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Stratics Chat: Live with the Devs

As promised, I'll be reporting on anything and everything going on in the Stratics chat. I'm hopeful that the devs will pick some of the truly tasty questions that have been offered up to answer.

For those who want to join us on IRC for this, you can get all the pertinent information here. For those of you who are unable to get on IRC but still wanting to keep up with the action, just refresh this post periodically. I'll add my running commentary here via edits as the chat progresses.

(Please note that all timestamps are EST.)

Pre-show: Had a lovely chat with TotalBiscuit from WoWRadio and caught some of his Devchat pre-show while waiting. Great guy -- and a great site. If you haven't checked them out, be sure to do so!

5:45 pm: Drink? Check. Snack? Oh man. I knew I forgot something...

5:50 pm: Wow, this channel is packed. There are easily several hundred in here. Of course, considering the guests of honor, that's really no surprise.

6:00 pm: Brannoc has said they'll begin shortly. So far, so good. Eyonix, Drysc, Neth are here as well as Kalgan and Tigole. More official people seem to be joining.

6:07 pm: They're going through the introductions now. -- Ah, first question. Wants to know when Azeroth will begin getting a significant revamp as it's a ghost town now.

6:09 pm: Tigole says that they're looking at revamping some older zones at some point. Also planning future expansions, mentions Karazhan and CoT as examples of future content plans.

(The rest lives behind the jump)

6:10 pm: Boy, they get right down to the meat, eh? Next question is about the "diminishing role of priests" and if there will be a future review? - Kalgan replies that had a lot to do with the illumination talent. With 2.1 there are significant balance changes that should improve the role of healing priests in endgame content regardless of the fact that it wasn't the hpm/hps of the priests that changed. -- He also adds that it had something to do with the power of shadow spec. Leaves that with a smiley. Hmm...

6:12 pm: Wants to know about plans for 10-15 man dungeon content coming up for casual players. Tigole says that Karazhan has been a success, and they're going to try to make Zul'Aman 10 man as well. Says it's still a way off, so he can't say for certain.

6:14 pm: Are there plans to move forward with "classic" realms where the level cap is 60 and there is no content beyond Naxx? -- Kalgan replies no. No plans at current. Wants to focus on WoW moving forward instead.

6:17 pm: And here comes the Shaman question - Anything you can tell us about upcoming plans to change the Shaman class... Kalgan replies that they plan to do more refinement of the shaman class in an upcoming patch. He said they are starting to settle in on a pretty good spot for elemental and Resto specs. It's the enhancement spec that they'd like to see become more than "just" a leveling spec. But no, sorry. No specifics.

6:19 pm: Asking about Heroic mode being added to old content. -- Tigole replies that they'd love to go back and revisit some of the classic dungeons and do Heroic versions. They're still discussing it, but need to focus on new content for now.

6:20 pm: Next question asks what the Devs think about the current state of melee in endgame raiding with boss mitigation causing lower DPS than before. - Kalgan thinks that pre- 2.1 melee needs some help. Says after 2.1 we may see melee DPS where it needs to be due to the Glancing Blow changes. -- added that they're "a whole lot less punishing" to melee in 2.1 (I never knew my Rogue needed to be punished. O.O )

6:23 pm: With changes to encounters and KTM, says safe DPS isn't as crucial as it was two years ago. Talking about many raids dropping to 1 Hunter, and says that buffs in 2.1 to Hunters will not be enough to make them raid viable. -- Kalgan says will ratchet up Hunter DPS as needed, but does state he thinks is still much value in "safe" DPS even now.

6:26 pm: Asking about plans to rework the socket system, cites that many bonuses are "useless" Wants to know if that system is living up to Dev intent. - Kalgan says they have learned quite a bit, intended for bonus to be an incentive to match sockets - not a mandate. Also thinks system has provided players with great customization options.

6:28 pm: Asking if L70 cloth armor having less damage reduction than L60 cloth was intentional. - Kalgan says was intentional. -- All armor provides less mitigation at 70 than at 60.

