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  • Tyler Caraway
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Blood Pact: A tale full of cheering and demonic fury {WoW}

Mar 20th 2012 9:12PM "We don't know (as of writing this) if abilities that granted demonic fury outside of Metamorphosis will spend fury inside or not. I'd like to see the ability to generate some fury while still in Metamorphosis but have the spending or draining of fury eventually outweigh the gain. This way, warlocks could adapt Metamorphosis's timing to the encounters, stretching out Metamorphosis for only a little bit or as long as possible, depending on the raid's timing of specific phases or mechanics."

We all said this about Eclipse too. Boy did that turn out to be completely not fun. Gaming a resource system to fit the encounter is one of those things that's great fun in theory, but then you realize all of the encounters are pretty much the same and you just end up with the same basic rotation as everyone else, only it's far more annoying. There's always -something- that makes you hold on to your resource.

Blizzard laying off 600 staff globally [Updated] {WoW}

Feb 29th 2012 2:20PM I doubt it would be part of their testing QA staff, although that is certainly possible. Most QA testers aren't "employee" employees, but rather are contracted employees that are only held on for the length of the testing process of the game that they are currently working on. Blizzard might run things different and hold people on as full employees, but from my experiences in working with other gaming companies, that's not usually how it's done.

Localization workers are certainly more possible. They've been doing a massive amount of work in getting, I believe, it was Brazil as a Blizzard localization as well as trying to catch the Chinese market up to speed. It's possible that they've since caught up with their needs in these areas and no longer require as large as a staff as they previous did.

People need to remember, Blizzard is a massive global company that has support and localizations all over the place. They easily employ several thousand people, possibly even up to ten thousand or more. While trimming such a large number might seem extreme, it isn't quite like their folding in on themselves. Their support and administrative numbers had probably swelled not only with WoW's growth, but with WoW's expected growth.

With WoW receding slightly and advancements in service technologies/protocols, it's easy to imagine that they would cut support staff by such an amount world wide.

3 things Battlegrounds should borrow from SW:TOR's Warzones {WoW}

Feb 22nd 2012 7:34PM And those Medals would be?

3 things Battlegrounds should borrow from SW:TOR's Warzones {WoW}

Feb 22nd 2012 7:30PM "I don't know what you're talking about here: you CAN'T use mounts in warzones, period, and there is no warzone set on Hoth (You've got Alderaan, a spaceship, and the Huttball arena on Nar Shaddaa). I don't know if maybe you were referring to Ilum when you said Hoth, but even though you can mount on Ilum, he was specifically discussing warzones, not world PVP or TOR PVP in general."

Naw, I meant Alderaan and just thought Hoth because I remembered the snow.

As for not being able to mount, I could have sworn that you could. Perhaps I'm intermingling memories of Live with memories of Beta where there was a difference in that respects. There's no need to mount in Huttball or Voidstar; well, maybe Huttball, but it's indoors anyway.

Either way, mounting in WoW BGs has less to do with the structure of the BG itself or the GYs or the death system and more so with map size. It also isn't true for every single map, though mostly true. AB doesn't always require mounting, nor do some points of AV and EotS, but usually you do, and, again, that's just because the BGs themselves are so massively huge.

"Yes, the main thing is the fact that you're only playing with people on your server so you see the same people all the time, but smaller teams play a factor as well. Even in WoW, I notice the names of my teammates a lot more often in WSG or even AB than I do in AV or Isle."

But you just confirmed the point I was making. You -do- notice the names of people in WSG and AB. At 10 and 15 players, it's really not all that many. EotS and SotA are also 15v15, Twin Peaks is 10v10, and BfG is 10v10. The only ones you would have trouble remembering people in would the AV or Isle which are both 40v40.

6 out of the 8 possible BG choices have small enough rosters that you can remember people's names in them. And I would put money down that, where the no Cross-Server BGs, you'd remember people in AV and Isle as well. In fact, I know it because I played AV many times before Cross-Realm BGs existed.

