The Q&A panel from the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational is about to begin. We'll be bringing you live updates on the latest tidbits and bombshells the devs have in store for us. Check after the jump for a minute by minute description of what's being asked and revealed.
6:30pm CEST: Waiting for the panel to start. Drooling over Diablo 3 and Starcraft II cinematics.
Gallery: Worldwide Invitational 2008
6:33pm CEST: Introductions of the Panel members. First questions: Why has there never been a agnome ina Warcraft cinematics? A: There are many, they are just too short to be seen.
6:35pm CEST: Q: Will there be a major content patch before Wrath release? A: That sounds suspicioulsy like you are asking for a release date for Wrath. The answer is: tomorrow. No, but Sunwell is the last content patch before the expansion release.
6:37pm CEST: Q: What about the range bug for the Feral Druid? A: We are re-evaluating how we calculate range distance. May be fixed by Wrath.
6:38pm CEST: Q: One talent tree for each class is geared toward PvP and one for Raiding. Any comment on that? A: Its not intended for any given tree to be a PvP tree. As players min/max their chars, one tree becomes most liked for a particular playstyle. We try to make all the trees as viable as we can for all the different parts of the game as much as we can.
6:39pm CEST: Q: Will the Inscription profession be for melee and for casters and what is the gathering mechanic? A: Its intended for melee or casters and there will be major and minor inscriptions. Herbalism will be the primary gathering skill.
6:41pm CEST: Q: Wil there be Linux support? What are the barriers? A: We have no immediate plans for support of Linux client. We had a Linux version early on for compatiability purposes, but have no plans to make the final game for Linux.
6:42pm CEST: Q: What is going to be done to facilitate DPS warrior to tank better to be in line with Druid and Death Knight abilities to do just that? A: We do have plans to improve the Warrior. We plan to help the Prot Warrior do more dps, through Heroic Strike and Revenge improvements and maybe give Shield Slam to all Warriors.
6:43pm CEST: Q: At the beginning of the game, the class roles were rigid, but as the game went on, classes became more like hybrids. But some are still single role. How are you planning to address Hunter, Mage, etc gameplay to make them more like hybrids? A: Most classes had hybrid abilities at the beginning. They will remain distinct but with cross-over roles. We do plan to keep them as distinct as possible. Even though there will be a new tank class, all tank classes tank differently.
6:46pm CEST: Q: Is voice chat planned to modify voices to match the voices of the character. A: (In very Diablo like voice) No. (Real answer): We have been thinking about it, but it has a lot of problems having to work with the different voices of players. If one player has a lower voice, it will come out better than a player with a high voice. We are going to modulate the tones of the DK voice emotes so if you are playing a Gnome DK you will still sound like a Gnome.
6:48pm CEST: Q: What is the story with the orc and the fruit cart in Shattrath. Will it ever be moved? A: If Metzen were here, he'd be angry.
6: 49pm CEST: Q: Do you think adding new classes will disturb the line up for 25 man raids. A: Yes, I think it is inevitable. The question is whether we are happy or not with the end result. What really matters is that it is 25 people showing up and hopefully everyone feels like their class has success in a raid.
6:51pm CEST: Q: How viable do you plan on making DK's in the 25man raid. A: We want the tanks to feel interchangable at the 5man level, but at the 25 man level we want the tanks to have a specialty, DKs should be the best against casters. Shouldn't be far behind on other encounters.
6:52pm CEST :Q: Will we be able to use flying mounts in Northrend? A: Yes, we are allowing players to use flying mounts in Wrath. Their wings might have to be defrosted a little bit. There will be some kind of attunement. New flying mounts will be introduced, possibly able to carry passengers at level 80.
6:54pm CEST: Q: Itemization for Ret Paladins. A: There are several things coming down the pike. They will share itemization with Warriors and DKs. And we plan to enhance their group utility to melee dps and how much dps they are able to put out themselves.
6:55pm CEST: Q: What do you have planned for armor customization in Wrath. A: We do plan to make raiding armor sets in Raiding look distinctive from PvP sets.
6:56pm CEST: Q: Will feral druids get new skins in Wrath? A: That is something we have talked about. We have to be careful about this because while some players would like that, others would not. This is based on past exprience when we accidentally changed some Rogue stealth animation. The outcry from the community was amazing. We have to balance the desire for new things with the needs of the community.
6:59pm CEST: Q: Will druids get male or female optional forms to choose from? A; We're thinking about swapping out flight form for male and female forms for feral. No? We do plan to have a new model for dire bear form and we plan to introduce the dire cat.
7:01pm CEST: Q: What changes will you make in the old world, specifically filling in areas that are blank. A: We're huge fans of the old world. A few new things: we're adding a harbor to Stormwind, its transport to Northwind. We will also be extending an area in Northern Plaguelands for the Death Knights to have a starting area. We are planning on putting one of our new arenas in Ogrimmar in place of the empty Arena there now. We want people to continue to play in the old world.
7:03pm CEST: Q: We have Gnome DKs, what about Gnome Paladins? (booing from audience). A: i was going to say yes, but by popular vote I'm going to have to say no. (audience cheering.)
7:04pm CEST: Q: In season 4 how do you plan on improving class balance. A: Minor adjustments in Patch 2.4.3 tuning to favor casters a little bit. In addition, its hard to say about Wrath. Every time we add another 10 levels and spells and talents and a new class everything will change in terms of balance, but by the time we ship the game we will have balanced things to an acceptable level.
