GDC 2009: Kaplan Cruise Director of Azeroth Panel

Jeff Kaplan (Tigole) exposed his panel The Cruise Director of AZEROTH: Directed Gameplay within WORLD OF WARCRAFT at the GDC 2009 (Moscone Center, San Francisco). There are various interesting topics in this panel that fans would like to read.

The WoW Quests Problems theme summarized the 9 worst problems affecting players in the World of Warcraft quests:
1. The Christmas Tree Effect: Mini-map gets cluttered with yellow exclamation marks. So many quests, gahh!!!
2. Too Long, Didn’t Read: Quest text is too long, why read all that? Click, and go.
3. Medium Envy: More pew pew, less Lore. (Kaplan hates Metzen? Burn !!!)
4. Mystery: Kaplan mentioned Mankrik’s Wife. Nuff Said. Huh? WTF do I find [X].
5. Poorly Paced Quest Chains: Long quests discourage you from doing those in the future, and skip them. Myzrael [40] is given as example.
6. Gimmick Quests: Vehicles in quests are Teh suck, according to Kaplan. Fun for developers to make, not fun to players.
7. Bad Flow: A Loch Modan chart shows the poor choice of quest types imposed on players, and how to avoid it.
8. Collection Quest Mistakes: The Green Hills of Stranglethorn Vale
9. Why Am I Collecting This Shit?: So I have to collect 8 paws, but Gnolls drop one or none? Don’t they have two paws jacknabbit?

The Progressive Percentage Item Drop Mechanic show us how loot drops are coded to make progression more fast paced, while eliminating the poor drop rates that plagued us in classic WoW. On the other hand, the Game Developers Are Not Shakespeare topic might rise some eyebrows among the Lore Community.  We all know Tigole comes from a Raiding background back on his Everquest days, but I have to differ with him in this particular topic, mostly because I am on the other side of the spectrum. Lore is an important part of World of Warcraft, and it drives a percent of players who play the game, who love to read the Warcraft novels by Christie Golden, Richard A. Knaak, Keith DeCandido and other authors.

A lot of material from those novels have been brought to life in the MMO, and the experiences lived in-game when playing those quests, interacting with the heroes, and reading the lore in the quests related to those novels complement fittingly. I buy the expansions not to loot l33t items, but because of the lore.  Loot and raiding comes next as an addition to the overall experience. Not everyone wants to read quests, or cares about the story. But not everyone likes hardcore raiding either, or PvP.  Some like only one aspect of the WoW gameplay (there are casual and solo who don’t do raiding or PvP), or a combination of two such as PvP and Lore (an dislike dungeon raiding), some like lore and raiding (but not PvP—I’m among these group), and so on. Most of the people that play World of Warcraft do so because they experienced the single player storyline in Warcraft III and Frozen Throne, and previous Warcraft games. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a MMORPG.  Metzen and his team are our Shakespeares, and if anything I would love to see more books in printed format and more “experience a book”—of the Warcraft universe—in-game through textful quests.

I don’t hate Jeff Kaplan folks, just don’t share that particular view. In fact, I do like the work he’s done, and read most if not all of his interviews online. And although I will miss him as Lead Game Designer of World of Warcraft, I am confident he will do his best on the Next-Gen MMO.

Check out the different topics discussed throughout his GDC Panel:

This discussion will focus on the original development of WORLD OF WARCRAFT’s quest system and how it has changed over time, with WRATH OF THE LICH KING being the latest evolution. The presentation will also include some of the guidelines and philosophies that are followed when creating WoW content. It will also be suggested how WoW’s philosophy applies to other game genres and touch on topics such as game design as it applies to story, single player, massively multiplayer, open world and constrained locale considerations.

Attendees will gain some insight into the quest design nuances in World of Warcraft. Not only will this talk focus on quest design, but there will be discussion of directed gameplay and its relationship to story/lore.

The Global Community: 2009 China’s Lunar New Year Event

Blizzard is showing off various photos submitted by chinese WoW players to celebrate the Lunar New Year Festival.  They are showing a handful out of over 8 thousand entries. Check them out by clicking on the images in this page.

Blizzard Quote:
This year, World of Warcraft players in China celebrated the Lunar New Year with a photo event called,

GDC 2009: Blizzard’s Pardo: Sony, Microsoft Need New Forms Of Gameplay

Recently we reported that Rob Pardo confirmed that Blizzard and Microsoft are talking about the Xbox 360 successor.  They want Microsoft to learn from Nintendo. During the Luminaries Lunch at the GDC 2009,  Junction Point’s Warren Spector slashed at Rob Pardo with mockery … “I

Blizzard And Microsoft Talk Xbox 360 Successor For Next-Gen MMO?

Rob Pardo confirmed at the GDC 2009 that Blizzard Entertainment and Microsoft are talking about the Xbox 360 successor.  And by the looks of it they want its successor to have a keyboard and mouse peripherals and tools to allow MMO and RTS gameplay on consoles.  The potential is enormous. Imagine World of Warcraft, Starcraft: Ghost, Starcraft II and even Diablo III on PC and Consoles.  It is the culprit of the Next-Gen MMO no doubt.

