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Reading everything. Even the harsh things. Especially the harsh things. I understand you just want to keep enjoying a game you love.
2 hr 31 min ago
, Lead Game Designer
It's a holiday weekend here so there won't be an immediate response, but please know you aren't being ignored.
2 hr 33 min ago
, Lead Game Designer
the new interview with
said there are lots of new rep factions in Tanaan. When will these be added to the PTR?
1 day ago
They’ll start showing up in the next PTR build – we’re still fleshing them out.
1 day ago
Any plans on making BRF/HM bosses do less damage and have less health, in patch 6.2, like we had in Mists of Pandaria Raids?
2 days ago
Yes, there will be a zone-wide debuff on Foundry/Highmaul enemies, like we did to Throne of Thunder in 5.4.
1 day ago
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BlizzCon 2011: Exclusive Interview with Dave Kosak, WoW Lead Quest Designer
2011/10/23 at 3:38 PM
Saturday afternoon, I was fortunate enough to get a one-on-one interview with Dave Kosak, WoW Lead Quest Designer, before his Lore and Story Q&A. Ashelia and I brainstormed some questions together before I sat down with Dave. During the interview, I made sure to ask him about some of our favorite--and least favorite--questing experiences, as well as how they were handling phasing and truly epic questlines in Mists of Pandaria. I hope you enjoy reading the summarizes of his responses--he shared details unreleased at BlizzCon such as a potential new MoP faction, the Lorewalkers!
We were also able to attend a group Q+A with J. Allen Brack and Jay Wilson about World of Warcraft and Diablo III. We've got the all the answers under the break--some of the information was already covered in other panels, so be sure to check our full coverage for details.
Exclusive Interview with Dave Kosak
Q: It's always been a struggle to make players feel like they truly impact the world. How are you showcasing this in MoP? Do the zones progress and change depending on questlines? What about phasing?
A:One thing we always struggle with--is we have this tool, phasing, but a large problem is that it separates players easily. Phasing, as I tell my team, is the story sledgehammer. You don't need a tool that big. Don't try to layer progression in a way that splits up the world. We're trying to have more questing like the 4.2 Molten Front dailies, in which players progressed in a zone but could still see their friends. In addition, the phasing in the starting zone, as you saw on the demo, is not as extreme as in the goblin and worgen starting zones. For example, the Temple at the center of Pandaria lights up more and more as you find elemental spirits. It's a subtle form of phasing. If we did extreme phasing, players would be lost in such a new zone early on. We're always looking for balance, in ways that don't intrude upon gameplay.
The starting zone is interesting because of how the Pandaren love balance and inner peace--which is new to WoW. It's their survival mechanism against the negative energy of the sha.
Q: As a side note, how is something like an undead or dwarf monk going to work, especially after the Pandaren Monk starting experience is so different? Controversial race/class combos like Night Elf Mages were introduced without much fanfare and didn't quite integrate.
A: It's actually not super complicated--there will be Pandaren representatives, or ambassadors, in the starting area.
Q: In Cata, you removed unique class quests for abilities--such as rogues getting poison out in Westfall by taking a tower. Will there ever be unique and personalized questlines not attached to extreme methods of lore such as the new legendaries?
First off, we love class quests. However, if you do it right, it takes a lot of time. If you look at doing a cool story chain, it's weeks of work. So it comes down to: content for classes, or half a zone. We love the idea, but we're always struggling with how much we can do.
As a side note, the quests for the rogue legendary are very cool--so you're in luck!
Q: In the Q&A, people brought up class questlines. Is there any plan to do quests for upgraded armor, much like how level 60's dungeon sets were upgradable into alternate colors through a complex questline? The .5 armor questline was one of my favorite in the game and class questlines helped players grow.
A: That would be a good question for the item team--they've been exploring many ways for players to continuously upgrade your armor. As for class questlines--we're thinking of implementing Training Grounds Missions--special kinds of missions for tanks or healers to learn your class and see how you stack up. It's thematically perfect. It's also a nice contrast to Scenarios, in which players can group together to quest regardless of the player's role.
