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Posts with tag warcry

Blizzard: Arenas were a mistake.

John Funk of WarCry recently interviewed Blizzard's VP of Game Design, Rob Pardo, about WoW's five-year anniversary, and he shed some light on a number of topics, including their total subscriber numbers (twice to three times as much as its current 12 million), what audience their new MMO is meant for, and what he thinks WoW's greatest successes were. But some other very interesting information came up when the interviewer asked what he thought WoW's biggest mistakes were.

He begins by saying that he wishes that the servers had been more stable at launch, and that there had been more of them, but he says that in terms of design, Arenas were the single biggest mistake in WoW's history.

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Filed under: The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Arena, Hardware

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

Roleplaying is like puppeteering

Jim Moreno writes quite a bit about roleplaying. For a long time he kept his own blog about the subject, and now he writes a special column about roleplaying for WoW WarCry, which precedes and in many ways inspired WoW Insider's own roleplaying column, All the World's a Stage. Jim's latest article struck me with an excellent point: roleplaying has often been compared to acting -- by myself no less -- when in fact it is closer to the art of puppeteering.

He cites Jim Henson and Frank Oz as two of the best roleplayers ever, even though neither of them is known to have actually played roleplaying games. Both of them, however, used alternate physical bodies -- their puppets -- to tell stories and convey their characters to their audience, whereas regular actors would have used their own bodies and faces to portray their characters, no matter how different they are from one another. The example from Jim's article that stands out most in my mind is that of Yoda telling Luke, "There is no try, there is only do," conveying so clearly who this person Yoda is, what he stands for, what he talks, moves and looks like without ever giving a hint that the whole thing is just a "puppet with Frank Oz's hand sticking up his butt."

Roleplaying, Jim says, is just the same. Instead of acting with our own bodies, we use the digital avatars that Blizzard has designed for us: we customize our characters with different abilities and appearances, but more than that, we give them actions and words that distinguish them as believable people, just like puppeteers do. A superb roleplayer can do what Frank Oz and Jim Henson did, only on a smaller scale; he can convey a sense of true depth, a human story, using a virtual puppet made of ones and zeros rather than cloth and plastics.
This is just another example of how "roleplaying" is just a new form of the same basic creative endeavors that have been around for millennia. Someone who gets "freaked out" by roleplaying might as well get freaked out by Miss Piggy and the Cookie Monster, because roleplaying is basically just an adaptation of the puppeteering concept in a modern technological environment.

Filed under: Virtual selves, RP

Blizzard "stealing" XP with leveling changes

Warcry has a super interesting reading of the XP leveling changes that Blizzard is making in 2.3. Their style is a little more, err, informal than ours, but they're right-- Blizzard is basically stealing XP from you in the next patch. Vaneras confirmed the other day that players who have a certain percentage of XP before the patch will keep that same percentage of XP, but not the same amount of XP. So, if, for example, you're halfway through level 59 when the patch hits, you'll lose about 600,000 XP that you've already earned.

But before you get all angry about Blizzard wasting all that time you spent leveling, realize that things will likely even out in the end. Even though you'll lose 600,000 XP from the amount you have, you'll still be halfway through level 59, and you won't need as much XP as you did before to level to 60. So you haven't really "lost" anything, because even though Blizzard has "taken away" some XP, you didn't need what they took anyway.

As we've said before, these leveling improvements are going to be great news, not only for altaholics who are leveling up their third or fourth character by now, but also for guilds eager to see some new 70s to bring into the raiding mix. Folks who are leveling both before and after patch 2.3 are going to experience some strange math, but that happens all the time anyway (did you know that all the stuff you're killing at level 70 now doesn't count towards the experience you'll need to earn in the next expansion?). Blizzard is tweaking the numbers, but the experience will still be faster.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Leveling

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