BlizzCon 2016: Legion - Design Retrospective
05.11.2016 um 14:52
On Saturday at 1 pm at BlizzCon 2016, we have the World of Warcraft: Legion - Design Retrospective Panel. Today on the panel we have Brian Holinka, Jeremy Feasel, Jonathan LeCraft, Owen Langdren, and Paul Kubit. We will be liveblogging a summary of the panel here! For a full transcript, please refer to the BlizzCon 2016 Virtual Ticket.
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Panel will be discussing early designs of Legion, and even things that didn't make it to the Alpha.
Broken Shore - Opening Zone
We had a lot of stories for the Broken Isles we wanted to tell.
Early broken shore looked like ancient Elven ruins as a continuatin of Suramar - this did not make it to live.
It was a beautiful, broken scene with little fel presence.
Early playtest was for length and pacing.
First pass: Gnome vs. Giant Pillar
Past that pillar was an untouched pristine city, which had elven architecture and trees.
In that Pristine City was Tyrande fightning Deadlords. She was Mind Controlled.
So when you break that MC, the illusion of that Pristine CIty is shattered.
Here, we had a lot more path crossing for the Alliance and the Horde.
At the first pass, the Broken Score scenario took 3 hours to play though - way longer than intended.
So upon review, they asked "What story are we telling"
A pristine elven tomb, surrounded by a city, now in ruins, was underwater, populated by elven priest spirits. The Legion was missing entirely!
So now, The Legion is here!
So they sent the scenario back to the artists with questions about what the Legion invasion at the Broken Shore would look like.
They then designed the tall spire, some machinery, troops, etc.
They felt this was scary enough to kill off some major lore characters.
This went back to the artists, and they came back with the idea of A Fel City.
We wanted to see our future go up in flames in a new way by the Legion.
This was then applied to the rest of the Broken Shore, including the Tomb of Sargeras.
The Demon Hunter
Within three days, we had a demon hunter internally ready to go we could play. We were very excited.
After a few weeks, we took a deep breath and wrote out the Gameplay Goals for the Demon Hunter.
High fantasy, Easy to Learn, Single bar of abilities - no more than 12 as a limit to keep it simple.
They were surrounded by cool ideas but had to streamline it - which they did via map.
They started thinking about the Illidan fight and thought about eye lasers! First iteration did not have the hover, not you over and it follows your mouse cursor. The stationary nature of mobs made it so we had to make eye beam exciting.
They realized this sort of looked like two abilities - split into eye beam and fel barrage.
Fel Rush: began as a simple charge. Then they removed the target requirement and then they made it very fast and damage everything. Also they decided it would ignore gravity.
The only problem with Fel Rush is you would die a lot by falling off cliffs. So how can we make you stick to terrain but still be how we want it. So...they started up Megaman - this has a jump without a dash. If you're in the ground you stick to the ground, if you're in the air you stick to the air. So we developed on that.
Metamorphosis: Early testers couldn't "feel the effects of meta" - so they decided to do visceral changes from there on in. They added the stun, and the attack speed bonus which meant pressing buttons faster.
2/3 Legion accounts have made a demon hunter.
30% of those have made it to 110.
Kayn gets picked 73%, Altruis gets picked 27%.
7.5% of all demon hunter names are Illidan puns.
Ultimate expression of player power.
Examples from lore like Ashbringer, etc - how can we realize these things.
What makes an artifact? Find the fun and excitement in one weapon.
What are the multitude of powers?
Unique to the specialization.
So they started an iteration of the Trait system - 3 roads to splashy powers - looked like a 1.0 talent tree. This required a really intense choice.
So then they traded it to tiers - had to buy all of tier 1 before all of tier 2, etc. This was modeled in game and just removed all choice.
Then they decided to make a multitude of choices so you couldn't possibly get all of them.
They then adopted a hybrid approach with consellations of traits.
So what does the artifact do?
We then looked back to old legendaries like Thunderfury - these weapons had a very strong passive.
So we thought passives should have a combat power
But people questioned: How does my character change when i equip my artifact?
So they went back to the drawing board and gave an active abilitiy instead of a passive - you invoke Ashbringer!
We then wanted an emotionally visceral moment, something that differenciates artifact to artifact gameplay, and an awesome hook for visuals.
We thought of them as characters - how do you level a character? Experience. We had you level it.
But this made us have players diverge too much.
So then they added experience caps but this removed the incentive to play when you hit the cap.
Round 3 was Artifact Knowledge. No matter what you do, you can increase your artifact's power.
We hope you are looking forward to the solo challenges to get the last artifact appearance in 7.2!
New Honor System
They started discussing Legion PvP goals.
We have great people who PvP but we want more players to PvP.
We were looking at why some people in WoW only PvP in other games like Heroes and Overwatch.