Q: Scepter questline was by far the best questline in the game. Any plans to redo it, since it was removed from Cata, or perhaps make a questline that is as ridiciously in-depth, wild, and nuanced--sort of a heroic questline/hardmode questing for players just for the heck of it? Such a questline would be great if
A: We're not sure how it will play out, but there's an idea for a faction called the Lorewalkers. The Pandaren are a race with an amazing verbal tradition--they're storytellers. And the Lorewalkers are bent on exploring the world, finding things and relics, filling out libraries. You won't use this faction to get best-in-slot gear, but in finding and returning books, you'll act out all of the new stories. If you are interested in the lore, this is for you. If you just care about the gear, you can skip them--and it's fine. I'm not sure how this will play out, but I've spent a lot of time--including dressing up as a Pandaren to work--to push this idea.
Q: How do you decide the depth of a legendary questline? Some are really simple, such as Val'anyr, despite how hard it was to get. Meanwhile, Shadowmourne had four rewards and made people a fortune. Why are some less legendary than others?
A: We're always playing with different ideas for legendaries. When it comes down to it, it's specialized content for people that raid. What's the best way to spend our time? We've probably spent a little too much (fun) time on legendary questlines in Cataclysm, but it's worth it for the player--and players that don't raid extensively, can access some of the solo questing options and lore in the early stages of these legendary chains.
Q: We loved the class quest mounts for Warlock and Paladin. Are you ever going to add more quests for mounts--faction or race specific?
A: Going back to your earlier question--probably not specific for class, but we do have ideas for interesting questlines at max level for players to customize their own flying mount. It's always a balance of wanting to create more content that the most players can experience--quests for flying mounts should reach a lot of people.
Q: Are there any plans to redo Alterac Valley with more quests? Some of those quests were truly awesome and it feels like they became obsolete but still lurk around for years now.
A: I don't think we'll revise Alterac Valley anytime soon. This was before my time at Blizzard, but the original idea was that everyone would be questing while PvPing, but that fell short. Eventually people simplified it and found one good way to win. Now, Tol Barad is another example of questing while PvPing that has worked better. We don't have plans yet for an elaborate questing PvP hub at the start of 5.0, but we definitely want to step it up mid-expansion.
Q: Last question: Diablo III made questing completely different. They're different games, but do you plan on giving players more of a voice and involving dialogue more in the game much like how D3 does?
A: One issue with dialogue is that the quest process is iterative. We're constantly changing quests a lot, playing through. It's very difficult to surround the player in WoW with a story primarily told with a full voice. We don't want the story delivered via quest text box--we're instead trying to incorporate lots of the story around you in different ways. Such as via the environment and the new Lorewalker faction.
It's a neat idea though, but full dialogue would slow down the questing experience too much in WoW.
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BlizzCon 2011: Mists of Pandaria and What We Know
2011/10/21 at 1:52 PM
Update: we had a huge day of panels on Saturday as well. We also have a
Mists of Pandaria talent calculator
Cheat Sheet for Mists of Pandaria
Rather than force you to sift through liveblogs and official previews, Perculia and Ashelia have broken down exactly what is coming with Mists of Pandaria. Find out what's happening, what you'll be doing, and more with this first peak cheat sheet we've included right here at the top of the post.
And, of course, Perculia got some immediate hands-on time with the starting zone. Word on the street is that she rolled around a lot and had a blast--but maybe you should read her actual preview below!
Pandarens and Pandaria
Leveling in Pandaria
Pandaria has been shrouded in a mist. The alliance and horde wash up on the shores of Pandaria during a naval battle. They immediately want it for their own for the war--so they are going to destroy the pandaren to get its resources!
I was able to test out most of the starting zone in the press room--here's my thoughts!
Pandaria starts off in a similar manner to the Deathknight starting zone--defeating initiates, learning more about the philosophy, completing quests for a master trainer.
Players read four scrolls explaining the philosophy of the four elementals.
You're tasked to fetch a wilting lotus--the first sign of death in Pandaria.
This leads to an epic series to seek out the four elemental spirits, who are faded and must be reunited to be saved.
Huo, the fire spirit.
Master Li Fei teaches you to meditate and strengthen your character--instead of just focusing on physical training to succeed.
Once your character has sufficiently meditated and adjusted, you are able to summon and defeat Huo, who then escorts you to the Temple of the Five Dawns in the center of the zone. It's a gorgeous temple reached by winding staircases.
