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Posts with tag developers

How much transparency do you want?

It's come up time and again, and it's always an issue that's fascinated me -- how much information on how World of Warcraft is designed do we actually want? Some of us would be bored to tears by a technical discussion of the whys and wherefores of a design decision, while others would be absolutely fascinated by it. I'm sure no one's forgotten about the era of the 'Ghostcrawler experiment' and the sharp rise of communication from the game's developers. Today we have quite a bit of communication from people like Brian Holinka, Chadd Nervig, Ion Hazzikostas, Owen Landgren and others. I've always felt that it was a very good thing overall for the game to have that channel, with the devs taking time to explain design changes and what they mean. The question becomes, how useful is it to you, and how effective is it in getting players to understand the why behind changes?

Frankly, I think we all know that for every player who reads and absorbs dev interaction in the spirit in which it is meant, there's another who uses it simply as an excuse to blame said person for ruining the game. This goes back to before the time when devs were the ones delivering the news, mind you. I remember the days of Tseric, and the way the forums made him the villain in their self-generated narrative.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Blizzard developers discuss patch 5.2 and more

Patch 52 Developer fansite interviews
Last week was a flurry of preparation for patch 5.2's launch, including a whole host of developer interviews. WoW Insider had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak, but there were plenty more interviews to be had as the week progressed. And just in case you happened to miss any of that developer excitement, we've put together a roundup of all the fan site interviews in one handy spot.
While the same developers may have done multiple interviews, each interview offers a different look at what's in store for patch 5.2 and beyond. It's certainly nice to see the developers out and about in the community and talking content -- and one thing's for certain, everyone is pumped for patch 5.2's release. Be sure to check out all of the interviews for the most in-depth look at patch 5.2 you can get.

Filed under: Blizzard, Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

How do you make a raid?

How do you make a Raid
Over at this year's Gamescom, I was lucky enough to be among a small group invited to a Blizzard round table on Raids and Dungeons, where we sat down with Blizzard's Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas and Lead Game Producer John Lagrave. These two high-end content creators opened the round table by talking the audience through the process of how the Blizzard team goes about making a raid and the trials and tribulations they encounter along the way.

This was fascinating to listen to, so I thought I'd share the insights with WoW Insider readers. This is not verbatim quoting throughout, as I simply can't write that fast, but it covers the raid-making process as they described it.

How do you make a raid?

You start with the lore. Ion and John talked us through the process of making the Firelands raid, so they began from a set of conditions. As Ion put it, "We consider what the idea is. What is this raid going to be about?" So they sit down with the encounter design team as well as the game producers in a meeting room and talk it out.

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Filed under: Raiding, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Blizzard releases third-party API usage policy

Ever since earlier this year, Blizzard's API data streams from the WoW Armory have hit the scene in a big way, with developers creating such awesome web tools as apps for better gear checking, more accurate reforging calculators, and transmogrification fashion websites. As Blizzard continues to push its API data to web developers and app creators, the API usage policy is finally here with guidelines on how this data is to be used and what limitations exist for premium applications.

The third-party API usage policy has a lot in common with Blizzard's addon creation and usage policy. No premium applications or web tools that use WoW API data are allowed, which means you will not be able to be charged for access to information that is freely given. App creators will also not be able to put commercials or advertisements inside of applications that hinder the use of the application and data. Developers will, however, be able to host these apps or web tools on hosting that has advertisements -- you just can't force people to watch them or do something in order to use the app. Remember, you should not be paying for applications that use this data.

Take a look at the full third-party API usage policy after the break. If you're interesting in coding with these new APIs to create programs, web tools, or mobile apps, check out Blizzard's community platform API forum on the WoW community site. You will be in awesome company.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Blues explain nature of archaeology cooldowns

Several players and Community Manager Lylirra shared some discussion today on the official World of Warcraft forums about the cooldowns of novelty items crafted through the archaeology profession.

In the thread, the original poster suggested that the cooldowns of certain novelty items were too long in comparison to others and that Blizzard should consider fixing the discrepancies. The poster used Pendant of the Scarab Storm and Bones of Transformation as an example, noting that both items have a vanity effect that lasts 20 seconds but a cooldown difference of 90 minutes.

Lylirra responded, explaining that the cooldowns, though seemingly random, were chosen with specific issues in mind. She explains that with the Pendant of the Scarab Storm specifically, developers were concerned that the item's effect might strain certain players' computers.

