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Posts with tag Kalgan

Arcane Brilliance: Fire mage 4.0

It's Saturday, and that of course means it's time again for Arcane Brilliance, weekly mage column, hero to the downtrodden, vanquisher of evil, dispenser of justice. That's right. By day, Arcane Brilliance is a mild-mannered mage-related wall of text. But by night ... Arcane Brilliance is Deathspank.

Another beta build hit a couple nights ago -- as they tend to do -- and it brought a number of class changes. A quick glance at the new talent trees revealed the expected (some talent position swaps, a few talents vanishing, some tooltip alterations, the occasional loss of a rank here and there) and the ... unexpected. Three changes in the fire tree, particularly, caught my eye:
Yes, the tooltip for Molten Shields really is "Redesign!" With an exclamation point. For emphasis.

So clearly the fire tree is in a certain amount of flux? I became instantly excited. The fire tree, perhaps more than either of the other two trees, really has been due for some focused attention. Then I saw this, from none other than Lead Game Designer Tom Chilton:

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Cataclysm

Tom Chilton explains early WoW class balance (or lack thereof)

We see a fair amount of pining for "the way things used to be" in this community -- rose-colored hindsight that is, by all accounts, horribly wrong. Maybe you enjoyed the sense of wonder upon going through the game the first time. That's completely understandable. But no one really enjoyed running Molten Core. Or the old honor system. Or the horrible class balance and several patently useless talent trees at launch.

Speaking of, I wonder if there's anybody that could shed some light on that last bit. Maybe Tom Chilton, the lead Game Director could, in his latest interview on the five-year anniversary mini-site.

As it turns out, Chilton was brought in in early 2004 to work on the PvP portion of the game, but ended up handling a lot more when the honor system was put on hold to handle more pressing concerns, like making gameplay interesting.
"From April until the game shipped, the vast majority of my time was spent working on the design for the auction house, the mail system, and implementing the talent trees for every class. I was the only person available to do that -- our other class designer, Kevin Jordan, was mainly focused on ensuring that all of the classes had spells and abilities up to level 60, and managing the flow of when you'd get which ability. Kevin and I, and Rob Pardo, and Mike Heiberg from the StarCraft team, all worked on that part of the game. It was exciting, but it was weird -- my experience with some of the classes was making a character of that class on an internal server, playing it up to level 10 to get a feel for how the class played, and starting to make 60 levels worth of talents. A lot of my early experience was trying to get familiar with every class."
Kind of explains a lot, doesn't it? Like Lacerate, for example. People who complain about balance nowadays really have no idea how bad it used to be, or how much Blizzard's process for fixing it has improved. Chilton goes into more detail about WoW's early development in his full interview on the Battlecry site.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Interviews

ESL interviews Tom Chilton


Jay Harding from ESL TV was able to catch up to Blizzard Lead Designer and the resident PvP guru Tom Chilton at the World of Warcraft Arena Tournament Regional Finals in Cologne, Germany last June and got to squeeze a decent length interview. Because of the focus of the event, Chilton talked a lot about PvP changes, particularly the impact of the upcoming Patch 3.2. Chilton, also known as Kalgan, expressed Blizzard's intent on trying to keep different comps viable while taking small steps to curb the dominance of extremely popular comps such as RMP and cleave, which he stopped short of calling a "faceroll comp" (still goes to show he was thinking it, though!). Highlights from the video include:
  • Resilience - the change to Resilience in Patch 3.2 will make the greatest impact in Arena PvP, slowing down matches and likely impacting the effectivity of "burst" comps.
  • The nerf to the 2v2 bracket is intended to equalize class representation since 2v2 isn't always a good bracket for all classes. Chilton mentions that "as the bracket size comes down, you lose a lot of those different synergies between different classes"
  • Chilton says, "there's room for competitive Battlegrounds," and that "rated Battlegrounds is something that (Blizzard) has been thinking about for quite a while." He says they'll provide more information in the future.
  • Isle of Conquest is intended to be epic, they want to "bring back a little of that crazy, big battle feel" and intergrating some features of existing Battlegrounds with new ones.
  • Kalgan and his girlfriend will kick your butt in 2v2.
It's a nice interview for ESL's WoW Wednesdays, and while it doesn't give too much information we don't already know (especially since you obviously read WoW.com...), it's always good to hear news straight from the proverbial horse's mouth. This actually got me all excited for the PvP Panel during BlizzCon, hopefully we'll hear a bunch of new stuff there.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Blizzard, Interviews

[1.Local]: To agree, to disagree, or to agree to disagree


Reader comments – ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week.

