Posts Tagged ‘news’

Notes from the Blizzard Developer Q&A, No. 6

The sixth round of the Ask the Devs Q&A chats have finally been posted over at the official blog, and the answers are pretty interesting. If you didn’t know already, this round focuses around the topic of guild advancement. As always, I’ll highlight some questions I think are particularly interesting from the roundup – not everything. For the full transcript, head over to the blog and check it out!

Without any further ado:

Q: The guild perks system makes it unnaturally hard to start a new guild, since a guild without all perks is at an obvious disadvantage in recruitment. In addition, it rewards just recruiting random people (who might only care about the perks) to get guild XP. What are your thoughts on this? Will it be addressed? – Lolisa [Europe, English], Mith [North America]

A: We knew when we decided to add guild features for Cataclysm that this was one of the risks. If the guild perks and rewards aren’t interesting, then there is no motivation to join a guild or work to improve your guild. On the other hand if they are too powerful, then you feel shackled to your old guild, even if it’s not a healthy relationship for you. We were careful to only choose perks that didn’t contribute to player power, and we let you keep any rewards you earn if you ever have to leave your guild. The perks are nice, no doubt, but you’re going to have less fun in an established guild of jerks than you would starting your own guild with fewer perks.

We don’t think recruiting random people is healthy for a guild. Rewards are never going to be a substitute for strong social ties. We really encourage as many people as possible to seek out guilds (and we hope the new Guild Finder will help with that), but joining a guild at random will likely end in tears.

On the other hand, there may be some benefit to having less churn on starting guilds. Before Cataclysm, some guilds would get started halfheartedly and then crumble again after a few weeks or months. Maintaining an active guild asks a lot of the guild master and leading officers. If you join an established guild in Cataclysm, hopefully it will continue to be around for awhile. But because of reputation, even brand new guilds may seem like a more serious option than they were before Cataclysm, since the founders of the guild know that anyone interested is likely looking for a long-term home and are not just hopping from guild to guild.

This is a good one, and something that’s been on my mind for a while now – makes sense it’s the first question. Honestly, the questioner does have a good point – some people just won’t join a guild without the perks, but I have to agree with the devs that in most cases, people won’t stick to a cruddy guild because they have the perks, and people won’t skip over a great guild without perks for a bad guild that has them. Still, I could see this being tweaked a bit over time.

Q: Are you planning to address the issue of Guild Leaders mass kicking members, once the guild reaches level 25? – Bloodbliss [North America], Юхани [Europe, Russian]

A: We don’t really have any interest in controlling who a guild leader chooses to kick, or when. Guilds are fairly transparent and simple player-run groups, and we have to be extremely careful about what systems we implement that impact how people can operate their guilds. We could absolutely make it more difficult for guild leaders to kick their members, and that might help very slightly with these situations, but the result would actually be that guild leaders would just be much less likely to invite new members. We want people to be in guilds, as opposed to making guild masters afraid that if they invite someone they may never be able to kick them if they don’t work out.

Allowing players to keep some level of guild reputation is an option we can look into to help with this situation, though.

Wow – I suppose it’s just an indicator of how little time I’ve had to really get arms deep into the game lately, but I didn’t even know this was an issue. That’s a pretty cruddy thing for a Guild Leader to do, honestly. I see why Blizzard doesn’t want to get involved, but I can see how it would be a problem. Don’t expect Blizz to do too much until it gets to fever pitch, though.

Q: Are we going to see guild houses someday so we could finally get a special gather place for the guild, to meet and interact easily? – Ellidryl[Europe, French], Греланд[Europe, Russian], Ledieri [Europe, Spanish], Bodywreckér [North America]

A: Guild housing is something we have discussed many times. It would be neat to have a place for people to hang out, but every time it has come up as a possibility we don’t think that is worth the amount of time and resources it would take to implement (and do it right). This is one of those features where if we ever decided to do it, the benefit would have to outweigh other content we could be working on. Also, we don’t feel that we need any new ways for players to hide themselves away. If possible we at least like people to be hanging around in the cities, if not out in the world. We know that many guilds, despite lack of official guild housing, have designated meeting locations throughout the world, which we think is really cool. If you don’t have one yet it might be something to explore.

Ah, the old guild housing question. And, of course, the answer that Blizzard has given us many many times: they like the idea, they really really do like the idea, but they just don’t think it’s high enough on the priority list at this point to take development time away from other tasks. Interesting. I wonder if it’ll ever be high enough on the priority list – it’s been something people have wanted since Vanilla.

