The Developer Chat on Twitter was a payoff of many details not only about the Fall of the Lich King content, but plenty of new Cataclysm revelations. Among them, the Eastern Plaguelands is no longer held by the Scourge and might get a new zone name. Nature there seems to be restored somewhat from the plague and blight. There will be submarines the size of the gunship taking us to underwater zones. There will be water in Blasted Lands, and Shimmering Flats is now a lake. Cross-faction BOA is in and Cross-realm BOA is merely-in-discussion. Tabard storage a possibility. Female Worgen model to be shown soon.

Blizzard Quote:
What have you learned from this expansion’s emblem system?

Having that many different kind of emblems is overwhelming. In hindsight, we wish we had done maybe 2 emblems: the current tier and the previous tier (Frost and Triumph at the moment). They also felt a tad too grindy when 3.3 first came out before all of the sources of emblems were available.

Is there any ETA on tree / moonkin form graphical update?

Moonkin is hard because Moonkin players are so in love with that form. It’s tough to change it at all. We currently hope to do a new tree form for Cataclysm, but no promises.

Is the Valithria Dreamwalker encounter a deliberate move towards making WoW more “fun & interesting” for healers? Will we see more encounters like this?

We want to make healing more fun, yes. Part of that is letting healers use their whole repetoire instead of just their best spells. Part of it is trying to get healers to look at the battlefield a little more and unit frames a little less, that of course means a little more time in between spamming heals so you can do stuff like that.

Does Blizzard have any plans to give healers “fun” procs and on-use effects, like DPS have been getting lately?

Yes. Healer procs are trickier to design though to make sure they aren’t wasted. Damage is rarely wasted so it’s a bit easier to design.

Will existing races have their starting areas reworked to provide a more “epic” experience similar to the Goblin/Worgen starts?

Not quite at the Goblin / Worgen level, but we are looking at all the original start zones, especially for two races who feel a little disenfranchised at the moment.

There’s no cap on Emblems, but there is on honor. Any plans to remove or raise the honor cap?

To be honest, we’re more likely to cap emblems. We like the gameplay where you’re motivated to periodically check in with WoW. We don’t like feeling like you have to log in every single day without fail (cough Frost emblems) and we don’t like the grind your face off in order to maximize return (old BG Honor).

The 3.3.3 PTR included some unreleased ‘event’ details (no spoilers). Should we expect to see that event in the lifetime of 3.3.3?

Something leaked in the patch? That never happens! The plan is for these events to go live sometime before Cataclysm ships. We don’t have an exact time yet, but we would like players to have a good month or two to play through these events to help build the back story for what is going to happen in Cataclysm.

Regarding Cataclysm, can you reveal any of the ‘major changes’ in Blasted Lands and how this will affect the lore?

I love the fact that one of our first questions is in regards to the Blasted Lands! We have big plans in store for this zone in Cataclysm. We will be revamping the entire flow of the zone so you can expect an entirely new experience here. Some of the big changes include an opening to the coastline for a new play area, as well as a large new worgen area in The Tainted Scar.

In Cataclysm, do you plan on releasing two raid instances at a time (like Serpentshrine Cavern/Tempest Keep), or are we only getting one at a time (i.e. Naxxramas followed by Ulduar)?

We like the idea of having more smaller raids rather than one large one. In other words, we will have more than one at Cataclysm launch.

What happened to the advertised Dance Studio for the Wrath of the Lich King expansion?

It’s still on the list! We always start an expansion with more than we can realistically do and then shuffle things up and down. WoW is one of those games you just never finish, which is overall a fun thing about working on it.

Read more after the break

Blizzard Quote:

Where is my moose? Did you see that Ghostcrawler?

That was so epic. I was sure the screenshot was shopped until we saw the actual video. I guess we’re going to have to do a moose now…

Will there be any upcoming changes to shadow priest anytime soon?

We’re pretty happy with them currently in Icecrown and PvP. Long term they have some things we want to address, such as having long ramp-up time even on easy mobs when leveling or handling large groups. They also get really punished from school lockout.

