Posts Tagged ‘Fans’

Notes from the Blizzard Developer Q&A, No.3

The third round of Blizzard’s developer Q&A just finished, and most of the questions and answers this round focused on UI elements and usability changes. The questions and answers this time were really good for those folks who are passionate about the look and feel of World of Warcraft, and how players play and interact with the game. The full thread is here.

Here are a couple of the highlights, especially some of the questions and answers that I’m particularly enamored with, starting off with the “is it possible to raid without add-ons/are add-ons making the game too easy” question we hear all too often:

Q: Some Addons are so powerful they simplified the game content to a degree (e.g., boss fights). Do you think that when the majority are using these Addons, the original reasoning behind the game design is violated? And isn’t it unfair for players who don’t use Addons? – 冷影幽光 (Taiwan)

A: This really deserves a long answer. It sounds like a good topic for a future developer blog. To tide you over until then, we can say that some addons do a great job of providing information we really should be providing (and have long-term plans to provide).This includes information like threat, the distance you are from other players , when you have a killer debuff on you and things like that. On the other hand, when addons are too helpful, they are playing the game for you and you’re just doing what the addon tells you to do. When the mod tells you so much information about the fight that you don’t even really need to pay attention to what is happening in the world at all, then we feel that crosses the line. I don’t know that we could put the djinn back in the bottle at this point though. It would feel really harsh to prevent addons from tracking some of that information, and in some cases we’re not even sure how we would prevent it.

We continue to try and come up with new mechanics that ask players to pay attention to the fight itself instead of just pushing whatever button the addon tells them to push. You might be alerted to when Atramedes emits a Sonar Pulse, but you don’t know where it is going to be. Sinestra’s Twilight Slicer requires you to look at the battle field and not just your UI. To be fair, we are also trying to do a better job of telegraphing to players when bosses will use predictable abilities. The Conclave of Wind and Nefarian for example do their special abilities at predictable intervals along their resource or health bar.

It is a fine line to decide when an addon becomes mandatory. Ideally you could raid without any addons, and some players do. Information is often power in complex raid encounters though, and we agree that in some cases we don’t provide enough information yet. Does that mean Blizzard needs to replicate some of the screenshots produced by players who install thirty mods and completely overhaul their UI? Probably not. Our raid UI is a good example of what we are going for. It provides enough information for many players (and we have plans to add more to it overtime). It’s not going to incorporate the favorite feature of every raider out there, and for them, a very customizable third-party addon is a perfectly reasonable solution.

That’s fabulous – although unlike the devs, I don’t know anyone who raids without add-ons. In fact, I know more guilds who require them than that don’t, and the only people I know who raid without add-ons are the kind who are too stubborn to install them, simply don’t know how, or are perfectly okay skating along and letting other guild members carry them through raids and dungeons instead of contributing, but I’m sure there are some people out there who are more naturalist and prefer to simply play the game the way it was designed.

Q: Would you please implement a feature that allows players to change the order of their characters on the Character select screen? – 흑풍육손 (Korea), Fanahlia (North America/ANZ), Perle (Latin America)

A: Sure. Does 4.2 work for you? :)

And boom goes the dynamite!

That was the bulk of it – there are a couple of questions that I seriously can’t believe people asked, much less wanted: like the topic of being able to buy things directly from chat (an attempt to circumvent the limitations of mail/auction house location/player location in order to quickly buy things) and the whole “I’m tired of paging through mail to get items one at a time,” point.

I can identify a little more with the latter though, I understand how frustrating it can be, especially if you’re sending yourself items, to have to load up your bags and then mail items to yourself one at a time. At the same time though, there are add-ons (like Postal, for example) that allow you to streamline the process – and the people who know about those add-ons and use them are likely the ones who will get the most benefit: eg, the people who use the AH the most, or mail themselves lots of things frequently. Everyone else probably doesn’t care so much.

So what do you think? What would you ask the devs if you had an opportunity to ask them about user interface and gameplay questions?

Notes from the Blizzard Developer Q&A, No. 2

Blizzard held another Q&A session with its developers recently, taking forum questions from interested parties, just like last time. Same as last time, you can read the whole set of questions and answers on the official forums, but we’ll take a look at some of the new and interesting ones:

Q: Why can’t we have a pure, straight up, unadulterated Death Match style Battleground? – ???? ???? (Taiwan), Gulantor (North America/ANZ)

A: We think Battlegrounds work better when there is a goal that the team can work towards. Huge melees with lots of players tend to be chaotic by nature so there is less room for skill to influence the outcome. It feels more random, and the more random the system is, the more arbitrary the rewards will feel. It might be something we try someday.

