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Posts with tag chilton

Tom Chilton chats about what's coming in patch 5.3

blizz tom chilton interview wip
We know Blizzard has a lot planned for patch 5.3, which could go live any time now. But to keep us busy while we wait for the next batch of new WoW content, Blizzard Insider has posted an interview with Game Director Tom Chilton. Though the interview mostly summarizes what we already know about the upcoming patch, it provides a great overview of what's coming with a bit of added insight Blizzard's development thought process. Covered in the interview are how the devs felt patch 5.2 performed, the storyline of patch 5.3, PvP changes and the new battleground, new scenarios (and heroic scenarios), gear and the ability to choose which spec you'd like gear for, and visible pet battles.

The patches are certainly coming our way quickly. Are you looking forward to patch 5.3 or still working on patch 5.2?

Filed under: Blizzard, Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

Blizzard looking for "meaningful difference" in expansion releases

World of Warcraft's expansion cycle is not the norm in the MMO genre. The Blizzard expansion cycle is a new boxed expansion every two years, on average. According to Gameinformer, which got to talk to Tom Chilton at the Gamescom show in Germany last week, Blizzard is on track for a more timely release schedule with World of Warcraft expansions.

Chilton told Gameinformer:
We've been able to do it in one sense, but not as much as I would like to in another sense. I would like for all patches to reliably have raid bosses. Our first Cataclysm patch didn't have raid bosses. From a raider's persepctive, it probably doesn't feel any faster than it did before. For us, where the biggest improvement is going to be in this cycle is in the actual expansion release. Traditionally we've only been able to do an expansion about every two years. We're really hoping to make a meaningful difference in that.

Read more →

Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

Tom Chilton can imagine a future where WoW is free-to-play

PC Gamer posted an interview with Tom Chilton where he discussed the possibility of World of Warcraft eventually going free-to-play. He clarified that there are no active plans for this now, but he can imagine a future where it would be possible.

As massively multiplayer games become more mainstream, a common tactic to compete with WoW is to make the games free to play while charging microtransactions for in-game content. It makes games more accessible, and in theory can make publishers enough revenues that they can be profitable. If enough games break even this way and WoW starts losing momentum and market penetration, instead of shutting down, it would only make sense for Blizzard to keep the game available for the residual income. The original EverQuest is still live, for example. Instead of leaving vast empty realms populated by a very small number of nostalgic gamers, however, making WoW free-to-play could keep it residually profitable for longer.

While WoW will undoubtedly lose the majority of the market share some day, this day is not close. Warcraft is past the red-hot growth phase of its life cycle; however, it's still the largest player in the market. Chilton acknowledges that there's no reason for Blizzard to make this change while this is the case: "We're not spending a lot of time thinking about it. It's not something that's a reality for us in the near future."

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Stockton: Max of 6 bosses per raid in Cataclysm

Some very important information was released about Cataclysm yesterday on a G4 Xplay segment, discussing a Cataclysm storyline preview. However, some awesome pieces of news came out unrelated to the story at all. Check out the video to hear Tom Chilton, Cory Stockton and others discuss some pretty cool reveals. The two new important pieces of information were:
  • Auto-quest complete technology: Players are able to complete quests in the field and immediately begin the next quest in the chain, without running back to the quest giver for the next step in the quest, allowing multiple quests to be completed without returning home. Think of it as Archmage Vargoth's staff on steroids.
  • Raid boss quantity limits: Every raid in Cataclysm will have no more than six raid bosses per instance. Instances like Icecrown Citadel and Ulduar in boss number are gone, and the Serpentshrine Caverns/Tempest Keep model is back in. With a reduced number of raid bosses per raid, three full raids will be available at Cataclysm's launch.
Very interesting, especially the capped raid boss numbers. If you never played World of Warcraft during The Burning Crusade, you missed the proto-concept to these smaller, but more numerous, raids. Serpentshrine and Tempest Keep added up in boss numbers to a full 11-12 boss raid, but was separated into two encounters. Blizzard can now itemize across multiple raids instead of just one environment.

Filed under: News items, 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

Tom Chilton talks about 3.2 and the future of World of Warcraft

Videogamer.com has a nice long interview with World of Warcraft Producer Tom Chilton about everything from patch 3.2 and the Argent Tournament to the future of the game at large. They caught up with him at the Warcraft Regional Finals 2009 tournament in Germany this past week, and in part one, he talks about the upcoming patch and what Blizzard is expecting to get out of it. He says the Isle of Conquest battleground is their most "epic-feeling" instanced PvP setting since Alterac Valley, and that they want it to feel nuts, with players fighting each other via air and land. He also mentions Arena, and says that it was originally designed to be "a fun side PvP activity" that they went a little overboard with during Burning Crusade. Finally, he talks about twinks, and says that neither Blizzard nor twinks, apparently, want to see other players crushed by those who have the time or money to max out their low level characters. Even twinks, says Chilton, want to see competition against each other, and the option to turn XP off will let them do that. I'm not sure I agree with that last one -- many twinks seem to beef their characters up just for the chance to lay waste to "normal" players, but Chilton says Blizzard believes otherwise.

