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Posts with tag jeff-kaplan

More Wrath of the Lich King impressions and information coming out

WorldofWar.net also got an invitation to the Blizzard event this past week (our invitation must have been lost in the mail, maybe?), and they've got six full pages of text about what they saw. Six pages hard to read though, so we've got all the salient points right here:
  • Both Jeff Kaplan and Tom Chilton presented, with Kaplan showing off the Death Knight class and Chilton showing off the work they've done on Northrend.
  • The Forsaken-designed starting town Vengeance Landing was shown off -- this was the same area we got to play back at Blizzcon, as well as Utgarde Keep
  • They also got to see Valliance Keep (the other Alliance starting area), and Warsong Hold, a huge gothic iron structure run by Garosh Hellscream that Kaplan apparently called the "new look " of the Horde
  • Horde players will be taking a Zepplin up to Northrend
  • The Nexus, in the Coldarra part of the Borean Tundra, is the first instance on the western side of Northrend from Utgarde Keep, and it's a three wing instance with a raid dungeon where players will meet Malygos.
  • The Badge of Justice system will continue in Northrend, but there will be new tokens to act as Badges and be returned for loot.
Lots more after the break.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions, Lore, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

GameSpy speaks with Jeff Kaplan about Wrath of the Lich King

In addition to all the other info dropping today (apparently Blizzard held an event this last week at their HQ to show off some new Wrath information), GameSpy got to chat with Jeff Kaplan, WoW's Lead Designer, about Death Knights and what they're going to be for in the next expansion.
  • Apparently Kaplan says Blizzard has designed "zero" raid bosses for the next expansion yet, so he isn't sure where they'll fit among Pallies, Druids, and Warriors as tanks.
  • DKs will have a disease-based DoT, as well as the creature and ghoul summons we've posted about previously
  • As we heard before, Death Knights will serve as a "Fury Warrior" type of tank -- damage based rather than protection based.
  • Blizzard hasn't determined exactly whether there will be faction differences in the epic class quests, but they won't be too different for races or factions, just because the stories, he says, should be the same
  • Finally, Kaplan clarifies again that Death Knights will be available to all races, and that Arthas himself became not Undead, but Scourge
In case, maybe, Arthas wants to come back? We'll let you read the rest into what Kaplan said -- he unfortunately didn't tell us too much new information, but he did clarify a few points we already knew about Death Knights. And the news about Blizzard's nonaction on raid bosses so far is interesting -- has Blizzard really not made any raid bosses yet, or are they just not ready to tell us about them?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Interviews, Death Knight

Tigole talks attunement


Attunement is one of those subjects that divides WoW players. You either think people should have to work to get into high-end dungeons, or you think they should be open to anyone with the guts to try. Of course, you're more likely to fall into the first camp if you yourself had to do that work, hence the recent controversy over the attunements for the Black Temple and Mount Hyjal being removed.

Well, it turns out that if WoW lead developer Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan had his way, attunement would be much less of a pain. He dropped the following information in a thread on "Attunement and Alts" in the general forums today:
  • They would like to make it so getting a Karazhan key or a heroic key gave all your other max-level alts access as well.
  • They're looking into guild and raid attunements, but "no promises."
  • They're interested in doing server events to open up content, like the AQ war but, Tigole says, with more fun dailies and fewer boring collection grinds.
Overall, he says the topic of attunement comes up often at Blizz HQ, and they want to do better moving forward and going into Wrath.

Filed under: Instances, Raiding, Alts, Forums

Fixing battlemaster blocking

I haven't had this happen to me specifically, but I know it's happening out there-- players are blocking battlemasters by flooding around them, and hiding them inside other models, leaving them unclickable. We've heard about this before, and apparently it's a growing problem.

So Blizzard has come up with a fix-- in 2.4, says Tigole, all the battlemasters will be standing on platforms, which will be coded with collision, so player models can't invade them. It's not that big a change (imagine the auctioneers in Ironforge and Silvermoon), but it should make for a little different visual-- it'll be a crowded little pavilion where the battlemasters are in Shattrath.

Of course, that doesn't solve the problem of blocking NPCs, only of blocking battlemasters. But there are probably enough repairers and questgivers around at this point that there's no reason to put all the NPCs on pedestals just to keep them away from the maddening crowd.

Filed under: Patches, Cheats, Fan stuff, Blizzard, NPCs

Tigole hits the forums


Tigole has been busy on the forums today, and that always tends to bring out interesting tidbits about the future of our favorite game. While it is certainly not earth-shattering, the most interesting thing that he mentions has to do with the future of the PVP battlemasters. In patch 2.4 these guys will be put on a pedestal, literally. Much like the auctioneers in many cities, the battlemasters will be placed on a raised platform that is inaccessible to players in order to keep people from blocking them with their character's model. He also hints that Wrath will see even better improvements. This is certainly a welcome change to remove a minor annoyance that is sometimes imposed upon us by our fellow players.

