In light of significant activity from the Blizzard development team these past two weeks, we obtained some further information about certain changes, confirmations to services and much more, so let’s kick it off and talk through each point!
Level 90 price and details confirmed.
It would seem the previous leak of the $60 price tag for the purchasable level 90 character boost service is indeed correct. Confirmed by Ion Hazzikostas from a recent Eurogamer interview, also continues to describe the whole service as a way of preventing customers from having to purchase multiple copies of the expansion to gain extra level 90 boosts, and allow them to spend a reflective amount of money for such a service based on the time and effort you pay to avoid in game. “The price point was decided upon to avoid devaluing the accomplishment of levelling a character to 90.” The likelihood of this price reflecting the price of the full game then is somewhat obvious, which is no surprise considering the previous expansions being of the same price range.
CC’s are getting nerfed?!
What’s new in the world of Draenor news you may ask? Well, for starters we saw the beginning of some very interesting class based tweets and discussions, including of which plans to possibly remove up to two forms of CC from classes. This point is especially interesting for PvPer’s whom I think would all agree at this point a game of arena is a chain of fears and stuns, reducing the time anybody actually does something interesting in a fight. It would seem that taking out some of these CC abilities would perhaps alleviate some of the stress from a PvP situation, yet the implications of those that do stay in would have to be carefully monitored. For example if Warlock ‘ShadowFury’ was removed or altered in it’s stun duration, the implications for the abilities use in PvE would be affected exponentially, to what is an extremely useful tool as both an interrupt of which the class has very few, and as a Add control technique on fights. It’s obviously a direct game changer and would alter the quality of options for both PvP and PvE.
Nothing of course is set in stone, but we can be sure to see this heavily tested in the upcoming beta. Which funnily enough we got told in a closing statement at one of the press interviews as being “Soon.tm”.
Ah yes, Garrisons, WoW’s simple answer to player housing, another confirmed addition and feature of the next expansion. Previously Metro put together a wonderful article here on WoW.Stratics talking about the art and implementation process of the feature, but something caught my eye from one of the interview transcripts.
“There is a lot of Garrison content that comes from having followers.”
So my question is, what does it mean by followers? Is this a new in game feature where you can follow someone, akin to how social media sites work? Or is this a broad term for guild mates and friends. Either way the terminology present would suggest some further form of interaction with your friends and your own Garrison, perhaps then it wouldn’t be too far off to presume such a feature to “follow” someone is in the works, especially given that the Garrisons themselves are actually present within the zones of Draenor behind layers of phasing, which ordinarily would prevent players from entering other players Garrisons. Further garrison updates in the same interview confirmed that the Garrison content will be updated throughout the expansion, and not just present in a final form in patch 6.0, which backs up their interest in continuing to make more annual, and more broader reaching content for different play styles, something they discussed at last years Blizzcon. Either way, it’s sure to be an exciting element of the game which will no doubt be a significant time sink with the usual Blizzard charm.
Dungeons, Raids and Scenarios.
Interestingly in amongst the press interviews they talked a little about plans for Heroic dungeons in WoD. The difficulty of heroic dungeons was seen as far too easy for players at level 90, something which was blamed on the lack of having each Dungeon actually having a heroic mode, which meant the difficulty being altered to accommodate the source of acquiring gear from only these instances. This is not necessarily something I agree on in terms of a valid excuse for making dungeons as easy as they are, I would have preferred a possible admission that the sole reason would have been that they could get more players into raiding content if they made heroics more accessible. Personally I feel that heroics shouldn’t be a chore and they should be as they were before the Timeless Isles introduction to the game, a way of gearing for the entry item level requirements for the basic raids and LFR systems. Ion Hazzikostas confirms then, that in Warlords of Draenor each new dungeon will have a heroic difficulty at level 100, meaning that the difficulty can be increased.
Scenarios are a wonderful addition to the game, content that doesn’t require a tank or a healer and allows instant queue times for anybody, even allowing access to heroic versions if you have 2 friends of the required item level. The news that after the end of levelling in each zone you will be required to do a solo scenario then is great news. If you remember the Isle of Thunder story scenarios for the legendary quest line in MoP, then this will come as no surprise that they decided to continue with that technology. Usually in questing, at least from a story telling / lore perspective, levelling looses some of its charm due to repetition, and a lack of engagement in questing. Since Cataclysm this has changed significantly, with more original and interesting quest design ideas implemented on various npc’s.
The very idea that we get to see one of the most lore rich environments populated with end of area cut scenes and scenario involvement, with possibly further voice acting from key lore figures is incredibly appetising to me. However, you have to consider the capabilities of such quests to remain fun for everybody, especially in a time where people rush to the endgame as fast as possible for gearing towards the next raid tier. Other considerations are that this is an MMORPG, and situations that effectively put you into a single player area are obviously, if poorly implemented going to deter people from questing and levelling effectively in groups. I’m fairly certain that they will be optional; however issues aside, the feature certainly intends to add extra depth and immersion to the experience.
Ah, a favourite here on the WoW.Stratics team, we all agree often that Challenge modes are a wonderful way of both testing your skill as a player, and maximising efficiency of each and every class in a static, even playing field environment. News then that they are about to get even more awesome, should be cause for jubilation. It was mentioned in the previous fan site interviews that Challenge Mode dungeons would indeed return, but now reward gear from the daily Challenge Mode dungeon quest. This gear will rival raid finder loot initially and be a source of early gear even before lfr or the doors are open to the raid content itself!
