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Posts with tag Zarhym

On developer interaction and behind-the-scenes info

There's an interesting thread going on right now on the official forums, concerning the possibility of an ongoing series of interviews or video content exploring the behind-the-scenes at Blizzard. CM Zarhym chimed in with a mention of the A Day in the Life series that was released during Blizzard's 20 year anniversary celebration. But more importantly, he noted that it takes a lot of resources to put that kind of feature together, which is why Blizzard tries to pair things like interviews and behind-the-scenes info with big announcements.

And that's completely understandable. It takes time, effort and resources to put together a feature -- time and resources that could be spent on better things, like improving and working on that game we love to play. But after many other inquires and suggestions on the subject, Zarhym shared another, longer post that made everything just a little more clear -- and raised some good points about developer interaction in general.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Should WoW have a customer loyalty program?


Every time this pops up on the forums, I mull it over - should World of Warcraft have a customer loyalty program, and if it did, what should it entail? Part of my difficulty with the concept is, I would probably benefit from it - I've been playing WoW pretty much non-stop for its entire existence. Even when I stopped playing I didn't unsub (probably should have, but hindsight is gloriously incapable of altering the past) and so, if a customer loyalty reward of some kind was implemented myself and my wife would probably get something out of it.

This has me wondering if it would in fact deter new players - the last thing you want is a system that makes people just picking up the game envious or feeling as if a reward is forever out of their reach. After all, you can't go back in time and start playing in 2004, If there was (say) a special mount or pet or transmog item that people who'd been playing five or more years got, then it would by definition exclude players who hadn't been playing that long. And a lot of people tell me they started playing in Cataclysm nowadays - that's a significant number of people who would have to wait at least another year or two before they could get that hypothetical reward.

I'm not opposed to the idea, mind you - like I said, I have been playing forever, so if it got implemented, I'd probably get something cool, and I'm sure you could work it so that it didn't feel like something so far out of new player reach that they felt like it wasn't even worth trying to get. I'm frankly more curious about what you think, friends - is a customer loyalty feature a good idea, or more trouble than it is worth? How should it be implemented? What should it do?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items

Zarhym on the legendary cloak and its boss


There's a number of people are concerned about needing the legendary cloak to fight the Fire-God Ordos, a special boss accessible on the Timeless Isle. Those people with the concern raise the point that this is essentially cutting off a significant portion of the game to those without the cloak -- or at least what they feel is a significant portion of the game.

Except, it's not a big portion of the game. It's one boss, and a rather insignificant one (in the grand scheme of things) at that. Further, players that have put in the year long effort to actually get the legendary cloak deserve some sort of reward for their troubles. And while the awesome cloak is certainly part of that reward, getting to experience a different boss is a nice added bonus.

Zarhym makes this point well in a post on the forms, and it's worth taking a few minutes to read his words. He also makes a great point at the end -- getting the legendary now through SoO farming is just as viable as working on it over the past year (and it's entirely possible to do that). Now it might be a point of pride to have worked on it over the long haul, but still, he is correct in saying it's just as cool no matter when you pick it up.

Zarhym's full post after the break.

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Filed under: News items

Does this flaming skull nebula bear a striking resemblence to Zarhym?

Blizzard's influence reaches a galactic level
When reader Kristen sent in this link, we thought it would be some silly fun. But after examining the photographic evidence for ourselves, we have to say this astronomical phenomenon bears a striking resemblance to our favorite flying skull, Zarhym. This nebula is estimated to be 45,000 years old, which means this galactic vacation must have required a lot of advanced planning. (Zarhym, we'd love the name of your travel agent.) If you want to know what makes this particular flaming skull appear in the sky, astronomer Phil Plait covers the science, and if you just want a cool background wallpaper, the full resolution photo taken by T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage) and H. Schweiker (WIYN and NOAO/AURA/NSF) can be found at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

And Zarhym? We appreciate that everybody needs the occasional vacation, but we hope to see you back on earth one day.

Filed under: Odds and ends

Ghostcrawler might be having Zarhym's baby

Gather round, and let me tell you a story. A story about a crab and a floating skull. A love story. It all started yesterday, when a warrior called Rendan posted that the reason Ghostcrawler no longer frequents the forums is that he has fallen pregnant with Zarhym's baby.