Other posts hint at the future of guild banks, the title system, and a possible reward for Wrath's Lake Wintergrasp. First of all, he mentions that they're "exploring" the option to allow guild masters to set prices for items in the guild bank. I know in my guild this would be great for the guild leader, since it would probably save him a lot of time in the auction house and also provide an easy solution to those situations where he gets a valuable item and is not sure how to distribute it to the rest of the guild. I imagine that this could be exploited, to an extent, by guild leaders who might suddenly slap a price on everything in the bank rather than allowing free withdrawals, but that would probably fix itself over time as people leave the guild and/or stop donating to the bank.

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Filed under: Patches, Guilds, PvP, Wrath of the Lich King, Forums

First BlizzCast not quite up to the hype

The hotly anticipated first Blizzard podcast -- creatively named BlizzCast -- has just gone live. Available as a manageable 24 MB MP3 download, Blizzard's first attempt at podcasting contains an interview with art director (and L70TC frontman) Samwise Didier and forum regular Drysc interviewing lead developer Jeff Kaplan. Blizzard's official BlizzCast page explains that this series of podcasts will be a behind the scenes peek behind Blizzard's game development process.

Although most people have been looking forward to the information about Patch 2.4, as Eliah wrote earlier, the interview with Samwise turned out to be more entertaining. In order to fully appreciate the interview, however, listeners should visit the podcast's official page, which contains the transcript of the podcast as well as illustrations and screenshots (future BlizzCasts will be video podcasts). With all the hype surrounding the BlizzCast -- mostly caused by Blizzard hinting at more information on the forums -- Blizzard's first attempt at podcasting seems to fall far short of expectations. The interview with Tigole is a brief eight minutes (compared to Samwise's 12) and most of the information he mentions has already been revealed. In fact, one of the details Kaplan mentions -- the improvements to raid ready checks -- is already in the game from last Tuesday's Patch 2.3.2.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Podcasting, Blizzard, Interviews

Blizzcast reveals Sunwell details


Episode 1 of Blizzard's new podcast, cunningly titled "Blizzcast," went live today. It's in two segments, one hosted by CM Karune and featuring Blizz artist extraordinaire (and, in fact, art director) Samwise Didier, and the second hosted by CM Drysc and featuring Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan. This installment is audio-only, but they promise that future episodes will include video as well. For now you can hear the podcast or read a transcript of it, and check out some Samwise art, at Blizzard's site. A more extensive overview is forthcoming, but for now, I imagine what you really care about is Jeff Kaplan's hints for the upcoming patch 2.4:
  • The Sunwell raid is tuned for players in T6 gear, but there is no attunement.
  • The Sunwell faction, called Shattered Sun Offensive, is a joint effort by Aldor and Scryer to drive the Burning Legion out from the Sunwell Plateau. Jeff calls it "the culmination of the Aldor and Scryer storyline." Many Aldor/Scryer NPCs in Shattrath will be changed to SSO NPCs.
  • SW25 gear will be a Tier 7, but the looks will not be class-specific; the example he gives is that the Pally plate and the Warrior plate will be differently-colored versions of the same models -- but you can, apparently, rest assured that the itemization will be better than AQ40.
  • The 5-man dungeon will be about as hard as Shadow Labyrinth or Shattered Halls. There are four bosses. On normal mode, the first three drop ilvl 110 blues (normal dungeon blues), but the last boss drops an ilvl 115 epic, on par with a lower-level Karazhan epic. In heroic, the first three bosses drop ilvl 115 epics, and the last boss drops an item on the level of Prince Malchezzar's drops. Buffing the loot like this means it will still be relevant for people that have been playing BC for a while now, and also it gives newcomers a chance to catch up.
As one more bonus, Blizzard is giving away 12 Logitech 5.1 speaker sets and Starcraft II hats to lucky folks who write feedback emails about the podcast to them; details on this are at the Blizzcast home page. I for one really enjoyed hearing the voices behind some of the avatars I see every day, and of course hearing some new details about 2.4. Keep it up, Blizzcasters!

