The following is a chat log from the Blizzard World of Warcraft Developer Chat (hosted by WarCry) of 20th December 2005.
Teleios: Hi everyone! I want to welcome you all to World of Warcraft WarCry IRC where we are proud to host a dev chat with Blizzard. This will be a moderated chat and we will be filtering questions so I ask that you use the utmost respect and courtesy while answering your questions.
Teleios: I invite you all to chit-chat in #warcry while the devchat is going on and to check out the http://wow.warcry.com website, visit the forums and check out our awesome deveolper approved databases at wow.warcry.com/db/.
Teleios: Before we begin, I will explain the process. The chat will last about 1 hour. If you have a question you will send a PM to your designated [QT] or [Question Taker]. Please, only PM the questiontaker that you have been designated.
Teleios: If you have any other questions/comments please send me a message.
Teleios: At this time, I'd like to take a moment and introduce the developer who will be joining us
Teleios: We have, Thundgot, Tyren, Vaneck, Caydiem, Tigole and Kalgan. Each of them will give a brief introduction now.
Tigole: I'm the Lead Designer responsible for World Design -- quests, outdoor zones, dungeons, raids etc. =]
Kalgan: I'm the Lead Designer responsible for game systems -- character classes, combat, items, pvp, auctions, mail system, and world events
Caydiem: I'm Caydiem, the Assistant Community Manager for World of Warcraft. I manage the official forums and handle feedback between developer and player. :)
Kalgan: etc ;]
Caydiem: The North American forums, that is. ;)
[BCM]Tyren: Hey all, I'm Tyren one of the NA CMs!
[BCM]Thundgot: Hi folks. I'm Thundgot, the English language community manager for Europe. *waves* :)
[BCM]Vaneck: Hiho. I am Vaneck, Community Manager, German. Managing the German speaking forums in Europe.
Teleios: The Devs will not be accepting PMs so do not send them a PM at this time, we'll go ahead and start answering some of your questions.
[BCM]Tyren: Now onto the good part!
Teleios: Many players disagree with the new "Raid Schedule" in 1.9 I understand that you put it in place to stop cascading. However, you are now dictating to players when they "HAVE" to raid, which is never a good thing. Is this change something that you feel is temporary or can we expect to see this stay in place permanently? As more raid content is added to the game this "Schedule" is going to be more and more of a problem for raiding guilds
Tigole: I think initially the guilds will have to adjust to the new raid schedule, however, the change is an overall good one for the game. For the most part, the raid schedule will feel seamless to a lot of guilds. We try to schedule resets during off hours and during server maintenance. The reality is, most MC guilds can clear the zone in under two days.
[qt]patman: [Legorol] Has asked: Could you comment on how much attention in general is Blizzard paying to UI modifications and AddOns, and how important a segment of the customer base are the AddOn users and especially the AddOn developers? (Lot of whom get at least half of their enjoyment of WoW by tinkering with it)
Tigole: We constantly read the UI sites to see what our players want. Not only that, but we use those mods ourselves to enhance our own play experience. Obviously, if we feel anything is absolutely *needed* to play the game, we try to encorporate it into the WoW UI. But we've been loving what the community has produced thus far.
Teleios: Do they have a concise reason for the buff of dispel spells (mana-wise), and the disabling of the mod decursive? A PvP balancing issue that greatly effects a PvE enviroment seems a tad wrong.
Kalgan: We felt that the mana cost for the dispel abilities was too high in general for both pve and pvp. Although this wasn't a significant balance problem in solo or small group pve cases, the cost was simply too low for the raid and pvp cases. That being said, we feel that the new costs are also quite reasonable for solo use too.
Kalgan: correction: the mana cost was too low in general
Kalgan: not too high!
Tigole: oh man we're doomed with that misquote =P
Kalgan: what? who? where am i?
Teleios: The Hunter Demon quest appears to be uniquely designed in comparison to other encounters in the game. Triggered effects based on attacks used and an AoE explosion to prevent intervention by other players. I found this a creative change to the game, but inconsistent with the rest of the gameplay. Will future zones have more encounters like the hunter demons? Why or why not? - AlexanderYoshi
Tigole: The Hunter and Priest quests had some pretty unique elements to them. As always, we're trying to develop new and interesting ways for people to complete quests. We'll always be evolving our quest theory and trying new things out. The funnest stuff will get repeated in newer and cooler ways.
Teleios: It's been mentioned a few times at blizzcon and in magazines that cross-server battlegrounds are something that Blizzard very much wants to implement if at all possible. Have cross server battlegrounds gotten any closer to being a reality?
Kalgan: Yes, I can say that cross server battlegrounds have gotten closer to being a reality. However, even assuming no other obstacles come up it'll still be a while before they're ready.