For example, emergency buttons are balanced around the assumption that only a few players are ganged up against you. Even in the 5v5 Arena bracket, it’s very difficult to survive being focused by so many players at once, so you feel like you don’t have many options. There is a reason that most of our Arena attention is on 3v3 – it just feels the best.

You know, I had been wondering about this one too back when I was spending more time in battlegrounds – some people would love the “in and out” nature of having a battleground they could hop into and hop out of just to grab some honor in a short period, and in a game that’s perpetually ongoing that they could play for as much free time as they have without worrying their departure will negatively impact a team.

At the same time, the sheer number of empty multiplayer game servers in the world kind of tell the tale that when there’s no one interested in playing that all-out deathmatch style game, the few people who do want to play would have a horrible time doing it – or worse, they’ll just give up because it’s not the epic experience they’d actually want. After all – I’m sure the people asking the question are thinking of massive 25 v. 25 battle arenas with fast re-spawning, not a 3 v. 3 match.

Q: CC used to be the big thing for arena, but now it’s all about damage. Is it the direction you are taking at the moment? – Thatis (Taiwan)

A: If crowd control really was as weak in Arenas as you’re claiming, then Holy paladins would be the healer of choice and Resto druids wouldn’t have much of a role. But the Entangling Roots and Cyclone of the druid make a huge difference in Arena, and we see a lot of healing druids.

Ultimately, we think there has to be a place for both crowd control and damage. It can be just as frustrating to be chained from a fear to a poly to a stun without having an answer as it can be to die to two dudes killing you in a few GCDs without an answer. We don’t want Arena in particular to be all about which comp has the best layering of crowd controls that don’t share diminishing returns, because that greatly lowers the number of viable comps out there (and why rogue-mage-priest dominated in earlier seasons). We have taken steps this season already to nerf both out of control damage and excessive crowd control for some classes.

The best thing you can do is just keep providing feedback when you think something is broken. Many other players will disagree with you, and at times so will we. The signal to noise ratio for PvP balance is frankly always going to be bad, and the design calls are extremely subjective. We are constantly amazed that some players playing very powerful specs perceive themselves as weak or interpret very gentle nerfs as soul-crushing. That doesn’t mean that we’re never going to listen, but it does mean the burden of convincing us something is broken is going to be high, probably higher than it is for PvE.

Ouch – holy blowoff, batman! Although I can’t say I disagree here. I think Blizzard is acquising the point that they’re paying more attention to damage, but they’re trying to strike the balance between damage and crowd control. I disagree that seeing a lot of resto druids somehow means that holy paladins aren’t the healers of choice in battlegrounds (that’s like saying “hey, the fact that a exists means there must be less of b,”) but I see their point. Balance is what’s important, and they’re always open to your feedback.

I hope the person asking the question got that same message, because I could see how the tone at the beginning is kind of a diss. A loving one, but a diss nonetheless!

Q: Can I hear your thoughts of the survival abilities of the Warlock on PvP? – Mccoll (Korea)

A: Overall, we think they’re fine. Warlocks in PvP often compare themselves to Shadow priest, and to be fair, Shadow priests have some very potent emergency buttons, particularly Dispersion. Warlocks have good self-healing (which also to be fair, was nerfed recently), abilities like Demonic Circle and fears that are good for both offense and defense. Once Shadow priests lose their defensive dispel capabilities, we think they will be less versatile and their entire package will be more comparable to warlocks.

I love this question only because it was asked. I remember the days when warlocks were unstoppable damage and destruction machines in arenas. If you had a lock on your team, you were pretty much guaranteed to win, and if you had one on your team and another on the other team, it came down to who had the most resilience. Thankfully, no more.

So – this set of Q&A questions were pretty heavy on the PVP side of things. If you’re a heavy PVP’er, what do you think of Blizzard’s responses and the questions they selected to respond to? What would you have asked if you had the opportunity? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Video :: PonyCraft 2

Okay, I simply have to give WoW Insider credit for introducing me to this video yesterday, and it’s simply glorious.

It has nothing to do with World of Warcraft, but it does have something to do with Blizzard – specifically with Starcraft 2, and if you haven’t played the original StarCraft, get ready for some spoilers. What? Seriously – StarCraft has been out for like 13 years – you don’t get to call spoiler on the original title. Thankfully, there are no spoilers for Starcraft 2 in the video, because…well…ponies.