Q: Are there any plans to allow for easier alt access to the same guild rewards as someone’s main character? Perhaps some kind of +rep item that is BoA and can only be bought by an exalted character? – Serule [North America], Xheevas [Europe, French]

A: This is one of the main reasons 4.1 has new guild tabards with 50/100% bonus to rep. We made sure to place these at friendly and honored so they would be easy to obtain by alts. We are considering adding an even larger bonus to an exalted, BOA version as well. Great minds think alike!

Hah! Awesome – I was wondering when this was going to happen, and sure enough, we have it already. Well done!

And that does it for another round – we skipped a lot of questions this time, but they’re all pretty interesting. Make sure to read the full thread for the whole scoop!

Blizzcon Tickets Go On Sale May 21st and 25th

Ready to head out to Blizzcon this year? Well get your credit cards ready, tickets for Blizzard’s all-things-Azeroth/Diablo/Starcraft/etc conference will go on sale May 21st at 10am PST and May 25th at 7pm PST, for — get this — $175.

Yup, that’s a $25 increase over last year. The price increase hasn’t stopped the WoW community from going nuts over the announcement though, with more than a few people I’ve seen over at Twitter (follow me @halophoenix!) bemoaning the price hike but clearly saying it won’t stop them from attending.

There’ll also be a special series of $500 tickets on sale on May 28th for those lucky folks with more cash to drop and who want to attend a special pre-con dinner to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Orange Country.

As usual, if you can’t make it at all, you can snag the virtual tickets for $39.99, which gives you access to live streams of the panels and all of the events.

And remember – the convention itself will be October 22nd and 23rd of this year, so even if you think you might want to attend, you should probably snag a ticket if you can!

Player Dings 85 Without Killing Anything, Only Gathering

This story was difficult to believe, but it comes around every so often. With each passing expansion, the feat becomes more and more difficult to do, but it’s happened once again: someone’s managed to get their character all the way to level 85 — the level cap — without killing a single mob. They managed to get experience from exploration and gathering only, specifically herbalism and mining. Here’s the scoop from PC Gamer:

Playing on the US RP server Feathermoon, this player achieved what most thought impossible (while still maintaining one’s sanity): grinding through 85 grueling levels via gathering Professions alone. Think it’s all a hoax? The proof is in the profile pudding—Everbloom’s character profile plainly shows that he/she/it has reached the level cap without killing a single enemy. But what’s this? One completed quest?! Not exactly—this was an unfortunate misstep, where a quest was completed simply by opening a letter from an NPC (which Blizzard couldn’t redact). Nonetheless, this is an imposing achievement, especially considering that the character was created around last November.

For the players who think they’ve seen and done it all in Azeroth, this seems like the ultimate challenge and test of will, akin to old Diablo II challenges of pacifist Hell completions. Everbloom highly recommends the experience, saying:

“Being on the ground and sneaking around mining and herbing and eventually archaeology, going everywhere to get every single point of discovery xp that you can, really gives you a chance to see an amazing world up close and personal. I spent hours swimming around reefs and flying to the farthest reaches of the maps… I have been playing since day 1 on other characters and I even have an original Loremaster (you know, back when it was hard) and I saw so MANY new things with Everbloom that it really made it worthwhile for me to continue on with this character, and each level was a major achievement!”

Everbloom’s character sheet is here, and one look at the detail page proves the point. It’s a really impressive feat, and she’s been talking about it on the forums, where I would urge people to go and congratulate her on an incredible job well done.

Congratulations, Everbloom!

Blizzard Unveils Dungeon Finder: Call to Arms

If you needed a reason to queue up and join the dungeon finder, well…now you have one. Alternatively, if you’ve bemoaned the lack of people in queues and the time required to get a decent group, get ready for some relief. In patch 4.1 Blizzard is poised to unveil the Dungeon Finder: A Call to Arms.

Here’s the lowdown from Blizzard:

In patch 4.1 we’ll be introducing Dungeon Finder: Call to Arms, a new system intended to lower queue times. Call to Arms will automatically detect which class role is currently the least represented in the queue, and offer them additional rewards for entering the Dungeon Finder queue and completing a random level-85 Heroic dungeon.

