Jan 18th 2012 2:34PM @Shinae
I'm pretty sure Pandaria is "Pandarian based with Asian inspiration," at least if you ask Blizzard. ;)
That said, nine-tailed fox stories aren't limited to Kitsune. I encourage you to take a look at Huli jing (Chinese) and Kumiho (Korean) whenever Wikipedia comes back.
Jan 18th 2012 2:00PM Not sure about families (though maybe they'll get back to Hydras). Seriously hoping for a nine-tailed fox Spirit Beast. That would just be spectacular.
Jan 13th 2012 4:53PM @ "Many tanks complain that waiting for abilities to proc is too random and too unpredictable. So I say make the boss's attacks the random elements of a fight..."
They used to have this, it was called "Crushing Blows."
I personally feel like, over time, Blizzard has forgotten why certain fundamental mechanics were part of their game. Most of the mechanics that have been phased out have affected tanking. Crushing Blows are the first, and probably one of the best, examples. The threat of Crushes forced tanks to tend their cooldowns to avoid extra damage, and kept healers on their toes (and awake, and doing something other than spamming AoE heals). Yeah, random tank deaths that you couldn't do anything about sucked, but the mechanic was there for a reason.
Along these lines was the removal of Parry-Hasting. For those who missed it, anyone being parried by a boss used to result in advancing the boss' swing timer, such that the tank would be rapidly and repeatedly melee'ed when parried. In addition to forcing melee DPS to do so from behind (where they belong) to avoid killing the tank, it added to the complexity and decision making processes involved with gearing your tank. Without soft-expertise-cap, you were setting yourself up for potential damage spikes. Without this mechanic, expertise becomes a purely threat-enhancing stat, rather than a damage smoothing and reducing stat. The current trend is for tanks to pretty much ignore expertise as a result.
Further, threat was there for a reason. Back when threat mattered, and it was somewhat difficult for tanks to maintain it, it didn't matter if Arcane Mages has a 10k higher DPS potential than any other class, because they'd never get the opportunity to show it; they'd have aggro and be taking a dirt nap way before their damage ramped up past everyone else. Threat acted as a DPS cap, a ceiling that required Damage Dealing players to exercise a little forethought before hitting their Nuke button, and provided a means for balancing output at a level less than "maximum potential."
In Wrath, it was avoidance stats, versus inflated health pools and never ending Heals. I'm pretty happy with the return to avoidance brought about with Cataclysm, but Wrath still has changed the tank-healer dymanic. Healers are far more powerful across the board, which means damage is inflicted on tanks increasingly harder and increasingly faster. It's become less of a game of strategy and more of an arcade game, a trend I'm not sure I like (and I play primarily as a healer).
I'm interested in seeing if Blizzard can create compelling tank game-play through the active-mitigation system that they described a few months ago. That has the potential of really revolutionizing the tanking play style, but I'm not sure that that will be enough to keep tanks engaged; something about encounters needs to situationally reward tanks for good play if they want tanks to feel good about being tanks.
Jan 1st 2012 11:48AM It's so pretty!
Dec 30th 2011 6:38PM Bear Calvary!
Nov 14th 2011 10:57AM The story of Auchindoun is a bit more veiled, I'll give you. But the point is that it's a place of power; power that the races of Outland want. Auchindoun is a pretty good analogy for the Outlands as a whole: it's a place that's dying, gradually being snuffed out, and there's a mad dash to see who can be holding the best pieces when there's nothing left.
In the entry for Auchindoun on WorldofWarcraft.com it says that the Shadow Council infiltrated the complex with the intent to harness the energies there in order to summon Murmur. The resulting explosion set the are reeling, and seems to be partially responsible for the Ethereals coming to Outland. The Auchenai are presumably the surviving custodians of the complex, corrupted by D'ore's void energies and obsessed with the disturbed spirits that wander the ruins. The Sethekk are a splinter sect of Arrakoa who believe the destruction of Auchindoun was a sign of their god's return.