The second part of the interview is more general -- he talks a little bit about the next expansion (with the same speculation we've already heard: Gilneas, the Maelstrom, the Emerald Dream), and says that designing a race is tougher on artists, but designing a class is tougher on designers. He admits that because we had a new class in Wrath, it's unlikely we'll see another class so soon in the next expansion, but "not impossible" of course. And he does note that Blizzard tries to "pre-seed" the races before they use them as playable races, so if they are adding in races, chances are we've already seen them (which, you may note, wasn't strictly true with the Draenei in BC). Finally, he talks about the future of Blizzard's MMO in general, and says it's still wide open to them: they plan for the game to last for years, and what they do between now and then, whether that be more expansions, microtransactions, or even a free-to-play model, will have to depend on what they want to do at the time.

Very interesting interview. Chilton doesn't really reveal anything, but you do get the sense that save for a very skeleton plan of one or two years in the future, Blizzard is really playing it fast and loose with World of Warcraft. Even he admits that the game may look very different, depending on how things go, in another four years from now.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Events, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items, Instances, Expansions, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Battlegrounds

The Queue: Better than Bejeweled


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.

Good afternoon, ladies and gents! Let's waste no time and jump right in today, shall we?

Horris asked...


"I have a question. What's with the sudden change from red to yellow sockets between T7 and T8 for warrior tanks?"

Sockets have always been notorious for not being the optimal color for certain specs and classes. T7 seemed like the odd duck to me in that case, where the sockets were generally pretty good for most classes. Now they're back to being sort of weird like has almost always been the case.

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Filed under: The Queue

Chilton content to endorse multi-boxing

Belfaire already explained previously that Blizzard's okay with the idea of multi-boxing, whether it's for PvE use or even to compete in the Arena. In the same Eurogamer interview that discusses the new phasing technology, Tom Chilton reinforces that Blizzard is "content to endorse multi-boxing to some reasonable degree."

Eurogamer was focused on the possible abuses of Blizzard's Recruit-a-Friend program, and the speed with which players can create and level new accounts. Chilton says that if someone wants to drop the bucks on a new account -- not only the retail fees, but also the subscription cost -- then Blizzard's okay with that.

J. Allen Brack immediately brings the discussion back to a point I've previously made -- the idea is really to help players get ready for the new expansion. You can bring in a friend or family, and get them to a level where they can play with other friends very quickly. They want new players to be able to "roll a Death Knight and be ready to go."

Now, Chilton did say the endorsement only goes to a "reasonable degree." I suspect if we see vast abuse of multi-boxing in multiple areas of play, the endorsement might quickly be repealed or re-focused. But, for now at least, Chilton has confirmed Belfaire's statement -- Blizzard's okay with multi-boxing.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Interviews

Blizzard says MMOs might work on consoles, but not WoW

Here's one more interview with the folks at Blizzard from Leipzig today -- play.tm sat down with J. Allen Brack and Tom Chilton during their interview marathon to chat more about Wrath of the Lich King and our favorite game. Unfortunately, with all the talking they've been doing lately, there's a little reptition -- we hear again that the game will provide content for both hardcore and casual players, and they mention a possible graphical overhaul again.

Their answers about the "biggest advancement" in Wrath are interesting though -- Brack says that he thinks the fact that they're introducing a new class to the game for the first time has been the biggest design challenge so far. Chilton is excited about the achievements (as am I) -- they should provide a lot of new ways for players to extend their gameplay and get rewarded for new accomplishments.

They also talk about a few things players don't usually associate with MMOs: social networks and consoles. Brack says that both are possibilities for Blizzard, though consoles wouldn't really work with World of Warcraft as we know it. Any MMO, they say, for consoles would have to be designed from the ground up to work with the hardware, and that's not something (including the next-gen MMO, we assume) that Blizzard is working on at the moment.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions, Leveling, Interviews, 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

WWI '08 Panel: Rogues

The big news from WWI so far for rogues is focused around two things: picking up a little AE damage and getting more use out of Sap. Both hints came from Tom Chilton during this morning's WWI dev panel, when he spoke to a large swath of class changes and balance issues.

