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Posts with tag alex-afrasiabi

Telling a story without quest text


Tyllendel's friend had an interesting reaction to the game when he first played it: he felt that all of the quest text was unbearable, and that he wanted to play the game rather than reading what NPCs told him. We've talked a little bit about this before -- obviously, when Blizzard kicked off WoW nearly five years ago, quest text was just the way quests were done, and while Blizzard has expanded the concept a bit since, it's still mostly the way MMOs work: you go to a character, talk to them, and they tell you where to go and what to do.

But I can see Tyl's friend's point: games are much less about telling these days and more about showing. You might understand how, if you've never played an MMO before, reading the quest text can take you right out of the game, rather than running off with an NPC or having the game show you rather than just tell you what to do. And Blizzard is getting there: later in the thread Slorkuz points out the recent Afrasiabi interview, and talks about how Alex mentions new ways of doing quests. For example, the quest team is trying to do a quest with no text, or direct players' attention without actually telling them, "look here." Text is the easiest and most basic way to help players accomplish goals, but as the game moves on, even the developers realize it's not the most elegant or immersive way to do it.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Quests, Lore, NPCs

Crusaders' Coliseum and Isle of Conquest Q&A


Blizzard has just released a Q&A on the Crusaders' Coliseum and the Isle of Conquest.

The Q&A is done with Tom Chilton (Game Directory), Scott Mercer (Lead Encounter Designer), and Alex Afrasiabi (Lead World Designer). The Q&A is a long one and has a lot of good information throughout on both of these major upcoming features in Patch 3.2.

Some of the highlights include:
  • All dungeons can be called the Crusaders' Coliseum. 5-man normal and heroics are called the Trial of the Champion. 10 and 25 man normal raids are called the Trial of the Crusader. 10 and 25 man hard mode raids are called the Trial of the Grand Crusader.
  • 5-man version on par with current Wrath dungeons.
  • "There will be no 310%-speed mount offered through a meta-achievement reward, as the current 310%-speed mount offered will not be removed when path 3.2 is released." And later on... "For those working through a tribute run, there might also just be a surprise or two in the chest at the end... if you have what it takes to master this run."
  • Possibly a new twist to the conflict between Horde and Alliance in the next expansion? "Right now both sides are honing their skills through the Argent Crusade's tests. Should they take the fight to the Lich King and succeed while animosity between the Horde and Alliance continues to build, there's no telling what lies in store for the denizens of Azeroth."
  • Average Isle of Conquest match to last around 20 minutes.
  • There is some concern over graveyard camping in the Isle of Conquest.
  • Once again, the dedicated World of Warcraft players are screwed out of pony. I was promised one, and I want it. This is a slap in the face. Where's my gin? Where's my coffee? Quick! Someone write an angry letter about Ghostcrawler, he's the worst thing that happened to WoW since...since...forever! Nerd rage!
Don't forget to check out WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.2 for more information on the Crusaders' Coliseum and the Isle of Conquest. The full Q&A is after the break.

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Filed under: News items

A Tigole flashback to Legacy of Steel

Reader Dbandith sent us this little gem-- it's Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan's old EQ guild page from back in 2002. Back before Blizzard really got started with World of Warcraft, they raided (pun intended) the biggest guilds in a few other MMOs, most notably EverQuest, for developers, and some of those folks became the Blues that we know and love today. I know both Tigole and Alex "Furor" Afrasiabi came from EQ guilds (and in fact, their old guilds still play WoW, and it's gotten them in trouble at least once), and Rob Pardo originally ran Legacy of Steel, the guild that Tigole came from.

But this little flashback is extremely interesting, not only for the post at the top of the page-- it's very cool to see a fresh-faced Tigole, one excited about breaking the MMO mold and not a guy concerned with balancing Arena Ratings and an expansion beta schedule-- but also for the expletive-filled post at the bottom. "Fix your goddamn buggy bull**** half-assed encounters," rages Tigole at the EQ staff. And he sounds just like the same folks raging on the forums about Blizzard's current problems, even if their language isn't quite as strong as his.

Now don't get me wrong-- Kaplan and Blizzard have done an amazing job, and created one of the best games in history. Fighting over Brewfest bugs (or even one tree of one class in the game) is 1000% better than fighting over the entire act of playing the game itself-- there's no question in my mind that Kaplan and all of the other raiders brought on board at Blizzard pushed the MMO genre light years ahead of where it was back in their raiding time. But it is an interesting sight to see Blizzard devs on the other side of the message board posting button, raging against mistakes in implementation just as so many on Blizzard's forums are today.

Thanks, Dbandith!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, Leveling

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