Developer Q/A Discussion – Garrisons, Legendaries, Professions!

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One of the final expected actions on each Expansion’s promotion list are the developer interviews and questions and answers segments. In expansions past, fans and news sources like our self thrive of these questionnaires, as we are able to ask hard hitting questions about topics that may not be already in the mix…

Well, that was not the case this year. I’m not going to solely blame twitter, but the fact that its so accessible by so many different types of players, we got a LOT of wasted space in the question’s answered. Which is unfortunate, and not to say I had 100 questions that were better asked, but it still is a real shame to see such an important even squandered by such useless and paltry questions such as if Magtheridan will make an appearance…

There are a handful of semi-interesting talking points, so let’s go over them briefly and discuss the implications!

- No long grinds associated with the Legendary Ring this time

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I already gave my thoughts on the Legendary situation this expansion, and will stick to them. Frankly, no long grind tells me that everyone can get this either before raiding even opens (which would be retarded) or not to long into progression. I understand they are trying to make expansions shorter and more compact, but some of the things they cut just really adversely effect the game in my eyes. I’m not a nostalgia fanboy, but the item is called a Legendary for a reason. Sure, a 0.01 percent drop on the bindings isn’t more interesting, but surely the original model of Legendary items can teach of something right?

My biggest complaint with the cloak was that everyone had it and it really effected progression. Now the idea looms that it will happen again. Blizzard are no longer learning from their mistakes, which is worrying to me. Oh well, its just an item. Let us move on!

- DKs can get Death Knight Guards / Smaller = More customizable.

DK lf work, unemployed since WotLK. pref guard, pst.

DK lf work, unemployed since WotLK. pref guard, pst.

Cstocks says something along the lines of “The first iteration was too big, and didn’t feel fun.” I immediately disagree with that, but when we learn that a smaller garrison may mean more custom stuff it sways my mind back the other way.

To me, the larger scale the cooler the thing is in this game. Time, money, effort – which ever. The more it takes and the bigger in scope, the more impressive it is. That’s the fundamental part of an MMO!

But, if a smaller scope leads to a larger scope in customization, then I am all for it. Hearing that Death Knights who are exalted with the Ebon Blade can recruit Death Knight body guards is an amazing touch, and considering no on has heard of this before, it makes me believe that its either extremely out of the way (or maybe its not in yet lol.)

This gives me hope for other class specific entires, like perhaps Paladin’s exalted with Argent Dawn or whatever they are now can have something. Mages with Kirin Tor? Monks with Lorewalkers? Druids with the Shendralar? jk.

Either way, if they build on it, I am sold.

- 5.1 style story quests through your garrison.

This was probably the biggest reveal in the entire interview. Obviously not having payed attention religiously to the Garrison quests and their appearance, I would never have known this on my own. It was said in the interview that the first 8 or so weeks are just building up your pressence within your own garrison and this world, but then the 8 weeks after that are intense story-driven assignments. In total, these 16 weeks must equate to something big, because if the Dominance offensive line was anything to keep your eye on, they have big shoes to fill.

Not sure what we may be seeing, but I am looking forward to the story this time around. Frankly, MoP’s daily concept with 5.0 and even 5.1 was extremely off putting. Hopefully, this “weekly” quest isn’t something that needs to be done over the course of the week. What I mean by that is, hopefully it can be done in a single day and doesn’t require constant repetition. If it does, I simply won’t participate, as excited as I am for the story. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do story stuff and get prepared for raiding.

- Profession buildings: Don’t have = craft basics, Do have = accelerate CD and make best for you.

The final topic to discuss here is the most poignant, and not because of the interview or the answers given. Frankly, I had no idea this was an issue, but after watching this live as it happened and then checking out the forums, apparently professions are in some was a “train wreck!” Who knew!
You see, on my main that I leveled 90-100, the profession building must not be doing its full job or something. Either way, or I don’t have the tier three blueprint where others do, but they claim is that profession owners simply don’t make anything themselves anymore. They option, according to these individuals, is that you can either have the JC folks make you a 650 ring in the time it takes to complete the work order, or you can spend the 10 days getting the CDs to make it yourself.

This sounds like an over dramatic look on something that likely is a bit different then expected, but assuming for the sake of this conversation that is the case, does it really matter?
Why would it, other then you can get good gear quicker into the expansion. You can STILL only have 3 crafted pieces, so if you don’t have those by the time raiding opens you don’t deserve to have your voice heard. It makes no difference for actual gear progression, as by the time it matters its equated anyway.

The one thing I will agree with is that 5 man heroics are just going to be trivialized YET AGAIN by these silly changes. Oh well, at least CM will be something to explore.

 

That’s everything from me and this recap, so if you guys have any questions about anything discussed here, or potentially omitted material please feel free to ask! Otherwise, see you in WoD!

WoD Legendary Situation – Metro’s Ideas and Discussion.

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After a long weekend at Gamescom, Tom Chilton had revealed quite a few snippets of information that make our mouth water for this expansion. One of the most interesting in my eyes, would certainly be the info on Legendary items come WoD. For those who missed the info dump this weekend, I’ll briefly summarize:

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Early Datamined Ring Model.