So we reached out and asked why - first answer was gear. Should we remove gear?
It worked in a lot of ways like making it easier to balance and for people to get into it but it wasn't that fun, not unique.
So we tried out scaling gear to the same ilvl. But this lead to not pursuing gear at all.
This lead us to a hybrid system where gear is normalized but stats are increased by ilvl.
We do see the impact of gear but not that much.
So we added honor level to make another impact. Honor alone wasn't enough though, so we added rewards to each honor level.
So by level 10 you have an option in every row.
Beyond that it's a much more customizable system, we've gotten great feedback but in the same respect we were worried that only PvPers cared about this.
So then we added the pennants, mounts, pets, and artifact looks.
And we can always add new rewards.
Prestige: If you level to 50 early, we didn't want people to just be finished. So we were inspired by other games and added Prestige.
We used to remove it but we saw people weren't prestiging so in 7.1 we allowed you to keep your talents so now we're happy to have people continue prestiging.
We really wanted a lot of new content, specifically quests but we didnt know what kind of quests.
Picked 1-2 professions and built prototype quests on those. Started with Blacksmithing and Mining.
We liked this structure with BS, but then we went another way with gathering - find a cool rock! Maybe a mob attacks you!
Based on this we built quests lines like this for all the professions.
We realized this was a lot of profession quest lines - they had 6 lines for every profession.
So Fishing has few quests.
started as a joke - in a meeting - then they started spitballing about it. Would it be demonic or titanic in origin?
But you know what, no one said no and we are really glad we made it.
We wanted fishing to be more communal and we've seen fishing raids in the new and old worlds.
Garrison raid fishing was almost hotfixed out but they loved the social aspect!
Also very few quests, progressed by work orders.
We like having people checking in to Dalaran periodically.
We wanted to fill the loot window when you didn't learn a recipe.
So we wanted to add a funny grey item - it could have been anything and we could have changed it but we loved the Memes about him.
Nomi has a lot of room to grow!
We like that folks share the herb and mining nodes.
We didn't do this with skinning and it hurt. We also had a problem for skinners not being able to skin tagged mobs.
Skinning will be fixed soon!
We thought this felt pretty good too
Even after you learned the recipe you could still progress them.
Not sure we tuned this properly - lots of 1 star recipes were behind long quest lines where rank 2s were just on vendors. Should be the other way around.
We liked the system and liked the social interaction to unlock it.
We didn't like the actual visceral experience of obliterating something, especially small ticket items!
We want things to remain viable as you can see in 7.1
Crafted gear up to 865 next patch.
New recipes, new gear, possibly even crafted legendaries! This is just a future idea, not in production!
We thought - which dailies did we love and how do we improve on them.
We liked the idea of a continuation of awesome stories.
We wanted WQs to tell new, awesome or continuing stories.
We just didn't want it to be a daily - didn't want the "log in and have a long list of things to do" feeling.
We wanted the world to be an active place.
We did a good job on variety of quests but not rewards so they reiterated that.
We wanted to make use of the entire continent.
Level up quests lead to small iterations of WQs - makes it feel like new content.
Better use of Rare Spawn system.
Max level areas
PvEvP Warden Towers were another cool way to get people into the PvP system through world quests
The other direction is the Free For All PvP areas. These gave us a lot of freedom and these also lead to the new Brawl feature.
We also wanted to have existing awesome stuff to be WQs like dungeons and pet battles.
So what can we add? Tradeskill bonanzas
Our first question was this: How many icons is a good number of icons to have on a map?
There are things that just feel right like number of things to do, and travel time.
We could change the number of things to do but not the size of the world.
Playtesters were given a guided way through WQs to test out and they loved it.
New reward scheme - a single WQ has lots of different rewards.
So they made about 50 world quests a day but it felt like too much.
This lead to the emissary system - this acted like a small guide.
We like the combination of this guide, the variety of quests, and rewards lead to a good system of world quests.
Future World Quests:
Legion Invasion Points
Rare World Quests
Region Wide WQs
These are coming in 7.2!
Following the Design Panel, Ion Hazzikostas clarified the 7.2 Artifact Appearances on the BlizzCon Stream with Michele Morrow:
The artifact appearance won't be able to be brute forced, you'll fight a more powerful enemy, who will beat you, and the idea is you fight against him to see how long you go ... which means you can't keep doing it over and over. So it may end up being weekly; it's just not something you can farm nonstop.
On Slootbag's stream, Celestalon answered some Class Balance questions:
By far the most popular question was on Survival Hunters. They will be more trap focused over other Hunters (who will have them too).
The longer traps last, the more they may do i.e. if an Explosive Trap sits there a bit, and a patrol comes, it may do extra damage against it. He said 1/3rd HP - but this could have been a joke.
Legion: Design Retrospective Panel Gallery
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