Skip to Content

WoW Insider has the latest on the Mists of Pandaria!

Posts with tag redesign

Expansions, redesign, and the balance of WoW

Between Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria, the warlock class saw a near-total redesign that, at this distant remove, we'd have to admit was a runaway success. Class redesigns are always a risky proposition - the dilemma is always between those who find the class reinvigorated and those that liked the class as it was, who now find it unfamiliar and undesirable to play.

The reason I bring this up is because lately, while playing Reaper of Souls, I keep thinking about that warlock redesign and the fact that in RoS Blizzard managed to take a game people generally felt was an unsuccessful sequel and change it in a variety of ways, and in the process so utterly remake people's opinions of it that we get reviews like this in Forbes. This has me thinking about whether or not World of Warcraft is going to see this kind of radical redesign in Warlords of Draenor or not. On the face of it, we're aware of a lot of changes coming - the removal of reforging, stats like hit and expertise, the deflation of stats on gear, health and healing changes - but there's still a lot we don't know about how thorough the redesign of the game is going to be.

Now, to be fair, RoS didn't make any significant mechanical changes - certainly nothing as dramatic as the warlock redesign was. And the warlock redesign came at a time when talents were completely overhauled as well. Clearly, there are various kinds of redesign in any expansion, but how does Warlords of Draenor compare? While we don't have a complete answer, we can compare it to previous expansions.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Should there be another kind of five player dungeon?

The first dungeon I ran in World of Warcraft was the Deadmines. Not the Deadmines we have today, of course, although the layout is largely unchanged, but the original, Edwin VanCleef helmed Defias operation. From there, it's been a lot of years and a lot of dungeon crawls (not just in WoW, either - I've been crawling around in dungeons ever since the Caves of Chaos were build adjacent to a Keep on some Borderlands) and so I've come to have some opinions on dungeon design and variety that I think are worth nattering on about.

In general, some of the dungeon complexes released with the launch of World of Warcraft took labyrinthine to new extremes. As much as I love it, Blackrock Depths is a positive pain to navigate for a new party - it was terrible before the dungeon finder existed, it's not any better now. Modern dungeons tend to have moved as far away from the 'sprawling mega complex' design as possible. Current dungeons tend to be what I call 'bite sized' in comparison - smaller, self contained wings or experiences that contain between three and four bosses, to be consumed in a 20 to 30 minute chunk of time with four strangers via LFD. It's understandable and even unavoidable that this had happened, but I think there's some wisdom in considering how to have a happy medium between these extremes.

Dungeons like Dire Maul, for instance, saw minimal change in Cataclysm because it was already perfect for the new system. Three wings, mostly self contained (one could previously get from north to west via a tunnel into the library, which was removed) with a reasonable assortment of bosses, tied together by theme yet distinct in terms of what you faced in each. Maraudon, on the other hand, is still a sprawling, difficult to navigate dungeon made worse by the addition of incredibly arbitrary starting locations that the dungeon finder only exacerbates.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

The time for variant skins is now

With the upcoming character model redesign for Warlords of Draenor, and with no announcement for any new races or classes, a question I've heard asked a lot is is that enough? And while I think it is enough, considering how massive a task it is and how much it will change the game for people, I do think the focus on character models means that now is absolutely the time to introduce another level of character customization. I don't expect (based on what we've seen) to see many new options like a height slider. So I think the old idea to give us variant skins based on sub-groups like the broken draenei, Mag'har orcs, Dark Iron dwarves, Grimtotem tauren and so on should finally become an option.

In some cases this would be easier than in others. Giving draenei a playable broken appearance (seen above) would require a lot of work - as you can see, the model is outdated and is even on the wrong skeleton for a draenei. (It's built on top of the current tauren skeleton.) But allowing a player to choose a Dragonmaw, Blackrock or Mag'har orc is as simple as giving them more options in skin tone.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Warlords of Draenor

Will we see an ability purge?