Archaeology Items' Cooldowns
The current cooldown was chosen deliberately, but I can see why you might think otherwise (100 minutes is kind of strange for a cooldown time).

Anyway, summoning a harem of scarabs can be pretty taxing on some systems, so there were some initial concerns about putting the pendant on a short cooldown. Based on the feedback we've received, though, we're looking into reducing it. We agree that the effect is pretty cool and would be nice to use it more frequently.


Personally, a little lore logic behind the items might be nice as well. How is it that my character can summon a god every 3 minutes, but it takes 10 minutes to round up some sassy dwarven ladies?

Filed under: News items, Archaeology

Nethaera addresses questions about CM process

Blue poster Nethaera took some time earlier today to answer a few questions posted on the official forums regarding the chain of command between community managers (CMs), developers, and of course, everyone's favorite crustacean, Ghostcrawler (Greg Street, lead systems designer). While Nethaera couldn't answer every question posed, she was able to give a few insights into the interplay between the various departments running the scenes, as well as a few tips about giving constructive feedback.

Nethaera
What examples are best to use to give GC and the Devs an accurate depiction of what has/has been happening?

Information about your class, your playstyle, the types of issues you're running into such as whether you're using a certain spec or certain spells and abilities when you're running into issues. The more specific you can be, the better really. Numbers are good on one level, but sometimes the numbers don't say whether you're having "fun" or not.



Follow us after the break for more insights.

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Filed under: News items

Cataclysm Beta: Test Tol Barad with the developers

This should be epic. Are you in the Cataclysm beta? Are you man/woman enough to go toe-to-toe with the big, bad devs themselves? The Cataclysm developers are challenging the players to a focused playtest of Tol Barad on Monday, Sept. 27 at 4 p.m. PST. Here's the full announcement:

Mumper -- Tol Barad Focus Test w/ Devs
We are planning to do a focused playtest on Tol Barad on Monday the 27th at 4pm PST. We would like to get as many players out there on the beta to help us as possible. You must be level 85 to join the battle. We will speed up the game timer so we can play multiple games during the test.

I will make a new feedback post after we finish the test for everyone to post in. Feedback is very important for us at this point so please take your time and try to be as concise as possible with your findings.

Thanks for the help!


I'll be there with bells on. Maybe an axe or two.

Filed under: Events, Blizzard, Cataclysm

The cynic's guide to World of Warcraft

We tend to be very careful while composing articles here at WoW Insider. We're always mindful that not everyone plays the game in the same way, or has the same experience on different servers or factions, but every so often a certain madness seizes us and we feel the urge to ... tell the truth. In that vein, I am pleased (sort of) to present The Cynic's Guide to World of Warcraft.

This article owes a heavy debt to Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary. If you want to see a real master at work, read that.

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Filed under: Humor

Breakfast Topic: Who could be a new world boss in Cataclysm?

One thing that was missing from the Wrath expansion, conspicuously or not, was a world boss on par with those such as Kazzak and the Emerald Dragons. For better or for worse, Blizzard completely removed them from the game, reserving the massive figures towering over the landscape for instanced quests or dungeons.

Blizzard touched a bit on why they've not used world bosses in Wrath in the recent Twitter developer chat. They observed that there are issues with the bosses that have prevented them from feeling comfortable making more world bosses, such as issues with groups racing to bosses, or the ability of people outside raid groups to deliberately mess up boss attempts. On the other side of the coin, though, they did imply that they like world bosses, and will probably implement more in Cataclysm if and when they can find a satisfactory work-around for the problems.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Breakfast Topics

Dance Studio still "on the list," say developers

The dance studio is perhaps the most enduring piece of vapor ware in WoW to date. First hinted at in the original WotLK trailer and announced in the months leading up to release, it was conspicuously absent from the finished product, however, and now that we're on the final major patch of the expansion, it still hasn't made it in game. The closest we've gotten to any sort of official word on it, barring the dance battle April fool's joke, is from a Curse interview with the developers that suggests the dance studio won't be in Wrath at all.

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Filed under: News items

Is WoW being run by its B-team? Is that bad?