So, this then adds even more reasons to do CM’s, before they were pretty cool and allowed you to get extremely well designed transmogable gear sets, but now they seem to be integral to those who have the skill and time in gearing for the new endgame content. Of course you don’t need to get ‘Gold’ rank to finish the quest, as such this is going to be the fastest way of getting into raid content, aside from what we are about to discuss in my next segment. I think this is going to please many players who believe that skill should be rewarded in game, and I also think this could improve the quality of players who we see in end game content overall.
LFR and Heroic Dungeon requirements
So, currently in game the requirements for entering LFR, Flex mode, and 5 man heroics is purely based off of Item Level. If you don’t have enough of an average of this item level gear you are wearing, you cannot enter the content, simple. In Warlords of Draenor, this is changing significantly. The previous item level restrictions will be there, but additionally will be a completion criteria of something which was introduced in game fairly recently in this expansion, The Proving Grounds.
If you are unfamiliar with this feature, or perhaps simply never knew about it, considering the numerous features that have been added to the game that somewhat drown out the cries for your attention, then put simply, the proving Grounds is exactly that, a Proving Ground. Players enter the Temple of the White Tiger in Kun Lai Summit and enter a series of tasking situations for their particular specialisation. And example would be that as a healer I’m tasked with 3 different achievement rewards, Bronze, Silver, and Gold. To earn these medals, I must enter the ‘scenario’ each time and heal the party until all the enemies attacking this ‘group’ made up of npc’s are dead.
Progressively this gets more difficult, hence the medal system. So this might be all well and good, and perhaps you know of this system, but it came as somewhat of a nod to difficulty changes in WoD with the announcement that if you want to do the 5 player heroic content, and thus subsequently LFR modes, etc you will need to acquire Silver completion in the new proving grounds.
How many times have you run a heroic 5 man dungeon and thought to yourself, “did these guys get their tanking licence in a cereal box?”. How many times have you looked at the hunter and told him to turn off his pets taunt, getting replied to with the familiar “it’s not on!”, only to then realise he doesn’t understand that ‘Growl’ is a taunt. Well hopefully, this could be some sort of solution, at least a minor solution to some of the gripes that players have with other players who they encounter in pug groups. However, the key word there is ‘PuG Groups’. If you really want to avoid these people, perhaps it would be best to simply join a guild, make friends and run the content with people you can trust and enjoy playing with. At the end of the day, you can choose who you raid / group with, don’t let anoniminity fool you otherwise, something I personally feel has increased in the last few years.
Raiding, the real meat and potatoes of World of Warcraft. Finally some news rears it’s head on the horizon, and boy does it sound mouth watering. (The content, not the potato)
The raid known as ‘Highmaul’, got some confirmation as to it’s layout, no maps or visual art as of yet, but they have said that it will be a lot like Ulduar in design, with open areas and wings stretching off a central area in an open environment, much like Ulduar’s own courtyard bosses and Throne of Thunder’s outside Troll bosses.
The second raid, known as ‘Blackrock Foundry’, is compared to the last area before the Lich King in Icecrown Citadel, again freeform in how you tackle each boss and in which order, ultimately leading to access of the final boss in the centre room.
“Less linear structures work better for players and feel better, so that is what will be used going forward.”
Many players including myself love the idea of Ulduar type raid designs, personally I think that Ulduar was probably the most well designed raid Blizzard has ever made, and the reflection of this feeling is purely on the freedom, to some extent at least that you can decide who you fight and when. Regarding who may be the end boss of each raid Ion go’s on to mention that each Warlord will likely not have their own separate raid tier, and that we may even see two or three in the first tier. This then opens up the floodgates for some extremely lore rich and wonderful figures as the first raid bosses, something which will certainly be a benefit to the raiding experience. The knowledge you are fighting ‘Kilrogg Deadeye’ for example, and not a random Orc Peon given wings and a Turban (ok, so possibly that never happened), makes for a much more engaging battle, both in terms of raid mechanics based on the characters lore filled abilities, and engagement.
Raid bosses may be something which many of you feel worked, simply because they allow for extra chances of loot per week, and also a way to group with others you usually would not, yet the other side of that argument is clear, in that it takes away the purpose of fighting the thing in the first place when you have 40+ people hitting on a boss at any one time, causing extreme server lag and frame issues for everyone within 40 miles from the boss.
Ion confirms that 3 brand new world bosses are in development for patch 6.0 and that one should be initially available to players, dropping loot based on the Highmaul raid instance. Saying that a few weeks later, a second boss would be active, giving more powerful loot based on the Blackrock Foundry raid. “If a world boss gives rewards that are better than anything you could get if you aren’t a high end raider (Ordos), it diminishes the importance of raid zones. If rewards aren’t that good, players will start raiding and the world boss won’t be relevant anymore.”
This catch 22 is a concern, but gating access to these bosses usually works in terms of keeping both outdoor and instanced raids viable options for gear. I feel that Ordos, as much of a loot piñata as he is, is actually extremely useful, and in many ways I don’t see how he could ever impact on those who are already raiding the heroic end game content, and rather helping those who need extra item level for flex for example, without leading them to the temptation of simply just equipping useless PvP item level 522 gear, which many do already anyway. The balancing act is certainly something that all aspects of World of Warcraft needs to have addressed, but with many of the features talked about being so close to home, how will testing time reflect the actual quality of feedback on offer. Time will tell, and I just hope that the promise of ‘Soon.Tm.’ Is not too much longer away. The sooner we can get into the beta and test these things, the better the game will be in the long run.
As always keep WoW.Stratics bookmarked! So that you can be the first to know all about new and important changes in World of Warcraft!
Feel free to follow me on twitter @Meoniace, where I will be continuing any discussions and announcements in the future.