6:31 pm: Asking about multiple tanking classes in Burning Crusade. Says they looked at Glancing Blows, any change coming to Crushing Blows for alternate tank-types. Kalgan says they have had discussions regarding Crushing Blows. They feel that add too random an element for players at endgame. Expect to deal with the issue at some point in the future - cautions may not be immediate.

6:33 pm: Asking about cool down timer on Shadow Word: Death. Asking if Devs have any intent to revisit it in the future. - Kalgan replies it is a nerf, although says is arguably less of one in PvP than in PvE.

6:35 pm: Asking about plans to let Druids use Potions in forms again. - Kalgan says possible, but not certain.
Someone asking about Ashbringer - Tigole replies "The saga continues!" they are enjoying the ongoing storyline and hope to continue it through the game.

6:37 pm: Addressing grinding complaints of healers and tanks. Asking if there will be allowance to swap specs without cost. - Kalgan says there is no plan to give players multiple specs, as it defeats the purpose of having to choose one.

6:39 pm: Asking about harsh keying requirements are going to stay for future expansions, or will some sort of back flagging be possible. -- Tigole says plans are to add that tomorrow. - Kalgan and Eyonix erupt with "Omg! Patch tomorrow!!" Tigole continues that a certain amount is cool. Allows guilds to separate from one another (No idea what that means) Kalgan replies that "Jeff is so fired..." - Tigole says "BTW Patch tomorrow. =P"

6:42 pm: Asking about weekly time investment needed for raids and how organized they expect the average guild to be. -- Kalgan replies that he intends average guild to be "|------------------------------------|" organized. (but no more or less than that.) - Tigole states that they look at having a suite of things to do at any point in the game, no matter what you do. thinks raiders like to feel useful outside of raiding - when it goes too far (herb farming for example) then it's not fun anymore.

6:44 pm: Asking about Ret specced Paladins and low DPS. - Tigole replies "but who will save the Hunters, Kalgan?" -- Kalgan replies that the Ret Pallies will save them... Next patch. Well, maybe not. Said they noticed the problem in testing, and how they were in a jam. They are looking to get it solved in a way that doesn't cause Ret Pallies to rule the PvP universe.

6:46 pm: Next is about hybrids, and their place - are the "pure" classes supposed to be better? - Kalgan replies that they want "pure" classes to perform better in primary roles, but hybrids coming close, but providing other group utility to offset their primary role power.

6:47 pm: Arena matches becoming longer, teams gaining cheap stamina, mana is expensive compared. Asking how they see that situation evolving and any plans to counter it. Kalgan replies that at least they aren't getting shorter with gear progression like they were at L60. They have made water available through the Honor system that players can drink in the Arenas, so you can "spam that drink button!"

6:51 pm: Asking about Lower Side and Crypt areas in Kara be opened in the future as dungeons? Tigole says perhaps, although other Old World locations will likely be visited first. Grim Batol, Dalaran, Uldum listed. Maybe more CoT instances as well.

6:53 pm: When should a Warrior choose Fury over Protection or Arms. Asking about planned reductions to Fury Warrior DPS. Kalgan says as far as tests indicate, Fury Warriors do significantly more DPS than Arms.

6:54 pm: Likes how they are adding in lots of solo content - will future patches continue this trend? Tigole says the Dev team is dedicated to the game. Hope is to add all sorts of content raging from solo to group. Also want to make changes and improvements at all levels of the game. They are trying to include something for everyone.

6:55 pm: Asking about 10% Mage coefficient nerf, wants to know why. -- Kalgan says they are not actively evaluating it at this point. Melee classes are only starting to approach where they need to be in terms of DPS. They don't expect to make fireball/frostbolt do more damage at the moment.

6:57 pm: Why so few quests in 5-man instances in Burning Crusade? Tigole admits that it just came down to time. They definitely want to add more quests to the 5-man experience. Cites how boss in Mechanar is foreshadowed in other quests in that zone.

6:58 pm: Asking about buggy/overpowered encounters. Why they are left like that, example being Al'ar. Tigole said nothing was intentionally left broken. Testing was done before many item and balance changes were complete. Also no guilds made it to Al'ar on the PTR for beta. Much more testing has been done on this patch, and they have been fine-tuning the encounters.

