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Posts with tag gc

Call to Auction talks economy and professions with the devs

The Call to Auction podcast, which features our own Basil "Euripides" Berntsen, recently had the opportunity to send a big batch of questions about WoW's auction house, economy, and professions to developers Greg Street and He-Rim Woo. The devs gave out some great info, some highlights of which include:
  • There are no plans for a sweeping auction house redesign
  • Due to the popularity of the cooking and blacksmithing catch-up mechanisms, similar mechanisms for herbalism and mining might be on the way
  • The Guardian Cub experiment was just that, and it's unlikely there'll be another item like it
  • Splitting items off of a stack in the auction house is also unlikely going forward
  • It's possible that buy orders will be implemented for high-cost items like Mechano-Hogs, unlikely for stuff like flasks and enchants
  • The mailbox as the AH delivery system doesn't feel quite right and may eventually change
You can read the full interview on the Consortium forums.

Filed under: Economy

Ghostcrawler explains stat changes in Mists of Pandaria

As promised, Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street, the Lead Systems Designer for World of Warcraft, has returned to the official WoW blog with an explanation of stat changes in Mists of Pandaria. Here's a quick rundown of some important changes, with the full blue post after the break.

  • Spell resistance is gone, and so is spell penetration.
  • The chance to block will be handled by a separate combat roll for each attack that is not avoided.
  • Resilience will be renamed "Defense (PvP)" or possibly "PvP Defense." All players will have 30% base Defense, the same way all characters have some base Stamina.
  • All spells and abilities will crit for double damage, baseline.
Lots more after the break.

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Everything is Ghostcrawler's fault with #OccupyGregStreet

Greg Street, better known as Ghostcrawler (lead systems designer on World of Warcraft), is at the center of a vast game designer conspiracy ruining the in-game lives of millions of players. Or so goes the popular theory espoused by the exploding Twitter hashtag #OccupyGregStreet spoofing (what else?) the Occupy Wall Street movement.

As Mike Sacco explained in WoW Insider's back room chat, the joke originated from a conversation he'd had at BlizzCon with Narci (@druidis4fite) of Flavor Text, and as far as I can tell, the first tweets are from Narci and @malgrim on the con's second day. WoW Insider's first tweet with the hashtag went live around 1:00 this morning. Things snowballed from there and reached new levels of hilarity when the official World of Warcraft Twitter account (@warcraft) got in on the joke.

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Filed under: Humor

Dev Watercooler: Rate of change

Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street's newest Dev Watercooler just went live today, discussing all manner of timing and the design process behind updating the game. This Dev Watercooler is perhaps my favorite Ghostcrawler has ever written because it eschews the wrappings of a news post and instead focuses on the actual mechanics and thought processes behind the trials and tribulations of updating and changing such a massive game.

The post starts off with some general technical information about how WoW works based on its client-server relationships and why the game works the way it does. From there, Ghostcrawler begins to discuss different time frames that Blizzard looks to when deciding when and how to update the game. Time frames run the gamut from patches to exploits, which get little to no attention in terms of announcements, and class balance, which mixes parts of expansion announcements and brand new changes that fundamentally alter a class.

If you've ever had an inkling of interest in how game design works and the thought processes that go into keeping a game like WoW running as smoothly as it does, this is the post to read.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

Dev Watercooler: Ghostcrawler discusses the number of player abilities

In his continuing conversational blog series Dev Watercooler, Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street (lead systems designer) muses about the number of abilities players have, what the sweet spot is in terms of quantity, the need for all classes to have a viable AoE rotation, and the difference between rotational abilities and situational abilities. From a game design perspective, this might be the coolest Dev Watercooler yet.

Read this full Dev Watercooler after the break, or check out the other Dev Watercoolers with Ghostcrawler:

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Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

Healing's evolution in Cataclysm

Ghostcrawler, when not directly occupied with the pack of idiots harassing him on the Damage Dealing forums, stopped by the Healing forums this past month to share some information on how healing is likely to change in Cataclysm. Of particular interest is Blizzard's changing design philosophy with respect to what makes healing challenging. Right now tank avoidance is so high that, as GC's previously observed, bosses have to hit like a freight train in order to pose any threat to tank survivability at all. Between that and what's universally acknowledged as the "never running OOM" ethos of Wrath, the unfortunate effect has been healers spamming their largest heals on anyone within range.

The model that Blizzard's looking to move towards is getting a test run of sorts in Icecrown Citadel -- lower tank avoidance, bosses hitting for more reasonable amounts, and -- in Cataclysm -- higher health overall. In other words, we'll be healing for roughly the same amount we're healing now through less damage that nonetheless occurs more frequently. This will lead to a greater risk of running OOM as the encounter progresses if you dump a ton of mana on damage that should have been healed more efficiently. Even now, there are encounters like hard-mode Vezax where you do have to do this, which I thought made for a pretty interesting fight.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Forums

Blizzard to focus on battlegrounds more

Ghostcrawler has posted a little paragraph on the forums, reaffirming something we've already heard from Blizzard: that in the past, they've spent more time on Arenas to the detriment of battlegrounds, and that battlegrounds are going to be gaining a little more focus in the future. They've already started, actually, with the Isle of Conquest in 3.2, but GC says there's even more on the table, and that future plans will be revealed at BlizzCon.