With Illidan you removed attunement to give players more accessibility to the instance, so why have you limited pre-Ulduar geared players from using the Dungeon Finder to enter the new 5-player dungeons that were released in patch 3.3?

We feel like players using Dungeon Finder need some reasonable guarantee that the other players they get grouped with are going to be able to pull their weight. We don’t yet have a robust system for tracking that other than gear. Gear obviously has its problems though, so we’ll be looking at smarter ways to do it in the future.

You talk a lot about changing how we heal tanks, but will aggro ever come back as a challenging part of the game?

Not sure. This is something we discuss a lot. I even had a meeting on it this week! On the one hand, some tanks really felt like the way to distinguish themselves was to generate maximum threat per second. On the other hand, threat is a pretty invisibile part of the game (it’s limited to the UI at best), and I know when I tank that I always feel pretty emasculated when someone actually pulls off of me. It’s challenging, but is it really fun? This is the kind of thing we’d love to get more feedback on.

Please include your feedback on large banners to be shown in the background during the Olympics. Failing that, the forums would work too.

Could you add a resilience enchant for professions like enchanting, inscription, etc.? Right now only Jewelcrafting and Blacksmithing can get this PvP benefit.

Yeah, we’d like to do more of this. Enchanting makes sense.

Will existing races get a more “epic” start to the game, similar to the goblin/worgen starting experience?

We have big plans in store for both the trolls and the gnomes in regards to their starting experience but you probably already know that. wink

We are also planning to spice up the starting zones for all of the other races as well. You can expect gameplay changes to the actual zones, as well as improved quest flows and all new items to match.

What have you learned from the inclusion of Wintergrasp in Wrath of the Lich King?

We learned a lot from Wintergrasp. I think our biggest takeaway is that we do not want to create such a technical strain on the servers like that ever again. We are pretty happy with the way that the gameplay worked out overall and are looking to grow and improve upon it with Tol Barad in Cataclysm. Tol Barad is going to have similarities to Wintergrasp, but the gameplay will be very different. We are still working out the details, but one thing I can say is that we want to reduce the overall amount of vehicle combat and get players back into the action using their own actions bars in pvp combat.

When will we get new info and updates on Cataclysm?

We have an article on the stat changes that should be going up really soon. You’ll see more over time as we get closer to launching this next expansion.

How do you feel about the limited attempts mechanic that has been use in Trial of the Crusader and Icecrown Citadel?

We’re not crazy about how they worked out. They were designed in essence to save players from themselves. In the past, some people would make 400+ attempts on new bosses. That’s not healthy and at some point you’re not measuring skill but tenacity. Yet, that’s not what happened. Guilds just made alts to get around the limitations, and things like disconnects and accidents make losing an attempt really frustrating. We like gating because if nothing else it lets the community focus on more than just the final boss in the zone. If we do limited attempts again it would probably be limited to optional bosses like Algalon.

Are there any plans to allow cross-realm raiding?

If we can solve the problems with it, we might give it a try. One of the problems is getting the group back together, especially on the longer instances. Loot drama and stuff like that is always a problem. There is also the ongoing concern about the concept of your realm having less of a sense of community.

With Illidan you removed attunements to give players accessibility. Why limit pre-Ulduar-geared players from even entering Icecrown Citadel LFG?

Gear requirements are a way for us to help players have an experience that is more in line with their skill level. We would much rather you not be able to get into the instance than to have you get in there with a group and find out that you can’t even tank the first boss. Gear requirements are not locked in stone either — we are updating these as we see fit.

When will we get new info and updates on Cataclysm?

Soon, but not too soon. Ragnaros would be pissed.

Will there ever be cross-realm raiding?

This is something that we are looking into. There are a lot of design issues that need to be addressed before we could implement something like this, but we are definitely interested in the idea.

With the new gear stats system in cataclysm, will you go back and redo all the old gear, or will it only affect new gear?

Yes, we redid all the old gear.

Should players be concerned about what gear they pickup in this expansion, because of the gear overhaul that is coming?

