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Posts with tag twitter

Tameable hydras for hunters officially on the way?

Hunters may remember with some sadness the brief moment in time back in 2011 when hydra pets were datamined from the patch 4.1 PTR. Unfortunately, the pet never made it to live servers, leaving those with hopes of taming a three-headed beastie for their very own to wait until a later time. Apparently, that time is coming soon. Game Designer Jeremy Feasel tweeted the tantalizing image shown above yesterday, along with the following tweet.

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Filed under: Hunter, News items

How much transparency do you want?

It's come up time and again, and it's always an issue that's fascinated me -- how much information on how World of Warcraft is designed do we actually want? Some of us would be bored to tears by a technical discussion of the whys and wherefores of a design decision, while others would be absolutely fascinated by it. I'm sure no one's forgotten about the era of the 'Ghostcrawler experiment' and the sharp rise of communication from the game's developers. Today we have quite a bit of communication from people like Brian Holinka, Chadd Nervig, Ion Hazzikostas, Owen Landgren and others. I've always felt that it was a very good thing overall for the game to have that channel, with the devs taking time to explain design changes and what they mean. The question becomes, how useful is it to you, and how effective is it in getting players to understand the why behind changes?

Frankly, I think we all know that for every player who reads and absorbs dev interaction in the spirit in which it is meant, there's another who uses it simply as an excuse to blame said person for ruining the game. This goes back to before the time when devs were the ones delivering the news, mind you. I remember the days of Tseric, and the way the forums made him the villain in their self-generated narrative.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Gear requirements for leveling dungeons to be removed

It's one of the weird artifacts of content being moved from current to a legacy role - players queue for dungeons in the dungeon finder as they're leveling up, only to find that the dungeons have a gear requirement that they don't meet. With the speed that heirlooms and guild bonuses can bring, it's easy to find yourself level 83 and unable to enter any Cataclysm five mans because you don't meet the gear requirements (something because of those heirlooms) and it can be very annoying. But now, there's good news - Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas recently responded to the idea that those gear requirements could be removed with the stat squish with an affirmative.


This would be a very positive change in my opinion - it was easier for me to just level via quests than it was to try and queue for Cata dungeons when leveling up my tauren. Not that I miss all the dungeons we had back then, but it would have been nice to see a few places.

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

Cory Stockton's first draft of Dalaran

We've seen quite a few of these behind the scenes peeks at Blizzard's design process, from Alex Afrasiabi's pictures of his Benediction design and the Rhok'delar pages, to these pages from Cory Stockton and Jonathan LeCraft including Death Knight and class designs.

Now Cory Stockton's back with this, an early look at how Dalaran's layout was designed.

It's striking in how familiar it is, and yet places like the Dragon Embassy (later relocated to Wyrmrest Temple), the lack of clearly demarcated Horde and Alliance sections, and the presence of the Violet Citadel as a separate instance definitely set it apart from the Dalaran we ended up with. As always, interesting to see the game that might have been.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Machinima, Blizzard, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

Celestalon and Holinka on Warlords of Draenor changes

Yes, after the big Dev Watercooler, people of course had a flurry of questions, and our friendly Blizzard devs Brian Holinka and Chadd "Celestalon" Nervig hit Twitter in a big way to answer people's questions. And man, did they - many, many questions were answered. Here, we have compiled as many as we can.

Racial abilities

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Warlords of Draenor

The case for catch-up loot

I talked a while back about catch-up dungeons. Now, we'll talk about the more basic issue - why have 'catch up' mechanisms at all? Why have gear that exists so you can skip content? Recently Celestalon responded to this question on twitter and his answers are very, very interesting to me.
This idea of playerbase consolidation reminds me, as it always does whenever anyone brings it up, of the old days of Vanilla and BC raiding. That's how you can tell I'm crazy old - everything reminds me of something that happened years ago. But in this case it's apt. Back in Vanilla, there basically weren't any catch-up mechanisms. If you wanted to join a raiding guild that was clearing Blackwing Lair, if you hadn't set foot in Molten Core yet, you probably simply weren't getting in, and if you did, you'd likely end up being dragged through several MC and Onyxia runs (assuming you didn't have to get attuned) to get you caught up on gear. Often guilds didn't really want to do that, so if they didn't, you were basically out of luck. The 20 man raids Zul'Gurub and AQ20 served as stopgaps, with gear that could help, but it wasn't enough in many cases.