Immediately, there will be a quest chain everyone can work on from level 99 to obtain a Legendary Ring. This ring will have custom animation, and change with your spec so you don’t need to buy multiple. Afterwards, its likely there will be other Legendary items that are more elusive and specific. Ideas batted around was Gorehowl and Teron Gore’s Staff.

The strange part of all this is the whole 2-tier notion covered in my previous article. In fact, this makes that idea even more confusing, and leaves a LOT of questions as to whether or not any of the things said on these topics are going to happen. The way I see it, it appears as if the second legendary idea will only come into play if there is a third tier, which I am still sure there will be. Regardless, let’s discuss why this idea is a very good one and compare it to the previous situations.

So in Mists of Pandaria there turned out to officially be 2 legendary items – one was a meta gem, and the other was the cloak. The two were linear, in that you couldn’t have the gem without the cloak, but more importantly, they were available to every single player who put the time in. Taking LFR and non-raiders out of the equation, what this means is an entire guild SHOULD have the items while progressing. I’m of two separate mindsets on this topic, so lets go through them both.

Raid Leader – Pro Equality: As a raid coordinator, I couldn’t be happier with this idea. Personally, the decision over who to give the legendary items to has been an age long issue with our guild. We gave Shadowmorne to our DK (and great friend of mine) and then weeks later he broke his hand and couldn’t play for months. We gave the Legendary staff to our current GM, and two other long time raiders. The two raiders both quit, and the GM joined the army! We gave daggers to the only rouges we had, and 2 out of three of them were absolutely terrible. So you see, these things alone make the equality legendary MUCH more attractive. Even if we could only see 1-2 given out, but choose whomever we wanted. Ya know, like if the “item” wasn’t a specific one, and no matter who was chosen they could benefit greatly. That would be acceptable to me.

Progression Raider – Pro Unique: As some one who has raided for 6 years straight and all through Classic, this part of my mind absolutely HATES the equality legendary. It just is soooo silly to walk around and see a hundred people with it a day. It makes no sense to me why you would even call this a legendary, but it WAS a legendary questline so I can’t say the means weren’t exciting. Just at the end of the day, when you sit in shrine and see everyone around you with it, it cheapens everything a bit.

 

So having both of those opinions, what a pleasant surprise it was to me to learn that they are actually considering doing both options! Realistically, if the ring is strong for the first tier, and everyone in our raid can get it, then it doesn’t feel as bad picking and choosing who gets the other items. I am really excited about that prospect, and even more excited about some other speculation revolving around the Ring.

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Legendary Blank Stare!

Also at Gamescom, it was revealed that you would be able to begin the quest at level 99. This tells me (for some reason) that this item is going to be a pre-raid option, or at the very least have great involvement in Highmaul. Its realistic to think that it will progress as we do, but after seeing what I have seen, it gives me great hope.

You see, there are three legendary items that have dropped so far from the end of Heroic five mans. These pieces mention Khadgar and obviously come from the renewed difficulty 5 man heroics. The first thing that comes to mind is that we will be able to obtain these pieces in those 3 weeks we have with no raiding, and maybe even have an epic step-one type piece going into Highmaul.

The other thing that is really exciting to me is the prospect of Khadgar being involved. Wrathion was an enigmatic character to say the least, but Khaddy G is a man’s man. This dude is a monster, and anything he gives us should be just as interesting. I’m looking forward to seeing the “lore” around the progression of this, as well as his actual involvement and how it transpires around him.

Frankly, I am excited. After going nuts over the November Thursday release date, I now couldn’t be more excited, knowing we have 3 weeks of no raiding to explore the world, get some pre-raid BIS going, and maybe even work on a legendary item! If only they can implement it to tie in Challenge Modes, I would be sooo happy.

Regardless, this is a pretty polarizing topic for people so I am looking forward to seeing what transpires. Do you guys feel strongly about any certain model for legendary acquisition? As you can tell, I feel both sides of the argument are quite valid, so I’m happy to hear your thoughts as well!

Level 50’s Take on Level 60 Raids!

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Cloaked in a black shroud and heirloom mail shoulders, the mighty ‘Fightpasta’; Legend amongst her own Night Elven kin, makes her way down the fiery chains of Blackrock Mountain, unprepared for the adventures that await. Following closely behind her, the mighty Tiger she had raised from a cub; ‘David B.o.E’ and the sound of many other players, their chain and plate mail clinking at every footstep, similar in appearance and style. This then was the first community event on European cross realm servers for level 50 twink characters, an ambitious idea supported by significant restrictions.

The idea was simple, get as many people to create level 50 characters and equip them with the best items they can find at that level. With that came profession choices, specialisations, talents, buff selection, pet choice, etc. To try and do as much level 60+ content as possible with characters not suited to that bracket. Continuing on our journey, my character, the mighty huntress was chosen by the team to support the raid with particular bonuses that came from pet choice, and it would soon become apparent that David B.o.E (The Tiger) would not be useful within the Molten Core, and so I waved goodbye and brought out my trusty, yet less well named Boar; ‘Rammy’.