It's the lack of Cross-Realm BGs the creates the sense of community, the small roster size isn't a factor in that at all. If you went in and changed all of WoW's BGs to 8v8s, it wouldn't change anything in terms of "building a community." You would still be cycled in with such a huge number of players that you wouldn't see the same people often enough.

3 things Battlegrounds should borrow from SW:TOR's Warzones {WoW}

Feb 22nd 2012 7:17PM "And to further elaborate on that specific point; as a 50 Sith Juggernaut I can always cap out on the Damage Prevention Badge (3/3) almost always get a defender badge (turret defense in Alderaan or killing the ball carrier in Huttball) plus the Commando badge (for participating in 10+ kills)"

Untrue. Juggernauts are akin to Guardians, a Sentinel is the same as the Marauder. Sents/Maras do not have damage prevention nor healing abilities, ergo they have no means of qualifying for those Badges. Getting 3/3 in your respective archtype is easy for any class/spec. A healer can go 3/3 healing, a DPS can go 3/3 damage, a tank can go 3/3 damage prevention. However, healers and tanks can also easily go 1/3 or 2/3 in damage while pure DPS cannot do the same. There are also "burst" Badges. One for a large single hit, one for a large single heal, and another for a long string of damage protection; these have the same issues as the base Badges.

"Explain to me exactly how this system discourages participation and doesn't make a team want to win."

Because "4) You gain more commendations for winning a warzone than losing a warzone" is not balanced at all. If one goes Medal farming in a warzone, it is beyond easy to gain enough Medals in order to earn more Commendations and be on the losing team than someone that didn't Medal farm and is on the winning team. Getting Medals is far more valuable than actually winning.

You potential to gain Medals when assaulting a point in Alderaan is much lower than your potential to gain Medals when defending a point in Alderaan. This is because fewer people coordinate attacks on nodes, particularly the far nodes, and assaulting node points doesn't provide the same contribution towards gaining Medals as defending as point does. Assaulting a point comes with a higher chance of death, death significantly cuts back on your ability to gain Medals, especially when there are Medals that require you to be alive for a prolonged length of time.

This is why even Michael said that people are often "yelled at to get off defense and go fight." His assertion that having all these people defending a point is a good thing is incorrect, it's a bad thing, but those people are Medal farming because they want Commendations. They gain far less benefit from attacking points while doing this, and winning on losing has an insignificant impact on their total Commendation gain.

"If you heal your teammates you get Medals, you get nothing in WoW."

Not true, they changed this a long time ago that healing allows for contribution points towards gaining Honor for HKs.

The others in your list are only partially true. Tanks don't have tools to prevent damage from players in PvP in WoW as they do in SWTOR. This is a base design difference that Blizzard would have to completely re-design far more than just tanks to compensate for. To say that tank's aren't rewarded for contributing their role in PvP, though, isn't true. Tanks in WoW, as a general rule, have more control tools and are able to take more damage than other specs/classes. Their "role" in PvP is to soak damage and control other players, and they are rewarded for doing that with Honor.

Defending also has perks, you gain 50% more honor while defending a node. Thus there is a reward for defending. The problem with that has more so to do with the established player tactics in BGs and the difference in BG design. For example, AB has 5 control points compared to Alderaan's 3. While it seems fairly minor, this is actually a primary reason why the similar perks fail in one situation but not in the other. In both AB and Alderaan, there's generally only going to be a single "contested" node at any given time. You usually won't see 4 people attack mid and 4 people attack right/left. Nor would you see 5 people attack LM while 5 attack BS. Usually, the attacking team focuses on a single node.

In SWTOR, that's fine. If mid is contested, there's on left/right to think about, and there will always be a few strays testing your defenses. In AB, the same happens, but there's more points. If one team controls Stables, LM, and BS while the other controls Mine and Farm, most of the attacking is probably going to be in the LM/BS area. With players already focusing on the battles threatening 4 nodes, it's easy to forget about the fifth node that's stationed away from the action. This is usually how every single AB plays out and those left defending Mine get screwed purely because no one attacks it.

