a mechanic that has no place in the Cataclysm raiding environment. Read the full post for even more interesting questions!
The new "assist" pet stance added in 4.2 would work very well with fire totems - is there any reason why totems were specifically excluded from that functionality? – Korghal (NA/ANZ)
We’d love to have Searing Totem use the new assist stance, but we felt it was too risky to just flip that switch without a great deal of testing. True pets have a control bar so it’s possible to override their behavior if the default behavior is something you don’t want. That’s not the case for Searing Totem. We’ve just recently been able to get the totem to behave fairly predictably in a wide variety of situations – it has a lot of special case code designed to make it do what players want it to do. (Making an AI behave consistently isn’t that hard; making an AI read players’ minds is the hard part!) If assist works out well for pets, and some of the temporary guardians like Guardian of Ancient Kings, we’ll turn it on for Searing Totem.
The Fire Elemental is even more complicated than Searing Totem because the totem is the master of the elemental, not the shaman. It generally works pretty well focusing on the Flame Shock target, but we plan on rebuilding the spell so that the totem summons the elemental (and killing the totem could still despawn the elemental), but the shaman is considered the master, which will solve some of the problems that arise.
Have you considered reincorporating Windfury as the shaman's main DPS ability? Lava lash is their best ability (Cataclysm), but it feels nerfed and feels far too predictable. – Saverhagen (LA)
Every Enhancement shaman loves seeing numbers fly across the screen when a huge multi-crit Windfury occurs, reinforced by our recent change to allow Windfury Weapon to trigger three additional attacks, rather than merely two. Windfury is ultimately a passive ability, though, and serves as an extension (albeit an awesome one) of your auto-attacks. In Burning Crusade, Windfury was prominent because shaman had very few active buttons to press, and long periods of downtime between them that some would fill by “twisting” totems. Not the most compelling gameplay. In Wrath of the Lich King, they arguably inherited the opposite problem, having so many buttons to press that there was never a free global cooldown, while no single ability felt particularly impactful or meaningful. For Cataclysm, we attempted to pare down the rotational complexity of the Enhancement shaman (removing the need to manually refresh Lightning Shield, removing Fire Nova from single target rotations, etc.) and at the same time created synergies that allow Lava Lash to do impressive damage.
As an aside, there were several questions that we didn’t answer about whether Enhancement DPS is too low overall. It is, and we buffed it for 4.2: (
Currently, Enhancement benefits greatly from mastery, but poorly from crit and haste; what solutions have you considered (aside from the previously mentioned possibility of 200% crits) to make these stats more attractive to Enhancement shaman, especially since the spec has such a high requirement for hit rating and expertise rating, making it harder to reforge into more mastery? – Wickedpissah (NA/ANZ)
As we’ve discussed in the past, any time a class has a meaningful portion of its damage only receiving 50% bonus critical damage, it’s going to be difficult for crit rating to be an attractive stat. We’d certainly prefer if haste were a more attractive stat for Enhancement shaman. For many other melee classes, the great value of haste lies in its ability to increase resource generation. Enhancement shaman are not generally limited by any resource, so aside from more auto-attack damage and Windfury/Flametongue procs, haste currently yields more Maelstrom Weapon charges. We’ve thought about taking steps to make Maelstrom Weapon a more central mechanic for the Enhancement shaman spec, which would in turn make haste potentially much more valuable, but don’t currently have any firm solution to announce.
Is anything ever going to be done to decisively end Enhancement's usage of spell power weapons? – Ragnarok (NA/ANZ)
Part of what makes the Enhancement shaman feel like a true hybrid is their even mix of melee attacks and magical ones, and changing the way spells like Lightning Bolt or Flame Shock work might have a serious impact on how Elemental shaman play. We do want Enhancement shaman using melee-oriented Agility weapons, though, and one solution we’re considering is a mechanism that would make Enhancement shaman spells all scale from attack power, similar to what we did with Flametongue procs. In the meantime, we’ve taken steps (and will continue to take them) to ensure that while spell power weapons might at times, with certain gear setups, remain an interesting alternative, they aren’t the strictly superior route.
DPS Warriors and Frost DKs can generate threat very quickly, even if they are trying to be very careful, letting the tank build up threat, etc. Are there any plans for these 2 classes who seem to have threat issues? – Snooptrogg (NA/ANZ), 용소랑 (KR)
For a long time we’ve resisted the temptation to add threat-reduction abilities to warriors and death knights because we don’t want every class to have the mirror images of the same abilities. Class homogenization is a complex and philosophical discussion and probably worthy of a developer blog soon. In some cases, we realized that preserving flavor among classes was just holding classes back – reliable interrupts are a great example of this, where we finally just gave one to every melee and tank spec. But we feel like we have to remain vigilant about this sort of thing. While it might feel like a nice band aid if you are currently the character lacking what seems like a must-have ability, in the long term it can do harm to the game. You see a lot of players today who would rather trade some of their utility and possibly even game balance in order to have classes behave more differently from each other. You can disagree with that point, but it’s hard to completely dismiss it and we certainly don’t. Getting back to the original point, this may be one of those cases where we just need to give in and make sure all DPS specs have some sort of personal threat dump. We’d definitely want to do it as an active button that requires player interaction and not just a passive modifier that lets you just ignore threat as a game mechanic.