Now you may be aware that Molten Core has some particularly painful trash between and prior to nearly every boss within the instance, so it was decided that a level 90 would clear the majority of the annoying trash and then leave the instance. A short leisurely, yet fiery trip further down the ramp brings us to the tunnel before boss number one; the formidable Lucifron.

Lucifron

Lucifron, one of the many Lieutenants of the mighty Firelord himself, is not particularly anything difficult. He has 3 abilities; One which does shadow damage to nearby enemies every 10 seconds, another aoe that does shadow damage to nearby enemies, and his curse which causes nearby enemies to have a 100% increase in all costs to all spells and abilities for five minutes. Supported by two Flamewalker Protectors, of which do nothing particularly special aside from a mind control on one player for 15 seconds, the whole tactic is as you would guess to destroy the additional enemies prior to doing damage to Lucifron himself.

Tactics aside the communication barrier is broken, as another of my kin, a fellow hunter steps too close to the boss. Suddenly the room is awake with arrows flying through the air and spell effects blocking out the darkness in the dingy tunnel we were fighting within. Surprisingly, the casualties are minimum and shortly after the initial pull the tanks have the boss and his minions under control. The raid went with 23 level 50 characters, 3 of which were now dead on the floor. Just under a minute later Lucifron and his minions are dead, adorning the floor with their serpentine appearances, 20 colourful champions stood above them rolling for loot that none of them can use.

So then, that’s a slice of the experience so far. As we continued the bosses became increasingly more relaxing, and easier. The sheer differences in class dynamics and scaling of statistics on pieces of gear has essentially made many things possible for low level characters that should not be, and to some extent made the experiment somewhat pointless. Personally I expected to have more resistance from the giant elite level 60 bosses of Molten Core; a place that I can only imagine would have been extremely irritating rather than complex.

Being stood there, with 22 others in those underground halls gave me an impression only equal to half of the scale of raids that would have been taken to the instance in its 40 man days. Yet the whole thing felt somewhat underwhelming, like the mechanics of the bosses were basic, and to many extents trivialised by simply using raid markers to direct the raid. We didn’t use a voice communication server, as such that I thought would at least increase the difficulty of the event, but it didn’t. When people regale me of times they had in ‘Vanilla’ WoW, they speak of how epic and grand 40 man raiding was, how they had these fantastic experiences that cannot compare to today’s raiding scene. Bosses fell in minutes, and granted characters could not have done this all those years ago, and in many ways this only demonstrated that twinking at this level offers very little challenge or reward, unlike the 70 and 80 Brackets.

The mechanics we saw on the bosses were simple, and I would argue that fights such as Baron Geddon; Where you must move from the raid with Living bomb and then return, all of these basic mechanical pre-requisites for completing the fight are all present in current time within 5 man heroic dungeons, and to some extent normal mode fights. Perhaps as the game has developed over time, so has the skill of the average player, or rather the requirements for that player to engage in harder content.

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So when I think of the amazing stories I’ve been told about how epic the raiding was back then, all I think of is how 40 people overcame communication boundaries and a poorly implemented series of game mechanics and unbalanced classes, and that in many ways the experiences they had felt good because of their accomplishments within their own community, with their friends. I have the same feelings about The Burning Crusade, many times I remember how our Karazhan runs would be filled with laughter and progression, but the fights themselves weren’t all that great. The people I raided with and the communities I engaged myself with are what made me play World of Warcraft, and continue to make me play the game to this day.

It’s safe to say that 40 man raiding would not work within the WoW we know and love today, because the limitations of what can be done mechanically, is completely dependant on organisation. If you could run 40 people into any of the MoP raids, do you think the various mechanics that made those fights difficult would remain the same? Honestly, the more people you have versus an enemy in a hot-key based MMO, the less likely it is you will follow mechanics and the more likely it is you would zerg it and go all out. Look at the isle of Giant with Oondasta, the great killer of pugs. That dinosaur has 2 mechanics, all of which rely on a tank facing the boss away from the raid to prevent a wipe, yet ‘Frillblast’ was the cause of endless wipes.

Ordos has mechanics on the Timeless isle, yet groups I enter fill with 40 people, with many others also taking part in the fight from without the raid group each week. The mechanics go from being structured points on the dungeon journal to what they are in reality, stand on the boss and move around with him whilst 12 healers put down healing aoe’s completely negating the damage that would otherwise kill you. There is strength in numbers, but very little skill.

This is the first week of our adventures in level 60 content, where we have cleared all bosses within the Molten Core, and the first boss of AQ 40, where soon after we called the raid due to losing members to time commitments. It’s something I will continue, simply out of curiosity mainly, as I want to find the point where the game changes, and in turn the difficulty of added mechanics make our progression near impossible without the communication and strategy that’s present in modern day raiding.

I hope you have found this article interesting, and if you wish to continue this discussion further please drop over to the WoW Stratics Forums, where you can tell me all about your favourite days in WoW and your own experiences of the changes in raiding.