I wouldn’t stress over it. You’ll probably replace that gear pretty quickly. Since we have 5 levels, we don’t really want players getting all the way to 85 without having upgraded at all.

Has there been any thought of changing Eclipse to charges so that Moonkin dps doesn’t suffer so much from moving?

Yes. Expect a major overhaul in Cataclysm that keeps the same basic idea (alternating from Arcane to Nature) but in a way that is more core to the class. Like everything though, there is the risk that we may decide this idea sucks once we see it in action.

With the new gear stats system in Cataclysm, will you go back and redo all the old gear, or will it only affect new gear?

The new gear stats will affect both old gear and new gear. Time to reroll!

Do you consider Algalon a successful raid encounter, and will we see more hardmode-only bosses in the future?

We were actually really happy with the way that Algalon played out. We designed him with a very specific sort of raider in mind and those that got a chance to fight him really enjoyed the fight. Encounters like Algalon will not be in every raid zone, but we would like to do something like this again for sure.

Will we be seeing more Caverns of Time in Cataclysm? War of the Ancients, maybe?

We will definitely see another trip to the Caverns of Time during Cataclsym. You are going to have to ask Chromie for more details though.

Do you consider Algalon a successful raid encounter, and will we see more hardmode-only bosses in the future?

Yes, we like it. The model in general is a good way to offer challenges to the extreme hardcore without making the final end boss of a raid something only a few people see.

Are there any updates on the changes for Warlock soul shard mechanics?

We’ve implemented much of what we’ve discussed at Blizzcon: shards are a UI element instead of an item. You use them frequently, but for great effect. They are all for damage. Summoning and pets just cost mana. I think you’ll finally like shards.

The Hunter class has many odd and situational abilities such as Mongoose Bite and Aspect of the Beast – are there any plans for changes to these types of abilities?

Mongoose Bite is most likely a goner. Let us weep. We think Aspect of the Beast could have some cool uses for Beastmaster hunters.

Getting to exalted status with the factions in the Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin battlegrounds can be really long and difficult to obtain, are there any plans to change this?

For these factions specifically, we think it’s a badge of honor for players who complete them. It’s not like there’s a huge benefit for them.

Is there any info you can share on future plans for holy paladins?

I hear they need more healing spells.

Will any of the new race/class combos be available before Cataclysm is released?


Are hunters likely to see more stable slots for their pets in the future? With the current variety of pets, the amount they have right now seems too small.

Arm-waving here, but a model I would love to see is dramatically expanded slots (so you can store all those Spirit Beasts) but have a smaller number of “active” pets, like 3. You could summon an active pet from anywhere in the world, when outside of combat. You would swap a pet from active to the stable at the Stable Masters.

Will new race/class combos be available before Cataclysm release (i.e. with 4.0)?

Nope, these will come with Cataclysm.

What happened to the zone-wide buff in Icecrown Citadel? Did you trash that idea or is it coming in the near future before Cataclysm?

This is still in the works, we just are not ready for it quite yet. The buff will scale up over time as well.

This is also answered in more detail in BlizzCast episode 13

With the Lich King defeated, in Cataclysm, will the Plaguelands be green and beautiful again?

Western Plaguelands will finally be free of the plague in Cataclysm. It’s hard for the Scourge to survive without their beloved Lich King. I guess this means we need to rename the zone?

What did Yogg-Saron have to do with the Lich King? It seemed like a strange tangent to make in the middle of the expansion?

Did you do the quests in Icecrown? Quick answer: the existence of an Old God in Icecrown had a lot to do with the ability for mortals to become corrupted.

Will the dungeon finder get upgraded to possibly track or detect players who abuse the kick system and/or ninjaing?

We are toying around with this idea. It’s hard to let you use it when needed without letting others abuse it.

Why have we not seen World Bosses in this expansion?

They just have problems. It’s always a race to get to them, which tends to favor larger groups who are online often, and it’s hard to discourage or even prevent players outside the raid from helping or screwing things up.

Why did the Night Elves bring the Worgen into the Alliance, and were described as “old allies”?