Flamers and trolls aside, WoW Insider readers are generally a contentious lot. Their viewpoints are as divergent as the player demographics the site attracts – all types of players, from the casual to the hardcore. With this many angles to consider, WoW Insider becomes a melting pot of ideas and opinions, from the sublime to the ridiculous. (And let's face it – some of the so-called ridiculous ideas are the most entertaining to read.)

Yet this week, readers seemed to be more often of one mind than not – whether that agreement was ultimately to agree over the topic at hand or to agree to disagree. [1.Local] highlights several reader conversations that made the radar this week.

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Filed under: Rogue, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Features, [1.Local]

The Queue: How do you make that weird U thing?

Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

Adam called yesterday's edition of The Queue 'the Extreme edition,' but I'm of the opinion he didn't quite follow through. So I'm posting something extreme to make up for it, which you can see in the video above. Extreme. If you don't feel it's extreme enough, feel free to post your extreme links in the comments below with your usual questions, as long as the links are safe for work (and sanity.)

Eternauta asked...


I have a question, too. I know it's pretty stupid and obvious, but here I go: Why is everybody DPS and why is it so hard to find healers or tanks?

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Filed under: Fishing, Analysis / Opinion, Lore, The Queue

Are Paladins going to get nerfed?


There's a cloud of gloom hanging over our collective Paladin heads over here at WoW Insider, and a lot of it has to do with the fact that Divine Plea still works. Even with the 50% healing penalty, Divine Plea is still a critical spell that's used without much of a second thought. Now it's just used a tiny, tiny bit less. Of course, Ghostcrawler also mentioned in his explanation of the new mana regeneration changes that they're going to nerf Spiritual Attunement for "non-tanking Paladins," too. So yes, there's that cloud.

Here's the thing, though... that change will hurt Retribution Paladins more than it will Holy Paladins. Retribution Paladins rely on the synergy of Spiritual Attunement and Seal of Blood / of the Martyr in addition to Judgements of the Wise, Replenishment, and Divine Plea. We'll probably have to see exactly what the incoming nerf looks like before we panic, but considering how Paladins have a history of getting beaten by the nerf bat, it's not an altogether rosy proposition. In fact, I think Paladins are probably going to get nerfed beyond the current Divine Plea and the future Spiritual Attunement. My thoughts after the jump.

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Filed under: Paladin, Analysis / Opinion, Arena

Season 6 weapons as good as Ulduar drops


As an addendum to the recent Arena system FAQ posted on the forums, Kalgan addresses several concerns about the gear, the system, and questions of skill vs. gear. In a very forthcoming and transparent post, Kalgan admits that Blizzard "botched the ilvls" of the current Deadly Gladiator weapons by making them a full tier below the items from Kel'thuzad in heroic Naxxramas. At the time they designed them, Blizzard didn't account for how easily accessible Kel'thuzad would be.

He promises they won't make the same mistake in Season 6, and that the new Furious Gladiator weapons would be equivalent to the items in Ulduar. Kalgan explains that the aim is to balance the accessibility of the items so that the number of raiders who have access to the best raid weapons is roughly the same as the number of Arena players with access to the best PvP weapons. He even goes so far as to say that Blizzard will make two tiers of PvP weapons if necessary. This might have been in the original plan as Hateful Gladiator weapons are in the game files but not available in the game.

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Filed under: Blizzard, PvP, Arena

More on Blizzard's new Arena system


Blizzard has gone the extra mile in trying to explain their extremely mysterious new Arena matchmaking and rating system. They've featured their blue posts prominently on their front page as a feature called 'Shop Talk', collating all the official statements on the subject over the past couple of weeks. This is retroactive transparency going into overdrive, seeing as how they unleashed the system on players without mentioning it or even getting it tested on the PTR. When the system blew up in everyone's faces soon after Patch 3.0.8 was released, they were quick to suspend Arena play and tried to get things right.