Will we see an ability purge
A fact of any MMO is that over time, as we get expansions to the game, we get more abilities, talents, and spells and as a result, our bars get complicated. Cynwise in his recent return to blogging (hopefully a long return) pointed out this exact issue recently, and now Ghostcrawler has tweeted a response to a question about ability bloat that has me wondering.

Clearly, the easiest way to reduce the number of spells on the action bar is to remove some of them. Either fold separate attacks/spells into a smaller amount, combining them or just flat out removing ones that see less use. We saw some of this moving into Mists of Pandaria (one example that springs to mind is the folding of Deep Wounds and Rend into one ability) and we could always see more. Of course, the concern is always that you're getting rid of someone's favorites in the process. At any rate, we have only the idea that there are plans out there, and that they will cause some crying.

Keep an eye out, folks.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Class revamp breathes new life into alts

Transformation -- I'm not specifically talking about the shapeshifting ability of my new feral druid, I'm actually talking about the widescale changes made to druids (and all classes, really, but specifically druids) that suddenly made playing one fun for me. For the past four and a half years, druids were my second least-favorite class, beaten only by mages. I still hate mages, don't worry.

Cataclysm, even more so than any previous expansion, really redesigned how classes level up and their basic functionality. Some classes, like paladins, saw an entirely new resource mechanic. Others found themselves turned away from previous core concepts (like a death knight's ability to tank or DPS in any tree) or given a more clearly defined role from the start.

In the process, while many players had to relearn their classes, someone like me can come along and try again on a class that feels much more fluid and dynamic to level. I have started 16 druids over the years, only to delete them by level 20, so the sleek, compact redesign of the class was a revelation to me.

This, of cours,e does beg the question of the inverse. If a redesign makes the class easier to pick up but turns off the long-term players, did we gain or lose something?

Read more →

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm

Guest Post: Azshara revamp ushers in new level range, epic stories

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

I would hazard a guess that a vast majority of WoW players have never even been to Azshara. Honestly, since Molten Core is no longer a major raid zone and the Runes of Fire Lords just put themselves out, there really isn't much reason to. Those of us who raided in vanilla made weekly trips there to pick up our Aqual Quintessence, and I was also an herbalist, so I would spend another hour or so out there looking for Dreamfoil because of needing a bag full of mana pots to raid in those pre-potion sickness days.

Clearly, the zone was unfinished. There was one quest hub, if you could call it that, because there were only a very small number of quests there. Blizzard tried to bring people to the unused zone later on by adding in the level 50 class quests that led up to Sunken Temple -- but really, in the process of leveling, you could basically ignore Azshara and move on.

I hated the original Azshara because it was out in the middle of nowhere and fairly poorly designed. It was hard to get to places because of all the rocky cliffs, and passages up and down from the beach to the cliffs were too few and far between. It could even be dangerous at level 60 before The Burning Crusade's stamina inflation; lots of mobs feared and or put debuffs on you, and there were elites wandering around over huge portions of the zone.

Sadly the few fond memories I have of old Azshara are gone, as well. When Azuregos was up in vanilla, the entire zone would become a raiding guild, PvP fight zone as the top Horde and Alliance raiding guilds fought over who could tag him, killing flagged members of the group who got him, hoping to wipe them and inflict them all with the debuff. It could get fun and entertaining -- and one time, it even caused our server to be shut down.

Well, that has all changed come Cataclysm.

Read more →

Filed under: Cataclysm, Guest Posts

The new WoW Insider and the launch of Wrath of the Lich King


Finally, the day has come. Our designers here at WoW Insider have been working on a long-awaited new design for the site, and finally, you get to see the fruits of their work. Welcome to the brand new WoW Insider, just in time for the launch of the game's second expansion.