She, the water spirit.
You'll need to purify her cursed pools, meditate, and find companions for her to play with.
There's some creative questing in there. One quest makes the player hop between poles over water, taking care to watch out for balancing Pandaren hopping around on other poles. Another quest makes you wait patiently for a darting spirit to come over in the water--if you follow it, you will be unable to catch it, but if you learn the spirit's spiriting patterns, you can grab it easily.
Wuguo, the earth spirit
After you fight verming, the Pandaria equivalent of kobolds, you're tasked to wake Wuguo up--but nothing works, including ringing gongs and slapping oxen, until the water spirit helps.
At this point, there were some placeholder quest summaries that hint at fun cutscenes to come.
Dafeng, the spirit of air.
As you reach his secret hiding place, you learn that the Hozu, a type of hostile monkey, have defiled many of the scrolls of wisdom at Morning Breeze Village.
You destroy the bad scrolls the Hozu have instead written with funny sayings like "Peel Banana, Eat Second" and "Wet Fur Not to Sleep On."
This really shows off the use of the Spinning Crane Kick--as mobs are grouped together that have low HP.
After destroying the Hozu in Fe-Fang village, you are ready to reach Dafeng who is scared of the Onyx Serpent.
In reaching his inner sanctum, you learn to be patient and wait for harsh winds to part, which would damage and eventually kill you otherwise. This seems to be a decent way of introducing new players to raid mechanics.
(At this point, I got the special Blizzcon 2011 achievement, Panda Express, for having my Pandaren roll 100 times!)
You defeat the Onyx Serpent, perhaps a bit anticlimactically, by shooting fireworks into the air.
At this point, your trainer returns and you escort him to the Western Grove.
You cleanse the area of bad spirits and hear him talk how his time has come to pass his knowledge down and step down in an extended dialogue.
You learn that Shen'zin Su, the great turtle, is in extreme danger--but nobody has spoken to him for years.
You accompany Aysa and Ji, past questgivers, in a hot air balloon over the water, listening as they ask Shen'zin what ails him. He's in pain, but glad generations have not forgotten him. He talks how a pain is in his side--and the thorn is in the forest.
The Alliance and the Horde enter. The Skyfire has crashed and you're tasked to accompany the curious Pandaren to see what these new invaders want.
I was asked to stop playing at this point to let others in the queue have a chance, but we know that at Level 10, you eventually choose which faction to join--which cannot be reversed.
Can Blizzard create a starting zone that remains immersive while introducing radically different lore and aesthetics?
Emphasized philosophy and lifestyle of the Pandaren, with many quests that emphasize the importance of balance, patience, and strength of character.
Sample quotes include: "Train as if the air, always present, ever flowing," "life is about creating yourself, not finding yourself," "forget injuries never forget kindness."
Appearance: lush groves interspersed with shimmering waterfalls and rustic towns. The zone is rich in primary hues--the temples are bright blue and red, while the plant life is emerald green, uncorrupted by many of the evils of Azeroth.
There will be five new zones that feature the Pandaren's Asian-inspired landscapes, as well as the starting zone covered above and a central quest hub.
The Jade Forest: Level 85-86
Players will first enter Pandaria through the Jade Forest. This zone features lush rainforests and statuesque stone spires. The Alliance and Horde will ally themselves with the indigenous creatures to fight a war with lasting consequences to the Jade Forest, and possibly the rest of Pandaria as well.
Valley of the Four Winds: Level 86-87
Featuring lush farmland in the north and dense jungles along the coast to the south, the fertile Valley of the Four Winds is the breadbasket of Pandaria. Players will join Chen Stormstout to discover his family’s roots at the legendary Stormstout Brewery. Meanwhile, trouble is also brewing along the great wall that protects the Pandaren Empire from the mantid swarms to the west….
Located atop Kun-Lai Summit
Six boss raid
Explore the hidden secrets of the Mogu empire
Located in Kun-Lai Summit Mountain
Help the Shado-pan fight the evil Sha, that have escaped
While you might laugh at first that the new class is a race of pandas--think again. They're a peaceful race who have lived undisturbed for thousands of years, now rudely interrupted by the presence of the Alliance and the Horde.
Pandaren characters can be hunters, mages, monks, priests, rogues, shaman, and warriors.