Senior Community Rep Zarhym was first to weigh in on the thread. He told the story of how he wooed Ghostcrawler with Al Green's Let's Stay Together, and things rapidly escalated from there. A Doodle Gnome by the name of Paululum provided a first image of the happy family, as can be seen to the right, and the thread went on with what must be a record number of blue posts detailing little Zarcrawler's godfather, babysitters of dubious quality, and his various other relatives. Rygarius even managed to tear himself away from patch notes to join in the fun.

Paululum the Doodle Gnome continued to document little Zarcrawler's early days, depicting everything from the infant's first words, through the terrible twos and the tough love, the games of peek-a-boo and the pictures. Zarcrawler's awkward questions, first outings, and nerf bat training, all documented by one talented gnome! WoW Insider wishes Ghostcrawler, Zarhym, and little Zarcrawler all the best for their future together.

Filed under: Humor

Zarhym on why Blizzard didn't do an April Fools joke

Zarhym talks April Fools
The observant among the WoW community will have noticed that, on the Warcraft side at least, Blizzard didn't put out an April Fool's joke this year. There was a little confusion surrounding this, as Crabby made a reappearance on the official forums, back for another year, and a really excellent piece of fan-created art depicting a Dark Ranger was doing the rounds. The Starcraft team documented the apparent return of the Warhound, and even implemented it in-game, re-skinning all your workers as Warhounds.

And while some of the WoW community were happy to amuse themselves with ElvUI's Harlem Shake, or Wowhead's PTR patch notes, others grew increasingly angry that the WoW team hadn't put together a prank for this most foolish of days. Blizzard Senior Community Rep Jonathan "Zarhym" Brown took to Twitter, and to the official forums, to attempt to explain the absence of any seasonal folly.

All his posts are after the break, but the long and short of it is that, firstly, while some ideas had been bandied about, nothing had really stuck, and secondly, the team who usually work on the April Fool's jokes had been rather busy with other things. What other things could possibly have taken priority? Maybe Hearthstone itself, the Hearthstone website, or the recent revamp of the shop page, given how Zarhym explains the teams' roles.

It seems like Blizzard can't win: last year there were complaints that they wasted Developer time on April foolishness, this year, complaints that they didn't. What's your take on it? Did you wish they had done something? Or would you rather they spent time designing real content? Hit the break for Zarhym's posts.

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Filed under: News items

In patch 5.2, automatic flight path discovery is a thing of the past

Automatic flight paths are a thing of the past
If you've been on the leveling treadmill -- or if you frequent the WoW forums -- chances are you've noticed that after patch 5.2, you stopped automatically discovering new flight paths. For those of you (myself included) who loved this feature, it's unfortunately an intentional change. According to everyone's favorite floating skull, Zarhym, the auto-discovery of flight paths -- introduced way back in patch 4.2 in June 2011 -- was never intentional.


So why's it waited so long? Again, according to Zarhym, it was a complicated problem to crack -- and low on the priority list.


While I mourn the loss of what was one of my favorite Cataclysm-era features -- the run through the Wetlands to pick up the flight path at Menethil Harbor used to be a killer, literally -- I can't complain too much. After all, with mounts starting at level 20, hearthstones on a 15 minute cooldown (with the right guild perks), and flight paths scattered conveniently around the world, getting around is easier than it's ever been, even without automatically discovering new flight paths.

Filed under: News items

The Queue: 5,000,000g challenge to Zarhym and Bashiok

The Queue 5,000,000g challenge to Zarhym and Bashiok
Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky (@adamholisky) will be your host today.

I wanted to throw out a challenge to Bashiok and Zarhym.

I'll donate 5,000,000g to the Alliance charity of their choice if they can prove their father was not a Sha.

Zarhym's got the whole floating skull thing going on, and Bashiok's old green-tinted tree is back. It's pretty clear to me that they've got some Sha-ness.

Prove me wrong. The ball's in your court, fellas.

Eric asked:

Does anyone have a clue if a Windows Phone Remote Armory/Auction House is in the works?