And that's not all -- from now (actually, we kicked off this morning already) until Wrath's launch, we're going into overdrive. We'll have multiple contests every day until November 13th -- we're giving away some of the coolest stuff inside and outside of the World of Warcraft, and all you have to do to win it is keep an eye right here on the site (yes, even you too, EU folks). As we announced a few days ago, we're hosting multiple reader meetups all across the country, too, so if you're in the area, you can come with us to get your copy of Wrath at the midnight launch, and maybe win some stuff there as well.

And of course, we'll have what we always have: unprecedented coverage of this game and its players. Stay tuned for all the Wrath previews we can post -- we'll have looks at all the new zones in Wrath of the Lich King, your guides to which quests to look for while leveling, walkthroughs of all the new instances, where and when to get your new addons, and we'll let you know exactly where to spend your next ten talent points and what to do with your new talents and abilities. If you need to know something about Wrath of the Lich King, it'll be on this site just in time for launch.

After the break, find out what's new around WoW Insider's redesign.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Quests, Expansions, Contests, Wrath of the Lich King

Blizzard C&Ds Datecraft, they redesign


I can't quite see the purpose of World of Warcraft (or gaming in general) flavored dating sites -- if you were looking for a potential partner, why limit yourself to only people that play this game? But nevertheless, there are quite a few of them around, so someone must be using them. Datecraft is a site that was specifically targeted World of Warcraft bachelors and bachelorettes -- at least until this past week, when Blizzard hit them up with a C&D.

Well, not actually -- they only got threatened with one. We heard from the site's founders, and they tell us that they got a call from Rod Rigole, a VP of Legal Affairs over at Blizzard, who told them to cut out using Blizzard's artwork and terminology on their website was a no-no, and that they would be recieving legal papers soon. Rather than pick a fight, they instead redesigned to the standard gamer dating site you see today.

But here's the kicker: they used an official fansite kit to actually make the site. Even with the stuff they give out, Blizzard seems extremely protective of their artistic IP -- they used this same technique to attack the WotLK wiki and the Glider folks as well. They'll let fans slide, it seems, but if you're making money off of their materials, beware.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, News items, Forums

Blizzard fan art page redesigned

I was looking through the Blizzard fan art pages recently, with the thought in my mind that I could do a "Best of Blizzard Fan Art" feature for our dear WoW Insider readers, when I found that selecting the "best" was extremely difficult. I kept copying so many pictures into my own "best of" folder that I began to feel like I might as well just link you all to the entire fan art site and call it a day. Most of it is really very fun to look at many many times.

So today I went back determined to try again and found that they had redesigned the entire site. It loads much faster, and presents the art to you in a much smoother interface. You can see many more thumbnails per page, and change the size of the thumnails depending on how many you want to see. Once you click on a picture, you can then easily scroll through from one to another very quickly, without having to wait for the entire page to reload again and again. Also, they managed to provide a nice fade effect, so that the transition between pictures is smooth. The only downside is that you can no longer link to a single piece of art.

Oh -- and also, you can no longer just click and download each picture to your own computer. I'm sure there must be a way (short of taking a screenshot), but it's beyond me. I'll take it as a sign from heaven, since I can no longer conveniently build my "Best of" folder, that the "Best of Blizzard Fan Art" site is the whole Blizzard fan art site itself. Now, with the tediousness of complicated page-loading removed, you may find browsing through the artwork gives you a whole new experience.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Blizzard, Galleries

WoW Insider Show 

Subscribe via  iTunes for our latest show.

Hot Topics


 

Upcoming Events

Event Date
Hallow's End 10/18 - 11/1
Day of the Dead 11/1 - 11/3
Darkmoon Faire 11/2 - 11/9
BlizzCon 2014 11/7 - 11/8

Around Azeroth

Around Azeroth

Featured Galleries

It came from the Blog: Occupy Orgrimmar
Midsummer Flamefest 2013
Running of the Orphans 2013
World of Warcraft Tattoos
HearthStone Sample Cards
HearthStone Concept Art
Yaks
It came from the Blog: Lunar Lunacy 2013
Art of Blizzard Gallery Opening

 

Categories