Will we ever see an in-game damage and healing meter to replace Recount? – Sinthìa (NA/ANZ), Hemodynamic (EU-EN)
We’d dearly love to do this, and it’s been something we’ve been working on, off and on for some time. The problem is that increasingly players place a really high and occasionally unhealthy emphasis on meters, and once there is an official Blizzard-supported meter, then that situation is only going to get worse. Anything that isn’t portrayed in our meters with a great degree of accuracy is going to be misinterpreted and cause forum drama. For example, it’s easy for DPS to inflate their meters on some fights by attacking targets that don’t matter. How do we handle those situations -- trust players to know the difference? That’s tricky, especially when the community has a penchant for distilling lots of fights down into a single measurement of DPS. As another example, the Restoration druid Tranquility is intended to fill a role similar to Power Word: Barrier or Spirit Link Totem. Yet the druid cooldown is an actual heal, which greatly inflates their meters to the extent that we see a lot of players complaining about how Resto druids are overpowered. Do we not show Tranquility on healing meters?
On the other hand, one benefit of having easy-to-use Blizzard meters would be getting players to focus on their own personal DPS instead of what the best players in the world are capable of. It makes developers cry when we see a good Fury warrior go Arms and do lackluster DPS just because they read that Arms DPS is higher. (Now, if that player just likes Arms or wants to try something different, more power to them.)
Also consider that damage and healing meters are valued by a pretty small set of the playing population as a whole. New UI features like the quest and equipment systems we added not so long ago, and even the upcoming Dungeon Journal, would be more widely used overall.
So the short answer is that it would be a very useful tool and we suspect we’ll do it eventually, but we have an enormous responsibility to get it right, and even then it could do bad things to the community as a whole.
Are there any plans to reduce ramp-up times and RNG for certain specs? IE shadow orbs can not proc for quite a while sometimes, hindering our DPS. – Xista (NA/ANZ), Whitewnd (KR)
We generally introduce ramp-up time for two reasons. The first and most important is so players have a decision about when to switch targets. If there was zero cost for target swapping, then it would always be the right thing to do. We want to reward players, modestly, when they know when they should swap targets versus sticking with the original. The second issue is that ramp-up time helps us reduce burst in PvP.
The intent for Shadow Orbs was that procs weren’t guaranteed so that there is some unpredictability involved to add gameplay. We could easily make it less random, but then they wouldn’t be something you think about or factor in your rotation. Sometimes you won’t get Shadow Orb procs and your DPS will be lower than it could be if you get really lucky. Shadow Priest DPS is balanced around the average of those two extremes. If you get lucky and get good procs, that’s an unexpected bonus.
There’s a thin line between something that’s frustratingly random and something that is boring and has no gameplay. We have learned that when percent chances are too high, then rather than feeling like a bonus when it happens, it becomes very frustrating when it fails to happen.
If encounters are not being designed with positional requirements and or other abilities (Shred, Backstab, Feral Charge on Al'akir, Killing Spree in general) in mind, why do we still have those requirements? It seems unfair in a competitive PvE environment to allow those very limiting requirements to exist if the encounters are going to be heavily punitive towards classes that have them. – Foxlore (NA/ANZ)
The main reason we have the positional requirement is to have a different vector along which to design abilities. Backstab without a directional requirement could probably just be folded into Sinister Strike. It’s a way to make abilities different from each other, in the same way we have ranged attacks vs. melee attacks, instant spells vs. cast time spells and physical damage vs. magic damage. Also consider that all melee should want to get behind a target, and it hurts all of their DPS when they cannot. We have also made the alternatives to the positional requirements much less of a DPS loss than they used to be. If you go into your Mangle rotation instead of your Shred rotation, your DPS will drop, but not catastrophically. Now there are some encounters where the positional penalty is just too extreme. In 4.2 we have the ability to make the “back” of a boss encompass 240 degrees, and we have done so for bosses like Magmaw, Sinestra and Ragnaros. Furthermore, there are fights where Killing Spree and Feral Charge just kill you. That obviously isn’t acceptable. We have manually added some safeguards to try and manually solve a few encounters, such as Magmaw, but even that isn’t bulletproof and we are investigating more robust and global solutions. But it’s technically challenging given the diversity of our encounters.
What do you consider when looking at whether a class is doing too much or too little damage? – Merovin (LA)
As you probably suspect, we have a simple counter that measures the number of forum posts on a given class and we buff or nerf accordingly.
Seriously though, we look at a lot of different measurements, which becomes the full-time job of several designers. Our three most powerful tools are doing predictive modeling for how classes will perform under various scenarios and with various levels of gear, actually testing these numbers using characters in the game world, and then measuring the numbers generated by actual players on PTR or live servers.
Remember that we have access to a number of tools not available to players. While theorycrafters have gotten very good at reverse engineering how our damage calculations work, there are still a few opportunities where they get it wrong while we can just peek under the hood to remind ourselves how a calculation is made. Secondly, it’s very easy for us to create a lot of characters with whatever gear we want and have them beat on whatever kinds of targets we want in a very controlled environment. We can also change any of the numbers to empirically test the outcome. Furthermore, we can automate character damage rotations to a much greater degree than macros can accomplish, which gives us an idea of the delta between theoretical maxima and more typical player performance (which includes things like human reaction speed, decision making and good old Internet lag).