Filed under: Patches, Podcasting, Blizzard, News items, Interviews

Jeff Kaplan reveals how to get to Northrend

MMO Champion's got the rest of the details on that PC Zone interview we heard about yesterday-- Jeff Kaplan sat down with the French magazine and gave out some new hints about what we'll see up in Northrend in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion.
  • As we heard at BlizzCon, Northrend isn't all a snow-covered wasteland-- there are forests (including one full of Furbolgs) and other terrain types to find up there.
  • We've also heard this before, but it's worth repeating again: Arthas will play a much bigger part in the day-to-day Northrend than Illidan did-- lots of people, both raiders and casuals, will have a chance to "interact" with him.
  • Here's something new-- there will be two entry points, and previously we'd assumed that one would be for Horde and another would be for Alliance. But that's not the case-- instead, each of the zones (the Borean Tundra and the Howling Fjord) will have an entry point for each faction. So there will actually be four ways into the expansion.
  • Alliance get to choose a battle in the Howling Fjord or a massive stronghold (complete with a brand new faction leader) and a giant steamship
  • And Horde either go into the Forsaken's new lands (with new architecture-- we saw it at BlizzCon), or into Garrosh Hellscream's (son of Grom) Warsong Fortress.
Very exciting. Hearing about four entry points instead of two definitely makes me think that we will be able to avoid the whole Hellfire Peninsula lag problem that plagued BC's release. Keep the WotLK info coming, Blizzard!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Expansions, Lore, BlizzCon, Wrath of the Lich King

PC Zone has Wrath PvP teaser info


PC Zone magazine has an interview with WoW Lead Designer Jeff Kaplan. In it Kaplan reveals details about Wrath of the Lich King PvP warfare as well as the epic feel players will experience when first entering Northrend. Sounds great, huh?

Unfortunately, you have to buy the magazine today to get the entire interview. They have only released a snippet of it online to send us into a frenzy of anticipation. What we learn from this sneak peek is that the Northrend PvP zone, Lake Wintergrasp, will be about the size of Westfall and will be all PvP. No PvE objectives in it at all. It will also be a static zone, not instanced. He also mentions that it will have destructible buildings and siege weapons, which we knew from his Leipzig interviews. Not much new there other than the size comparison to Westfall.

Kaplan also talked about learning from the Hellfire Peninsula experience. This entry point into the first expansion wasn't epic enough. The design team wants to raise the bar for Northrend. We know from earlier interviews that entry into the expansion will be split. The Alliance will grab their sword and the Horde will get their own damn battlecry and both head into either Howling Fjord or Borean Tundra. How Blizzard is going to raise the bar is still a mystery.

Argh! More infoz, please! If anyone gets their hands on the magazine, send us a tip with details. We'll happily give you credit.

EDIT: Clarified entry points for both factions.

[via World of Raids]

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, PvP, Expansions, Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King

More details on Blizzcast 2008

Blizzplanet got a hold of more details of Blizzard's newly announced video podcast. You read that right, it's not just a podcast, but a video podcast. And it's coming the first week of January.

Along with the previously announced interviews with WoW Lead Designer Jeff Kaplan about the upcoming Patch 2.4 Sunwell content and Art Director Sam Didier, fans will get their say as well. Blizzard will be soliciting questions from the players and giving replies to Community Managers Karune and Nethaera. I suppose that means we'll be seeing them on the Blizzcast as well.

Video podcasting is tricky business. Production value can make or break it. Fortunately, Blizzard is known for their high level of production value in everything they do, so I am looking forward to seeing how this goes. Either way, the content may trump all since we all want to know more about Sunwell.

But I'm also a little suspicious of the "first week in January" promise for the first Blizzcast. Coming out of a two week holiday, it will be a miracle for any company to pull off something as labor intensive as a video podcast. Time will tell.

[via MMO-Champion]

EDIT: After the writing of this article, Blizzard has confirmed that the first installment will be an audio podcast.

Filed under: Podcasting, Blizzard, News items

Blizzard planning an official podcast in 2008

According to the official StarCraft II forums, Blizzard is going to enter of the world of official podcasting-- BlizzCast is set to take off sometime, we're told, around January 2008, which, I believe, makes this the first time Blizzard has ever guessed at a release date for one of their upcoming projects! Write it in the history books! All kidding aside, it should definitely be something to set your iTunes for-- there'll be interviews with Samwise Didier and Jeff Kaplan, and supposedly "a sweepstakes/giveaway and LOTS of SWAG." Swag, you say? Sounds enticing.

Of course, this will be an official podcast, so while it'll definitely be a good listen, it probably shouldn't replace that other Warcraft podcast in your diet. But hopefully, if Blizzard does it right, the podcast will be another outlet for them to share not only news and hints about upcoming content, but make several issues and questions clear for the player audience at large. Can't wait to hear what they come up with-- sounds like it'll be a fun addition to their website in the new year.