Teleios: Hello from Darkspear, and thanks for coming today. A lot of the WoW population is very sad with the de-emphasised spontaenous World PVP and the need to grind in the Battlegrounds to find any sort of PVP action. I hear there are plans to bring this aspect of the game back to life (perhaps ridding us of those pesky DK's and increasing the Honor for kills outside of the BGs?). Could we get any details on this at this time?
Kalgan: Yes, there are plans to add outdoor pvp objectives. Although we don't intend for it to happen in the form of endless beatdowns of questgivers, we do intend to give players specific pvp objectives related to towns and other outdoor locations.
Teleios: Nefarion Phase 2 "once per day", however there never was a timer and Nefarion solely respawns after an instance reset (meaning you can actually retry it after 30 minutes waiting outside the instance). I would like to know if this is a bug or working as intended.
Tigole: There's been a lot of debate over Nefarian lately. Technically, in the current build on servers, you should only be allowed one try per day once he takes flight. However, people have been flipping the instance to get more tries. In an upcoming patch we'll be changing it so that you won't have to flip the instance to get additional tries. We don't want to punish people for having flipped the instance to beat the encounter, yet we don't want to force
Tigole: we don't want to force people to do something wonky like that in the future.
[QT]Phenom`: Question submitted by [Arcanes]Mandor. Thank you.
Teleios: How do developers argue the fact that the paladin class - renowned for low DPS - is now the only tank class in game whichs tnaking is based on its damage? Also, several protection tree talent require to be crit in order to work, which is in direct contradiction to tanking (= not wanting to be crit). Are there any plans to change this? -Assassinette
Kalgan: It's important to us that even when different classes share a role, that they share that role in a way where the gameplay feels different.
Kalgan: I understand that many paladins would like a "snap agro" ability, but we're very leary of the dangers of making the classes too similar to each other, since it's not something that can be easily undone.
Kalgan: So, for now, we'd like to tune the abilities the paladin has now to ensure that they can be as effective *as necessary* to fulfil the role of tanks in a 5-man instance.
Kalgan: If more changes are required in order to meet this objective, then we'll continue to make changes.
Teleios: Xen: Are they planning to add back story for gnome race explaining origins of the gnomes like Uldaman does with dwarves?
Tigole: There's actually a gnome backstory in place. Gnomeregan used to be their home city. When the Trogg invasion began, they tried to develop a weapon of mass destruction and failed. Instead of nuking the Troggs, they nuked themselves! =[
Tigole: You probably just missed those questgivers
Tigole: because they are so short
Tigole: remember that from zork? =P
Teleios: In end-game raiding, almost every class can be replaced--albeit with difficulty. Enough Paladins/Shamans/Druids can make up for a lack of Priests, enough Mages or Warlocks can compensate for the lack of the other if there are enough Warriors present to offtank adds that would normally be banished/sheeped etc... however, the Warrior class is absolutely irreplaceable. Is there any reason behind that design choice?
Kalgan: Actually, in raid encounters we generally intend that all classes be present. While it's true that some substutions are easier than others, it's also true that in the vast majority of encounters needing one warrior doesn't always mean all subsequent warriors are absolutely essential.
Tigole: In patch 1.9 we actually added a few encounters that cannot be tanked by warriors >=]
Kalgan: We understand that everyone wants to feel "necessary" in a raid, but the reality is that most of a player's contribution comes from how well that player plays that character, regardless of the class (since there's room for all kinds of characters).
Kalgan: ... and what tigole said... so take it warriors!
Kalgan: (here's where some warrior learns to tank said encounter) ;]
Teleios: any hopes of adding Darkmoon Faire profession turn-ins for alchemy, tailoring and enchanting?
Tigole: We hope to expand on many things in the Darkmoon Faire. We se that event as an opportunity to expand in the future. We have a lot of ideas of things we'd like to add. It's just a matter of finding the time.
Tigole: The cannon is a good example of something we added later
Tigole: because corpses all over mulgore are fun!
[BCM]Tyren: They are fun
Caydiem: I disagree about the fun factor of corpses in my homeland.
[BCM]Thundgot: It's fine. Learn to aim.
Teleios: I find that 5 man instances can be the most enjoyable of all, and can be very challenging. Unfortunatly none of the current instances offer any rewards worthwhile to characters at level 60 who have progressed to molten core and onyxia. Are there any plans to add anything of that type in the future.
Kalgan: Yes. We plan to introduce some cool new quests that introduce a new armor set that is a step above the current dungeon armor set. These quests will involve both solo and 5 person instances, with a few new twists.
[BCM]Tyren: i can hear the gasps of surprise and joy
Kalgan: Oh yes, and parts of these sets may be interesting to MC/onyxia players.
