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Posts with tag gdc-2009

Progressive drop rates

Jeff Kaplan has said some interesting things at this year's GDC (expect a full account from us soon). One of them concerned a new technology that debuted in Wrath of the Lich King which I, for one, had not heard of before: progressive drop rates for quest items.

Pre-Wrath, if you're on a collection quest, whatever you're trying to collect will drop at a constant rate (35% was apparently the standard). Overall, this averages to a predictable amount of kills per quest. But probability being the way it is, it was altogether possible to have terrible luck and have to kill 100 foozles to get your four gizmos, or to have great luck and get your gizmos in only four kills. It was the bad streaks that the devs were particularly concerned about, as those are very memorable and never fun.

In Wrath, according to Kaplan, drop rates for quest items are progressive - the more foozles you kill, the higher chance each one has to drop a gizmo. The standard quest item drop rate has been raised to 45%, and each kill you make raises that drop rate by some amount. Kaplan said that it can eventually reach 100%, at which point every kill would drop your item. This puts a hard cap on just how frustrating a collection quest can be. Seems like a smart idea to me. I hadn't really noticed Wrath collection quests being easier, but then, I wouldn't - I simply wouldn't have bad-luck streaks, the absence of which might not be easy to notice.

[via Shacknews]

Filed under: Items, Quests

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.

Read more →

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

Blizzard's hate (/love?) relationship with consoles

Rumors are bubbling up from GDC '09 that Blizzard is finally considering consoles again for their future games. Blizzard seems to have a hate/hate relationship with consoles -- despite the fact that they started out with some extremely popular console games (Lost Vikings was one of the best games on the Sega Genesis), they've become very solidly a PC gaming company in the past few years. Sure, they released Starcraft 64 and the Playstation port of Diablo, but since Starcraft: Ghost left a bad taste in their mouths, they've stayed away from the console market (and some might say that's saved the PC market).

The main problem, says Rob Pardo, is one of control: console controllers just don't have the flexibility to do what Blizzard wants to do with their games. "If I were them," he told the press, "I'd be sitting around trying to figure out what's a cool new input device that supports all types of new kinds of games." And he also hinted that he might be trying to do just that -- Blizzard is apparently in talks with Microsoft, not to develop for this generation of consoles, but to help them advance to the next generation. This is a little more than just Diablo III on the Xbox 360 (though that's definitely a possibility) -- it's Blizzard possibly getting the chance to bring what they love about PC gaming to the next console generation.

Heady stuff. Blizzard doesn't need to do anything these days, of course -- if they want to take their next sequel and release it in, say, three separate parts, they can do that and it will likely still be a hit. But if they want to set their sights on innovating in the console space, we'll probably all benefit.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard, Economy, Hardware

Pardo at GDC lunch: It's all about nailing the execution

Blizzard isn't making too much of an appearance at any of the gaming conventions this year (save for, of course, BlizzCon), but they are floating around the Game Developers Conference going on on San Francisco this week -- Rob Pardo showed up at a luncheon panel yesterday to talk with luminaries like Will Wright and Warren Spector about the latest trends in social gaming. He was actually introduced by Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari, who said that "social is buying someone a drink," not "sitting around in your underpants," but said that Pardo manages "maybe the largest group of people in their underpants in the world." Funny.

Pardo defended the game, saying that what was once a hobby for outcasts has now become quite cool and that no matter what you're sitting around in, the people who play WoW are people with real relationships, responsibilities, and lives. And he says later in the chat that Blizzard doesn't necessarily aim for innovation, but for "nailing the execution." That's something Nintendo does as well, he said, and many times, that's the key in game development. You don't necessarily have to get it first, but you do have to get it right.

The rest of the conversation wanders away from MMOs (and Pardo), but it is a fun look into what these gaming development greats are thinking about what's next. Stay tuned to both us and Massively for more coverage from GDC -- Jeff Kaplan is scheduled to be on a panel there today, and we'll bring you news of that soon.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard

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