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Developer Q&A transcript

Developer Q&A transcript
This evening's Developer Chat has concluded, and while there were no earth-shattering announcements hidden within, the chat certainly had its interesting moments. Among the topics of discussion were:
  • The Alliance's role after the siege of Orgimmar
  • Balancing classes in PvP
  • The continuation of reputation-based questlines
  • The possible return of world events
  • The state of Skyclaw and Pierre
  • Class quests
  • ... and more!
You can check out the transcript below the cut. Participating developers were Dave Kosak (Fargo), Ion Hazzikostas (Watcher), Brian Holinka (Desvin), Cory Stockton (Mumper), and Greg Street (Ghostcrawler).

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Dave Kosak talks quest design in Cataclysm

World of Warcraft Lead Quest Designer Dave "Fargo" Kosak posted a long entry today giving a post-mortem of Cataclysm's questing experience. It's a very interesting read for everyone who wants a little insight into the inner workings of WoW's design right now.

Of note is that Blizzard felt spread too thin with the ambitious revamping of the entire old world. That lead to less-than-ideal elements in the current endgame experience, which in turn is a key component of many player's dislike of Cataclysm.

Say what you will about people's complaints, but it's a good thing that Blizzard is able to look at itself with such a critical eye and fine tune its future processes to make things even better.

Some of the key points:
  • The primary goal of Cataclysm was to remake the 1-to-60 experience, keep it relevant to new players.
  • Blizzard is happy with the old world revamp.
  • Blizzard felt spread too thin, which resulted from the total revamp of the old world.
  • The 80-to-85 zones don't feel as connected to each other as Blizzard would have liked.
  • "Phasing is like a story sledgehammer."
  • They want future phasing to not split players up but to provide visual changes only you can see (like in the 4.2 dailies).
  • "Cataclysm was in many ways Thrall's story."
  • Future legendary quest lines will be a lot like the Fangs of the Father quests that rogues are experiencing right now.
  • Blizzard is refocusing on core gameplay mechanics.
The full post after the break.

You can also take a look at our own post-mortem of Cataclysm's zones we did in late 2011.

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Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

Patch 4.3 is the last of Cataclysm, Dave Kosak confirms

Dave "Fargo" Kosak, lead quest designer for World of Warcraft, recently confirmed in an interview with Videogamer.com that the recent content patch 4.3 will be the final content patch of Cataclysm. We will not be getting a Sunwell- or Halion-esque final patch before Mists of Pandaria. However, this does not discount the patches and updates that will most likely be coming to add Mists content or prepare for the next expansion's in-game launch events.

While the confirmation that there will be no more content patches for Cataclysm was definitely the big news of the interview, some other nice tidbits are buried within. Kosak confirms that the Raid Finder is something players are really taking to, and he discusses the community's response to transmogrification and the number of ancillary sites have popped up because of it.

Also of note is Kosak's response about subscription numbers. After reading his sincere "we don't obsessively track subscriptions" sentiment, I couldn't help but remember that in the back of my head, no matter what goes on with the numbers, what works, and what doesn't, these guys are real people who believe in this game.

You can read the whole interview on videogamer.com.

Brace yourselves for what could be some of most exciting updates to the game recently with patch 4.3. Review the official patch notes, and then dig into what's ahead: new item storage options, cross-realm raiding, cosmetic armor skinning and your chance to battle the mighty Deathwing -- from astride his back!

Filed under: News items, Interviews, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Dev Watercooler: Faction favoritism

Fargo
Lead Quest Designer Dave "Fargo" Kosak has just posted the latest Dev Watercooler. This time, the topic is faction balance. In the wake of BlizzCon, this perennial topic has flared up pretty brightly. While the devs did indicate they wanted to give the Alliance a bit more good stuff during some panels, some other incidents during and after BlizzCon (including the news that Theramore, one of the most iconic Alliance cities, will be razed to the ground) has left some doubtful, leading to intense debates and 100+ page forum threads on the subject.

The way Kosak explains it, the devs definitely want to make sure that there is faction pride for both sides, and, he argues, while the Alliance may be getting beat up, the Horde has taken its share of lumps too. But in the long run, heroes are not born out of easy times. The Alliance will go through tough times, but it will give heroes the opportunity to arise. The Alliance's time is coming.