Now that it's up, players have reported winning games but losing points. In fact, some readers have written in to report extremely successful Arena records but result in low or even negative gains. If Blizzard wanted to make Arenas more accessible and enjoyable, taking points away from winning teams was certainly the wrong way to do it. In the latest chapter of this sordid saga of the new Arena system, Kalgan mentions that Blizzard "made adjustments to the ratings system" in a hotfix applied recently. Notable points after the jump.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, PvP, Forums, Arena

The new Arena system explained


One of the many changes that came along with Patch 3.0.8 was a new and nebulous Arena matchmaking and rating system that nobody was aware of except, perhaps, the guys over at Blizzard. When the new system debuted, it was met with mixed reactions and Blizzard was forced to suspend Arena play for a few days while they straightened out the kinks. The system was back a few days later, with ratings rolled back to pre-maintenance numbers and Achievements reset. Some players report being able to keep the items bought during that period, despite Blizzard stating that these would be removed and Arena points refunded.

Blizzard poster Aratil dropped by the PvP forums earlier to explain -- in layman's terms -- the new Arena system. The new system is supposed to match players according to skill, rather than gear. Exactly how the system determines skill wasn't made clear, although Kalgan explained that the system uses a Gaussian Density Filter. New to the system is a 'hidden rating' that's different from either the personal or team rating, and is unique to the player regardless of how many Arena teams he or she plays with.

What's clear from Aratil's post is that the change was intended to "promote the enjoyment of Arenas". Under the new system, highly skilled players will be matched up against other teams that provide a challenge while newer players just starting Arenas won't feel shut out. In a way, this can be likened to the low barrier of entry for raiding in Wrath of the Lich King. They're still tweaking the system, specially as far as ratings losses and gains are concerned, but the overall goal is to make Arenas more fun. I think we can all agree that more fun is always good. As long as it's working as intended, that is.

Filed under: Blizzard, PvP, Forums, Arena

WoW Insider interviews Tom Chilton

A couple of days ago at the midnight release of Wrath of the Lich King in Anaheim, CA, our very own Dan O'Halloran had an opportunity speak with Tom Chilton (also known as Kalgan), Lead Game Designer of World of Warcraft. They spoke on a wide variety of topics, from raid philosophy to the growth of the game in North America and many things in between. Read on to see what Kalgan had to say!

WoW Insider:
What did Blizzard think was the most surprising class development of The Burning Crusade? Did you think Paladin tanks would be as popular as they were, did you anticipate the Druid supremacy in the arena?

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Filed under: Events, Blizzard, News items, Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King

The Art of War(craft): Kalgan speaks on Blizzard's PvP philosophy


Like it or not, Arenas are here to stay. I think we should all learn to live with that. A couple of days ago, Kalgan showed up on the Beta forums and put up a lengthy, illuminating post about Blizzard's philosophy when it comes to PvP itemization. He talked about and mostly defended Arenas and the existence of Arena ratings for obtaining PvP gear. It goes a long way towards explaining the new tiered itemization -- an impressive three tiers that appear to be concurrently available -- within the PvP system.

One poster's contention was that there was no access to PvP gear before engaging in Arenas was countered with Kalgan mentioning their efforts to include craftable PvP gear. This was an omission in The Burning Crusade that became apparent as the seasons progressed, with newer players or Level 70s struggling to break into the Arena format faced against opponents who had gathered gear through several Arena seasons. This was addressed philosophically with the introduction of Outlands reputation PvP gear, which were identical to the rare PvP sets obtainable through Honor. I say philosophically because by the time these item sets became available to players, it was too late. Starting Arenas at that point would find players matched up against other players wearing epic gear from the past seasons. In fact, wearing such dated gear only served to mark the player as easy targets.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, PvP, The Art of War(craft) (PvP)

Insurmountable random resists gone for Wrath

If you haven't heard yet, that 1% chance to miss with spells that has always been in place that you couldn't overcome with Hit on your gear, no matter how much you had? Kalgan confirms that it is gone. Gone like the wind! As of Wrath, at least. Are you excited? I'm excited.