The specific situation that the character is in matters enormously. Maximum sustained DPS is almost irrelevant in PvP when applying burst in controlled windows is king. Yet both numbers have a huge impact on the game and neither is more important than the other. In PvE, the specifics of an encounter can trump almost everything. We have very few Patchwerk-style fights these days, and sometimes we even buff or debuff characters directly as part of the encounter. Some specs are good on movement fights. Some do better when there is a lot of incoming damage. Some benefit from spreading dots. Some can shoot flying dragons. We tend to focus a lot of our balance effort on the current tier of raiding content, because that is what is most important to players, but even then we have to look at a wide variety of skill sets. We do look at scaling into future content, but we tend to obsess over it a lot less than players do, because we adjust classes quite often these days. We actually do read the forums a lot too, our own and all the others out there that you probably read, just to make sure there is nothing we’re missing. Our community team helps enormously in this endeavor, particularly in helping to funnel the feedback from players from Latin America, Europe and Asia. We’re in contact with expert gamers from around the world. We also all play the game a great deal and very often we personally catch a bug or something else that isn’t working quite right.
As an aside, this is the kind of question we were really hoping to get more of with this series. It’s open-ended, potentially interesting to a lot of different players, and not just a thinly veiled demand for buffs.
Rogue is the only pure melee damage dealer class, however their overall damage is lower to compare with other pure DPS classes (like mages, warlocks and hunters) due to obsolete mechanics. We lose a lot of DPS while switching between targets, which happens rather often in Cataclysm encounters. Redirect ability is useful of course, however its cooldown is way too long and at the same time you can’t redirect poisons and some other effects from one target to another. Taking this in mind, do you have any plans to change rogue mechanics in the nearest future? – Луксурия(EU-RU)
One of the defining elements of rogue gameplay is the feeling of building up potential against a single opponent, and then unleashing that power. Redirect allows rogues to “cheat” on these mechanics once per minute (or more often with Restless Blades), but if we removed these ramping elements entirely, rogues would lose a large piece of what makes them unique. We recognize that at the end of the day, however, many players would rather be powerful than unique. Ideally, we’d like you to be both. Having to build up combo points to operate at maximum effectiveness is a disadvantage compared to being able to just do maximum damage from the outset, and having to move to melee range to attack a new target is a disadvantage compared to being able to switch instantly from range. There’s nothing inherently wrong with disadvantages, as long as they are counterbalanced by equally powerful strengths. Rogue damage recently has been lower than we’d prefer, even on fights with low movement and no target-switching, which should be absolutely ideal for rogues. We’ve taken steps in 4.2 to increase rogue damage output across the board, and we will continue to make adjustments until we feel that rogue performance is where we’d like it to be.
Could you find a way to give a sense of responsibility to damage dealers as much as tanks and healers already have in instances? – Raghnar (EU-FR)
First off, DPS often do have important roles in fights, whether it’s banging gongs for Atramedes or interrupting during the Nefarian encounter, or just knowing to run out of the dragon breath in the Drahga Shadowburner encounter in Grim Batol (since the healer can’t possibly keep you alive through all of that). On any given encounter, we tend to give responsibility to a few DPS players instead of all of them, and we think that’s ultimately a good thing. Not every player wants a ton of responsibility and we don’t think it would be good for them, or the game, for us to force those players into high-pressure situations. It is a game after all – it’s supposed to be fun. If challenging is what’s fun for you, well, that’s what Heroic modes are for. We think most players understand that taking on the healing or tanking roles is going to come with more responsibility, and those roles in turn tend to attract players comfortable or interested in having more responsibility.
Going even further, we’d say that one of the reasons our current raid encounters are considered so difficult is that the failure mechanics are fairly steep. We have a lot of “you’re the bomb!” spells where if you fail to run out of the group, you can kill not only yourself, but the entire raid. That makes it harder to bring along inexperienced players or new recruits to see a boss encounter. Maybe those type of mechanics should stick to the Heroic modes of the fights, where everyone is presumably signing up for a lot of individual responsibility.
Do you have any plans to improve Frost mages in PvE? Currently, Frost isn't considered a viable tree, as a fair number of players spec either Arcane or Fire, but they rarely consider Frost. – Tenecto (LA)
This is one of those interesting phenomena you observe when you do game design. According to our testing, Frost does comparable DPS today, and remains competitive in Heroic Firelands gear. Yet, Frost is much less popular than Fire or Arcane in the current raiding environment. Some of that could be tradition. Some of that could be that the DPS is close enough that players pick whichever mage rotation they enjoy the most. It’s also possible that some aspect of our testing doesn’t catch some factor that ends up suppressing Frost damage in the “real world” compared to our internal servers. That certainly happens sometimes.
It’s hard to just look at logs and get an accurate picture of the mage DPS situation. When the best mages in the world are playing Fire and Arcane, it’s natural to expect that there are a lot of huge DPS averages for Fire and Arcane mages. That might not mean that Frost damage is low, only that the best players aren’t playing Frost. We see this sort of thing over and over again. As we mentioned recently, you can see Unholy DPS drop in 4.1 not because Unholy’s DPS was nerfed, but because so many good DKs switched from Unholy to Frost. While it’s ideal that all DPS specs are viable in all aspects of the game, and that remains our goal, it’s a lofty goal. Frost remains the mage spec of choice in PvP, which is a better situation than if it were just a dead spec.