[Via MMO-Champion]

Filed under: Podcasting, Blizzard

Tigole interviewed by Warcry

Warcry posted an interview with Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan (WoW's lead designer) last Friday, and while he doesn't reveal anything super new, he does confirm a few directions Blizzard is headed in with the game-- away from grinds, opening up more endgame content for players, and incorporating daily quests into more facets of player advancement.

Kaplan does say that Blizzard thought the progression rate for Burning Crusade was done well, and that they are looking at getting even more players involved in endgame, which, with the coming of Zul'Aman and the lowering of the Heroic reputations, is something we've observed before. He says also that Blizzard is planning to involve reputation more with daily quests, while at the same time making sure it's not a grind (hopefully this will mean gaining reputation from daily quests like the new ones-- attaching instance runs or battleground fights to daily quests, with reputation as a reward). And finally, Kaplan hints at lore in Wrath of the Lich King, specifically saying that "Humans, Dwarves, Tauren, and Trolls will all have their storylines developed further" in Northrend.

Sounds fun. He doesn't give any indication of where they are in the development process for the expansion (he does work for Blizzard, after all), but it definitely does sound like Blizzard is hard at work hammering WotLK together.

Filed under: Blizzard, Expansions, Lore, Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King

A Tigole flashback to Legacy of Steel

Reader Dbandith sent us this little gem-- it's Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan's old EQ guild page from back in 2002. Back before Blizzard really got started with World of Warcraft, they raided (pun intended) the biggest guilds in a few other MMOs, most notably EverQuest, for developers, and some of those folks became the Blues that we know and love today. I know both Tigole and Alex "Furor" Afrasiabi came from EQ guilds (and in fact, their old guilds still play WoW, and it's gotten them in trouble at least once), and Rob Pardo originally ran Legacy of Steel, the guild that Tigole came from.

But this little flashback is extremely interesting, not only for the post at the top of the page-- it's very cool to see a fresh-faced Tigole, one excited about breaking the MMO mold and not a guy concerned with balancing Arena Ratings and an expansion beta schedule-- but also for the expletive-filled post at the bottom. "Fix your goddamn buggy bull**** half-assed encounters," rages Tigole at the EQ staff. And he sounds just like the same folks raging on the forums about Blizzard's current problems, even if their language isn't quite as strong as his.

Now don't get me wrong-- Kaplan and Blizzard have done an amazing job, and created one of the best games in history. Fighting over Brewfest bugs (or even one tree of one class in the game) is 1000% better than fighting over the entire act of playing the game itself-- there's no question in my mind that Kaplan and all of the other raiders brought on board at Blizzard pushed the MMO genre light years ahead of where it was back in their raiding time. But it is an interesting sight to see Blizzard devs on the other side of the message board posting button, raging against mistakes in implementation just as so many on Blizzard's forums are today.

Thanks, Dbandith!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, Leveling

More info on the Patch 2.3 PvP trinkets

Patch 2.3 PvP Trinkets
None other than Lead Designer Jeff Kaplan answered multiple questions concerning the new PvP trinkets announced for Patch 2.3. Here's a summary of his comments:
  • All versions of the trinket have a click effect to gain 1750 max health (kind of like the old lifegiving gem effect), along with a passive effect (your choice of 47 spell damage, 40 spell crit rating, 80 attack power, 40 melee crit rating, or 88 healing). (source)
  • They cost badges of justice, which will also be available off Kara and Zul Aman bosses. (source)
  • They're open to all classes. The click effects share a cooldown though, so you won't be able to stack that effect. (source)
One player was very unhappy that he would be forced to PvE just so he can got back to PvP'ing. Kaplan responded that experiencing different parts of the game isn't such a bad thing and stood his ground on that decision. I wonder if he'd feel the same if he forced PvE players into PvP for better gear.

Filed under: Patches, Items, News items, PvP

Unofficial Patch 2.3 notes

Unofficial 2.3 Patch NotesWith the avalanche of information from Blizzard in the last week about Patch 2.3 it's been hard to keep track of it all. Fortunately, two sites have done just that. MMO-Champion and World of Raids have both compiled all the blue notes into a theoretical Test Realm Patch 2.3 Notes list. Most of the notes listed have links leading to the official source of the information.

There will be a great deal more in the patch than what the blues have revealed so far, so take these as only partial lists. Also, a few items Blizzard hoped to get into the patch may not make it. This is the unfortunate truth in the development process.

World of Warcraft Lead Developer Jeff Kaplan, aka Tigole, mentioned that Patch 2.3 may hit the Test server this week. This seems very likely since the current patch on the PTRs, 2.2.2, must move off for Brewfest to go live on Tuesday.

Filed under: Patches, News items

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