There are a lot of groups represented in Auchindoun, and it's probably the weakest cluster in Outland, since it doesn't terminate in a raid, but each of those factions have very real reasons for being in the ruins. I supposed it could be argued that we should have seen more interaction between the groups, and had WoW's technology been then what it is today, maybe we would have seen different groups make raids on the other wings from their own in the central area of the complex.
Nov 14th 2011 9:34AM I miss the Burning Crusade model of Instance-Clusters. Having leveling dungeons build up to "Hard Dungeons" (see below) or Raids was great for the story and feel of the expansion. I loved the way that Underbog and Slavepens built up into the Steam Vaults and ultimately Serpentshrine itself. The same with Botanica and Mechanar to the Arcatraz, and Tempest Keep.
With a few exceptions, we've been trending away from this sort of storytelling. The three ICC instances leading up to the raid were great. Ulduar had its two Halls, but besides the Loken plot point, there's not much that holds them together. The Zul'Drak troll dungeons, Nerbian instances, and Utguard felt like they were going in the right direction, but we never have the satisfaction of seeing those stories evolve into a raid.
With Cataclysm it's even worse. BRC is standalone, with only a comical tie-in to BWD through Finkle. VP does nothing to support Tot4W besides introduce Djinn. With the Abyssal Depths raid axed, TotT sits lonely. Dead Mines and SFK are well supported by questing and the Worgen starting experience (respectively) but completing either fails to result in any zone-phase changes or quest event, so there's no satisfaction in seeing those plots to their ending.
Clustering instances together made them more effective storytelling devices, and made it possible to give them a very distinct "beginning, middle and end." I really hope we see a return to this philosophy.
Instance-Clusters that didn't end in a raid still culminated in "Hard Dungeons." Things like Shadow Labyrinth, Shattered Halls and the Arcatraz were in a difficulty above the rest, and that made it a special accomplishment to succeed at them. I remember doing the timed run in Shattered Halls the first time, and it actually being an accomplishment worthy of recognition. I remember people being wary of or outright refusing to do the Arcatraz. I'm excited for Challenge Modes in Mists; hopefully that system will recapture a bit of the "Hard Dungeon" feel.
Nov 7th 2011 11:44AM Awesome TFH.
I like the idea of there being an Old God for each major landmass (we're living on their backs! They're everywhere!), the idea of them forming a Star or Cross never made much sense. The Old Gods would have been imprisoned prior to the Sundering and destruction of the Well of Eternity, which left the continents as they currently are. Any positioning of the old-ones' prisons into such shapes would have had to have been engineered by themselves or their minions. Having beings of chaos and nihilism attempting to adjust their prisons into an ordered, specific shape just seems off.
Nov 3rd 2011 2:02PM @Derek
Agreed. I really feel that the new Talent system is derivative of the goals they had for Path of the Titans. It seems to me that in looking for a way to give players meaningful decisions that differentiate their characters from those of the same Race+Class+Specialization someone must have asked the question "why are we making a new system to add value to a system that doesn't work? Why don't we just do this?"
Personally, I'm a lot more excited for Pet Battles than I ever was for the Dance Studio. I'm sure, just like the Barber Shop I would have used it once to get the achievement and see how it worked, and that would have been it; Pet Battles have a lot more depth and draw to keep me coming back.
Nov 3rd 2011 11:34AM Pet Battles are hardly the most complex of the three newly proposed features. It's true that they have some database work to support them and a lot of UI work to do, but they don't seem all that concerned about that. From a programming standpoint, the fact that the battles are turn-based makes things pretty simplistic.
On the other hand are Challenge runs, since having something be timed almost requires a constant ping-back from the client to the server asking how much time is left. They could just put a Debuff on you that represents the time allowed (as was done in Stratholme), but they seem to want something a bit more integrated than that. The ladder system they suggest alone probably is more complex than the coding and back-end work for Pet Battles.
Most complex is probably Scenarios. Scenarios almost seem like they might be using some sort of new dynamic instancing of the world, which would be some pretty intense technology. Throw in a multitude of Scenario Objectives (to keep them all from being Kill 10 Kobolds, Collect 5 Boxes, Kill 1 Boss) and you have something that's got a lot of back-end work, a bit of UI work, and some pretty stiff coding requirements for both server and client side.