This post by Eric Heimburg on the excellent MMO design blog Elder Game, alleging that WoW is currently run by Blizzard's B-team, has ignited a fair amount of controversy around the blogosphere. The general argument appears to be that the people previously in charge of WoW, like Jeff Kaplan, have moved on to other projects. As a consequence knee-jerk changes are being pushed through very fast, without being sufficiently tested first. "Back in the day," claims the article, "QA held the game to a higher standard."

My reaction to these claims are mixed. Kaplan may not be in charge of WoW anymore, but I don't think that "the steady hand has left the rudder," or if it has, maybe a less straight-ahead course is a good thing. Changes may be getting pushed through very quickly - Ghostcrawler routinely refers to players getting whiplash from the frequency of balance changes - but in many cases, I think this is for the best.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

Class Q&A: Mage

Second up in the class Q&A (Shamans were first) are Mages, those lovable glass cannons. Or are they? The Q&A opens with Ghostcrawler discussing public perception of the class, with a prompt of "a lot has changed since the days when the 'glass cannon' description was applied."

General

GC describes the mage as "the iconic caster:" deals magic damage from range. They should be versatile enough to do single-target damage, AoE damage, and crowd control, and every group should want one. (I'm noticing a trend here -- GC also described Shamans as a class every group should want. I guess every group should want all classes.)

They like the different feel between the three trees is in a good place, with Frostfire possibly providing a fourth aesthetic. They have decided that "king of AoE" is no longer a good niche to put any class in, so now they're trying to give both AoE and single-target to all DPS specs (with "extra effort" to make sure mages do good AoE).

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Filed under: Mage

Class Q&A: Shaman questions answered


The first answer post from the class Q&A series is up! 6:30 PM on a Tuesday night is not exactly when I expected this to drop, but I'm not complaining, and neither are most shamans, I expect. 4,400 words from the devs answering the community's questions is always nice. I've summarized the major points below; my summary may seem long, but it is only 20% of the original post.

As of Wrath, the goal is for all three Shaman trees to be viable in end-game raiding, and for Shaman DPS to be not necessarily quite as high as pure classes, but close; the goal is that "no raid worth its salt would turn down" any shaman out of concerns that the class is underpowered.

They do think Shamans are a bit underpowered in PvP, especially smaller Arenas, and view that as a problem. They mention particularly wanting to improve Shaman performance on 2v2s.

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Filed under: Shaman, News items

Face the developers on the PTR tonight


Tonight from 4:00 p.m. PDT / 7:00 p.m. EDT until 6:30 p.m. PDT / 9:30 p.m. EDT the Blizzard developers will be on the PTR facing off against players in Battlegrounds and in Arenas.

The developer's home will be Alliance on Broxigar (PvE), however the Patch 3.1.2 PTR servers are all linked together for PvP Arenas and Battlegrounds, so you'll be able to face them no matter where you are.

We've previously covered some of these events, and you can see results in our gallery below. There is no word if the infamous Ghostcrawler will be making an appearance. But I suggest all you disgruntled <insert your class here> show up and hope for the best. After all, he promised you a pony and you didn't get it.

Filed under: News items, PvP

WoW Insider Show live tomorrow afternoon with guest Alex Albrecht


Our podcast returns for another live broadcast tomorrow afternoon at 3:30pm Eastern (over on our Ustream page), and this one's a doozy: Turpster and I will host special guest Alex Albrecht, from TechTV's long-ago program The Screen Savers, and more recently from the popular Diggnation podcast, as well as the WoW video podcast Project Lore. We'll also have French friend of the show Patrick Beja on, and WoW Insider Contributing Editor Michael Sacco (who is represented by a talbuk in the machinima video of our song above, made by very talented fan Jack R.).

So it should be a great time. We'll be chatting about the most popular stories of the past week, including where all the Arena players are, another nice bonus for Alchemists, and what's next for addon developers (and why Blizzard doesn't want them making money in the first place). Plus, we'll answer your emails -- you can send us anything you like anytime at theshow@wow.com.

For those of you who always have trouble figuring out when the show is, we've cooked up something special for you. This should show you, from whatever time zone you're coming from, exactly when the show will be. This week's show will be at: March 28, 2009 3:30 PM EDT . You can watch it, as always, over on our Ustream page, or right here after the break. See you then!

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Filed under: Alchemy, WoW Insider Business, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, Raiding, Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King, WoW Insider Show

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