WoW 5.2 Staff Interviews Part 4: Gamebreak Continued; Guildox and Hazzikostas; Arena Junkies

Continuing from part 3.

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Buffs and nerfs were given to the previous patches’ problem classes in WoW 5.2. Whether or not this significantly improves the overall balance in PvP will have to be seen as the PTR isn’t a good determiner for that.

Setting the bar for the best gear at a rating of 2200 is meant to shift the PvP focus reward away from things like mounts and titles and back to the day where having amazing gear that makes “people part before you like water” was the goal.

The PvP catch up system isn’t coming into place until 5.3. Originally, they wanted to put it in to the later part of WoW 5.2, but in order to do so, they would’ve had to delay the patch to work on it a bit more.

Item upgrades are a lot less likely to come back for PvP. It did more harm than good. No promises are made on the subject, but the development team for WoW is definitely leaning against it.

Ghostcrawler would like to see skirmishes make a come back. He wishes they wouldn’t have gone away, but he can’t make a 100% promise that they will come back due to how much work it would take.

Guildox interview with Ion Hazzikostas, the lead encounter designer – February 28th, 2013.

Ion thinks that the two most interesting mechanics in the new raid tier are the aiming of and then kicking turtle shells during the Tortos encounter and tracing constellations to invoke Pandarian animal gods during the encounter with Lei Shen’s Twin Consorts.

When asked which WoW 5.2 fight he thought was most innovative, Ion said that all of the fights in this tier are pretty innovative in their own ways, but the Dark Animus encounter has a combination of puzzle-solving and combat mechanics that play off one another making it stand out.

This time around, there will be no true gear check fight. Blizz wants to move away from that in favor of making more interesting fight mechanics. The real check will be if a guild has cleared through Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring. If they haven’t, then they will most likely not make it beyond the Council of the Elders which is only the third encounter.

While they are trying to make encounters more interesting and varied, the complexity isn’t necessarily going up. Some encounters will be relatively straight forwards whereas others will be a bit more complex. Ultimately, though, it won’t be any more complex than it was in previous tiers.

Ion says that his favorite encounter in WoW 5.2 is Lei Shen because it features “some of the most stunning visuals that our artists have ever created for a raid encounter.” He further states that it has a diverse set of mechanics that will provide a lot of interesting gameplay. The heroic version will give even the best players in the world a run for their money.

Arena Junkies interviews Greg “Ghostcrawler” Streets and Brian Holinka – March
6th, 2013.

The biggest three nerfs in PvP for WoW 5.2 are to frost mages, arms warriors, and shadow priests. There are some lesser nerfs to hunters, as well. Discipline priests and monks are going to be buffed to make them better represented. Rogues were also reworked to make them more viable.

WoW PvP will probably never be completely balanced. Ghostcrawler says that this is due to many reasons: the diverse PvP community with different ideas of what balanced is as well as the different venues of PvP: different team sized arenas, rated and random battlegrounds, world PvP, and even duels. This makes it too much to balance for, meaning it is not realistic to expect WoW to ever be perfectly balanced.

Efforts are made to ensure that those who exploit the game are not given rewards like the Hero of the Alliance/Horde and Gladiator achievements. In the week before these rewards are given out, the team goes over the WoW PvP data and determines what’s fair. This is much easier for arenas than it is for RBG, Brian notes.

Brian said that out of all the classes in World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, it’s hard to pinpoint the most balanced one for PvP. If he had to choose, on average, it would be the warlock and death knight. Rogue and monk were probably the most underpowered. Warrior was the most overpowered.

Continued in Part 5!

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Joseph Rowe
World traveling English teacher, writer, and aspiring front-end developer.