He also brings up another good point, however: in terms of class balance, Arenas are a much more striking example of imbalances than battlegrounds are. Battlegrounds have all sorts of things going on, and so you don't get as good a picture of just how the different classes work with and against each other as you do in Arenas. And so, if you're a dev trying to figure out class balances, of course you'll spend more time looking at the Arena gameplay than the BGs. GC also says that the majority of issues in BGs tend to be map-based rather than class imbalances, which is really a whole other science. Not that BGs aren't relevant to how the classes work, just that there are many more variables in there than the relative vacuum chamber of Arenas.

All good points. I'm a fan of battlegrounds much more than Arenas, but I don't particularly feel that Blizzard has ignored them necessarily. The real problem, to my mind, with BGs is simply how faction imbalanced they are: it seems like on every realm in every given BG, one side always seems to have the upper hand, for whatever reason. Sometimes it's a population problem, sometimes it's a map issue. But GC is right: those problems are more pressing than class balance in the BGs.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, PvP, Classes, Battlegrounds, Arena

WoW Insider Show's 100th episode live tomorrow with BigBearButt

Our podcast has hit a landmark -- can you believe we've been doing this thing for almost two years? Yes, it's been a full 99 times that we've sat down and recorded our thoughts on the latest and greatest news from the World of Warcraft community, and tomorrow's show will be number 100. It will be a lot of fun -- we'll welcome back our good friend John "BigBearButt" Patricelli, and he'll join Eddie "Brigwyn" Carrington, Turpster, and I to talk about all the most popular posts here on WoW.com, including Sam Raimi's upcoming movie and what we expect from it, Ghostcrawler's thoughts on class balance going into BlizzCon, and the Druid and Hunter Q&As that have appeared from Blizzard lately.

And I guess since it's the 100th show we should do something fun: Turpster and I will be on video during the show, so you'll get to see our faces as we chat, and we'll be doing a look back at our favorite moments from the podcast so far. In fact, we also want to hear your favorite moments from the first 100 episodes, and to give you a little incentive, we're giving away some more loot cards. Two random commenters on this post who tell us their favorite moments from the show's past will win a loot card code each, courtesy of our friends at WoWTCGLoot.com. You can only enter once, please use a valid email address when you enter (so we can contact you when you win), and you must enter before tomorrow night, Saturday the 25th of July, 2009, at midnight Eastern time. Good luck, and give us your memories!

Our show kicks off tomorrow at July 25, 2009 3:30 PM EDT) over on our Ustream page, or, as always, you can find the embedded stream below. We'll see you tomorrow afternoon for show number 100!

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, WoW Insider Show

Ghostcrawler on class representation and balance

Ghostcrawler has a nice exchange on the forums (and it's not marked "Not Tracked", so you know he wants us reading this one) about how much of a role class representation actually plays in class balance. Obviously, balance itself plays the biggest role in class balance -- if (using GC's completely hypothetical example) Feral Druids are overpowered as tanks, then Blizzard would have to look into nerfing Feral Druids.

But what if Feral Druids only make up a small percentage of the tanks in Ulduar? Should Blizzard nerf the 5% of tanks that are Druids down until they're only 2% of the population? Just because classes are overpowered doesn't mean that actual class populations are, and all of these things go into the mix when Blizzard makes decisions about how to balance the classes.

Look at Hunters as well -- just last week we talked about how the class population is falling off, and yet they're one of the top three classes played on both factions. So should Blizzard buff or nerf them?

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Instances, Classes, Death Knight, Forums

Ghostcrawler on why Bluetrackers suck

Ghostcrawler has finally said on the forums what I've been saying for a while here on WoW.com and elsewhere: using blue text on the forums as a way of disseminating information is "a strange way to communicate." He's been appending the words "[Not tracked]" to some of his posts so they don't end up on the official "bluetracker," because a lot of what he posts is just silly and fun and not to be pored over and examined (especially without the context of the other posts around it). But all of those posts are still picked up by the unofficial bluetrackers that many players follow, and he laments that it's annoying to have people jump in on threads without reading all the context: "you end up looking like a real jerk half the time."

I would never call GC a jerk, but it's clear to see what he means -- sending out information via official posts on the forum is something Blizzard has done for a long time, and it's really a bad way to go about it. To their credit, they've been trying lots of new things lately, from official interviews to class Q&As and just plain releasing official information on the site. But I've always thought (and still think) that the company could use an official blog -- back when I was playing Dark Age of Camelot, I really enjoyed all of their work on the Camelot Herald, and I think Blizzard would benefit from something more like that. They do have a section for official news on the front page, but that's mostly licensed items and marketing information, not actual updates to the game.