One thing he did admit to is that Blizzard needs to do a better job of making sure people can interact with their heroes. He acknowledges that the Alliance may not think of Thrall as theirs or part of their story, and he promises that once Cataclysm as over, we will catch up with other characters.

Whether you agree with all of his reasonings and conclusions or not, it's a good read, and it does prove that Blizzard is hearing us and is at least planning to try to address some of the complaints of faction parity and Thrall overload. Check after the break for the complete text of Kosak's post.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Lore

Dev Watercooler: Content for the casual 85

The newest Dev Watercooler column gives King Crab a break and instead lets us peek into the mind of Dave "Fargo" Kosak, lead quest designer for World of Warcraft. You might remember Fargo from Flintlocke's Guide to Azeroth and GameSpy days. Fargo's Dev Watercooler is all about experiencing World of Warcraft as a non-raider and what Blizzard's expectations are for level 85s who aren't bashing down Ragnaros' door.

One of the weirdest statements that I have to make to many people who are new to the MMO genre is that "the game begins at 85." While we know that isn't factually correct, since there are 85 levels of content previous to hitting the magic number, it still makes sense from a "never-ending world" point of view. There is no end, so the game begins at the "current" end.

Fargo makes the case that all players are entitled to an epic storyline, engaging content, and a feeling of continual power growth. The new patch 4.2 Firelands daily quest hubs in the Molten Front and the Regrowth are tailor-made to hit these points and provide a personal, continuing experience for players who don't participate in the raid game. With dailies being randomized and your personal tree growing at your own pace, players are rewarded based on their efforts alone.

Personally, I like this direction for solo questing experiences. The Molten Front and the Regrowth seem like better, more advanced, and more evolved versions of the reputation grinds we were previously chugging away at to open up gear and other rewards, but with less of a "watch a bar go up" mentality. Here, we have engaging choices and rotating sets of random tasks that keep us coming back for more, all the while physically changing the world around us. Now we just need to care about the cause. I think Firelands is going to push us a good way forward in that regard.

Check out Fargo's first contribution to the Dev Watercooler series, after the jump.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

The Queue: Casinos? In my WoW?


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.

If you've been reading The Queue for awhile, you'd know that Adam Holisky and I were taking turns writing this thing each day, but he's been sparse lately. Before we get started today, I just wanted to stop and let you guys know that he's okay, he's alive, but the flooding in his hometown of Fargo has gotten pretty ridiculous. He's been documenting the Fargo Flood on his personal blog the whole way through, so if you're interested, give it a gander.

If you have friends or family in the area, or simply want to lend a hand, Red Cross and the United Way have set up some resources for all of you to peruse as well. Keep the people of Fargo in your thoughts, folks. I'm sure having Blackhawks flying over your house loses its cool factor after awhile.

Jack Spicer asked...


"What's the best/easiest way to get starter gear for PvP at 80?"

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

"Flintlocke" creator moving to Blizzard

Readers Geamo, Dice, and Leethax have written to let us know that Dave "Fargo" Kosak, co-founder of Gamespy and creator of the wildly popular "Flintlocke's Guide to Azeroth" and its Horde follow-up "Flintlocke vs. The Horde" is leaving for...Blizzard!

In his farewell message on Gamespy he says he'll be creating content for Blizzard games and World of Warcraft specifically (so be on the lookout, as he writes, for "quest instructions (shouted) at you in a very loud, very poor Scottish accent"). Kosak has been responsible for hearthstones being memorably described as "the chickenrock," an explanation of aggro mechanics, The Five Stages of Warcraft, and the ultimate goblin-engineered weapon (which you can find in Area 52).

Unfortunately, it looks like he's not going to be able to continue the "Flintlocke" comics while at Blizzard (whether for time-related or legal reasons, I'm not sure), so that's kind of a downer. The current Horde comic has already been planned all the way to its end, which will occur at some point in late April. I was disappointed to read this -- I love Flintlocke, and the Horde storyline is amazing ("What kind of combat skills you got on that thing?" "Probably flee and mate") -- but I expect we'll be seeing some of Kosak's influence ingame.

Congratulations, Mr. Kosak, and from all of us here at WoW Insider, good luck!

Filed under: Fan stuff, Blizzard, News items, Comics

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