Any time the Dungeon Finder queue is longer than a few minutes for level-85 Heroics, the Call to Arms system kicks in and determines which role is the least represented. In the case of tanking being the least represented role, the “Call to Arms: Tanks” icon will display in the Dungeon Finder UI menu where class roles are selected, and will also display on the UI when the queue pops and you are selected to enter a dungeon. Regardless of your role, you’ll always be able to see which role currently has been Called to Arms, if any.

Call to Arms is meant to lower wait times by offering additional rewards for queuing as the currently least represented role. To be eligible for the additional rewards you must solo queue for a random level-85 Heroic in the role that is currently being Called to Arms, and complete the dungeon by killing the final boss. Every time you hit these requirements (there is no daily limit) you’ll receive a goodie bag that will contain some gold, a chance at a rare gem, a chance at a flask/elixir (determined by spec), a good chance of receiving a non-combat pet (including cross faction pets), and a very rare chance at receiving a mount. The pets offered come from a wide variety of sources, and include companions like the Razzashi Hatchling, Cockatiel, and Tiny Sporebat, but the mounts are those specifically only available through dungeons (not raids), like the Reins of the Raven Lord from Sethekk Halls, Swift White Hawkstrider from Magister’s Terrace, and Deathcharger’s Reins from Stratholme.

Allow me to use this YouTube video to express my reaction:

Moving on:

This system is meant to address the unacceptable queue times currently being experienced by those that queue for the DPS role at max level. The long queue times are, of course, caused by a very simple lack of representation in the Dungeon Finder by tanks, and to some extent healers. We don’t feel the tanking and healing roles have any inherent issues that are causing the representation disparity, except that fulfilling them carries more responsibility. Understandably, players prefer to take on that responsibility in more organized situations than what the Dungeon Finder offers, but perhaps we can bribe them a little. While this system gives tanks and healers something extra, the incentive is being provided so that we can help players in the DPS role get into more dungeons, get better gear, and continue progressing.

While the gold, gems, flasks, and elixirs are OK incentives, we knew we needed something more substantial. We had briefly considered Valor Points and epics, but decided that wouldn’t be working toward the goal of helping DPS players progress, and ultimately wouldn’t keep tanks and healers in the Dungeon Finder system for very long. We settled on pets and dungeon-found mounts as they’re cosmetic/achievement items that players tend to try to get on their own, so why not change that up and offer them a chance to get some of those elusive pets and mounts in a way that also helps other players? Even if they don’t get a pet or mount, or get one they already have, the gold and other goodies still feel rewarding enough that it won’t feel like a waste of effort.

We think it’s a pretty solid incentive to get tanks and healers queuing, give max-level players another way to collect the pets and mounts they so desire, and above all, to improve wait times for DPS players sitting in queues. In the case of lower level dungeons, it’s actually not uncommon for DPS to be the least represented role, and so if this new system works out and we’re pleased with the results, we may consider applying this same mechanic to lower level dungeons as well.

Wow. Color me impressed. That’s really something, and personally I think the lure of loot just may work. After all, it worked during Wrath to get people to actually stay and finish The Oculus, why won’t it work here?

Blizzard’s 20 Year Anniversary Retrospective

Can you believe Blizzard, the company that’s brought us World of Warcraft and a litany of other games from Starcraft to Diablo and everything in between is now 20 years old?

The company’s been turning out quality titles for longer than a number of its customers have been alive, and over at the Battle.net WoW Blog we get to take a peek into the history of Blizzard, its franchises, and its workings over the years, from a small gaming company to a massive gaming powerhouse with not just one, but three unstoppable titles under its belt.

Head over to the Blizzard 20th Anniversary Site to see the retrospective video!

update: We just found the retrospective video on YouTube; check it out below!

4.7 Million Copies of Cataclysm Sold in the First Month

According to Blizzard, Cataclysm had quite the launch, selling 4.7 million copies in December alone, making it one of the best selling video games of all time. Here’s the word from the press release:

Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced that World of Warcraft®: Cataclysm™, the third expansion for the critically acclaimed massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), has sold through more than 4.7 million copies as of its first month of release, setting a new record for monthly PC-game sales.*

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm was simultaneously released in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Europe, Russia, Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand on December 7, and became available in Korea and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau on December 9. With day-one sales topping 3.3 million copies,* World of Warcraft: Cataclysm became the fastest-selling PC game of all time, shattering the previous record, which was held by the second World of Warcraft expansion, Wrath of the Lich King®.

That’s a pretty big number. No doubt that the simultaneous global release had something to do with it, but honestly I don’t think anything else should have been expected. The game – like any Blizzard game or expansion pack – was highly anticipated, and we had been looking forward to it for ages.