7:05pm CEST: Q: What did you learn about Arenas so far? A: Line of sight, how much that affects players. We are going to introduce dynamic LOS in Wrath, for example a pillar may move up and down every 20secs or movable items. Randomness into the Arena vs player skill is the balance. We will have more info about the Arena in tomorrow's panel.
The first place we tested the Arena it was with no LOS obstacles and it wasn't as interesting.
7:08pm CEST: Q: Even Nihilum could kill Kil'jaeden. Will you nerf Sunwell Plateau before Wrath launches? A: Naxxramas will be retuned for 10 and 25 man and will be first tier raid. That is a good example of content people couldn't experience before. As far as the difficulty of Kil'jaeden, he is designed to be the final raid boss of the expansion. He is the unobtainable goal and we have no plans to nerf it. We monitor player progression and if we need to nerf it, we will, but have no plans now.
7:11pm CEST Q: PvP players have to do more PvP to be better for PvE. Is there plans to better separate the two? A: Its a fine line to walk. We don't want one to feel like they have to do the other, but we want players to feel like if they participate in the other gameplay, there is something there for them and that the two playstyles aren't exlusive to each other. We plan itemization changes planned for Wrath to smooth things out between the two.
7:13pm CEST: Q: Can Warriors look forward to Retaliation become less useless in Wrath. A: We will have swarms of mobs that will attack you.
7;15pm CEST: Q: Don't you think with all the patches, the game is getting easier and easier, and it's increasing the number of newbs? A: We're just trying to get it to where Frank can get through the game. One of the things we value very much at Blizzard is the ability for the game to be easy to learn and hard to master. You will see more newbs play over time because we keep system requirements low. You will see a more and more casual audience play as time goes by.
7:16pm CEST: Q: Which party buffs will become raid buffs in Wrath? A: Most of the Shaman totems, Unleashed Rage and Battle Shout as a couple of examples.
7:18pm CEST: Q: Will there be management tools at the character screen to reorder how characters are displayed, time played etc. A: Good idea, but we would have to prioritize it and get it in.
7:19pm CEST Q: Any plans to increase viability of Swords specs for raiding Rogues? A: We do intend to make improvements, daggers fell behind, we do intend for daggers to be very strong in Lich King for Rogues.
7:20pm CEST Q: Will druids have an epic ground form? A: No plans. Just epic arena wins with their current ground form.
7:21pm CEST Q: Will players every be able to transfer characters from US servers to European servers or vice versa? A: We've talked about it. There are unique technical challenges. Its nothing we have a timeline or plans for.
7:22pm CEST Q: Crowd Control and PvP: Matches are no game because player is always crowd control and Magister's Terrace... and I lost the feed. A: It's one of the things we're looking at. CC is required to make the match interesting, otherwise it's just a damage race. In WotLK it'll change, but they can't say there will be less than there is now.
7:23pm CEST Q: Uldum in Tanaris, is that going to be later content or a release in Wrath? A: Uldum is a dungeon that a lot of players want to see, and it was on our list for Northrend. I can't say whether we'll see it or not but it's something we want to get to players. There's still a lot in the old world that we plan on hooking into, but we don't want to launch it all in one expansion. Others like Grim Batol, just not all in one expansion.
7:26pm CEST: Q: Do you plan on having Warlocks as viable tanks? A: They've already had opportunities to be viable tanks, but it's not a role they will fill consistently. It's an AE damage or direct damage form
7:28pm CEST: Q: Will ugly mismatched armor be a problem in Wrath the way it was in TBC? (cheering) A: We ended up having a little clown action, ok, a lot of clown action in TBC. We aren't going to eliminate it, but we are going to improve it. You won't be happy 100%, but we could just solve it by making everything gray.
7:29pm CEST: Q: In the Battleground or in PvP, if you're a higher level than your opponent, you will have success. Is there any plan at the high level to separate players according to gear. A: Chilton: The current BG gear already does that. But to add additional parameters makes it even longer to find matching teams and thats what we have to balance against.
7:32pm CEST: Q: Will Soul Shard farming being addressed? All other classes can buy their reagents at vendors. And what's up with the Missing Diplomat? A: Diplomat - no answer off-hand, would have to talk to Quest guys. Soul Shards - we do have plans, emergency soul shard ability, but no plans to change it significantly. Its class defining.
7:34pm CEST: Q: Any plans to be able to switch between Talent specs easier? A: We are working on a plan to give players access to two Talent specs. More details in the future.
Two more questions.
7:35pm CEST Q: Why does the animal boss (spider boss) in lower Karazhan drop such crappy loot? A: That was a specific idea we had were there was a boss that dropped loot that didn't require 10 people. You have 8 people logged on you could get some faction and some loot.
7:37pm CEST Q: Any plans to create cities or other environments specifically for roleplayers? A: It seems you can roleplay all over the world. Some players might want a theater, other palyers might want something different. We give the entire world a lot of lore and character. We detail our cities and outdoor worlds so people who want to roleplay have the props to assist that.
The world event team's goal is to add fun things to the world that aren't meant for getting the best purple loot or be best at PvP. We've discussed things like adding marriages to the game to let people have fun with the world. You see stuff like that in the Darkmoon Faire. The team is really small right now, so we dont get to do as much as we'd like to.
(Disclaimer: This being a live blog, questions and answers are paraphrased.)
That's it for this panel. The dance costume contest is in a half an hour and the Dungeon and Raids panel is tomorrow morning at 10:45am CEST, which translates to 4:45am ET. WoW Insider will have a complete write up of these events and more!