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Filed under: The Queue

Blizzard developer interviews

Blizzard Developer Interviews
After WoW Insider's Anne Stickney rounded off Blizzard's Developer Interview schedule with her chat to Cory Stockton and Dave Kosak, discussing patch 5.1, brawler's guild, lore, dailies, proving grounds, scenarios and player housing, WoW Insider thought we should bring together all the interviews in the recent set.

Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street:
  • Legendary, GAMEBREAKER.tv Ghostcrawler discusses raiding, PvP, alts, reputation, dailies and cross realm zones with the Legendary hosts.
  • All Things Azeroth Design, Cataclysm vs. Mists, patch 5.2 release schedule, classes, transmogrification changes.
  • Wowjuju Brawler's guild, daily quests, transmogrification, 10man vs 25man, the gear grind, pet gear for battle pets?
Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas
  • Convert2Raid Scenarios, challenge modes, Brawler's Guild, dailies, and, of course, raids.
  • Method Coming soon!
Lead Content Designer Cory "Mumper" Stockton:
  • Curse Coming soon!
  • Warcraft Pets Pet design process, pets in future expansions, pet battles, potential for pet gender and breeding, pet model updates, "boss" pets
Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak
  • Darkmoon Herald Hidden quests, easter eggs, phasing, lore, future questing changes, interesting activities, tillers, dailies.
  • Wowhead Patch 5.1 factions, brawlers' guild, scenarios and their lore involvement, dailies, alts, faction grinds, cooking changes.
Lead Designer Tom Chilton

Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: News items

Patch 5.2: Transmog restriction changes possible

WoW's friendly skull, Zarhym, took to Twitter last night with a hint about potential upcoming changes to the transmogrification system in patch 5.2. Essentially the main-hand vs off-hand transmog distinction may possibly be getting cut, along with adding some exceptions to the absolute restriction of similar weapon types (ie: axes vs. swords). Expect any changes make sense -- so no shields as main-hand weapons.

We need to emphasis here that these changes are only possible, and are by no means set in stone. Don't get upset if you don't see in them in patch 5.2; or ever. You haven't been promised anything.

That said, it's neat to see what Blizzard is thinking for the next patch. Zarhym's tweet as follows:



Filed under: News items, Transmogrification

How to survive at the Battle.net World Championship

How to survive at the Battlenet World Championship
This weekend, some of the most competitive PvP and PvE players in the World of Warcraft (alongside players from Starcraft 2) will be engaging in the Battle.net World Championship. The event, taking place at the Shanghai Expo-Mart in Shanghai, China, is the largest competitive event focused specifically at Blizzard's games. So, in case you're wondering what's going on, where the live streams are, and how to find the events you're interested in seeing, Blizzard has you covered with this extensive survival guide to the event.

Our old friend Zarhym breaks it all down for you. With links to profiles of the players, a schedule of events and everything else you'd need to find the events you're interested in, this guide should help you find the challenge mode, arena, or live raid you want to watch. The event lasts from November 17th to the 18th.

Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: Events, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

The evolving design of reputation

The evolving design of reputation
I'm not going to pretend that I like the process of gaining reputation in World of Warcraft, because I don't, and I never have. I remember grinding Brood of Nozdormu reputation back in vanilla for a ring that I still have in the bank. I remember gathering Scourgestones so that I could get to exalted Argent Dawn (I also still have my Seal of the Dawn), and murdering bears in Winterspring to get enchants off of other bears. As an insanely old bearded madman it is fair to say that I have dragged my ancient, grumbling carcass from expansion to expansion, finding various ways to get various groups to like me (often via the application of murdering pixels or collecting pixels off of murdered pixels) and I have always come to loathe the groups I've gained rep with along the way.

In fact, I'd go so far to call it an axiom. The more a certain group comes to like me, the more I'd willingly feed them all to a wood chipper if only that were an option. (Yes, Klaxxi, I'm looking right at you here.) That being said, it would be unfair and untrue to pretend that faction-based reputation hasn't undergone several design permutations over the years.

During Burning Crusade, for instance, there were specific dungeons that rewarded reputation with specific factions. I ran Shadow Labyrinth for Lower City reputation until my eyes quit in protest and moved to Paraguay. One of the ways that design began to change was with the Isle of Quel'Danas, which itself built upon the foundation laid by the Ogri'la and Sha'tari Skyguard factions.