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Filed under: Patches, Blizzard, Forums

Ghostcrawler: Death Knight dual wielding to get a makeover soon

Good news to all you Dual Wield Death Knight Diehards: Ghostcrawler recently popped up on the forums with a simple answer to your woes: "Next Major Patch."

Apparently, the next major patch (I'm guess it will be patch 3.2) will be seeing more tweaks to Death Knights, at the least to get dual wielding viable again. There's no word on what form this tweaking will take, which is to be expected. Balancing Dual Wielding and Two handed weapons has always been a tricky to near-impossible for other classes, so the skeptical part of me still wonders if it's possible.

Of course, it could also be the two-handed weapon partisan in me speaking as well. Any basic solution such as creating a two-weapon strike seems like it could leave two-handed Death Knights out in the cold, at least for DPS. Still, we have that earlier mention of possible dual-wield dedicated tree, so who knows how extensively they'll revamp whichever one they choose to allow dual wield optimization. We do already have some 3.2 feature announcements, though, so who knows, maybe class change information is up next. We'll keep you posted.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Death Knight

GC's happy with healing in Ulduar

Ghostcrawler has appeared in two different threads talking about healing today, and the gist of it is that he's happy. He's happy with healing and the way it works in Ulduar: there's a good variety between boss fights and phases, there are intense moments and pauses in the action, and he says they've got things to a point where they like them. Later, he says that while in Naxx, you don't really have to warn the healer too much (you can basically tell them to heal the MT and leave it at that), Ulduar requires healers to get into the rhythm -- sometimes go all out, and sometimes hold back. He does say that too much mana is still an issue for them, and if anything gets nerfed in that department, Replenishment will. But he doesn't expect too many nerfs for a while.

That doesn't mean, of course, that the big healing update is out the window -- GC still hints that there are more changes in store for healing, and we'd bet coppers to gold that there are both mechanic changes and possibly even a hero class due for healers soon. But for now, healing is where they want it in the current content, and it sounds like most players agree.

Now, there's just PvP...

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Instances, Raiding, Bosses

Ghostcrawler on 3.1 healing team raid composition

Ghostcrawler has outlined the way in which healing teams will be chosen and organized for Ulduar in both 10 and 25-man raids, and it's very encouraging.

In 10-man Ulduar, GC expects that we'll want to bring three healers, and claims that they "intend for you to be able to take any 3 healers." This means that even smaller guilds with only enough players to form a 10-man group will be able to work with the healers they have, rather than feeling the need to recruit specific classes.

In 25-man Ulduar, Ghostcrawler mentions that there will be "more pressure to have every player in the role that most emphasizes their strengths" and that we'll "want a mix of healers."

This sounds like a fairly flexible plan, allowing for groups to recruit different healing classes, and allow healers to spec into different roles, such as group healing vs. single target. It also suggests that Blizzard is not planning at this time to homogenize the healing classes any further, unlike the tanking classes.

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Classes, Forums

Ghostcrawler reiterates the DPS hierarchy

I don't want to invoke BTPNTC again, but it's a common perception that one of the goals in class balance in Wrath has been to bring the damage various DPS specs more in line with each other. This, in turn, has raised questions like "if a feral druid does as much damage as a rogue, what's the point of the rogue?" This question is arguable, but fortunately, that lovable crustacean Ghostcrawler has laid bare the developers' goal for how the classes should be positioned relatively in terms of DPS.

Here it is:

  1. Hunters, mages, rogues, and warlocks.
  2. Everyone else.

It's important to note that the gap between 1 and 2 is meant to be quite small, and that it will probably be swallowed up by gear, player skill, and the particulars of individual encounters in most cases. As GC puts it, "If you know your class cold, I mean really know it, then there is no reason you can't be topping meters."

I think this is a good design goal. The pure classes have a slight edge, but skilled players of any class should do well. Of course, we're not quite there yet, class balance being a perennially moving target, but they're working on it.

Filed under: Raiding, Classes

GC: Dual spec will not change design decisions


Dual specs have been one of several hot topics while we watch patch 3.1 progress on the PTR. People have waffled about whether they mean to spend the 1,000 gold it's going to cost, we've learned that you'll be able to do it anywhere and at level 40, and players of all ten classes are pondering what to use their second spec slot for. However, according to Ghostcrawler, Blizzard is pretending dual spec does not exist.

Maybe I should clarify: with respect to design decisions, they're pretending dual spec does not exist. Raids and talent trees will be balanced without reference to the fact that some players will be able to easily swap out. GC gives some specific examples of things the devs will not be doing, such as "Have a fight that requires 8 tanks, because you know, half the raid can change specs," or "Let Arms be the PvP tree and Fury be the PvE tree, because warriors can just switch out."

This is good news to many, including myself. Although if I had been asked to guess, I would probably have predicted they would take this direction, it's good to know that (for instance) raiders won't be effectively required to take spec X and spec Y in order to complete encounter Z. Dual specs are there to offer us more flexibility, not as another way the devs can make us jump through hoops. And I know I'll be taking it on at least a few of my characters.


Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.

Filed under: Patches, Talents

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