The release goes on to point out:

“We created thousands of new quests, introduced new lands to explore, and extensively revamped the game world for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, making it our biggest and most ambitious expansion yet,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We’ve been floored by the community’s response so far, and we’d like to thank them for their continued passion and support for World of Warcraft, and for helping Cataclysm reach this incredible milestone.”

Prior to the launch of Cataclysm, World of Warcraft’s subscriber population had grown to more than 12 million players globally, further strengthening the game’s position as the world’s most popular subscription-based MMORPG.

That does raise an interesting question though – only about a third of the overall population of the game is playing Cataclysm, in that case – so what’s everyone else doing? Waiting to buy the game, or what?

Then again, you could look at the flip side there and note that a third of the game’s population opted to pick up the latest expansion and features in the first month they were available, so there’s that too.

What about you? Have you purchased Cataclysm yet? Are you planning to? Let us know in the comments!

Discussion :: To Rush to 85 or Take it Slowly?


(image courtesy of RipTen)

Now that we’ve all had our noses down in Cataclysm for at least a couple of weeks and more and more level 85s are beginning to appear all over the World of Warcraft, I have to ask the question: are you pushing your main to 85 first, or are you spending more time leveling a new race or playing a new race/class combination that you weren’t able to play before?

News has it that the World First Level 85 was earned inside of 6-hours from the game’s official launch, meaning that before most of us even woke up or slogged through the queues to get a chance to play, someone had already hit the level cap again. Granted, Realm First titles varied across servers, but it certainly seems like a number of people are rushing to the finish line so they can get started running dungeons and heroics.

Then again, there are other folks I’ve spoken to who are so busy happily leveling Goblins and Worgen to give a damn about the current state of endgame – claiming there’ll be plenty of time to hit the level cap, and there’s no sense in driving to 85 when the expansion is still brand new.

What do you think? How have you been spending your time in Cataclysm, or how do you intend to spend it when you finally install it? Shout it out in the comments.

Blizzard Unveils World of Warcraft Game Guide

One of the features recently added to the new community site is Blizzard’s brand new World of Warcraft Game Guide, which is designed to give people who may not be familiar with the now 6-year-old MMORPG an idea of what the game is, what MMORPGs are, and what all the fuss is about.

The guide walks you through what World of Warcraft is, how you play the game and how to interact with people in the game, and offers a great resource for people who either just don’t get why people love this game, or – heaven forbid – just don’t know what the game is about or why you should play. The new guide also branches off to race and class specific pages so you can learn more about the races in Azeroth and the classes you can choose to play in the game.

In the end, it’s a perfect resource if you’re trying to entice new players, or if you’re faced off against someone who doesn’t seem to understand and you want something they can read so you don’t have to explain to them.

Cataclysm Collector’s Edition, Unboxed!

Most of us are wringing our hands, waiting patiently for our copies of Cataclysm to be delivered, or for the new servers to go live and for those of us doing the digital upgrade to be able to play and access all of the new content – we still have at least 12 hours to go before the first of us get to play Cataclysm, but the folks over at Gearlog got their hands on a copy of the Cataclysm Collector’s Edition nice and early, and have tons of unboxing photos to share!

If you’re a fan of unboxing porn, and I don’t know who really isn’t, this is an article worth drooling over.

The collector’s edition has all of the goodies we’ve come to expect in a box like this, including the gorgeous stylized box that will fit right in with the collectors editions of the other expansions, a beautiful hardcover artbook, the behind the scenes DVD and the beautiful soundtrack (that we know we’ll love – the music for Cataclysm is already well loved,) guest passes, WoW TCG cards, and more, including the Lil’ Deathwing in-game pet.

Check out all of the photos over at Gearlog!

Lil’ Ragnaros and Moonkin Hatchling Available in the Blizzard Store!

Look into those eyes. You know you want one. You know you need him by your side while you traipse around the new Azeroth, keeping him safe from harm. And now you can have one! The Moonkin Hatchling and the Lil’ Ragnaros are both available in the Blizzard Store for $10 USD each.

Once you pay, you’ll get a little present to your Battle.net account when you log in to the game with your new companion. Both are only available as digital downloads, and once you buy one you get the companion on all characters associated with your Battle.net account, current or future.

Will you be picking up one of the new companions, or is ten bucks a little steep for an in-game pet? Let us know in the comments!

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.