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Posts with tag kalgan

How I learned to stop worrying and love Cyclone

You'd have expected a little more in-depth Arena discussion from the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational. You'd have been wrong, but you'd have expected it. We've covered the new Arena maps, but something from the Question and Answer periods really stuck out for me. What's the future of the Arena going to be like...for crowd control? Should we expect more, less, or about the same? What's going to happen to that naughty little Cyclone?

The answer from Tom Chilton was predictable -- without crowd control in its various forms, Arena matches become little more than DPS races. Crowd control (and its cousin line of sight) helps Arena fights take a little longer, and introduces viable strategies that are based all around controlling the other team. (As opposed to just blowing them to heck.) But the forums are alive - alive! - with complaints about Cyclone, Sap, Sheep, and hell, even Scatter Shot. No sir, folks don't like crowd control. Often, it seems like they'd rather get killed than sheeped.

I think it comes down to a pretty basic thing -- we have fun in these games by controlling our characters. Anything that jeopardizes the control of our characters on either a short-term or a long-term basis is therefore anathema. No one wants to stand there, helpless, while some Rogue performs their billionth stun on you. It seems to me (in my rosy-glassed retrospect) that we heard less complaints about insta-kill POM+Pyro than we do about a 3 second stun.

Your mileage may vary, but I think until Blizzard finds some way around that dichotomy -- CC is good for interesting fights, bad for fun -- we're going to continue to see tumultuous forum fights about the issue. I'm forced to agree with Chilton -- crowd control adds a layer of strategy and depth to the tactics of the Arena. Still, I hope they do something about it.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Arena, Worldwide Invitational

WWI '08 Panel Analysis: PvP part II, New Arena Maps


Any discussion about World of Warcraft PvP nowadays inevitably involves Arenas. With the onset of Season 4 and its new rules and requirements, Arena play is getting more intense than ever. Of course, as the competition heats up, the cries of an imbalanced contest grow louder than ever. Blizzard seems to be aware of the issues and have taken some steps in the development of the Wrath of the Lich King to address class and spec viability.

During the panel on "PvP Game Systems", however, lead designers Tom Chilton and Corey Stockton devoted most of their Arena discussion to the new maps rather than the hairy, and probably inconclusive, issue of class balance and representation. The new Arena maps follow Blizzard's philosophy of keeping things simple yet have room for innovation; having dynamic points of interest; having conceptually different starting areas; and leave allowance to make adjustments during development.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard, PvP, Arena, Worldwide Invitational

Combat stats and spellpower consolidated on Alpha

You may never look at this window the same way again.Sources are saying that a new Alpha build showed up on the WoTLK Alpha servers yesterday, featuring a few interesting changes. Kalgan's promised spellpower change we have mentioned, and it now appears to be on the Alpha servers. In addition, it looks like the dev team is working on consolidating even more stats. As of the latest build, all instances of haste rating, hit rating, and critical strike rating on gear will now modify both physical attacks and spells at the same time.

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Filed under: Realm News, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

No pure +damage gear in Wrath, claims Kalgan

In an out-of-the-blue quote from an otherwise unremarkable PC Gamer interview, Tom "Kalgan" Chilton, WoW's lead class designer, was asked what might be changing in Wrath of the Lich King. He responded that they would be doing away with +damage-only gear, and adding talents that would convert +healing to +damage and vice versa, which would allow magic DPSers and healers to use "the exact same gear."

Hold on, what? If I'm reading this correctly, it means they basically want damage caster gear and healer gear to be identical.

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Filed under: Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King

Big Download talks to Blizzard about eSports and PvE/PvP

Our newest sister site Big Download is just a week old, and yet they're already playing with the big boys -- Steven Wong has posted an interview with Blizzard's Lead Designer Tom "Kalgan" Chilton, as well as Paul Della Bitta and Joong Kim of Blizzard's eSports division about what it's going to take to tune the Arena game just right. As he did before, Kalgan confirmed that the Arena Tournament Realm is acting as a laboratory for changes and updates to classes.

