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Posts with tag Encounter-Design

Ready Check interviews Brian Holinka and Ion Hazzikostas

Eye of C'Thun
This past week the hosts of EU-based podcast Ready Check were lucky enough to go visit Blizzard's offices in Versailles, where they met up with Brian Holinka and Ion Hazzikostas for a lively round of Q&A. The podcast--with attendant full transcript, don't you worry, folks who can't play the podcast--covers a very broad range of topics, and PvPers should be particularly interested in the broad discussion about arenas. Gothiques and Athene bring up some wonderful points about arena queuing, and matching, and the little ways in which the system often results in unexpectedly wasted time, as well as the ways in which not-entirely-honest players can manipulate that system in their favor. Both Holinka and Hazzikostas have insights to offer on these problems, and there's some good back-and-forth about potential solutions and improvements to the existing arena systems.

In addition to the excellent PvP discussions, the interview features some talk of Warlords of Draenor and the future--some of which we've already heard about, but I am so excited for garrisons and a toys tab that I could listen to this stuff all day long. Do you know how many bag spaces I'm going to get back once that toys tab goes live? In the words of the Diablo Templar companion, it will be glorious! There's also some really fun discussion on the philosophy and practice of encounter and mechanics design, and how the WoW team goes about building raids and bosses. This was perhaps my favorite part of the interview, because I am a hopeless PvPer and am much more at home among WoW's raid bosses. In any case, no matter what part of the game you enjoy, there's something in this interview for you. You can check out the full transcript and podcast episode at Ready Check's own website, so make sure to click on over to the whole thing!

Filed under: Podcasting, Interviews, Warlords of Draenor

Interview with Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas

At the Mists of Pandaria launch event in Irvine last week, I had the opportunity to talk to Ion Hazzikostas, lead encounter designer for World of Warcraft, about Mists of Pandaria's raids and dungeons, lessons learned from Cataclysm and beyond, and the road ahead.

WoW Insider: State your name and position!

Ion Hazzikostas: My name is Ion Hazzikostas and I am the lead encounter designer for World of Warcraft.

What does that job entail?

I'm the lead on the encounter team, which is self-explanatory; we make the dungeon and raid content, primarily. We're specialists in multiplayer PVE combat. On top of the dungeons and raids, we also help with outdoor raid bosses, scenario bosses, things like that.

What would you say that your biggest goal going into Mists of Pandaria was?

Particularly on the dungeon and raid front, to provide content for everybody, for all kinds of players. And we recognize that there's a massive spectrum of millions of people who are playing and enjoying World of Warcraft - a huge range of skill, frankly, and time commitment, the whole casual-hardcore spectrum people always talk about. And one of the things that we've been doing over the evolution of the game is to add additional difficulties, additional ways of consuming that content. So, you know, we now have LFR, normal, and heroic raids, and now we've introduced challenge modes, a sort of new tier of actually legitimately difficult five-player content. It's one of the biggest differences from Cataclysm at launch; one of the things we heard from people who were in guilds with friends and they'd say "these dungeons are awesome, we're having a lot of fun" ... but the people who queued up in Dungeon Finder would have a miserable time.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Does World of Warcraft need to be more difficult?

The above video is a bit lengthy, but it's well worth the watch simply because it does raise a few valid points along the line. And lest you think this is yet another player whining about the endless hardcore vs. casual debate, it's not -- this is simply a player who is incredibly passionate about the game we all play. In that passion, he's decided to talk about the direction that raiding in WoW has taken and how it has gone downhill, in his opinion.

On the one hand, he has a point. There is a stark difference between the feel of raiding back in the days of vanilla, The Burning Crusade, and now. There's a stark difference in numbers, which any graph can illustrate. More and more people can complete raids now from one degree or another, which leaves people barreling through content at light speed and doesn't really give that same feeling that raiding had in years past.

On the other, is changing the difficulty in WoW really the way to accomplish that goal? I don't think so.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Blizzard's post-mortem on Cataclysm dungeons and raids

Blizzard recently released a blog from Dave "Fargo" Kosak that acted as a post-mortem for Cataclysm's quest design. Following on its heels is this entry from Scott "Daelo" Mercer, the lead encounter designer for World of Warcraft. In it, Scott talks successes (Dungeon Journal, Raid Finder) and failures (difficulty level of launch heroics) in the dungeons and raids portion of the game's third expansion and shares what he's looking forward to with the release of Mists of Pandaria. I'm definitely with him in anticipating challenge modes and PvE scenarios.

Read the full interview after the break.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Going Back To The Well

The Care and Feeding of Warriors is WoW.com's weekly column about all things clanky and rage-related. Matthew Rossi felt like using that old, old, lookit me in my bug shoulders from AQ40 screenshot. Yes, those are the Might legs. We can all look back and laugh now, sure. Back then it wasn't funny.

Believe it or not, there is a method to this particular madness. Since Blizzard was so kind to go back and release more Q&A for warriors this week, I felt to some degree constrained to talk about the answers they gave (and the questions they answered, for that matter) and in going over the post, one particular passage brought me back to the beginning, so to speak. To the days of running MC, BWL and AQ, gearing up in anticipation of patch 1.11 and Naxxramas. Let's look at the particular exchange I'm referring to.
  • Community Team: It appears that many players who enjoy the Warrior class for its damage aspects continue to feel that, without best in-slot items, their class's performance is very truncated.
  • Q: Is this an issue that we have seen in the Warrior class? If so, do we have any plans to accommodate those players who do not have best in-slot items, while still keeping those with the very best equipment from being too powerful?
  • A:This really just gets back to the way rage works, which is that damage leads to rage so you have to pick a point at which you balance warriors. High damage and high rage? Low damage and low rage? The way to fix it is to normalize rage even more so that you always get X rage per second regardless of gear. But once you always get X rage per second you essentially just have rogue energy. So, as with the previous question, we don't like the way it is working and want to change it but we don't have a perfect substitute in the can just yet.
This has been an issue for the warrior class since Blackwing Lair. See? I told you there was a reason I dragged out the old picture.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Classes, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Forums

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