The future is looking brighter for Blizzard and all its millions of fans if Microsoft can pull the right cards off its sleeve and places them into the table to make it possible.

Blizzard Quote:
Rob Pardo: “There are are so many games like we make at Blizzard that we don’t take to consoles because they don’t support the input device, and you end up with crappy ports. That’s why RTS games never do well on consoles,” he said.

“If I was them, I’d be sitting around trying to figure out what’s a cool input device that supports all types of new kinds of games.”—read more

Change To Flasks In WoW 3.1

Bornakk offered a lengthy explanation behind the changes to Flasks in Patch 3.1.  Though flasks get a nerf in duration, players will reap greater benefits.

Blizzard Quote:
As many of you have learned, we will be reducing the duration of flask effects so that they only last one hour. However, all recipes that create flasks will create two instead of one for the same material cost. Additionally, we will be increasing stack size from 5 to 20 as we anticipate players will need to carry more flasks at a given time. Vendor value for flasks has also been reduced to keep the auction house deposit low.

Our goal with the change was to allow players greater flexibility when determining how long they plan to raid, as currently we were seeing many players balance time spent raiding around flask duration. We also anticipate that this change will make using flasks in dungeons and battlegrounds a more reasonable decision for players. Though this change will not occur until patch 3.1.0, we wanted to give as much advance notice as possible in case some of you who are stockpiling flasks would prefer to wait to do so until the change is implemented.

We realize players who currently have stockpiled a lot of flasks may feel like they will lose money with this change, since their current flasks will only last for half as long once 3.1.0 goes live. To partially remedy this, we are going to allow players to exchange any current Northrend flasks (Flask of the Frost Wyrm, Flask of Stoneblood, Flask of Endless Rage and Flask of Pure Mojo) for two flasks with the shorter duration. Flasks from older content will not be grandfathered in, and going forward, it will only be possible to make the flasks with a one hour duration.

Fifth Blizzard Game In the Works Update

Recently, Blizzard Entertainment added two job openings under the category titled Unannounced. I wrote an article about it a few days ago. We have now a few interesting bits concerning these job openings for a unannounced game.

UpdateMarch 24—The job openings mentioned in this newspost is indeed a brand-new game that has not been mentioned before.

1. This brand-new game is not a World of Warcraft expansion, and it is not related to the Next-Gen MMO.

2. In the present, the brand-new game is using the World of Warcraft engine merely for testing purposes.

3. The Client Software Engineer job opening is to hire the person that will have the responsibility to develop an engine from scratch for this game.  This new engine will be built depending on the skill and interest of the person hired for this position.

Whether this game is based on the three major franchises (Warcraft, Starcraft or Diablo) or a new IP, that remains unknown.

We encourage our readers who have the skills and fill the requirements for this job to step forward and submit a resume and code samples to [email protected].

World of Warcraft # 20

The solicitation for World of Warcraft # 20 is available, and it looks like the comic book is starting to catch up with Wrath of the Lich King. As shown in previous issues, Garrosh Hellscream is already in Orgrimmar, and accompanies Thrall and Rehgar Earthfury to the peace summit with Varian Wrynn (Lo’gosh) at Theramore.

Now the Scourge attacks the Alliance and the Horde. Are we gonna see some zombies shrieking the word: “BRRAIIIIIINNNSSS !!!” We will have to wait and see.


The Scourge makes their move and attacks from all fronts intent on taking no prisoners! No longer united, can Varian and Thrall survive the onslaught? And will Valeera once again succumb to her addiction to magical energy?

Written by Walter Simonson & Louise Simonson
Art by Mike Bowden & Phil Moy
Cover by Walter Simonson

On sale June 17

Warcraft Legends Vol. 4 Preview Scans: Bloodsail Buccaneers

Warcraft Legends Vol. 4 is shockful of goodies with stories based on the Bloodsail Buccaneers and the Darkmoon Faire by Christie Golden. And the conclusion of the undead tauren Trag Highmountain saga by Richard A. Knaak. What happens when noble tauren arrives at Arthas the Lich King’s front door with an ancient weapon even the dragon aspects would be frightened of?  With Warcraft: Legends Vol. 4 you have a little taste of swashbuckling adventures with the Bloodsail Buccaneers. Volume 4 will be available at local and online bookstores on June 16, 2009.

Product Description
Some of the world’s best manga creators join together to bring the world of Warcraft to life as never before! Between these covers lie tales of adventure, treachery, humor and bravery. Told from both Alliance and Horde point of view, these stories have entertained the likes of travelers, soldiers and thieves in taverns, inns and camps all throughout Azeroth. They have endured the trials of time and have earned the title of legend. Whether this is your first journey into Azeroth, or merely the latest in a long line of visits, this collection will not soon be forgotten!

imageAvast thar, matey! This be Captain Bloodvein, the most cutthroat pirate to ever sail the South Seas of Azeroth! Usually I care not for books (lest they be used to fuel the roarin

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