Della Bitta confirms, also, that Blizzard is still interested in letting players watch the matches, either via television or some other way (we heard that way back when from WSVG's President -- when they were still around, anyway). And Joong Kim lays out a simple timeline for the Arena tourney: Blizzard expects the online portion to be finished mid-July, and the Global Finals will start later in the year, around October (which is when another big Blizzard event is taking place... coincidence?).

Wong doesn't get Kalgan to list a favorite class (obviously -- think of the torment that would cause on the forums), but he does confirm yet again that Blizzard isn't giving up on keeping both the PvP and PvE games the same. They want players using the same abilities as much as possible in both types of gameplay, and apparently they're committed to juggling both of those flaming torches for as long as they can.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, PvP, Interviews, Arena

All things Wrath of the Lich King

Over the past week, particularly in the last few days, the crisp Internet air has been abuzz with news from the upcoming expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. Fear you're out of the loop? Here's a quick round-up of all the information being released, along with analysis and opinion.

Don't forget to keep checking back, as this page will be updated as information becomes available:

Dungeons and raids
  1. An analysis on Arthas as a ten-manned event, including its impact on the 25-man raiding structure, as well an exploration of its consistency with the lore.
  2. Did you know that all expansion raids will have a 10-man setting, as well as a 25-man?
  3. Read through some of our initial impressions on the 10-man raiding set-up.
  4. We also wrote up a concise overview of the ins and outs of dungeons post-expansion, including a new token system, similar to [Badge of Justice].
  5. The Nexus has been announced on the official site as one of the new dungeons.
  6. The WoW Insider Show discusses 10-manning Arthas.
Zones, factions, and relevant lore
  1. Alex has written an excellent overview of the Grizzly Hills, a soon-to-be zone for low to mid-seventies. With old factions reappearing, along with other surprises, it's definitely something to look forward to!
  2. If news of the Dragonblight has intrigued you, you'll be pleased to know that more information has been made available.
  3. While we're brushing up on our lore and learning about new areas and factions, Alex thought it fitting to illuminate the lore behind Azjol-Nerub, as the Nerubians will have their own role in the expansion.
  4. Alex asks us about lore figures we'd like to see in the expansion.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Expansions, Screenshots, Raiding, Lore, Factions, Know your Lore, Galleries, Interviews, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Inscription

Breakfast Topic: The secret lives of Blizzard employees

Tom "Kalgan" Chilton, in his interview we posted yesterday, said that one of Blizzard's class designers was the guild leader of one of the world's best known PvP guilds, but he wants to keep him anonymous. Wait, what?

Chilton meant that Blizzard has solid ties into the community, but should it worry us at all that those ties might be a little too close-knit? We already know that Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan has major ties to a guild in the game (he was actually hired by Blizzard from his Everquest raiding guild), and quest designer Alex "Furor" Afrasiabi also comes from a guild that is still active in World of Warcraft. In fact, we've already seen Blizzard get in trouble by their own admission for treating the devs' guilds differently -- is it right for them to keep their guild associations anonymous?

On the one hand, obviously it's much easier to keep the developers' ingame identities anonymous, otherwise they wouldn't be able to play the game at all without getting approached with questions and complaints every time they log on. But on the other hand, not only is there the potential for favoritism in terms of game design, but what if the PvP guild mentioned in the article was one that won an eSports or the Arena realm tournament? Is it right for Blizzard's developers to keep their guild associations anonymous?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics, Rumors

Challenging Chilton on old world PvP nostalgia

Players are reacting to (quite a few things, actually, in) the Tom Chilton interview we linked to earlier, but one of them is rubbing a lot of older players the wrong way -- when Gamespy asks Chilton about world PvP, like the kind that took place between Tarren Mill and Southshore, he called any fondness for that "nostalgia" -- he says that people didn't really like it at the time, they only want to go back to that because they're nostalgic for it.

Fortunately, we here at WoW Insider keep all of our old archives online, and as you can see, most people did actually enjoy the old Xroads and SS/TM world PvP -- I have fond memories of fighting in Ashenvale as well. But Chilton isn't wrong that there was complaining (isn't there always?): it was usually just complaining that those were the only places any real PvP happened. Nowadays, we've got BGs and Arenas, and actual rewards for world PvP, but it's still a little hard to come across one of those all-out battles that used to rage in Xroads or south of Tarren Mill. Most of the time, the only reason those battles were going on was because, well, what else did you do besides raiding at 70? Now that there's more choices, no level 70 would waste their time fighting lowbies in SS -- there are much more epic rewards doing dailies or fighting in the Arenas.