The inspiration for the new area effect damage ability comes from Warcraft's Wardens -- Fan of Knives. As part of Blizzard's attempt to bring the lore and history of the game forward, they look to previous abilities and lore to inform current changes. Fan of Knives seemed like a natural ability to help give rogues a little extra AE damage. While Chilton cautions us not to expect Rogues to become the kings of AE damage...this will may be a welcome addition to our bags of tricks. It could certainly help in a pinch, but we'll have to see how it's going to meld with crowd control powers.

Where Rogues should feel some relief is the additional consideration given to Sap. Chilton's looking for Sap to play a greater role in crowd control strategies, and having it apply to more mobs. To paraphrase, Sap's going to apply to anything with a skull, and a brain to then rattle around inside of it. We may see ourselves sapping dogs, cats, bears, and. . .well anything with a brain inside a skull. So maybe not oozes quite yet - we're just going to have to satisfy ourselves with killing those.

I think a lot of the Rogue information we're curious about will actually come up during tomorrow's PvP section, since it's the Rogue's Arena capabilities that's seen so much forum action lately. Like Mages, we just haven't gotten the same amount of screen time as Death Knights or Shamans. Still, here's hoping we see more soon.

Filed under: Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Classes, Worldwide Invitational

WWI '08 Panel: Mage

Well. At first, it didn't seem to me like Tom Chilton had as much news for Mages at the first WWI dev panel as he did for other classes, but one of the Q&A dialogues did reveal a nice vision for our future.

The most common news being reported, of course, is the new "bolt" spell -- the Frostfire bolt. This is a direct damage nuke that's a mix of "fire" and "ice" damage types, and will help circumvent the resistances of certain bosses who have an affinity for an element. Eh. I mean, that's great and all, but it doesn't really speak to any retooling or massive re-vamp at the ways Mages need help.

However, during the Q&A, one of the audience members was a lot more pointed. Now that everyone seems to have their own spammable crowd control, he askes, what's being done to bring Mages back to a more unique role?

The answer was awesome. Simply put, if everyone's doing crowd control, then Mages are going to be buffed in their hallmark: raw, unadulterated damage. Especially since Seed of Corruption shines against our AE damage ability, Chilton says we should expect to see our overall damage output increased.

Does this mean Mages will become the epitome of WoW DPS? Mm, I'm not holding my breath - but at least in terms of putting us back in a vital, noticeable role, the future looks hopeful. Stay tuned as we continue to cover the WWI event, and try and bring the best (and worst) news available.

Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Worldwide Invitational

WWI '08 Panel: Druid (UPDATED)

While there isn't quite as much shocking news for those of us in the furry set as there was for our totem-spouting Earth brothers, there's still enough information to get us excited about our futures in Wrath of the Lich King.

I have to admit that I was a little surprised to hear Tom Chilton say in the first WWI dev panel that Blizzard isn't planning any Cyclone changes. When an audience member asked if there would be any alterations for Cyclone, Chilton answered in a pretty clear, unambiguous manner: Nope. But he did give us some explanation for it.

Read more →

Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Wrath of the Lich King, Worldwide Invitational

Bornakk speaks on the whole esports thing

So a while back, Tom Chilton talked about turning WoW into a "viable Esports platform" in an interview with Gamespy, and lots of players did not take it well. Some time later, the fire has still not died down. Darqchild of the Perenolde server posted another complaint about this the other day, expressing a belief that the creation of a 2nd rule set and the domination of the esports concept had already gone with the implementation of a Tournament server.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Classes, Buffs, Arena

Blizzard Insider Interview with Tom Chilton on PVP

The official newsletter Blizzard Insider has posted an interview with Lead Designer Tom Chilton about the new PVP system and world PVP options showing up in the Burning Crusade (read the transcript at that link, or listen to audio here).

The interview's pretty softball (hey, what do you expect from an official source), but Chilton does talk a little bit more about the new PVP arena matchups. Players will fight in teams of 2v2, 3v3 or 5v5 from an "arena team" (consisting of main players and benchwarmers) that "has a lot of strong parallels to the guild system" in that you can invite or release players at will. Chilton also answers the question about the arena "seasons"-- matches will be organized in periods of every few months, and at the end of the season, scores will be reset. Chilton says they're planning to change around certain PVP rewards from season to season, and he doesn't rule out the interesting possibility of a "Super Brawl"-- whatever that exactly means.

Chilton also talks a little bit more about 1.12 world PVP in Silithus and Eastern Plaguelands, but here's an interesting question he doesn't answer: Is world PVP only confined to the higher classes? Is Blizzard trying to think of any ways to offer world PVP options to lower levels?

Combined with news from the forums yesterday that players with current PVP titles will be able to keep their highest rank even in the new non-ladder system, it sounds like there are a lot of wacky shakeups coming to PVP in both 1.12 and the expansion. Sounds fun.

Filed under: Ranking, Blizzard, PvP, Expansions

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