Method Pre-Raid Developer Interview with Morgan Day
27/12/2022 em 01:00
Sco and Kexman from Method took the opportunity to
interview Associate Game Director Morgan Day
. Although the interview took place just before the release of Vault of the Incarnates, topics include the developer's intent for the new raid - from how long the Race to World First should take, exactly how rare the new boss rare drops will be, and the importance of community testing.
0:25 Any Raszageth teasers?
Ultimately, the goal with an endboss is to test a variety of things. A phase may test utility or single target damage, but each phase should test something different, as it creates interesting puzzles for players to solve.
02:26 What is the tuning goal for Vault?
On Mythic, the hope is that initial bosses won't put up too much of a fight, but deeper in the raid, you'll start to see mid-tier blockers. Hopefully everything is cleared by the holidays, and its something they're keeping a close eye on. Ultimately though, success is that people have fun - not only at the high end, but across all difficulties.
05:18 How will BoEs work going forward?
BoEs are meant to be BoP for the first few weeks, and were intended to drop from Lieutenants throughout the raid, though they've had to
readjust their plans
- with those items also dropping from general trash again. Ultimately, seeing groups death run or otherwise skip trash tells them it's not rewarding enough to want to kill it. Trash serves several purposes, from storyboard to content pacing in between stressful boss progression, so they want it to be rewarding rather than a burden. The team still feels strongly about incentivizing lieutenants, but for now they won't be the only source of BoEs.
07:20 How rare are the 'rare' raid drops?
Can't speak to the specific drop rate, but they're not 1% mount drop rare. They've had rare boss drops before, but now they have the ability to specify it in the dungeon journal so that players know ahead of time, rather than figure it out. There are a few reasons for these new rare drops, some of them have special effects or a higher item level, but they also help retain value after a boss has been on farm for a few weeks.
09:29 Will you ever release a fully untested raid?
It's possible, though the priority is always to create the best player experience possible. There's more to be gotten out of raid testing than just direct player feedback - class tuning, testing set bonuses, and other interactions are all very valuable as well. It would be awesome for everyone to experience a new seasonal affix or something at the same time (without testing), but the focus is trying to make the player experience as good as it can be, and testing helps.
11:08 Are you reliant on community testing?
Tuning is always going to happen, and an overtuned encounter is quickly apparent, so they don't necessarily need 10,000 posts saying so. Types of feedback they do find very valuable is qualitative feedback - such as this mechanic is too frustrating for that spec or role. Their internal team already does a fantastic job finding bugs and giving that feedback, but thousands of outside community testers creates a very different scale. The seasonal Thundering affix is a good example,
on community feedback.
12:50 Do you under-tune PTR bosses on purpose?
They do intentionally undertune the health on PTR, since seeing the first 30 seconds of the boss isn't terribly helpful, and they do want to see players get further. That said, there are always some surprises - talents added a lot of power to players and led to several new interactions between classes, resulting in some wild tuning that they have a better handle on now.
14:30 What is your ideal raid length and difficulty curve?
Speaking of the Race to World First, it's hard to say, but ideally not too long after the first reset and going into the middle of the next. It depends on the raid though, and something they've been focusing on a lot more is not just the length but how exciting the overall progression is. Something they got a lot of feedback on in Shadowlands was that many fights were really hard, but in a way that felt frustrating, rather than fun (Stone Legion Generals comes to mind).
17:03 Raid balance discussion
The intent is always to make sure that progression feels really good. If the group has "mastered" phase one, but is only getting into the second phase 50% of the time, something needs to be reevaluated. There are a lot of different elements to tuning mythic bosses, but they want the fights to feel consistent and good to progress on, rather than frustrating and random.
18:00 How do you feel about recycling boss mechanics?
Ultimately, they're trying to make the next Hanz and Franz or Thogar, the next memorable thing every raid tier. Broodkeeper was very intentionally inspired by Razorgore, and there's often always an element of "what's old is new again" in new raid encounters, but it also depends on who is working on it and what inspires them. Morgan has always personally been a huge fan of encounters where the environment is heavily involved, such as Raszageth.
When people used to ask Morgan what he did when he first started in encounter design, he would say "I make dragons!" and it's a lot of fun to be back in an expansion where that's literally true.
20:36 Will we see Dragonriding on a boss encounter?
There is the initial vehicle assault at the beginning of the raid, though Dragonriding
an actual encounter would be difficult. Morgan thought using dragonriding in Nokhud Offensive was really cool, and they could see something like that in the future, but trying to do it during an encounter would be rough.
21:56 Will niché spells like Mindcontrol be useful?
More than anything, they want players to be able to use their buttons and feel clever for it. Mind controlling or spell stealing a creature and getting a cool buff is one of those fun interactions, and they're always looking for opportunities for players to feel like the hero. They've had many a conversation about immunities in particular, since they're so powerful. As a developer, it's easy to turn it off and say "no fun allowed," but they don't like doing that. Ultimately, an encounter designer's job is to create interesting puzzles for the players to use the tools they have to solve those puzzles, and sometimes that means there are surprises there.
24:18 Will the fated system return in Dragonflight?
The designers thought Season 4 was very successful and are interested in more feedback from the community. One of the things they talked about was that "reearning" loot a second or third time wasn't as exciting, which led to the addition of
Dinar Intrigante do Cartel
, another generally popular addition. Item upgrades and bad luck protection is something they've looked at and expanded quite a bit - the Creation Catalyst being an example.
27:21 Will healer trinkets become more desirable?
Healer trinkets are interesting, because how often do you need more raw throughput? As a healer, resources tend to limit you more than anything, so they've seen mixed results with just creating big throughput trinkets. Another thing they've noticed is that a lot of healers will want damage trinkets, because they already have a lot of built-in options for healing. They are trying some new ideas in Dragonflight, though another important point is that trinkets are often viewed as options - it's fine if a specific trinket is good for a specific fight, but not every fight, because they're relatively easy to swap around.
29:52 Specify key level system?
No current plans to give players a drop down menu or otherwise allow them to specify what key or level they want to do. They recently allowed players to reroll their key, but they want to retain variety, rather than allowing everyone to purposefully target the easiest or fastest key.
30:29 Any Evoker specific transmog coming?
Not entirely sure although there is an Evoker only staff in the raid, and the Raszageth dragonriding skin isn't Evoker only, but is still a really cool cosmetic drop.
31:15 How much health does Raszageth HC have?
"A lot, more specifically, more than anyone else in the raid!"
It would be fun to hang out in person again, but sadly Morgan has no idea when the next BlizzCon is planned for.
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