The same would happen in SWTOR, too. If you were stuck defending a node that no one attacked, you would get far less Medals than someone that was defending or attacking an active node. Yet, because there's only 3 nodes, none of them ever go without any action. If AB was just Stables, BS, and Farm, it would play out exactly like Alderaan and defenders would get just as much as a reward.

That is the major difference between WoW and SWTOR BG PvP; map size. WoW BGs are vast, they're epic battlegrounds that are meant to show the grand scope of the war. SWTOR BGs are tiny in comparison. Alderaan is probably half the size of WSG. If WoW just shrunk the map size of their BGs, it would go a long way in increasing the pacing of the battles.

AB to EotS is a great example. EotS has 4 nodes to AB's 5, not a major difference, but you never see a point in EotS where none of the nodes see any action. EosT is a smaller map than AB.

People don't have an innate want to defend a point. They want action. You can give any rewards for defending that you want, it won't matter. Look at Voidstar. How often do you see teams where everyone focuses on a single door. All the attackers, all the defenders, they all just rush a single side. Why? The other side is just as close, there's no difference, but there's no action there. It'd be more prudent to attack/defend the empty side, but people will totally ignore it specifically because there's no fighting going on.

3 things Battlegrounds should borrow from SW:TOR's Warzones {WoW}

Feb 22nd 2012 3:56PM Sadly, I would argue that many of the things you bring up are inaccurate, if not extremely flawed.

1. You actually don't get right back in the action all that much faster in SWTOR PvP than you do WoW PvP -- as a general sense, specific examples of where you can get screwed by this later. For Huttball, if the ball, and were hopefully a majority of the fighting is going on, is on the far side of the map from you, then your chances of actually catching up to it are rather slim if you don't have people there actively CC'ing the carrier. Even getting back into mid before the ball is tossed yards away isn't always possible. It takes just as long to get back into fighting in Huttball as it would WSG.

The same is actively true of the other Warzones as well. The notion that you don't mount in SWTOR PvP is absolutely incorrect. Unless you're heading for mid on Hoth, you absolutely mount up, if you don't then you're not getting to that point before the other team; they'll cap it before you get there.

WoW could benefit from using the holding pin styled rezzing as opposed to the method they currently use if only because circumstances can totally screw you over and keep you out of the fight for a whole minute. The rez countdown is 25 seconds, so when you die, you can have anywhere from 1 to 25 seconds before you get back in the action. However, each GY has it's own independent timer. So in a map such as AB or AV where GYs can change hands, you could wait 25 seconds to get rezzed only to have that GY capped forcing you to a different one with another 25 second wait. That needs to be fixed. Aside from that, WoW has no real problems with "getting back in the action." They just need a more uniform death penalty opposed to a variable death penalty. Oh and the GYs for SotA could be better placed, but no one likes SotA anyway.

2) Your reasoning isn't quite there. Why you have people yelling at others to actually get into the action instead of just defending is because SWTOR's reward system is horribly broken at this point. The achievements that you earn aren't bonus perks, they're are the reward. Oh, sure, the winning team gets more XP and more credits, but that's trivial, what matters far more than that are the marks which allow you to purchase gear, those you earn via the in-game achievements.

Actively attempting to wrest control of a point from the enemy time will yield far less achievement points than actively defending your own point. This is because you have fewer enemies to contend with, thus lowering your risk of death, and you get points merely for existing at that spot whether you're getting kills or not. The system also vastly favors hybrid characters over pure characters. As a DPS Commando with access to healing abilities, I can easily max the Damage Done badges and get the first Healing Done badge, plus I get the High Crit badge and the 10k Heal Badge. A Sentinel with no healing abilities is shorted two to three badges every match because of that -- although with Biochem it's possible to make a medkit that will give you the 10k heal one.

The badge system, while great in theory, is very poorly implemented in SWTOR. Further, since the better rewards come from badges, the game becomes focused not on winning the objective but on getting as many badges as possible.

