March 2011 -Ask the World of Warcraft Devs Q&A #1 Answers
Nethaera posted the first wave of answers to the recent “Ask the World of Warcraft Devs Q&A”. If you wish to submit questions about PvP you should follow that link and post them. Ask the Devs – Questions #2 “PvP” — Questions on the topic of PvP will be taken at 4:00 p.m. PDT.
Q: Will updated textures be applied to the Vanilla and TBC races in the future to coincide with the new Goblin and Worgen race textures? – Tank (Latin America), Welcome (North America/ANZ), Mizah (Europe [English])
A: The art team very much wants to update the older races. We feel like it’s something we owe the game and the players. We’re just looking for the right time to dive into that enormous task, without having to take too much time away from making new creatures or armor. We also have to be very careful to improve the graphics without fundamentally changing the way the models look. Players are quite attached to the look of their character, and they can be pretty sensitive to even small changes. We’re continually reminded of that fact.
Q: Are there any plans to update Outland and TBC zones to facilitate better level flow? – Atreydes (Latin America)
A: We think the flow of the zones works out well. It is true that you can finish the continents before hitting every zone because of the accelerated quest experience (further enhanced by mechanics such as heirlooms) but most players going back through the content on new characters seem perfectly happy to get through it faster than they did with their original character. What we don’t like is the strange way you go back in time when you go to Outland and Northrend and then back to the future (heh) when you go to the level 80-85 zones. That is definitely something we want to fix.
A similar but slightly different question was asked by one of our Russian players:
Q: Will the Outland and Northrend be “renewed”? Will there be new quests? – Мандрэйк (Europe [Russian])
A: Because we did those areas more recently than Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor, we don’t feel the same urgency to go update them. They just don’t have the level design and quest flow problems to the same extent as the original content. We recognize though that some players are getting awfully tired of Hellfire Peninsula, and we’d like to come up with a good solution there.
Q: Mastery rating has become the most important attribute for Death Knight tanks, yet there isn’t any Rune Forge for mastery. Will you consider adding a new Rune Forge for Death Knight tanks? – Highlordkahn (Taiwan)
A: We want to do another pass at the Rune Forge enchants. We think we can make some more compelling choices.
Q: What is your favorite escape/distraction when you arent working on WoW? – Danksz (North America/ANZ)
A: We polled the entire World of Warcraft development team and included the most interesting, unusual, and potentially terrifying responses. They included: roasting my own coffee; hiking all over SoCal; gardening with yuccas and bamboo; building my own 3D printer; attempting to turn my living room into a live action scene from Tron using blacklights, stencils and a helluva lot of paint; autocross racing my sweet ride; board games (I have over 450 of them); being spinal tapped to Tumblr, Reddit and 4chan; mastering cooking (duck confit, breads, pastas, more breads); building Star Wars Lego sets; trying to control my computer using brainwaves and an EEG reader; plein air/outdoor watercolor painting; geocaching; hockey; painting miniatures; swing dancing; crafting old-time cocktails; running 5 / 10 Ks / mud runs; motorcycling; go; blending smoothies; skydiving; work on my Jaina/Varian fanfic; baking bread; playing drums; reading sci-fi; comics; playing WoW.
Q: Will we ever see a feature like the Appearance Tab – some way to make use of all the different equipment art for items we already have without having to give up on stats in order to do so? If no, then why not? – Welcome (North America/ANZ), Ферундал (Europe [Russian])
A: Having more ways to customize the appearance of their character is something players often ask for and something we’d love to improve. Seriously. We hear you loud and clear on this one. We do have some ideas we’re discussing, but we’re not ready to share them quite yet. Our concerns have always included making sure that the character art still maintains a level of quality even if extensively customized, and making sure that character silhouettes are easily recognizable. Those aren’t show-stopping concerns that would prevent us from ever taking the plunge, but they are concerns.
Q: Are there any plans to bring new items to Archaeology with each future patch? – Idej (North America/ANZ)
A: We may not make it every patch, but we designed Archaeology specifically with this kind of expandability in mind. Our most immediate plans are to add rare items to the Vrykul and especially Troll races, since they have so few, and add more to Fossils in general since you end up with so many Fossil sites. We also have some plans to make it slightly easier to focus on races upon which you want to focus.
Q: Will the devs consider giving us reason to interact in the new world of cataclysm? We sit in cities waiting on queues. Theres little reason to leave the city gates outside of farming and archeology. The *main* cities feel alive, the world however feels quite dead. – Odiem (North America/ANZ)
A: While you’re leveling up your character and gathering professions, you’re more than likely interacting with the world plenty. World of Warcraft’s endgame has centered on dungeons, raids, Battlegrounds and Arenas for some time, so it’s natural that you spend more time in cities organizing and preparing for those group-based events. We do think there is more that we can do to promote compelling solo gameplay for max level characters, though. The 4.2 patch has a pretty epic questing experience involving the Firelands and we’re really excited to see how players respond to it.