If you want to see the source video that the audio was pulled from, it’s below. Honestly? I think they have the dubbing better with the ponies.

Video :: What is the Best Hunter Pet?

Ah, the eternal question: “What’s the best pet?” that so many hunters tend to ask, hoping for a very specific, magical answer for the one in-game beast that they should tame to meet all of their needs. Usually it starts off like the video does: “which pet is the best for raiding?” …which usually really translates to “which pet is the best to have with me at all times?”

This is probably the best treatment of the question I think I’ve ever seen. Well done.

Video :: Tank For Me Matteaus

I picked this one up over at WoW Insider today, so all credit goes to them for discovering it. Tank for Me Matteaus was originally supposed to be a simple celebration of Matteaus’ birthday and a thank you from his guild, Defenders of the Horde on Kilrogg [H] but it turned into something special. Something different. Something truly epic.

Watch, I think you’ll agree with me.

Video :: Blizzard Sucks

You’ve likely heard all of the complaining about the state of Cataclysm raiding and dungeons. You’ve also likely heard enough from either side of the debate that you’ve come to your own conclusions. Personally, I think that a number of people are asking a little too much of Blizzard when it comes to nerfing the game – and that when some of the more hardcore players are mad that the game is too easy and some of the most casual players are mad that the game is entirely too hard, then you’ve got the perfect balance for most players who don’t complain either way.

To that point, this video is another Cataclysm Heroics are Hard-style skewering of the mentality that Blizzard should ratchet the difficulty of the game down to the point where it’s pretty easy, especially for players who want to put in even less effort than those who willingly call themselves casual. Click play, and enjoy.

What’s Your Favorite WoW Weapon?

Each week over at The Blog Azeroth Forums, the community comes together around a shared blog topic – interested WoW bloggers can pick up the topic and make posts on their own sites to respond to it, and all of the responses are collected and linked at “What Is Your Favorite Weapon?” is this week’s topic!

This week’s shared topic over at Blog Azeroth was a particularly fun one to think about. Kallixta asked the group:

I was comparing a new upgrade to my older item when it struck me how much I liked my old item. Like is wonderfully subjective and I hope others will explain their measure.

Is your favorite weapon something with strong memories for you? Is it something that just works well for RP purposes? Or maybe the balance of abilities meshes better than normal to your spec and play style?

Admittedly, I don’t do much RP, and I’m not exactly an endgame high-end raider who doesn’t have time to think about the looks and story behind a weapon because he’s too busy min/maxing to care, so I think I’m right there in the middle with those players who have fallen in love enough with a couple of his items that they simply won’t ever leave the bank. Here are a couple of them.


Discussion :: What Are Your Favorite Warcraft Webcomics?

(image above from Ding! by Scott Kurtz, of PVPOnline!)

So there’s no question that our love of World of Warcraft extends beyond the realm of the game…for a lot of us it’s a lifestyle, one that we enjoy even when we’re not in-game, or when we’re bored at the office. Thankfully, there’s a wealth of ways for us to stay on top of what’s going on in the WoW community, but there’s also lots of ways for us to entertain ourselves as well: webcomics!

There’s no shortage of World of Warcraft-themed webcomics on the Web, but we want to know what some of your favorites are. Let us know in the comments and we’ll post a roundup of them – including some of our favorites – next week!

Raid Ready Wants Your Videos, Will Award Skittles to the Best

The fine folks at Raid Ready (who we spoke to a while back) have taken a break from making hilarious internet videos and ar eback to working on the Raid Ready service. In the interim though, they need some new videos, preferably from folks like you and I for whom sometimes World of Warcraft can be a little close to reality for some people’s comfort.

So, they’re looking for your videos! That’s right, YOU.

The video above outlines what they’re looking for and what’s at stake, namely a bag of delicious delicious skittles. And 6 months of pre-paid WoW game time, a 2009 Blizzcon Authenticator, and a Starcraft II poker set! But seriously, skittles!

Head over to the Raid Ready: Do It Yourself page for the full contest details and to find out how to enter!

Video :: Paladin Caramelldansen

The beauty of all of the whole caramelldansen meme is that regardless of what you’re a fan of, there’s likely a video of it. This can’t possibly be the first one related to World of Warcraft – heck, it’s not even the first one I’ve seen, but it’s definitely one of the most adorable. Maybe it helps that I play a Paladin.

Regardless, enjoy!

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