BC improved this to a degree. There were still attunements for a while, but guilds could at least rely on the Badge of Justice mechanic and get newer players geared up faster. I actually took some time off playing WoW after Vanilla ended and didn't start raiding in BC until my then-guild was working on the Tier 5 raids (Tempest Keep and Serpentshrine Cavern) and so, in order to get ready to join them, I ran a ton of Karazhan and heroic dungeons and bought tanking gear off of the Justice vendors - I ended up still having to tank in Zul'Aman with a green tanking ring and belt and a bunch of dungeon blues on, but at least I had some gear by that point.

Since those days, we've seen various mechanisms (Wrath and Cataclysm's patch five mans, Mists with justice and honor gear and the Timeless Isle) to allow players to get caught up to current content. And to my mind, while I'm not always on board with the specific way it's implemented, it's the best change imaginable for a variety of reasons.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Raiding

Warlords of Draenor: Your alts will still need Order of the Cloud Serpent rep

One change that isn't coming, at least for right now, is that your alts will still need to get the proper reputation to purchase Cloud Serpent Riding necessary to fly any and all Cloud Serpents you may have learned. According to Helen Cheng (@BlizzardKismet), the one who designed the content, it's staying as is for now.

Of course, the word currently means that plans could change, but for now, if your newly boosted level 90 wants to ride, say, your Heavenly Cloud Serpent, then you''ll need to have her or him do some dailies, and perhaps do some looking around on the Timeless Isle for some eggs to help out. If you're looking for help getting to exalted with the Order of the Cloud Serpent, we have a guide here - and always, if your main already is, remember to buy the Grand Commendation and cut the time in half for your alts.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Mages have 12 new talents

The twitter account of Chadd Nervig (better known as Celestalon) has become one of my favorites due to his willingness to talk about the various aspects of class design. One that he brought up recently was the difficulty of naming new abilities. His point about spell names needing to fill many different needs is pretty interesting, I think. While discussing this, a specific example popped up that seemed very worth mentioning here.

This sounds like a lot of new talents, not just to name, but in general. Twelve are entirely new, and another seven are either existing spells or old spells changed into talents or major revamps of talents. Frankly, I'm a little envious -- I wish Warriors were getting this kind of change.

Edited to add: Celestalon mentioned in a tweet that there are 28 mage talents in all, not 21, because some are spec specific, so the number of 12 above ends up being not quite half.

Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Warlords of Draenor

Alex Afrasiabi's design framework for Benediction

Benediction design notes
Today on twitter Alex Afrasiabi is at it again with the pictures, this time with the above: a photo of his 10-year-old notes for the design framework of two classic priest weapons: Benediction and Anathema.

Priests from World of Warcraft's days of yore probably have vivid memories of these coveted items, Benediction and its counterpart, Anathema. In order to obtain them, an eager priest would first have to get The Eye of Divinity from Majordomo Executus in Molten Core, then The Eye of Shadow from an elite demon in The Blasted Lands or Winterspring. With both trinkets equipped, the ghostly questgiver Eris Havenfire became visible in the Eastern Plaguelands. Eris would then task the player with healing and curing 50 peasants escaping the undead. If 15 of them died, you failed the quest. Once you had successfully completed the objective, Eris would give you the Splinter of Nordrassil, which together with the two trinkets created Benediction. Priests could then switch the two staves into each other as they wished.

Afrasiabi's photo is a nice little glimpse into a world WoW has largely left behind, and a sure shot of nostalgia for those who were there. It's also nice to see how much of the work was done the old fashioned way, with pen and paper! What a nice, pre-Valentine's Day gift for the playerbase.