While some specs may do slightly higher damage than other specs within a given class, the differences aren’t so great that you’d really be holding your group back if you played your favorite talent tree instead of the one with the highest DPS logs. In almost all cases, individual skill, gear, encounter specifics and Internet lag will have a bigger effect on your DPS than your spec choice (and often your class). Seriously, try Frost mages. Try Subtlety rogues. Their DPS is honestly pretty competitive.
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Ask the Creative Devs #2
2011/06/23 at 3:24 PM
To say that it's been a while since there was a session to ask the creative team at Blizzard questions would probably be an understatement. However, today is changing all that--if you're a lore fanatic, you're about to get some light shed on some very obscure topics. From the question of the blood elves' true eye color to pondering on where the forsaken get their ship fleet from, we've got the second "Ask the CDevs" to show you guys.
The moon recently sent some irate emails to our Creative Development team, threatening to vacate Earth's orbit if we didn't divulge the answers to the "Ask CDev #2" thread soon. Rather than calling the moon's bluff, the CDev team stepped up its timetable and is now ready to present the answers to your questions!
In an effort to efficiently disseminate as much information as possible, many of these questions are amalgamations of several slight variations asked by the US, EU, Korean, and Chinese player bases. In addition, a few unanswered questions from "Ask CDev #1" are included as well. Enjoy!
Q: Are the Warcraft and World of Warcraft RPG books considered canon?
No. The RPG books were created to provide an engaging table-top role-playing experience, which sometimes required diverging from the established video game canon. Blizzard helped generate a great deal of the content within the RPG books, so there will be times when ideas from the RPG will make their way into the game and official lore, but you are much better off considering the RPG books non-canonical unless otherwise stated.
Q: Where is X? (X = Calia Menethil, Turalyon, Alleria Windrunner, Med'an, Gallywix, etc.)
There are several "missing" characters in the Warcraft universe, but they are not forgotten! While we'd love to talk about these characters, doing so would spoil a number of the plots we have for Cataclysm and beyond. Believe us when we say that you will definitely hear about these characters when we're ready to talk about them!
Q: Why isn't there a(n) X Archaeology branch? (X = Tauren, Aqir, Faceless One, Furbolg, Murloc, etc.)
This is more of a game design question than a CDev one, but it was asked enough that we wanted to at least point out the following: just because a race doesn't have an Archaeology branch now doesn't mean there aren't artifacts for that race, nor does it mean that the race isn't a candidate for possible future additions to the profession.
Q: Have we seen a true titan yet in World of Warcraft?
No, only their creations.
Q: Are night elves related to trolls in some way?
See issue #5 of the World of Warcraft Official Magazine!
Q: What is the relationship between the Ancients of the Emerald Dream and the loa?
Troll druids visiting the Moonglade have been overheard calling the wisps who reside there loa, just as they refer to Goldrinn, Aviana, and the other returned Ancients as loa. Night elves and tauren have tried to counsel these trolls on "correct" druidic nomenclature, but the trolls thus far have been stuck in their ways.
Q: If trolls are able to regenerate their limbs, why didn't Zul'jin's arm grow back?
For the most part, it is the speed at which trolls regenerate that makes them formidable foes. When in balance with the loa of their tribe, they are also able to regrow digits (fingers and toes). Tales abound in troll culture, however, of those blessed by the loa with extraordinary regenerative abilities, such as the ability to regrow limbs and even vital organs lost in battle. The tale of Vula'jin the Void speaks of how he regrew almost his entire body after standing in a pool of shadowflame. But just as the loa can bless, they can also curse; troll children are taught legends of those cursed by the loa, unable to heal even flesh wounds, to instill the proper respect for their patron spirits.
Q: What races were on Azeroth before the coming of the titans?
Besides the elementals, the only known sentient races on Azeroth when the titans' forces arrived to subdue the Old Gods were the trolls, the race known as "faceless ones," and the aqir. Due to the Old Gods' war against the titans, as well as the extensive terraforming that followed the war's conclusion, records of what races existed before even the Old Gods' arrival have likely been lost forever.
Q: What contact, if any, have the tol'vir in Uldum had with the rest of Azeroth over the course of their existence?
Although the systems keeping Uldum hidden from the rest of the world worked flawlessly from the ordering of Azeroth up until the Cataclysm, the tol'vir inside did have some knowledge of what was going on outside their home: many of the titans' security devices in Uldum were in communication with the other titanic cities (Ulduar, Uldaman, etc.). The Halls of Origination were actually the system that Algalon the Observer intended to activate upon his arrival in Ulduar… which the players prevented from automatically triggering when they sent the "Reply-Code Alpha" signal from Dalaran.
Q: Why do blood elves still have green eyes?
Corruption from fel energies takes a long time to wear off. It's why most orcs are still green even though Mannoroth is dead.
Q: How did Sinestra survive the events of Night of the Dragon?
For all intents and purposes, she didn't; when players encounter Sinestra in the Bastion of Twilight raid, she is a husk of her former self, pieced together and reanimated by the powers of Deathwing's Old God master.
Q: What are the origins of stone and storm drakes?
Brann Bronzebeard recently uncovered evidence, corroborated by reports from adventurers in Deepholm, that proto-dragons and dragons may have origins in these—and other—elemental drakes. The inhabitants of Deepholm, the Skywall, the Firelands, and the Abyssal Maw are less than talkative on these matters, however, and most of them were not around when the elemental prisons were created.
