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Posts with tag kaplan

The Queue: Better than Bejeweled


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. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

Good afternoon, ladies and gents! Let's waste no time and jump right in today, shall we?

Horris asked...


"I have a question. What's with the sudden change from red to yellow sockets between T7 and T8 for warrior tanks?"

Sockets have always been notorious for not being the optimal color for certain specs and classes. T7 seemed like the odd duck to me in that case, where the sockets were generally pretty good for most classes. Now they're back to being sort of weird like has almost always been the case.

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Filed under: The Queue

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.

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

Jeff Kaplan leaving World of Warcraft

Jeff Kaplan In a surprise announcement this afternoon, World of Warcraft's Game Director Jeff Kaplan (whom you may know from the forums as "Tigole," and whom those of you with a longer memory may remember as the guild leader of Legacy of Steel back in the EverQuest days) is leaving the WoW team to work on a their unannounced MMO. (What this means for how far along that project is it's hard to say -- are they perhaps bringing in a solid game designer because they're just now getting things started? Or to polish off the finishing touches?) Says Kaplan of his time with the World of Warcraft team:

I wanted to take a moment to let the community know that I've switched roles here at Blizzard to work on our upcoming, unannounced MMO. World of Warcraft has been such a central part of my life these past six and a half years, and it's success would not have been possible without the tremendous community around it, so I wanted to say thank you to all our players who've shared this amazing experience with us so far.

World of Warcraft isn't going anywhere, however, as the rest of the team is remaining in place, including Kaplan's "partners in crime" Tom Chilton and J. Allen Brack.

Mr. Kaplan, while we haven't always agreed with you, we'll certainly miss having you around. And, since you're going, we have to ask... can we have your stuff?

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Kaplan to speak at the Game Developers Conference

Jeffrey Kaplan (also known as Tigole) is scheduled to speak at this years Game Developers Conference, which should prove to be really, really interesting for us WoW players. The conference is aimed at sharing knowledge among game developers, and Kaplan's panel is aimed at discussing World of Warcraft's questing system, as well as how gameplay has an effect on lore and story.

As someone who regularly geeks out about the lore of Warcraft, it disappoints me that I can't be there to listen to it in person. Gameplay always has a really large effect on how the lore of a video game world is allowed to play out (especially in MMOs) but a lot of those constraints have been overcome with the advances made in Wrath of the Lich King. The things they've done to overcome those issues largely come from Tigole's team of developers.

I very much hope that transcripts of GDC's panels find their way to the web shortly after the conference. One of my favorite parts of BlizzCon and BlizzCast is the somewhat behind the scenes look into the process, and the philosophy that goes into how and why Blizzard does what they do. This pretty much sounds right up my alley, and I know a lot of you have expressed the same sentiment each time a new BlizzCast has gone live. I'll definitely be watching for any transcripts that pop up.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard

"Tigole Deep-Breaths more"

Interesting note from the forums, although apparently quite a few threads are being deleted or locked even as I write this; Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan appeared momentarily in this thread written by a player complaining about the 51-point Restoration Shaman talent, Riptide. The original poster notes Blizzard's guiding philosophy of never shipping a game before they're truly done with it, and contrasts that with the fact that some of Riptide's visual and audio effects are unlikely to be finished in time for Wrath (the spell itself is apparently 100% functional, just not the bells and whistles Blizzard usually programs to accompany player spells and abilities).

Another player down the thread characterizes this as Blizzard caving to demands made by Activision. Tigole appears a few comments down to ban the first commenter for "trolling," adding that the game is still being worked on. The second of the two commenters mentioned is then handed a ban by Tigole as well. One of the response threads that appears to have survived is here, with a set of reactions ranging from sympathy to Tigole to a recountment of EverQuest history to concern over how the two players were banned.

I'm somewhat torn, and had wondered whether the whole thing was a joke; I've not seen Tigole appear on the forums to ban people before (although it's entirely possible he has and I've just missed it). I've seen worse behavior on the forums escape official comment, but it does seem as if the number of complaints (rational or not) has hit fever pitch on the discussion boards. And -- let's be frank -- a lot of it does seem like pretty pointless carping. I've had a chance to see the beta myself now, and I don't think anyone could realistically accuse Blizzard of skipping its usual attention to detail (indeed, the only running complaint I've seen on the beta servers is that they're too popular). Still, these particular bans seem a little out of the ordinary, unless there's something going on I haven't seen.