Teleios: [Giolon] Tigole mentioned that he felt the panther and tiger bosses in ZG were a tad on the hard side. Is there any opinion on the difficulty of Jin'do the Hexxer, who is considered by many players to be far tougher than anything else in the dungeon?
Tigole: The Tiger and Panther bosses are part of the core progression of the zone. You must kill them in order to kill Hakkar (or at least, killing them makes that more possible). But Jin'do is an *optional* boss. We feel that with an optional boss like that, we can make the encounter more difficult yet reward you for it at the same time.
Tigole: Jin'do's loot is pretty phat =P
Tigole: Actually, the Bloodlord was intended to be harder than he currently is... because he too is optional
Teleios: Are there any plans to fix rogue poisons to stay applied across instance lines or has that been scrapped due to technical issues? - Murr from Hyjal
Kalgan: ... but he gets pwnd with ez =[
Kalgan: Yes, we plan to allow rogue poisons to persist accross instance boundaries and continent crossings.
Kalgan: Unfortunately it's not as simple as we'd like it to be (getting "temporary enchantments" to persist like that), but we are working on it.
Kalgan: "we" being the programmers (go team!)
[BCM]Tyren: So rogues, put away your Tyren effigies!
Caydiem: They were switched to Caydiem effigies anyway.
[BCM]Tyren: my plan is coming together >=)
Teleios: Geek33: What's the lore behind the Black Morass?
Tigole: The Black Morass used to be the area where the Black Portal now is in the Blasted Lands along with the Swamp of Sorrows. That used to be one region of Azeroth. But the tumultuous opening of the Dark Portal by Medivh caused the Black Morass to become the Blasted Lands.
Tigole: We're hoping to revive the Black Morass in the Burning Crusade through the Caverns of Time
Tigole: errrr Dark Portal... not Black
Tigole: Metzen just kicked me
[BCM]Tyren: the mountable reindeer...
Teleios: My question is simple: When the mage review arrives, will the trees be revamped so all of our magic schools will be addressed properly? Via putting all of the damage bonuses in 1 tree, the utility bonuses in another, and all of the other talent options in a final tree...as they exist now, wouldn't that be similar to having the warrior trees look like Swords/Axes/Maces?
Kalgan: My answer is simple: no
Kalgan: To elaborate a little...
Kalgan: We don't put "all the damage bonuses in 1 tree" for any class by intent.
Kalgan: Also, while we do plan to make some improvements to mage talents, they're not going to get "revamped" by and large.
Teleios: This will be our last question of the night.
Teleios: [Olaff] The Deadmines are by many considered their favorite instance because of the way it's a climax to the story which is built up in the entire zone of Westfall. Are there any plans to introduce upcoming dungeons in the same way, lorewise?
Tigole: As we work on the Burning Crusade, we're working harder to encorporate the outdoor zone lore into the dungeon lore. It's funny that you brought up the Deadmines because we often use that as our example here of how to tie zone lore into dungeon lore.
Tigole: We've been doing a lot of lore build up like that for Hellfire Pennisula funneling into Hellfire Citadel or Netherstorm lore building up toward Tempest Keep -- just to name a few examples.
Tigole: There's some really cool stuff in store for you guys =]
Teleios: Okay, one more :P
Teleios: I would like to ask why priests didn't get a new rank of flash heal in 1.9?, seeing as all other classes get new offensive spells/abilities, flash heal is really the only heal used in pvp because it could keep up with the damage. How is priest healing going to be affected with the new ranks of offensive capabilities but no new rank flash 'pvp' heal?
Kalgan: We certainly plan to look into improving some of the slower heals (probably by making some of them "less slow", particularly greater heal).
Kalgan: However, we didn't really choose which spell to add a new rank of arbitrarily.
Tigole: even though kalgan just typed that, he said "learn to play" out loud...
Kalgan: We actually did it based more on which spells hadn't gotten a replacement in a long time.
Tigole: *ouch* i just got kicked again
Kalgan: For example, certain spells hadn't gotten replacements since level 54 or so, which made them a little weak at level 60.
Kalgan: Those are the spells that we primarily targeted for new ranks.
Kalgan: Not just "hmm which spells do players use the most, and how do we make them much better so it guarantees they never use anything but those spells!"
Teleios: And that's a wrap, I want to personally thank all of Blizzard developers and community managers for putting this together. Thanks to Caydiem for answering all of my emails, and the developers for taking time out of their busy days to chat with us. The log will be posted shortly on http://wow.warcry.com.
Caydiem: And that wraps up the WarCry Developer Chat! I'd like to thank everyone for coming today -- it's great to see an awesome turnout like this. Your questions were fantastic, and I hope our crew managed to sate a few inquisitive minds out there.
Tigole: Thanks for having us!
[BCM]Tyren: And that's a... just kidding, thanks for coming!