After completing the starting zone, Pandaren can choose to permanently join either the Alliance or the Horde.
Bouncy: reduces fall damage by half.
Inner peace: double lasting rested XP.
Gourmond: +15 to cooking.
Epicurean: double stats to food buffs.
Quaking Palm: some crowd control, puts enemies to sleep for four seconds then does damage.
The Mogu were the original race twelve thousand years ago and they want their island back from the pandaren.
The Sha will be negative energy and it will be a shadow form that players fight; the alliance & horde will actually increase this.
They use chi as a resource (similar to energy/rage/etc).
They have stances, like Drunken Tiger/Ox
Two types of forces: Light and Dark.
You start off with Jab and Tiger Palm as a Monk, getting new abilities every few levels.
Jab: You jab the target dealing 11 damage and generating 1 light force and 1 dark force. Cost: 40 chi.
Tiger Palm: Attack with the palm of your hand, dealing 23 physical damage. Deals 12 additional damage if the target is above 50% health. Cost: 1 light force.
Roll: This is pretty fun--lets you move faster and is cosmetically awesome. Cost: 50 chi.
Blackout Kick: Kick with a blast of sha energy. causing 39 physical damage to an enemy target. If the target is killed by blackout kick, you are refunded 1 dark force.
Clobber: Melee stave ability--generates both light and dark forces.
Spinning Crane Kick: Spin while kicking in air--movement speed reduced by 30%. Bonus--no cooldown.
Flying Serpent Kick: Soar towards enemy stun for 2 sec.
Monks can be one of the following three roles:
Windwalker: Melee DPS
Monks benefit from leather armor with either agility or intellect.
Races that can be monks: draenei, dwarf, gnome, human, night elf, blood elf, orc, tauren, troll, and undead.
Blizzard wants to make character progression more fun and balanced for all types of players--from the hardcore to the casual.
Achievements will now become available at the Battle.net account level. Many achievements will be shared among characters, including those for raiding and maxing out professions.
Pet Battle System
This system will work much like a Secondary profession and any player can participate.
Players will be able utilize their current non-combat pets or capture new non-combat pets to level them and battle them against others.
Don’t count on flying until you reach max level.
Future faction reputation will be earned through gameplay, without the need to utilize a tabard to grind rep.
It will be a base stat, so as you level you get some. PvE gear will not be the best, but you will be able to use it for entry-level PvP.
Ranged Weapons. Hunter minimum range is gone. Hunter melee weapon is gone. Ranged slot for all classes gone. Relics are gone. Wands will become actual weapons, like mainhands.
Warlocks will now have a unique resource for each spec. Affliction - Soul Shards. Demonology - Demonic Fury. Destruction - Infernal Embers.
Shaman will no longer have buff totems. All totems will be redone. Earthgrab totem - roots> Repulsion totem - repels. Bulwark totem - absorbs.
Druids now have four specs. feral - cat DPS. Guardian - bear tank.
Spell books for all classes are changed; rotations improved; and more.
The specialization abilities you learn will be largely comprised of old talents players should have, as well as core class abilities that not every spec needs.
The goal is to have everyone have different talents and character customization.
Death knights will get different themed talents with each talent tier; for example, level 90 is all about slowing down your enemies.
There are a lot of new druid abilities and significant changes. Treants will be able to be used in every spec; incarnation is a talent that changes per spec; even bear themed talents are cool. For example, Ursol's Vortex will pull enemies into you with wind; can be used in any form.
Hunters will get new types of arrows--e.g. arcane or frost, depending on what they want. Enhanced spirit bond if you choose it or a different aspect. Pets will no longer be tied to types, rather, the hunter decides what he wants them to do (i.e. spiders for PvP will now be used in PvE).
Every talent is themed toward a spec of fire, arcane, or frost. Polymorph even has its own tier. For example, "Sickly Polymoph" will make their health not regen; "Heavy Polymorphed" stuns; "Double Polymorph" lets you have two sheep at once.
Paladins finally get a hamstring through SoC. Blessed Life became a talent that shares with Sacred Shield and Ardent Defender. Flash of Light is now the only paladin heal that's non-talented, so rets and prots will not have things like Divine Light.