There's no question that nostalgia definitely makes things better, but Chilton is wrong to dismiss any wishes for SS/TM-esque world PvP as simple nostalgia. Blizzard has a tough line to walk here -- they're being asked to encourage, by careful planning, something that always happened spontaneously in the past (and mostly because PvPers didn't have much else to do). It's not nostalgic to think that it was fun (it was fun), but nowadays we've got choices that are fun and give epic rewards, so old world PvP just doesn't compare for most players.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, PvP

Tom Chilton talks about Arena PvP and the tournament

Gamespy has an interview with WoW's lead designer Tom "Kalgan" Chilton about the upcoming Arena Tournament (which WoW Insider is actually playing in), and there's some good discussion in there about the PvE vs. PvP split and what Blizzard is planning for the Arena tourney and the game in general.

He specifically mentions "changes" coming to the game (in a patch apparently "just a few weeks away") that will deal with the problem of exploits, specifically point and personal rating selling. He also says that the Arena game puts class balance "under a microscope," and says that the Lifebloom and Ice Block changes were specifically aimed towards balancing Arena teams -- Blizzard made those changes hoping that they didn't mess with PvE gameplay as much. Arena tournament players, he says, will be the "mad scientists" of class balance, so Blizzard can see firsthand what works and what doesn't. Finally, he mentions actual arena design, and reveals that in Wrath of the Lich King, there will definitely be some new Arena environments to play in.

Lots of good information in this one, especially for Arena players. We'll have to wait and see what that patch "a few weeks away" does for us, and we'll also have to watch and see what comes out of the Arena tournament -- lots of the changes that eventually show up in Wrath might come as a direct result of what happens in the tournament.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions, Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King

Mage v. Warlock going to a higher level in WotLK

More class changes afoot! Tipster Aikiwoce sends along a blue post in which Kalgan reassures mages that they haven't been forgotten in upcoming talent and ability changes in WotLK. The thread, which seems to have been started mostly because of the earlier warlock thread he'd responded on, elicited a short but highly revealing response from Kalgan: "Mages will get new abilities in the expansion too, believe it or not. In fact, we intend to tone down how strong of a counter Warlocks are to Mages through the WotLK spells/talents."

Hmmm. Little concrete information
, but this is one of the few times that a Blizz dev has openly acknowledged just how powerful certain classes are in relation to others. While they've made no secret of the fact that they don't balance PvP around 1v1 battles, and admitted at BlizzCon that warlocks are essentially the best dueling class, it's still unusual to see official commentary on specific class rivalries.

And, let's face it, the Mage versus Warlock smackdown is practically the stuff of legend. With these tidbits appearing on the forums about class and talent changes in Wrath, keep checking back; we're likely to hear about more of these soon.

Filed under: Mage, Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, News items, PvP, Expansions, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King, Forums, Battlegrounds

Scattered Shots: The line of sight between hunters and the Arenas

I'd like to take a break from the hunter leveling goodness we've had the last few weeks in Scattered Shots to take a look at where hunters stand as a class in Arena PvP, and where we might be going in the future. Blizzard developer Kalgan's measurement of how the different classes are faring in the Arena got me thinking quite a bit about the state of hunters -- currently functioning at the lowest place with 50% or less representation in the three Arena types at high rating brackets, followed by mages and shamans, in the 2vs2 Arena especially.

What in the world is causing such a huge discrepancy between hunters and other classes when it comes to high-rating arena representation? When I play in Arenas and Battlegrounds, I don't feel like my class is somehow deficient or underpowered. My team's Arena rating is average -- we're not the best, but not the worst either. When I get beaten, I usually feel like the other team actually played better (or outgeared us, at least), so it's rather hard to see what's so messed up about hunters.