Q: Were there ever different elemental lords before the current four?
Ragnaros, Al'Akir, Therazane, and Neptulon are the only elemental rulers Azeroth has had in its existence. What this will mean for the elements of fire and air with the deaths of their elemental lords is unknown, but it most certainly is not good.
Q: Why do Kvaldir disintegrate into seaweed when they die?
The Kvaldir typically reside deep in the ocean, where their corporeal forms would be crushed if their mistweaving magics didn't hold off the ravages of the depths. Although they remain flesh and blood in life, their deaths result in a backlash of mistweaving energies, dissolving the Kvaldir into mist over time. All that remains are patches of sea growth that had accumulated on their bodies and, of course, any loot they were carrying.
Q: Why are gnomes suddenly interested in the Light?
The gnomes have had an interest in the Light since they joined the Alliance, but they were so focused on technology and, later, the retaking of Gnomeregan that studying the Light didn't feel necessary to them; the dwarven priests and paladins of Ironforge served as the only connection to the Light they needed. Now that the gnomes have reclaimed a foothold in Gnomeregan and begun rebuilding their culture outside of Ironforge, however, they've recognized the importance of having followers of the Light in their own ranks. In addition, researching new methods of purifying irradiated gnomes has led to radical advances in Light-based technology!
Q: Does the Wildhammer area that was called Northeron appear in WoW?
Prior to the Cataclysm, the northernmost part of the Twilight Highlands was called Northeron. The rapid melting of its famed icy cliffs due to the catastrophic climate shift from the Cataclysm, the incursion of Twilight's Hammer forces, and the appearance of the creature known as Iso'rath all served to put an end to Northeron and many of the independent dwarves who lived there. Some of the wreckage is still visible along the northern coast. Fortunately, the nearby spiritual center of Kirthaven remains intact.
Q: Is Elune a naaru?
During a recent visit to Darnassus by Velen, he explained that the kaldorei's description of Elune, as well as the demonstrated powers of the goddess, matched his experiences with powerful naaru. He began to offer advice regarding how to commune with powerful naaru, but Tyrande thanked him for his opinion, then cordially requested that he refrain from making such outlandish claims when in Darnassus or in the presence of Elune's priesthood.
Q: The "There must always be a Lich King" mantra seemed awfully suspicious, coming from ghosts trapped in Frostmourne. Was there something else going on there?
To save people from generating elaborate conspiracy theories, we'll be serious for a moment and say, definitively, no. The ghosts of Uther and Terenas understood that the Scourge would run rampant without someone to keep them in check. Yes, that does also mean that Arthas and Ner'zhul were not unleashing the full force of the Scourge during their respective reigns: you are welcome to speculate on the reasons for that.
Q: What is the Argent Crusade's relationship with the Forsaken, in light of Sylvanas's recent actions?
Although the members of the Argent Crusade still stand by the Forsaken heroes who joined them in the battle against the Scourge, Sylvanas's actions since the slaying of Arthas have deeply concerned the crusaders. They, along with certain members of the Ebon Blade, are now watching Sylvanas and the Forsaken very closely, as similarities between her and the Lich King are increasing in number by the day.
Q: The Forsaken don't have a harbor or any dry docks: how do they create their ships?
The Forsaken navy is composed of ships dredged up from the bottom of the ocean. Most of them were once among Lordaeron's fleets.
Q: When undead use or are healed by the Holy Light, does it cause them any actual damage or harm, or does it only cause them pain (in addition to the intended effects of the spell)?
Channeling the Light in any way, or receiving healing from the Light, only causes pain. Forsaken priests do not disintegrate or explode from channeling the Light for an extended period of time… though they may wish they would.
Q: Are there long-term effects on an undead who is in regular contact with the Holy Light in a positive way?
It is difficult to say, as there are no known records of undead wielding the Holy Light before the Third War. There are reports, however, that some Forsaken have slowly experienced a sharpening of their dulled senses of touch, smell, etc., as well as an increase in the flashes of positive emotions that have otherwise become so rare since their fall into undeath. Unfortunately, this may be the cause of the Forsaken priesthood's increased attempts at self-destruction; regaining these senses would force the priests to smell their own rotting flesh, taste the decay in their mouths and throats, and even feel the maggots burrowing within their bodies.
Q: Why are humans who drink the blood of worgen unable to be raised as Forsaken?
Not only are the Val'kyr less powerful than the Lich King when it comes to raising the undead, but the worgen curse also makes raising them into undeath far more difficult than it is for normal humans. The worgen curse has roots in both the Emerald Dream (through the wolf Ancient, Goldrinn) and the holy power of the goddess Elune. In addition, those worgen who imbibe the waters of Tal'doren—through the ritual they undergo to maintain balance between the worgen curse and their humanity—have a further resistance to the corruption of undeath.
Q: Are blood elf death knights still afflicted by their racial addiction to magic?
No, though their new addiction, the one all Ebon Blade death knights possess, is arguably worse: the need to inflict pain. If death knights do not regularly inflict agony upon another creature, they begin to suffer wracking pains that could drive them into a mindless, blood-seeking hysteria—a far worse fate than that of those who suffer from arcane withdrawal.
Q: What has become of the blood elf Spellbreakers?