A similar but slightly different question was asked by one of our Korean players.
Q: PvP realms are getting indistinctive from the PvE realm as players are not engaging into PvP contents, since they are not finding it attractive. The only difference from the PvE realm is that it’s possible to attack opponent around zones in Conflict. Is there any plan to strengthen the difference between PvP and PvE realms? – Soulcube (Korea)
A: We don’t think it’s that world PvP is unattractive, we just think it’s just the cumulative effect of a lot of changes we made to the game to meet other goals. For example, flying mounts are really cool and convenient, but they mean you are much less likely to stumble upon someone from the opposite faction while travelling. We considered teleportation a mandatory feature for Dungeon Finder to succeed, but then you are less likely to bump into an enemy outside of a dungeon. To get world PvP back in some form, we’d have to develop something like the Isle of Quel’danas: a non-flight zone that is not a sanctuary where players congregate to finish quests or earn rewards. We’ll think about ways to do something like that again in the future.
Q: I think a lot of people would like to see some more options for inventory storage are there plans for any of the following? Bank slots/Equipment manager storage/Upgrade backpack/storage for costume, cosmetic, toys/tabard storage. – Shinysparkle (North America/ANZ)
A: We do have some storage solutions in the works. We’d like to convert tabards in particular to something like the current UI to manage titles. We don’t want to just keep giving players larger and larger bags in which to lose items. We’re focusing more on better ways to organize items.
Q: Were hero classes considered a failed experiment, or are there plans for more? – Grozzil (North America/ANZ)
A: No, we still like the concept a lot. The story behind the death knight character was that you were this fallen champion risen by the Lich King, who you eventually turn against (spoiler alert). It wouldn’t have made sense to start you in a forest killing gnolls and boars. You were supposed to feel like a high level character already! We also wanted to make the DK mechanics slightly more complex, so we wanted to make sure only veteran players were exposed to them. In general we want to add classes to the game very selectively because the game can probably only support so many and it’s a lot of new stuff to learn; even if you don’t play the new class yourself, you’ll group with them or fight against them. Introducing the DK was a learning experience for us, to say the least, but we aren’t afraid to try it again when the time is right.
Q: Would you tell me your thoughts about the recent PvP balance? I’m wondering about the future plans that Devs has on PvP balance change. For example, only a few number of Hunter are found in the Arena and this has not been changed for years. – Stormnreaker (Korea)
A: We are pretty happy with PvP balance overall. We think this season may be the best overall in terms of balance. There are definitely some areas where we can improve. Remember that part of our goal with Cataclysm was to encourage more players to try Rated Battlegrounds as an alternative to Arenas. Some classes that struggle in Arena, like hunters and Balance druids, perform very well in Battlegrounds. We recognize that Rated Battlegrounds haven’t yet caught on with players, especially more casual PvP players, as much as we’d like.
Q: While mining and herbalism both supports two other professions (jewel crafting and blacksmith for mining, inscription and alchemy for herbalism), skinning only support leather working and is less viable. Will you consider adding some small advantages for skinning, for example, chances to get more cooking material, to make skinning more attractive? – 柴德洛夫 (Taiwan)
A: Skinning has its own advantages though. For example, you can skin the same targets you are killing for quests or while running a dungeon, while Mining and Herbalism often require you to go out of your way to gather that resource. Sometimes you get lucky and find a field of recently-killed corpses, just waiting to be skinned.
Q: Is the Holy Paladin mastery going to remain as is, or will it see a change in the future? – Judgesyou (North America/ANZ)
A: We like the mechanic. Having a shield complements their potent single-target heals rather than competing against them. As you have probably seen by now, we did increase the duration of the absorb so that it would come into play more often. We believe the Holy mastery, as is the case with some of the other healing masteries, is not an easy thing to simulate or sometimes even determine from logs. It’s hard to put numbers on it in the same way you can assign values to haste and crit. We believe this had led some players to undervalue it. We’ll see how it feels with the longer duration.
Q: Gatherable nodes inside a phase area is really disturbing, especially in Twilight Highland, where nodes often appear on mini-map and vanish upon approach. Could you fix that, or move all the nodes outside of the phasing area? – 補釘 (Taiwan)
A: Yes, this is very frustrating and it happens to us all the time when we’re playing as well. Ultimately we want to fix it in a robust way so that when you see a node on the mini-map, it is something from which you can actually gather. We don’t want to have to just avoid phased areas when placing herb or mining nodes, because some phased areas are quite large and ultimately we don’t want the fact that we thought the questing experience would be enhanced by phasing to spoil the gathering experience down the road.