**EDIT: as of 4:12 pm EST, it looks like the above referenced response post has also been deleted, but the original source thread is still intact.**

Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Expansions, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King, Forums, Rumors

Kaplan reveals a stinky achievement

It was just a quick sentence that went by almost completely unnoticed, flew totally under the radar. But in an interview which WoW lead designer Jeff Kaplan gave to WoW Vault, he mentioned a heretofore unknown achievement reward coming up in Wrath that will definitely pass the smell test.

Current Wrath beta testers may have been able to peruse the approximately 500 achievements in the current build, but Kaplan has indicated that by the final release there will be 600-700 achievements for players to attempt. One of these achievements, Kaplan said, can be acquired by collecting pets. It seems that if you collect all the available pets in the game -- and I'm not sure if he meant tameable pets or collectible/vanity pets or both -- you will be granted a unique pet in the form of a skunk called Stinker. For my two "scents," I do love me some cute vanity pets, but I'm really glad that WoW doesn't come in a scratch-n-sniff version or with smell-o-vision.

So now it's time for you to earn a WoW Insider achievement! Anyone under the age of thirty who can guess the name of the character in the picture will get this achievement: "Le kittee quel terriblay odeur!!"

Filed under: Items, News items, Expansions, Humor, NPCs, Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King, Achievements

Kaplan talks Wrath with Eurogamer


Recently Blizzard guru Jeff Kaplan sat down to talk with Eurogamer.fr about the upcoming expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. Now, I don't know about you, but I have been positively drooling for any information we can get from the Blizz devs ever since the announcement was made at BlizzCon.

The interview asks some pointed questions about the problems encountered with TBC and what Blizz might have learned from them. How about the daunting attunement and access difficulties that hardcore players encountered when they first loaded the expansion onto their computers? Kaplan points to how they realized that access to the instances needed to be tweaked and they did so with recent patches. Blizz would like to have world events that include the whole server again, much like Ahn'Qiraj (and I couldn't agree more, as long as the guild that opens the event doesn't do it on Monday morning like they did on Elune), and they are looking to avoid with Wrath what Kaplan "personally consider[s] a mistake in the Burning Crusade."

In addition to world events and the possibility of unlocking an attunement for all a player's characters once one of them has achieved it, Kaplan also says they are looking into improving the trade skills with Wrath. He points to leatherworking as an example of a trade skill that received little lovin' in TBC. Essentially leatherworking became obsolete as players entered Outland and received dropped items that were superior to anything they could make. "In the Wrath of the Lich King, we want everyone to be satisfied with the trade they choose and we want it to be rewarding. Therefore we're going to analyse[sic] everything we did with The Burning Crusade and previously to work out what was good and what was missed out."

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Filed under: Blizzard, Expansions, Interviews

Joystiq Interviews Jeff Kaplan


Joystiq managed to get a interview with World of Warcraft's lead designer, Jeff Kaplan, (you may know him as "Tigole" on the forums) - and there's some interesting stuff here. Of course there's a lot of info here, but some of the most interesting talk revolves around the new PvP system. As was posted earlier, the system will consist of arena matches of 2v2, 3v3, or 5v5 which will can be alliance v. horde, alliance v. alliance, or horde v. horde and cross-server. And the honor system as we know it will be gone entirely - to quote Kaplan:

It's a competitive-based ladder that uses a rating system similar to the chess ELO rating. One of the key differences is that we require a minimum number of games that you have to play. Unlike in the chess system where if you're on top, you can just sit there, we wanted to ensure that the No. 1 guy can be knocked off his top spot. But, we don't require too many games. We'll require something around ten games.

Further, honor points as we know them will be significantly changed. There will be no more honor decay and instead of determining your PVP rank, the honor points you accumulate can be spent to purchase PVP gear.

And other tidbits touched on by the interview include...
  • News that there's been some thought about implementing voice chat in the game, though it won't be coming in the Burning Crusade.
  • Dungeons (though whether all dungeons, or simply expansion dungeons) will have a "normal" and "hard" difficulty setting, and loot will be adjusted accordingly.
  • They're currently anticipating new races with every expansion - though there is a finite limit on the number of races in Azeroth.
I can't help but be excited about this news.

Filed under: News items, PvP, Expansions

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