Sunday, December 9, 2012

WoW Lead Designers engaging in the community - the Highlights

When Ghostcrawler got onto Twitter, there was a huge rise of WoW players joining twitter to ask him questions and the guy was pretty cool and got out there and answered almost everything that he could.  A lot of the Devs were on Twitter too, and you see them getting peppered with lots of questions.  I was amazed!

In the last week and a bit, the developers have engaged in the community again - in podcasts!  I first noticed it on Warcraft Pets, who had an audio interview with Cory Stockton, one of the pet battle content designers.
  • more than half of the population of WoW has learnt and done a pet battle
  • if he could change something, he would wished that the account wide pet battle quests was smoother - lots of hot fixing was required
  • epic and legendary pets are to be expected in the future!
  • 5.1 pets were introduced so that there would be more dragonkin, mechanicals and undeads (yeah, come to think of it, it was a bit unbalanced!)
  • breed IDs for different pets with a gender variant to see if their pets were male or female were noticed, and they had no plans to use it but there is the option to .. BREED
  • Corey is very hands on with the development of new pets.  Ideas come from quest designers (eg Terrible Turnip).
  • They use WoWHead and Warcraft pets during the development process and other fansites - how cool is that!  "There's no doubt that wow is a better game and benefits from sites that offer that kind of info."
  • They would like to tweak some of the models a little to make them more individual (like the frog) to update but the priority of that over raid bosses etc is pretty low.
  • Wild pets being tradable - they are thinking about it!   The idea of creating an economy around pets is really exciting.
  • Corey spies on us on Twitter to see what we're saying about collecting pets o.O
  • Sneak peaks - 5.2 new pets (not as many as in 5.1) and MAYBE revamping frogs, snakes.  Trying to create boss fights in the wild with battle pets (as in a super one pet instead of a team of 3).  And if you beat that pet then there would be an achievement for beating them, and they're already as rare as hell.  OMG how cool!  Not capturable though.
  • And here is something for Ancient - she's not the only one who wants more dog pets!  There are so many dog fans at Blizzard - they even have a dog policy so people can bring their dogs to work!  They would like to do more with dogs but not sure atm.
  • Cory's favourite pet is the Minfernal!  And he spent lots of time making him look awesome and cool and really hard to get.  So that explains why it's so damn hard to catch one!  His favourite pet for battling was a tough one, and he says he likes the undead pets (Li'l KT was what he used a lot for testing).
  • I liked his final comment:
    I can definely say when designing the system, I don't think I closed the tab for WarcraftPets. I think for a few months, it was open there in my browser.  I was like "Where does this pet come from, what are the comments on it?"All that info and all that data that had been compiled, it was super useful for us on our end trying to round up everything and figure out how to get this gigantic system to come together and really be awesome for players.
David Kosak (lead quest designer) was a busy bee and was on Darkmoon Herald and on Wowhead AND on WoWInsider (with Corey Stockton).  I listened to him on the Darkmoon Herald.
  • Motto "every voice matters" and they try to figure out what the big picture story is, and the designers each contribute to the story.
  • Easter eggs - eg. Lili's day out, she comments on everything she sees, which is quite amusing.  Starting areas of jade forest, journals are there inside the shrines in the back of the room where some NPCs are killed, which tells you why Alliance are recruiting the Pandaren.
  • They like to take the time for Make a Wish kids and include them in quests in the game.
  • Kevin talked about Fatty Goat Steaks and David said "Sometimes a little frustration is ok - when a player gets knocked off the edge that's just hysterical, come on, I think it's ok.  Just think of all the entertainment you provide for all the people around you."
  • On dailies - "We really want to make sure that everyone has a lot of game to play...  We added a lot of activities for players to do and dailies are primarily for players that don't necessarily want to do dungeons, they don't want to raid, they LIKE solo content.  I wanted to give them a lot of ways to advance their character that didn't require grouping or all this high level content."
  • It was interesting to hear that they were happy with how Tillers worked out but not happy with how Golden Lotus worked out.
  • David was feeling for those warlocks... "I think Warlocks need a little juice right now, a little something."
  • In regards to 5.1 - Really happy with Brawler's guild, curious to see how the PvP pans out especially for unbalanced population servers, and they're really proud that they shipped a patch 2 months within 2 months of release of the expansion.
  • The Darkmoon Carousel was an art submission for an internship in their department and they liked it so much that the person not only got the internship but the carousel made it into the game, almost identical to the submitted art.
  • And I should mention that my friend Moogyver was on the show and he gave me a shoutout on the show.  Woot!
All Things Azeroth landed an interview with the crab himself!  
  • GC was proud that Dungeon Finder and Raid Finder really set a standard for other MMOs.
  • Cataclysm didn't offer enough for players to do, and in Mists there was a huge effort to offer lots of content for people to do.
  • When asked what aspect do you think players are most pleased with: "There are players pleased about anything? No I'm just kidding..."  Pandaria is fun to explore, compared to the disjointedness of Cataclysm.
  • On his Greatest challenge with the game: "Diverse player base and hard to offer everyone what they want."
  • Pretty happy with the how the bonus rolls had worked out.
  • Rho mentioned the bag of gold (28g50s) and how disappointing it was and perhaps making it more like the Exotic Satchel of Mysteries.  GC replied "The 28g50s sucks.  We call it the failbag, and players may well do that too after this.  We are going to have a chance of other rewards in there - maybe bonus valour or more gold or gems, or rare chances at rare BOE blue gear or pets, mounts - just enough to make opening that bag feel remotely exciting when you didn't win the item you originally wanted." Hopefully 5.2!
  • Unlikely to have any nerfs to content up to 5.2.
  • Right now, monks need some work.  Monks are underrepresented in PvP.
  • He still plays the game every night, like a lot of us do!
  • At the end of the interview GC said that he thought it was awesome how podcasting for WoW had taken off and he even listened to WoW podcasts to keep their fingers on the pulse of what players are feeling out there.
I haven't had time to listen to the others, but Convert to Raid interviewed Ion Hazzikostas (Lead Encounter designer) dealing with end game content.  Arena junkies did a video interview with Tom Chilton.  I didn't have a chance to listen to both of those, but hope to be able to check them out later in the week!

4 comments:

  1. Yes! Yes, more dogs please! And epic pets!

    And as one of those primarily solo people I think they got it right. I now will be able to eventually get nice gear through dailies which is nice to have for soloing old content.

    Oh and more dogs, lol!

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    1. I was thinking that they were designing a game just for YOU Ancient :) Now what did you do to make them do that I wonder?

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  2. Navi this is a fantastic article; thank you so much! I learned so much from this

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  3. I'm sorry, but getting knocked off a ledge is not funny when A) about 2 classes can do it, B) you have no way to counter it and C) requires absolutely no skill to use. If their development team was better, we'd have ways to hang off ledges or climb up from cliffs or something. Instead, we're left at the mercy of whatever stupid concoction they find amusing.

    "Sometimes a little frustration is ok - when a player gets knocked off the edge that's just hysterical, come on, I think it's ok. Just think of all the entertainment you provide for all the people around you.""

    No, it isn't. It's a fucking game. I don't want to be "frustrated", I want to be challenged. Quirky mechanics and buggy code are not OK. Challenging encounters that require skill and foresight, yes. Cheap, "soz you're SOL" moves, no.

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