While they were already few in number to begin with, the ranks of this formidable fighting force were thinned drastically when their headquarters on the Isle of Quel'Danas was overwhelmed by Kael'thas and his Burning Legion forces. The lone squad that remains now exists as a relic of a bygone era, as the Spellbreakers have refrained from training any new recruits since Kael'thas's betrayal.
Q: How have the blood elves reacted to the Highborne's return to night elf society, heralding the return of kaldorei magi?
Because their expulsion from night elf society after the War of the Ancients was due to their use of arcane magic, the blood elves were outraged to hear that the kaldorei had welcomed the Highborne back and were tolerating the practice of arcane magic again. After witnessing the "rookie" mistakes made by the new kaldorei magi, however, the blood elves are anxiously awaiting whatever mess the kaldorei are going to put themselves in. What's more, some sin'dorei have been able to exploit the kaldorei's inexperience in order to rout Alliance forces, as seen in the "Amberwind's Journal" quest series in Azshara.
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Ask the Devs #9: Tanking, Next Topic to be DPS
2011/06/08 at 12:29 PM
In Ask the Devs #9, Blizzard covers the topic of tanking. The topics addressed a number of practical concerns and provided insights into how Blizzard perceives the strengths and weaknesses for each tank. Topics included: the role of mastery for each tank, aggro-generating abilities for warriors and druids, the decreasing amount of tanks required in a raid, the OP nature of protection paladins, the possibility of new tank classes--and most importantly, when tanking classes will get a legendary weapon.
Stay tuned soon for the answers to
Ask the Devs #10: Damage Dealing.
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Ask the Devs #8 Answered, Next Topic is Tanking
2011/05/25 at 12:26 PM
And here comes the latest Ask the Devs rubric we'll see for a long time.
. If you have submitted any questions regarding the new bosses, T12, the daily quest hubs in Hyjal and the Firelands, or just about lore, here's your chance to see them (or ones like them) answered. Some of the more interesting questions inquire after that Abyssal Maw dungeon Blizzard promised us a while back (we are not getting it), raid balance and boss mechanics in the Firelands, and even a little bit of lore to make those of us into that kind of thing very happy.
Ask the Devs #9 was
, and its topic will be
. The official thread for it will come a little later today, so get your questions ready!
Welcome to the answers thread for our World of Warcraft "Ask the Devs" global Q&A. These answers are in response to the round #8 questions, which can be seen here:
What happened with the Abyssal Maw dungeon that was supposed to come with Firelands? – Maryjanee (EU-EN), Espiritu (NA)
Our initial plan for this raid tier was to have fewer bosses in Firelands and a small number of bosses in the Abyssal Maw. As we looked more closely at Firelands, though, we realized that it deserved more bosses. We also got excited about designing item art (and set bonuses!) that were very fiery in nature, and the Molten Front questing area was turning out to be really cool, so we ended up piling more resources into Firelands. That led to the decision to focus on one strong theme (fire), rather than a more diluted fire-and-water theme.
The case for Abyssal Maw pitch was that we could reuse a lot of existing assets (the fights were to take place in a giant shelled demigod like Nespirah), and while we are willing to do that, we thought Abyssal Maw would just pale in comparison to the magnificence of the Firelands. So, we put all of our eggs into that one basket. We’ve decided for now that the Vashj’ir quest line along with the Throne of the Tides dungeon does a pretty good job of finishing the Neptulon story.
A majority of the fights in T11 favored having little or no Melee DPS. Are there plans to fix this? – Merissa (NA), Espiritu (NA)
We view this more of a class problem than an encounter problem. It used to be the case that casters really suffered whenever they had to move, which was the penalty they paid in order to make up for the fact that melee took a lot of extra damage. Nowadays, melee classes don’t really take that much extra damage, and we’ve also given casters a number of movement-oriented tools designed to keep their DPS from dropping as much as it used to when they are asked to shoot-and-scoot.
Whenever there are situations in an encounter that encourage grouping, the ranged often move into melee (with the occasional exception for hunters), but melee never move to ranged. Any of the fights that punish clumping also tend to punish melee more. We recognize all of these problems, as do many players, but it’s challenging to address them quickly. For example, without compensation, casters would suffer a lot in PvP if their movement tools were suddenly stripped away.
In the meantime, we don’t want to over-constrain encounter design, or worse, make it feel very formulaic by getting to the point where players expect the “melee fight” to be followed by the “adds fight,” followed by the “Patchwerk fight,” then the “ranged fight.” We’re making sure that melee have some fights where they can shine in Firelands. To use just one example, the Sons of Flame on Ragnaros tend to be better handled by melee than ranged.
When Tier 11 content was first launched, the majority of fights in 25-person were explicitly easier than the 10-person version, such as Nefarian and almost every Heroic encounter. Do you have plans to make content for 25 players more appealing in patch 4.2? – Wynter (EU-DE), Nisana (EU-FR), Espiritu (NA)
The supposition that easier content is less appealing in the question is a bit puzzling given how few guilds have been able to finish the heroic 25 encounters. In any event, it wasn’t that we set out to make sure 10s and 25s were different. If anything, we wanted to make sure that 25s weren’t significantly harder, since many of the 25-player guilds were convinced we were trying to force them to become 10-player raiding guilds.