Q: Considering how often changes meant to balance PVE performance for certain classes then creates imbalance in their performance in PVP, and vice verse, have the developers ever considered completely separating the two? – Azunya (North America/ANZ)
A: That’s a common solution proposed by our active forum participants for whom balance may be the single most important concern when they play. You have to put yourself in the mind of a new player just trying to pick up the game though. Already there are a bewildering array of class abilities and talents, many with their own idiosyncrasies or special rules. Now you have to virtually double that if you want all of the player spells to have a PvE and a PvP tooltip. We prefer solutions like resilience and diminishing returns on crowd control that are more global rules rather than virtually every ability having a PvE vs. a PvP coefficient. We want it to feel like one game with a unified set of rules.
Q: Daily Battlegrounds only reward 25 conquest points, which is really low (considering the fact that daily heroic dungeon rewards 70 valor points). Would you consider to adjust that, as Battlegrounds attracts PvP beginner more than Arena does. –賽君 (Taiwan)
A: I think it’s fair to say that Rated Battlegrounds aren’t yet offering rewards commensurate with the logistical and time commitments that they ask. We really wanted Rated Battlegrounds to be attractive to players who loved PvP but weren’t huge fans of Arenas. We don’t think we’re quite there yet and Arenas continue to be very popular just because they take fewer players and can be completed quickly. If you love Arenas, great. But we want there to be alternatives.
Q: Moonkins lack the “execution” phase spell or talent, is that an intended design and why? –輕體小子 (Taiwan)
A: While it’s true that a lot of character classes have a special ability they can use at the 20% health mark, we didn’t set out to make sure everyone had one. Balance druids have changed a lot in the last two expansions and went from a pretty simple rotation (spam Wrath or Starfire) to a pretty complex one. We’re not sure at this time they need yet another mechanic to manage, but it’s a potential design direction to explore for the future.
Q: During the expansions released since vanilla, the specialities of the different classes were watered down more and more. By now, many classes can do almost everything and almost none is still special. Are there any steps planned to give the classes more “charisma”, so that they are more distinguished from each other and regain their special flair? – Blades (Europe [German])
A: Sometimes when players say “special flair” what they really mean is “something so awesome that everyone will have to take me.” We really don’t want to go back to that model, which just isn’t tenable in a game with 10-player raids and 30 different talent trees. We have no problem spreading around buffs and utility that we consider more-or-less mandatory, such as the battle rezes and raid buffs. At the same time, we think there are enough unique abilities out there to make the various talent trees shine. Shaman have a great interrupt with Wind Shear. Warlocks can get out of danger with Demonic Portal. Discipline priests can mitigate a lot of damage with Power Word: Barrier, but Unholy death knights have their own version in Anti-Magic Zone. We struggle a lot with how much homogenization is good for the game, largely so that you can play with your friends, and how much is bad for the game, because then your character feels less special. It’s something we’ll continue to work on in an attempt to strike that perfect balance.
Q: What do the developers think of the current state of hunters? (PVP balance) – Albevil (Europe [Spanish])
A: Hunters are good for very skilled players and particularly in Rated Battlegrounds. Our challenge has always been to make the class a little more forgiving to play in PvP at the medium level without making them unbeatable in the hands of a truly talented player. We think the recent changes, such as Auto Shot on the move and allowing Deterrence to prevent attacks that typically always hit, will help bridge that gap. We’re starting to discuss more whether hunters need the opportunity to do some damage in melee range instead of always focusing on escape. While the hunter is ultimately a ranged class, it is true that other casters can make the decision to keep casting while in melee range, even if they suffer consequences for doing so.
Q: Players don’t use the client-implemented Voice Chat feature because third party applications are much betters. Can I expect improvements in the voice quality and a fix in the delay issue in the future? – 밥상의달인 (Korea)
A: We aren’t at all happy with the quality and feature set of Voice Chat. We think we can do a lot better. While we aren’t working on it right this moment, the next time we revisit Voice Chat, we want it to be an epic improvement, the same way Dungeon Finder redefined Looking for Group.
Q: Healers cannot get Flask of Flowing Water from Guild Cauldron, which means Guild Cauldron is useless to healers. Can I expect any improvement for this? –꼬꼬마샷다 (Korea)
A: We couldn’t figure out an elegant way to determine if healers wanted the Spirit flask or the Intellect flask, so we erred on the side of throughput and gave them Intellect. Healers who would prefer Spirit can just get the normal flasks. We’ll think about another way to handle this. Spirit is obviously very popular among healers, but we don’t want to have a system that pops up a window asking you which flask you want.
Q: Could we see more dynamic events in WoW? For example something like sand storms in Uldum that would blind everyone affecting the agro of the mobs. – Dagoûu (Europe ([French])
A: We would like to ultimately have the world feel more dynamic and a bit less predictable. We would want for these events to feel epic though and not just annoying. We’re going to test the waters here a little in a future patch and see what feels good.