Filed under: News items

Warlords of Draenor: New Gorgrond screenshot

Gorgrond in Draenor
Hot on the heels of the Talador screenshot we got the other day, Creative Director Alex Afrasiabi has also tweeted the above picture of another Draenor zone: Gorgrond. Gorgrond is found in Draenor's north, a formerly lush oasis that has been reduced to Victorian levels of pollution (thanks Olivia!) by the Blackrock clan's industrial development.

I'd say the picture, with an Iron Horde fortress looming ominously in the background, makes Gorgrond seem like a suitably hostile place. It's certainly far less inviting than Talador was. My poor druid is already feeling the distaste.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas joins Twitter

The latest among the developer team to join Twitter is Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas, Twitter name @WatcherDev. Ion's principal role on World of Warcraft is, as his title would suggest, overseeing the design of raid and dungeon bosses and encounters. He and his team put together and test all the fights we face, from the most simple dungeon bosses to the hardest heroic encounters.

Ion's been with Blizzard since 2008, prior to which he worked in law as an associate in a Washington, DC-based firm. Since joining Blizzard he's worked not only on raid boss and encounter design, but also on class design and balance, the achievement system, and more. If you want to see more information on what Ion's been up to lately, and in the past, you can rifle through all WoW Insider's articles relating to his famously wordy forum posts! In the meantime, head over and follow him on Twitter.

You can also check out Zarhym's official list of Blizzard employees, fansites and other useful resources on Twitter and other social media.

Filed under: News items

Potential for another PvP season before 6.0?

blade's edge arena
As discussed earlier today on Twitter, PvP Designer Brian Holinka responded to an inquiry by saying there may indeed be a chance for an additional PvP season before Warlords of Draenor comes out sometime next year.

Speculation on what "if we feel like we need it" means aside (no points for "if WoD is longer in development than expected"), I'm sure another season would be a welcome opportunity for those PvPers looking for one more chance for their shot at earning their moment of PvP glory. At least before we all have to re-learn our classes again!

Filed under: News items

The hope for more future five-mans

Dire Maul
A common refrain among casual players this expansion has been the lament for five-man content. Mists of Pandaria hasn't added any new five-man dungeons since it launched, and for fans of that format, it's a bit of a bummer. In fact, Mists of Pandaria marks the first time that Blizzard hasn't added new dungeons post-launch. In classic WoW, Maraudon was added in patch 1.2, and the Dire Maul set in patch 1.3. The Burning Crusade saw Magister's Terrace in patch 2.4, Wrath gained the three Icecrown five-mans in patch 3.3, Cataclysm had Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub retooled as 5-mans in 4.2, plus the Well of Eternity dungeon suite in 4.3. Yes, if five-mans are your thing, Mists probably has you feeling pretty glum right about now.

So maybe the following tweet from Ghostcrawler will cheer you up a bit:

Instead of five-man dungeons, Mists definitely saw a focus on scenarios for casual group content. And while scenarios are fun, if you're a healer or a tank, you're not really necessary for them. I personally would love to see a bit more balance in the future between implementing scenarios and implementing five-mans, so here's to a WoW future where both will shine. What about you? Are you hoping for more five-mains, or could you do without them?

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Ghostcrawler on crafting professions and leveling

Ghostcrawler on crafting professions and leveling
Sometimes I actually love Twitter for how it can bring the players and the developers together in a more immediate way. Case in point, this tweet from Ghostcrawler. When asked about crafting professions falling behind as the expansion progressed, the answer was clear and unambiguous that Blizzard agrees it's a problem.

While it's light on specifics I'm glad to see they get the problem. At this point I'm only keeping blacksmithing for the extra sockets, and I know a lot of JC's who were mighty disappointed when they found out there would be no epic gems this time around. Maybe a return to BC style scaling items is in order? Maybe not. Making my original Lionheart Blade was a pain.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Mists of Pandaria

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

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