The men and women of Gilneas were the “old allies.”

Why have we not seen world bosses in this expansion?

World bosses are something that we have been talking about more as of late. We really like the concept, but there are certain design problems we would like to address before we bring them back. Stay tuned.

With the advent of Heroic Shadowfang Keep and Heroic Deadmines, is there any likelihood of other older instances made Heroic?

Yes. We are hoping to do more than just these two, but it just comes down to time. We are focusing on getting the new Cataclysm dungeons done first and then we can look into doing more old-world Heroics.

I’d like to see a new Isle of Quel’Danas-like daily quest hub in Cataclsym. One place, no travelling quick gold daily, please?

We are planning to do exactly this for Tol Barad. When the battle is not taking place, players will be able to use the island as a daily quest hub. This will of course be very fun on PVP servers.

Will you give us more bag/bank slots and make us able to carry more bags at a time if i say please?

We will have larger bags in Cataclysm for sure. The real question is will you buy them from Haris Pilton?

Will we get some info about the other zones revamped in Cataclysm, like Stranglethorn Vale or Tanaris?

Yes, we are hoping to do a few specific web features on a few of the old world zones and exactly what is changing with them. Stranglethorn Vale is seeing a large amount of changes so it is a great candidate for this.

What is the one thing you’re the most proud of in regards to how the Wrath of the Lich King expansion went?

Questing in Northrend took on a whole new meaning. I can’t wait for people to see what we have in store for Cataclysm!

If you could go back and redo or remove some feature that were added with WoTLK, what would it be and why?

I think the emblem system could be less clunky. Limited Attempts didn’t really work out. We always had some tension about what 10 player heroic should really be. I’m only talking new features here. There were plenty of other things I’d change about this expansion in hindsight. We’re pretty critical of our own design.

What is the one thing you’re the most proud of in regards to how the Wrath of the Lich King expansion went?

It had a really strong theme with the frozen north and you knew from the beginning that a final showdown with you-know-who was coming at the end. One of the challenges of Cataclysm is not having that really focused theme (cold undead) but Cataclysm still has a great story mind you.

Why we have never seen a female worgen model? I Want to see a beautiful one from you.

The female model looks great! Hopefully we will get some screenshots of her up soon.

Is there any chance that tabards will eventually get their own tab on the character screen (a la pets/mounts)?

Tabard storage is something we have been looking into for the last couple weeks. Hopefully we will be able to get this done for Cataclysm. No promises though. wink

Are there any plans to implement cross-faction/cross-realm mail(for BoA gear and such)?

We have cross-faction mail for BoA items now; cross-realm is a work in progress, but we hope to have it done “soon.”

Are we ever going to be able to get Frostmourne?

Not in game, but you can order a real one!

Due to Silverpine’s (and thus the worgen’s) proximity to Undercity, will we be seeing the Forsaken move?

The Undercity will still be home to the Forsaken. In fact, since Azeroth is now flyable, we went back and rebuilt the entire surface area of Lordaeron. We should get some screenshots of this up. It looks amazing!

If you could go back and redo or remove some features that were added with Wrath of the Lich King, what would it be? Why?

I would have really liked to see more Battlegrounds in Northrend. That is an area that I feel we fell short on. We have big plans for Battlegrounds in Cataclysm though and I think that rated Battlegrounds are really going to fire players up to get back into the Battlegrounds.

They improved how water looks… seems only logical they’ll let us near the shores more often because of that

We are opening up as many places as we can to the water in Cataclysm. A few examples would be Blasted Lands, Stonetalon and Shimmering Flats. Heck, Shimmering Flats is a lake now!

And for the final question…

Will there be any type of water mount, like, submarines?

We actually have two brand new subs that we made for Cataclysm. These submarines will be used as transports. We have one for gnomes and one for goblins. The subs are huge too! Both are about the size of the Gunships from Icecrown. wink

That’s it for this Developer Chat. If any questions were answered twice, keep in mind we had two developers independently working to jump on as many questions as possible.

We’d like to thank both of our developers for coming, and thank you all for joining us!