6:59 pm: "Six words. Caverns of Time: Fall of Gnomeregan. Say it can be so!" -- Kalgan says " If you count "say it can be so" that's 11 words" :D -- Tigole wants to know if that is answeres, Drysc seems quite amused. Tigole says Gnomer could use some love. Maybe the Gnomes could take it back. Where's Metzen?

7:00 pm: Change to Aran's Flame Wreath more pet friendly. Any plans to make other encounters more pet friendly? -- Tigole says upcoming changes to Hunter pets should help. Says have to be careful about going too far, though.

7:02 pm: Asking about future of Shamans in raid environment. Are not being included as they can't outperform a pure DPS class. Asking about an aggro dump talent for Shamans. - Kalgan says Shaman raid DPS is underrated but said that will stick with the philosophy that they want it close to, but not more than a "pure" DPS class and make up for it in group utility. And they do not plan on giving every class an aggro dump.

7:04 pm: Items from new instances have new features like "ignore armor" and haste ratings. Asking about other effects coming. Kalgan replies that what is in game is all they've planned up to Tier 6.

7:08 pm: Asking about more raid bosses like the chess event in Kara where the entire raid can avoid dying/repairs on a failure. Thinks it was a great idea but seemed rushed. - Tigole says chess event is very unique. Would like to do more like that, but takes a tremendous amount of time. The chess event is "a reward for just getting there... and for being a solo rogue... j/k" Would be easy to make it overpowered. but erred on the side of making it feel like a bonus. Some changes to the event coming, Medivh will use the fire cheat more. But is meant as an "intermission" for your raid. Enjoy your free King's Defender.

7:12 pm: Asking if the Emerald Dream will come into play soon - Tigole replies not anytime soon, but it is planned.

7:14 pm: Want to know about the design status of Arena speculating (gambling) and wanting to know if you can earn Gold from games. Kalgan likes the idea of gambling on Arena battles, but it isn't in the works.

7:16 pm: Pointed question about why there was a nerf to Shadow Priests' DPS. Asking if they will get better coefficients and itemization to balance. Tigole says "too...much...face....melting... Kalgan cites that the Priest shouldn't be out-DPSing the rest of the raid while also acting as a mana and health battery.

7:18 pm: Asking about adding monthly story-driven events controlled by GMs - invasions, war efforts, etc. Tigole replies that they try to have events unfold with player interaction. Quality of play is king for them. Says is not sure if those events would be of the quality that players have come to expect if they were being run on an individual basis. Says GMs are talented, but they need them for customer service.

7:21 pm: Asking about more Gnomish lore. Tigole and Kalgan confirm plans for the Gnomes - more to come on that.

7:23 pm: Curious about plans to address the issue of crit/spell haste not benefiting Affliction Warlocks and Shadow spec Priests. Kalgan says they did make spell haste affect channeled spells. Decided against using DOT duration.

7:24 pm: Current status of raid progression and attunements - many will likely not see Black Temple or Hyjal before next expansion. Asking about making it less "unforgivable" Tigole says "Yes. Tomorrow. First thing in the morning." continues by saying "2.1.0 will go live and I think there are *many* significant changes to help with raid progression issues. If raid progression is still a problem after 2.1.0, we'll make further changes" - They want people doing that content, would rather have fun beaten content than a bunch of things nobody ever sees. Plus all epics getting a big buff tomorrow.... Tigole adds "If that all fails, there's always STARCRAFT 2 omg?" Kalgan thinks that's pretty sweet.

7:28 pm: And now they are switching to Trivia time. The Devs have left, but Drysc and Neth are still hanging out, but are largely just quiet. I hope this has helped shed some light on what the Devs have in store, and what some of the changes were for.

And most of all, you heard it straight from the Devs so it must be true:

PATCH 2.1 LIVE TOMORROW!

Of course while the servers are down, and you've got the WoW jones going, WoW Insider will be here for you with Breakfast Topics, MovieWatch and all the news that's fit to print. (and probably some news that isn't, but we like to keep you on your toes.)

Until then, goodnight Internets!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Interviews

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