In all seriousness, I find this to be a fantastic change. That 1% chance to miss no matter what you did was always annoying to me, and it was one of those random factors that could ruin your day no matter how good of a player you are and how good your gear is, both in PvE and PvP. That resisted Fear or Frost Nova in a pinch shouldn't happen anymore, if you gear properly.

Rogues? This helps you guys, too. Since your hit rating applies to both melee and spells, your poisons will benefit from +Hit, and you can reach that point where your poisons are never resisted. Exciting? Exciting!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

New racial abilities for Wrath


It looks like Blizzard isn't done tinkering with everything for Wrath of the Lich King. This time, they've turned their attention to racial abilities, which many have pointed out to be imbalanced. Kalgan dropped by the forums to answer a good question regarding the Orc racial Hardiness, which grants a passive 15% resistance to stuns. It's been nerfed a long way from its original 25% resistance, but the poster made a good point about the game's direction towards reduced durations instead of resistances.

Kalgan responds by saying that Hardiness was being changed into exactly that -- an effect duration reduction of 15%. He also goes over all the other racials, some of which were changed, others of which were buffed, and yet a few others of which were inevitably nerfed. The changes should make it into the next Beta push. Check after the break to see the complete list. [CLARIFICATION: This isn't the complete list of racial abilities. Abilities not listed here are unchanged or, if they will be changed, will be mentioned in the future.]

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Filed under: Human, Night Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Orcs, Tauren, Undead, Trolls, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Draenei, Blood Elves, Wrath of the Lich King

Training dummies updated in the Wrath beta

In the most recent beta push, patch 8885, training dummies were added to the sewers of Dalaran (and many other places in the world as well, apparently) by popular request. They were requested to replace what Dr. Boom did for everyone in The Burning Crusade: A way to benchmark DPS and crunch other numbers while outside of a raid, on a mob that didn't die long before you hit your limit. These training dummies certainly helped, but there was only one problem. The dummies were level 1, so certain important stats were greatly inflated while hitting them, such as critical strike percentages.

Luckily, Kalgan has posted that the training dummies will be getting an upgrade in the next patch. The level 1 dummies will be replaced by level 80 dummies with typical level 80 stats, as well as 'boss level' dummies with boss stats. This will definitely provide much more accurate numbers for players trying to benchmark themselves. I, for one, look forward to testing the upcoming Shadow Priest changes on one of these as soon as it's all in place. I do not, however, look forward to searching for a dummy not already in use by someone else! They've been insanely popular on the beta realms in their level 1 state, and I think beta testers will love them even more at the proper levels.

Filed under: Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

How I learned to stop worrying and love Cyclone

You'd have expected a little more in-depth Arena discussion from the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational. You'd have been wrong, but you'd have expected it. We've covered the new Arena maps, but something from the Question and Answer periods really stuck out for me. What's the future of the Arena going to be like...for crowd control? Should we expect more, less, or about the same? What's going to happen to that naughty little Cyclone?

The answer from Tom Chilton was predictable -- without crowd control in its various forms, Arena matches become little more than DPS races. Crowd control (and its cousin line of sight) helps Arena fights take a little longer, and introduces viable strategies that are based all around controlling the other team. (As opposed to just blowing them to heck.) But the forums are alive - alive! - with complaints about Cyclone, Sap, Sheep, and hell, even Scatter Shot. No sir, folks don't like crowd control. Often, it seems like they'd rather get killed than sheeped.

I think it comes down to a pretty basic thing -- we have fun in these games by controlling our characters. Anything that jeopardizes the control of our characters on either a short-term or a long-term basis is therefore anathema. No one wants to stand there, helpless, while some Rogue performs their billionth stun on you. It seems to me (in my rosy-glassed retrospect) that we heard less complaints about insta-kill POM+Pyro than we do about a 3 second stun.

Your mileage may vary, but I think until Blizzard finds some way around that dichotomy -- CC is good for interesting fights, bad for fun -- we're going to continue to see tumultuous forum fights about the issue. I'm forced to agree with Chilton -- crowd control adds a layer of strategy and depth to the tactics of the Arena. Still, I hope they do something about it.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Arena, Worldwide Invitational

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