There were some fights at launch where 10s were too challenging (and some fights where the opposite was true), but we view those as nails in a board that need to be either beat down or pried up until they are more even with everything else. Progress in NA and EU on the 25-player content was faster than on the 10-player content, but this was probably largely because most progression oriented guilds in those regions were already focused on 25-player raids. This is also a regional difference. In Korea for example, there are a lot of hardcore raiding guilds focused on heroic 10-player content.
Will we see anything of a sympathetic view of why Fandral Staghelm changed allegiances before he meets his demise? – Lorinall (NA)
Not every villain in World of Warcraft gets a chance at redemption. In Firelands, the new majordomo will show you no mercy, so we don’t recommend holding back. However, one of the final quest rewards available from the Leyara quest line in the Molten Front daily quest area will give you a chance to see another side of the former archdruid.
It can be anticipated that mana regeneration and maximum mana will increase from gearing up with the new Firelands equipment. Isn’t there a possibility that healers can spam big heals again (and more quick heals) just like in WotLK? If so, is there any plan to handle this without class nerfs? – Whitewnd (KR)
As damage increases, healers will need to use their largest, most inefficient heals more regularly to keep up. That’s fine and was all part of the design. We just didn’t want players to opt out of mana regeneration too early in the content because then Spirit (and mana-related procs) on gear wouldn’t be attractive, and because we’d have to balance difficulty by making the tanks die in a couple of GCDs if not healed continually. Most progression-oriented healers still want large amounts of Spirit, often in every single slot. As they get more comfortable with their mana, they’ll be able to replace some of that Spirit with other stats, but the Spirit will still be valuable; more Spirit on a set piece for example might mean being able to use a different enchant or reforge on another piece.
This is still a much better place to be than we were with Lich King content, where mana stopped mattering in the first raid tier. Aside from the mana changes we’ve already made to Innervate, Mana Tide Totem and paladin heals, we don’t think an overall regen nerf is necessary.
Do we have any plans to include events similar to the Wrath Gate? – Mushik (LA), 잔메르 (KR)
We have a short cinematic or two, but nothing on the scale of the Wrath Gate cinematic for 4.2. We enjoy that kind of epic spectacle and we’ll do it when it makes sense; however, we also received plenty of feedback from the Cataclysm questing experience that we occasionally took control away from players too often, especially in Uldum, in order to tell the story, so we want to be very careful when we do that in the future. That said, there are some very cinematic moments in 4.2 such as watching the druid trees on the Molten Front grow or seeing the bridge form to Sulfuron Keep.
Will there be weekly missions in the Firelands similar to Icecrown Citadel in where the players were required to alter the dynamics of each encounter in order to complete them and receive rewards such as promordial saronite and gold? – Orisai (LA)
We aren’t doing these types of quests for the Firelands raid, but that doesn’t rule out us doing them again in some future tier of content.
In Cataclysm, it has been hard to find unique raid mounts such as Siege Engines in Ulduar or Drakes in The Eye of Eternity. Can we expect to see battles using unique mounts or other objects among the Firelands raids? – 빛그리고사제 (KR)
We were worried players might be suffering from a little bit of encounter vehicle fatigue. We’ll do it when it makes sense for an encounter, but we don’t want players to get sick of seeing fights on vehicles.
There are several fight mechanics in Firelands that depart from usual “don’t stand in the fire” or ”interrupt important spells” routine. For example, you can fly during part of the Alysrazor encounter, you climb webs during the Beth’tilac encounter, and you steer Lord Rhyolith around in a manner very different from standard kiting. (
Is Ragnaros gonna have a speech about setbacks? – Gerox (NA)
TOO SOON, GEROX!
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Ask the Devs #7 Answered, Firelands Next Topic
2011/05/16 at 11:27 AM
Blizzard have just posted the answers to their latest installment of Ask the Devs focusing on
! Not a whole lot of definite details, unfortunately, just a bunch of "yes we're going to add more fun stuff" and "yes we know some professions kinda suck and we're looking at changing that." Still, positive notes all around! We may have new profession daily quests to look forward to in the future (including Archaeology ones!) and Blizzard confirmation that
will indeed be unbound in a future patch (as most similar tradeskill reagents have been in the past).
The next topic should be an exciting one:
! Hopefully we'll find out some awesome new details about the upcoming 4.2 raid!
Check out the full results of Blizzard's seventh Q+A after the break!
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News Roundup: Ask the Devs #7, Wowhead Contest Winners, and Dungeon Journal Preview
2011/05/02 at 11:51 AM
Ask the Devs just started to take questions for their seventh installment and this time it's all about professions! Let's hope we get some better questions and answers than last week; it'd be interesting to see Blizzard's insight into balancing professions and their thoughts on archaeology in particular. EU players
can ask in this thread
while US players
should ask over here
4.2 Dungeon Journal FAQ
There's a new preview for the new Dungeon Journal feature that's supposed to be hitting World of Warcraft in 4.2. Sadly it doesn't tell us too much--essentially this feature looks like it will provide content a lot of fansites do, showing bosses and their abilities as well as providing an overview of an instance. Seems like it will be great for newer players, but more experienced ones will still prefer to use websites and forums for their information. It should be of an enormous help to pick-up groups, though. We can't wait for more information about it, so here's to hoping it gets a bigger preview soon!
With 4.2, we’re introducing the new World of Warcraft Dungeon Journal. The feature is currently deep in development, so while we don't have anything to show off just yet, we’ve put together a FAQ with a bit of information. Please enjoy!
