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Posts with tag game-design

The Queue: Waterfalls


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. Adam Holisky will be your host today.

There's a bunch of good questions in today's Queue: gold cap (including a little extrapolation by yours truly), boss level hit cap design, and voicing of a certain King of Stormwind.

(In my Casey Kasem voice) As for today's reading music, take a listen to the 1990's classic by TLC, Don't Go Chasin' Waterfalls. They totally turn into water elementals too, around 3:40 in the video.

Outdps asked...

"Is the gold cap per character or per account? Is there a gold cap for guild banks?" Bonus question: "What should the gold cap be?"

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Filed under: The Queue

Dedicated dual wield tree for Death Knights a possibility

A few days ago, Bornakk responded to yet another thread regarding dual wielding for Death Knights. I read it, shrugged, moved on with life, but I found myself digging up the thread again because I started to warm up to the idea Bornakk put forth: They're considering (that's the key word here) "something like making the frost tree the dual-wield tree" and letting the strikes hit with both weapons like Mutilate and Stormstrike.

Bornakk says balancing both Dual Wielding and 2Handers in each talent tree has been exceptionally challenging, and I think we've seen that firsthand. Talents aimed for one build make their way into another, and things quickly get out of hand. Turning one of the trees specifically into the Dual Wielding tree (whether it be Frost or Unholy or whatever) is something I can get behind, even if it runs counter to what they've been trying to do with the talent trees since the Wrath beta.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight

Kaplan on being the "Cruise Director of Azeroth" at GDC '09

Jeffrey "Tigole" Kaplan, former WoW Lead Designer who just recently headed off to work on Blizzard's new MMO, held a panel at the Game Developer's Conference earlier this week in San Fransisco called "Cruise Directior of Azeroth," in which he talked about some of the design decisions behind World of Warcraft, where Blizzard got their inspiration for a lot of the gameplay now made famous by the game, and even some of the mistakes they made in putting the world's most popular MMO together.

WoW Insider had correspondents there on the site, and they sent back audio of Kaplan's speech. We've paraphrased the salient points, and you can find them all after the break. There's some really interesting stuff in there, including the fact that in the past two years, 80 billion quests have been completed in North America's Azeroth alone, and just who is behind the frustration that is The Green Hills of Stranglethorn (hint: it's Kaplan himself).

Hit the link below to see what Kaplan told the crowd at GDC.

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Filed under: Warlock, Virtual selves, Blizzard, News items, Quests, Expansions, Classes, Death Knight

When is it fair for classes to share?

Recently an interesting thing happened in the world of game design. To non-WoW players, it may seem like a minor detail, but it really shows an insight into the way that Blizzard designs their games.

Rogues have, of course, been stealthy for a long time, and when word first dropped that hunters might be getting Camouflage in Wrath of the Lich King, we were pretty excited that some element of stealth might be added to our class too. Blizzard went back and forth on this ability, first putting it in, then taking it out, then putting it in again, and finally taking it out again. In the end they decided that it was just too similar to the rogue ability, and they didn't want to blend the classes together too much. This was about the same time that they gave rogues a new ability, called Tricks of the Trade, which looks a lot like the hunter's ability, Misdirection.

To one player who asked what was up with this unfairness, Ghostcrawler spoke up and explained some of their design philosophy. She started by saying that they have 10 classes now, and they have to add more in every expansion. The "lazy-designer" way to handle this kind of situation is just to find an ability that works for one class and just give it to another. This would end up leaving the classes without enough to distinguish them all individually, and it's something they wanted to avoid.

So why was Misdirection an okay ability to share, while Stealth was not?...

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King, Forums

Why WoW quests suck, and are awesome

Any poster that leads off talking about how Feralas is her favorite zone is a friend of mine. Cuppycake (great name there as well) has an excellent post up about questing in WoW (warning: some NSFW language). On the one hand, WoW quests are repetitive -- most of them are either "kill 10 rats" or "be my FedEx guy" -- and they don't tend to tie in to or have lasting effects on the broader story of the game (the current Shattered Sun story excepted).

But on the other hand, it's very fun (Cuppycake uses a different word than "very"). It's a bit hard to put my finger on it, but WoW quests (most of them, anyway) have that little extra something that makes for a very satisfying gaming experience. It's like getting a star in Super Mario Galaxy. A small fragment of lasting achievement is enough to make it feel worth doing to me -- as the post says, an objective is what I need. Give me something to work for and I'll do it, as long as it feels like I'm making progress, and it isn't too slow (I'm not the best at rep grinds).

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Quests

Rob Pardo to speak at the 2008 Game Developers Conference

The 2008 Game Developers Conference is underway in San Francisco right now, and this means there should be quite a bit of gaming news and juicy bites to report on in the next few days. Blizzard's own Rob Pardo is there as a featured speaker, participating in a panel on the future of MMORPGs and giving a talk on Blizzard's approach to multiplayer gaming design. Hopefully that means we might even get a few pieces of new information about Warcraft and the expansion, or even beyond.

Our colleagues at Massively will be watching the whole conference closely, as will we, and we'll be sure to keep you up to date if Blizzard drops any bombshells of the Lich King variety or otherwise.

And speaking of conference news, Gamespot's posted more video coverage of the DICE 08 Summit, including Blizzard's presentation, which you can watch here.

Filed under: Events, Blizzard, News items

Damion Schubert (sort of) defends the raid mechanic

Allow me to state the obvious; raiding is an integral part of WoW's design. A lot of people think that's a bad thing. They'll say raiding is only for the elite hardcore, and that it alienates everyone else. Here's a shocker; Damion Schubert -- a renown MMO designer whose games have historically been pretty much the opposite of raider-friendly -- is not one of those naysayers.

He recently updated his blog with a strong defense of Blizzard's decision to emphasize raiding. You should read it for yourself, but the gist of it is that there are more raiders than you think, that players of a PvE game want a PvE endgame (as opposed to a PvP one like the Battlegrounds), and that because raids are re-playable content, Blizzard gets more bang for its development buck.

His ultimate point, though, is that Blizzard focuses on raiding content because that's what players want. But I wonder if a lot of those players, especially the more casual types, would want something different if they were aware of other options. And Schubert suggested that there are alternatives. What are they, and do you want them, or are you perfectly happy with working your way up to Black Temple?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

It's not as easy as you think


We all get frustrated with the Blizzard developers at one time or another. Sometimes we even post messages on the forums, rant in chat to our guild mates, heck, we might even blog about it ourselves. But as Fate pointed out recently on Apathy Inc., there's a few things you should consider when spewing your venom at the creators of WoW.

As an example Fate shares with the readers an experimental talent tree for Wrath (and a very nice job, I should say), and references this as just one very complicated aspect of the design of the game. Analyzing every angle of a spec may go very well, until you open it up to the players and realize what you thought was balanced really is no where close. Things go from bad to worse, and the players begin to complain, and complain, and then they, you know, complain. Trying to keep everyone happy is really a thankless job, and this is only one tiny aspect of the game. It doesn't take into account building boss battles, creating loot tables, designing armor and weapons, or anything else that makes this Massively Multiplayer game so very massive.

I haven't considered exactly how much work really goes into building this game, keeping it running, pushing through new content and keeping it balanced at the same time as not completely ruining the old content. Fate has put it all into perspective for me. Although I'm not much of a ranter or a railer when it comes to the Blizzard devs, I certainly from this point on will give them the benefit of the doubt.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

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