The most obvious issue I can think might be the issue is that of Line of Sight. Hunters obviously have a rough time shooting at things behind sort of obstacle. In battlegrounds there are more wide open spaces, so it seems less of an issue there, but in Arenas it can get fairly annoying. Classes like warlocks and shadowpriests can just put a damage-over-time spell on you, and then hide behind a pillar, while druids can move freely around obstacles to give them plenty of time to heal themselves between your attacks. Warriors and other melee classes can hide for a bit, then get in so close that you can't use your best ranged abilities on them for a few seconds until you can somehow get away.

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Filed under: Hunter, PvP, Arena, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Kalgan offers a possible WoTLK sneak peek for Warlocks

Kalgan chimed in on a thread in which the original poster insisted that Warlocks, despite dodging the bullet on life tap, still have a nerf bat incoming somewhere. He rebuffed the poster with a nice little tidbit that may intrigue Warlocks. He also ensures us that, no, he does not hate certain classes.

He says that they'd like to give Warlocks some type of escape or defense mechanism so that they don't have to balance warlocks around the idea that they'd be "tanking" melee classes in PvP. By melee classes, I assume he means Warriors, who can shake off a Warlock's main defense, Fear, with very little trouble in multiple ways.

He even brings up a spell that Warlocks may be getting in the expansion.

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Filed under: Warlock, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Wrath of the Lich King, Arena

Worldwide Arena Battle announced for Sunday on the TTR

Blizzard Poster Tyren has announced that this coming Sunday, 12pm to 3pm, Blizzard will be holding a Worldwide Arena Battle on the Tournament Test Realm in order to focus testing on the server. Members of the community and development teams will be queuing up to fight, so if you've always wanted to show Kalgan or Tigole what for in the Arena, this looks like your chance. You can expect a battle between the various CMs as well, so we'll have to watch to see who gets stickied and who gets banned.

If you're not sure how to access the TTR, you can read Zach Yonzon's guide here on the site. Don't worry if you don't have a character transfer slot left, every character created on the TTR is automatically level 70, and will spawn next to a selection of vendors that will let them buy a wide variety of gear to outfit themselves for battle.

Assuming the TTR doesn't collapse under the stress, we'll see you there!

Kalgan confirms the Life Tap and Flametongue rollbacks, offers up some Arena numbers

Sweet, back to taking over the world. Warlocks rejoice, Kalgan has just officially confirmed that previously mentioned removal of the Lifetap nerf was intentional. While they were originally concerned that Warlocks were still too overly represented in the arenas, he said, a recent downtrend in their numbers convinced them to withdraw the nerfs, at least until the numbers settle down again. He also shared a chart that revealed Blizzard's analysis of the number of a class in each arena type vs. their desired numbers for the 2200+ and 1850 score ranges. The numbers are shown as a percentage by class and team type. A Percentage of 100% means they're at Blizzard's expected representation level. Above that means they outpace it, below means they're below it.

We'll show you the charts here after the break.

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Filed under: Shaman, Warlock, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Classes, Forums, Arena

Blood Sport: Is WoW turning into a PvP game?


V'Ming - who thinks that gnome warlocks are travesties of nature and need to be KOSed - shares thoughts and ideas on becoming deadlier at the Arenas. He also dabbles in the dark arts in Blood Pact.

Looking at some of the upcoming class changes in patch 2.4, I can't help but feel that many of them are driven by PvP - particularly Arena - issues. Blizzard is undoubtedly trying to level the playing field for the classes before the 3v3 Arena Tournament, tentatively set to begin in April. That's a very short time to iron out problems and further imbalances that the patch will bring.

A design philosophy that Blizzard has insisted on from the beginning is that each class should play similarly in both PvP and PvP. Tom Chilton (Lead Designer, or Kalgan) said at last year's Blizzcon that the game "shouldn't have significantly different rules for spells in PvP vs PvE."

"Slower" water in Arenas is the latest change that depart from this philosophy, in addition to PvP-only diminishing returns, and PvP-oriented stats like Resilience and Spell Penetration. However, since many class changes apply to both PvP and PvE, PvE players seem to be "dragged" along by changes meant to tune their classes' PvP performance. Shamans and druids seem to be most affected this patch with changes to Nature's Swiftness, Elemental Mastery, Call of Thunder for shamans, and Lifebloom for druids.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Classes, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Arena

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