Q: What is the Dungeon Journal?
A: The Dungeon Journal is a new piece of UI in World of Warcraft that players can use to find out more about specific dungeons, and the bosses within those dungeons, including what abilities they have and the rewards they offer.
Q: How will I access it?
A: While in a dungeon, hitting "M" (the default key for Map) will open the Dungeon Journal. A new button will also be available in the navigation tray. The Dungeon Journal can be accessed from anywhere - in a dungeon, in a raid, on a boat, etc.
Q: Will I have to experience a dungeon or encounter in order to see the associated Dungeon Journal content?
A: There won’t be any "gating" or limitations placed on what content a player can see in the Dungeon Journal. All boss/dungeon/raid information will be available to all players regardless of level, gear, or content experience.
Q: What will it show me?
A: The dungeon/raid map will display the locations of each boss in their respective locations, marked by unique icons.
Players can access boss information by clicking on boss icons on the map, or by clicking on the boss’ name in the associated tab of the dungeon/raid map page.
General loot information for the dungeon/raid can also be accessed from the dungeon/raid main page by clicking on the Loot tab. This will show all loot dropped - from bosses and trash - in the instance, of a certain quality.
Boss abilities will be available via the boss’ page, either by clicking on the map or by going through the Dungeon tab. The Dungeon tab on the boss’ page will list out all major spells, abilities, and phases for that fight.
Q: Are the descriptions going to be simplified or detailed?
A: Descriptions will be verbose and complete. Our goal is to give a lot of context to the abilities in terms of how they’ll play out; however, we will not be giving any strategy tips in the Dungeon Journal. For example, while the Dungeon Journal might say something like "This ability will cause all players in the affected area to take damage," it won’t say anything explicit like "All players except the tank should stand behind the boss during his Shield phase."
Q: Will this include adds?
A: Yes. If a boss has adds, like Ascendant Council or Erudaxx, their abilities will be listed, too.
Q: What bosses will be included in 4.2?
A: That's still being determined. We want to include as many as possible and add more as we go along. We'll provide additional information on availability as we progress through the Public Test Realm process.
We'll provide a more comprehensive look at the Dungeon Journal, including the interface and examples of the information it provides, as we move closer to the release of 4.2. Have fun storming the castle!
Wowhead Contest Closes
Noblegarden has been over for a few days now and so is our
WoW Official Magazine contest
! Join us in saying congratulations to the following folks for winning our scavenger hunt throughout Wowhead.
May 1st, 2011
May 1st, 2011
May 1st, 2011
May 1st, 2011
May 1st, 2011
May 1st, 2011
May 1st, 2011
May 1st, 2011
May 1st, 2011
May 1st, 2011
The winners should be receiving an email in their inbox with the information we need later on today, so be sure to respond to it when you see it. And of course, if you didn't win, there is always next time--and next time is pretty soon. We'll be having another contest this month and it should be an exciting one with some really huge prizes.
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Ask the Devs #6: Guild Advancement
2011/04/27 at 12:23 PM
Blizzard has answered their sixth installment of Ask the Devs focusing on guild advancement in Cataclysm. The topics were fairly broad, but they give a great deal of insight into how Blizzard feels about its current guild system--from the risks of a perk-based system to what future guild levels will look like. Still, it wasn't the most exciting Q+A. It feels like there were a lot of missed opportunities to ask some harder hitting questions about the state of guilds in Cataclysm, particularly how many top PvE guilds have disbanded or suffered a decline since this system's implementation as well as future guild rewards.
Notable topics include
Guild Leveling: Will Guild Challenges Help?
Abusive Guild Leaders
Will Guild Housing Become a Reality? (No)
Read on to see what the general WoW population asked and Blizzard's responses!
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Ask the Devs #6 Topic Selected: Guild Advancement
2011/04/18 at 9:34 AM
After a week pause, Blizzard's community outreach feature "Ask the Devs" is back. This time they're fielding questions on the topic of Guild Advancement. It's a good chance to ask about the recently introduced guild reputation system, the state of 10 and 25-man raiding, current content's effect on guilds, and even things like server firsts.
Of course, it'll only be interesting if you make it--so get asking and get out your
for a chance to have your question answered and read by Blizzard developers themselves.
As this is a global Q+A, threads will be made available to both US and EU. EU players can submit their questions
and the US thread is
Check out Blizzard's previous Q+As:
Ask the Devs Q+A #1: General
Ask the Devs Q+A #2: PvP
Ask the Devs Q+A #3: User Interface
Ask the Devs Q+A #4: Armor and Weapons
Ask the Devs Q+A #5: Achievements
Be sure to read on for the official announcement as well as the rules and procedures--do not submit them to this thread, though you are free to discuss potential questions and achievements in general here!
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Blizzard's Fifth Q+A Answered: Achievements
2011/04/13 at 4:08 PM
Blizzard just posted the latest set of answers to their fifth developer Q+A! This latest session covers the topic of
. Not my favorite Q+A by far, as many of the questions have really already been answered (even by recent 4.1 changes) but it should definitely interest all of the achievers out there!
Some of the topics of the questions they were asked include:
Achievement points as a currency (still no, never, stop asking)
More exciting and "crazy" achievements
Mount rewards from achievements
Check out the full results of Blizzard's fifth Q+A after the break!
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