These were faction grinds that allowed for the progressive unlocking of quests designed to be repeated daily, and these three faction grinds laid the basis for what we have today in Mists of Pandaria. And I'm starting to wonder if the reason I so dislike the Mists approach to reputation, with its copious daily questing, is not because of anything wrong with that system but rather because I'm incredibly spoiled.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

The role of community managers

The Role of Community Managers
Despite the header image, Blizzard Community Manager Zarhym has been being a little less cuddly than he looks lately. Oh, wait... you're saying Zarhym's the one on the right? OK then. Zarhym has been weighing in on the role of Blizzard's Community Managers, following a couple of critical posts on the US forums.

One post was elicited in direct response to Zarhym's own replies on a thread about dailies.

Zarhym
Quote:

I think what should be taken out of the responses of those players frustrated at the CMs response is the standard of discourse that is being set, through said CM, in threads like this.

A CM is blizzards representative on these forums and the closest we come to hearing/seeing information straight from "the horses mouth". Now the wow forums are at times very cynical and baiting/trolling can be rife, but for a CM to come into a thread (one that didn't dignify a response) and basically condone certain behaviours through both the language he used and the context he used it in is quite disgraceful and reflects pretty poorly on both blizzard and the CM team.

It is up to the CM, not the players, to set the standard when it comes to meaningful debate and conversation. Showing otherwise further condones bad behaviour and meaningless posts in this thread and others all over general.

That's a fair point and I'll honestly think about that more as I'm flipping through the front page of the forums.

This is also a good time to remind people you can email WoWCMFeedback@Blizzard.com with your thoughts on our methods of community engagement. The posts in this thread commenting on my performance as a Community Manager, positive or negative, are better sent to my superiors so the topic of the thread stays on course. You can also personally give me feedback or chat with me on Twitter: @CM_Zarhym. I promise I at least read every tweet, and respond as often as I can. ;).

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Filed under: News items

Beast mastery hunters may escape Stampede nerf

Blizzard Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street posted a lengthy Dev Watercooler yesterday, focused on Mists of Pandaria PvP.

Within that Dev Watercooler, one thing he mentioned was the extremely high burst being put out by Beast Mastery Hunters, saying:

Ghostcrawler
Beastmastery Hunters – We agree that stacking too many cooldowns to blow someone up is not interesting, skillful, or fair. (I also want to be clear that with all of these issues, we're not blaming players for using the tools that we gave them; we're blaming ourselves.) We're taking a hard look at the various Hunter cooldowns with the intention of reducing their burst. Hunters are receiving a buff in that they will no longer need to swap between Aspect of the Hawk and Aspect of the Fox. We also hope these changes help result in higher representation of Survival and Marksman Hunters.


Very shortly after the Dev Watercooler was posted, Ghostcrawler took to twitter, announcing that a substantial bug had been discovered, which only affected beast mastery hunters in the arena:
Community Manager Zarhym emailed us late last night to inform us that the bug had been isolated and added to the beast mastery hunter-specific section of the blog. The bug is now detailed as follows:

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Filed under: PvP, Mists of Pandaria

Will spectral flying be added to Pandaria?

It's a contentious issue for some - at present, there are various places in Pandaria that, once you're flying, you can end up dead that you can't get back to as a ghost. This means having no choice but to accept the repair cost and ten minutes of downtime that resurrecting at the spirit healer costs you. But now Zarhym comes to tell us that this might not always be the case.

Zarhym - No ghost flying in pandaria?
You're right. I just spoke to Ghostcrawler about it a bit and am going to clarify my original post. I explained why we didn't initially include flight while in ghost form on Pandaria, but it's important to note that the developers are discussing the issue and might well add ghost flying to the new continent. We do recognize that it's possible to die in some very inconvenient places, and much more frequently than in vanilla WoW due to flying mounts.



So if somehow you managed to die on top of a really inconvenient mountain peak in Kun-Lai just before raid (not that I know anyone like that) perhaps you won't have to eat ten minutes of "I can't tank yet" in the future. Not that I would know. Cause I don't.


Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

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