3) The ideal that you get to know you team purely because there's only 7 other people is utterly false. You get to know people that you PvP with because there's no cross realm PvP so you're often on the same team with the same people over and over again. WoW PvP doesn't really suffer from size issues, the 10 and 15-man format are perfectly fine. AV is perhaps a bit much with 40, but it's a different matter entirely.

WoW's PvP issues more stem from constantly needing to add "more" to the game. SWTOR has three battlegrounds, all which follow the traditional PvP scheme. They have their capture the flag, they have their point-defense, and they have the objective rush. Let's see where they end up in 6 more years of having to add in more and more PvP maps to the game. WoW currently has 8 Battleground maps. Let's see SWTOR come out with that. Let's see them actually fix the faction issue. Let's see how they deal with years worth of server growth and death. The things that people criticize Blizzard for now, such as Cross-Realm BGs, were brilliant solutions to very real problems that WoW PvP faced years ago.

The Queue: Rule of Two {WoW}

Feb 20th 2012 2:31PM @Grovinofdarkhour

What would you expect for them to do? You didn't technically win any items and they can't give you an item based on the assumption that you might have potentially gotten it if you had rolled for it. They also can't go back and allow for you to roll on the item since it will have already been rolled for and distributed at that point. They also couldn't ever have the response time to where they could fanangle a roll for you.

It's an accident, it sucks, but there isn't really anything that Blizzard can do in order to fix the issue. It might be possible for them to alter the coding to allow for non-zoned players to roll on an item -- which would be the issue here -- but we've no clue how much coding would actually be involved in such a task.

Optional boss modes making a comeback in Mists of Pandaria? {WoW}

Jan 27th 2012 1:22AM Krystallus?

He just had a Stomp/Shatter that was the exact same as Gruul's. It just that people don't pay attention and just think "Kill boss, kill" so once he stomps and knocks everyone back, people tended to stack right on top of each other -- especially melee -- which results in them being one-shot. Shatter causes you to explode, dealing low/no damage to you by high damage to anyone near you, with the damage reduced the further away they are.

Optional boss modes making a comeback in Mists of Pandaria? {WoW}

Jan 26th 2012 6:59PM I'm over the whole "go back to the Ulduar way of Hard Modes" thing. It wasn't a smart system, it wasn't sustainable, and the toggle is perfectly fine. It was a neat shot, and, sure, do it every now and again for specific bosses like options encounters or one-offs, but only when they have a super awesome idea for it. Really don't need 20 more Hodir's or Mim's or FlameLev/Freya/Sarth's. I mean, they reused the same mechanic for 3 out of 10 bosses and people -really- think they could keep that up?

I do wish that Hard Modes would more interesting than "Oh look, the boss hit's harder now, whee!" and sometimes Blizzard does that, while often they don't. Morchok, Yor'sahj, and Zonozz are great Heroics -- okay, the first two are great, the second is decent at best -- but the rest of Dragon Soul? Ultraxion gains more damage, Hagara gains more damage plus a slow. Blackhorn is a little better because the dragon comes down to assist, but it still feels meh, and Spine is just a weak attempt at being different in forcing healers to actually dispel something for a change, other than that, things just gained more health.

I get that not every encounter is going to be new and unique every time, but a bit more effort would be nice. Again, I find Yor'sahj to be a fantastic example of how you can make so few changes yet make an encounter that much more engaging and difficult. The small matter of adding an extra slime and changing the combinations slightly totally flips that fight upside-down.

Optional boss modes making a comeback in Mists of Pandaria? {WoW}

Jan 26th 2012 6:23PM Yes, for those of us that already find Heroic raiding too easy, let's make it even easier by removing half the Hard Mode content.

I'm all for everyone being capable of raiding, I have nothing against casual raiders, but I want to be challenged. I want to waste my hours banging my head against a boss, pushing myself to the limits to get a kill. Current Normal Modes -- which are still too difficult for most players -- put me to sleep. Raid Finder? Can't even stand it, not even on alts, it's that boring to me. So to suggest removing the one difficult part of the game? I don't think so.