Priests were changed the most drastically to make the two different healing specs unique. Power Infusion will be available to any spec. New healing spell that will swap your health with the target's called Void Shift, totally wild.
Rogues benefit a lot, as many of their cool spells were in the oft useless subtly tree. Huge changes to spells like Killing Spree, as you now manually teleport versus automatically.
Shaman get a lot more utility. They will be able to pull out a defensive totem then put it back and have it only eat into its uptime; for example, if they pulled out a totem and then a priest barriered, a good shaman could pull it back and save the CD.
Warlocks get new pets through the new talents, such as Grimoire of Service which lets you have two pets out at the same time or Grimoire of Supremacy which gives warlocks entirely new demons!
Main inspiration is to choose what style of warrior you want to be; to be three classes in one.
Players will be able to choose a specialization at level 10.
This gives them a new spec ability and opening up new options within that spec.
There will be a single talent tree per class in which players will earn talents every 15 levels.
Each talent opens up one of three different available options within the tree for further specialization within the chosen spec.
No mandatory talents or cookie cutter specs.
Starting with Mists of Pandaria, players will no longer spend talent points.
For each set of three talents players unlock, they will get to choose one talent to activate, for a total of six active talents at level 90.
A big benefit of removing talent points is that it allows us to let players "re-talent" with more flexibility.
Talent ranks have been completely removed.
Additional spec abilities will become available as characters levels. Some of these may be existing talents, while others may be older core abilities that are more situational.
After players have activated their talents, they won't be completely locked into their choices as they are now.
Talents can be changed out when switching specs, as well as when running dungeons, raids, and battlegrounds.
The idea is to make players choose from three talents. For example, Throwdown would be a crowd control ability any spec warrior could get; however, it would have two other choices to get that also CC.
You will access stuff you never could before and create new combinations. It's a mix-and-match system at the crux of it.
The new expansion will introduce three new Raid dungeons and nine new dungeons with six of these being located within Pandaria.
The intention is to open up multiple opportunities for max-level players to take part in a variety of progression options.
Dungeon Challenge Modes will let those looking for a deeper challenge take on dungeon runs with specific goals (complete dungeon in X minutes) and reward players who accomplish these goals with Bronze, Silver, or Gold medals.
Challengers will also find their gear scaled to equalize the difficulty of the encounter for all players, creating a level playing field.
Rewards: Uniquely designed statless gear that can be utilized with Transmogrification to further define the look of a character.
Heroic Dungeons will become easier for pick-up-groups (PuGs) to take on.
Random queues will not apply to TBC and Wrath raids--the queue would be too long.
The disparity between 10s and 25s will perhaps be addressed for server firsts--some fights are easier on one raid size and that's unfair when guilds of different sizes must compete against each other.
No level 90 normal-mode dungeons--people will just go straight to heroics and challenge modes.
Difficult to toggle hardmodes like Freya +3 Ulduar model--it's much clearer to just submit it to heroic or normal versus wait to a health percentage.
Scholomance and Scarlet Monastery will be new heroic dungeons in MoP, similar to Deadmines and SFK in Cataclysm.
Three new battlegrounds have been added:
Stranglethorn Diamond Mines: “Payload” gameplay
STV Diamond would be a mine with multiple tracks; the first team to get the cart to the end would win. Players would have to move carts, split the tracks, and escort the carts.
Valley of Power: “Murderball” gameplay
Valley of Power would be located in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Murderball where you hold the object for as long as possible, taking more damage the longer you hold it.
Azshara Crater: DOTA-style gameplay
New Arena: The Tol’vir Proving Grounds will utilize the sweeping vistas of Uldum and the Tol’vir art style with a simple layout based on Nagrand Arena.
May be able to quest in raid group.
The focus will be shifting to creating more repeatable max-level content while providing incentives for all players.
Quests on Pandaria will provide a less linear experience, with multiple quest hubs to choose from.
Scenarios will allow small groups of players to adventure together in short instances, with progressive objectives and a story arc.
Scenarios are completely role-less, meaning tanks or healers aren’t necessary to succeed -- any class combinations can work.
Smaller scenarios will play similar to group quests and will help players earn faction reputation.
Larger scenarios will play out like epic PvE battlegrounds with major objectives and plenty of scripted event.
Hit the break for official blogs, trailers, and more!
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