WoW 5.2 Staff Interviews Part 3: Gamebreaker Ghostcrawler and Hazzikostas Interview Continued

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Continuing from WoW 5.2 Staff Interviews Part 2

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According to Ghostcrawler, item upgrades were great for people coming in with blue gear who needed a few more item levels, but are disappointing if the valor is spent and less than a week later a new, better item comes along.

When asked how Thunderforge weapons would interact with item upgrades should they come back, Ion says that the existence of Thunderforge items stacks on even more pressure for a player trying to decide whether or not they want to spend the valor. Potential options include allowing partial refund or transferring upgrades. The system was meant to be helpful, not cause stress or dilemmas.

While normal raids are forked or have wings, the raid in WoW 5.2 is linear. Ion says it is because of the way they’re telling the story this time around. However, in the future, raid layouts will probably return to the way they were before.

Fights like Patchwerk where DPS go at it for about 7 minutes without doing much thinking are most likely out and not coming back in the future. The closest thing you get to it in WoW 5.2 is Jin’rokh the Breaker. Even then, he is only slightly similar to Patchwerk.

The reason for the straying away from Patchwerk like fights in WoW is because the design team thinks that complex encounters are much more interesting to players than the simple fights where the DPS can just stand still and deal damage without thinking. Raid tuning is what will keep these complex encounters from decimating players who aren’t exactly pro.

Players who wish to go into normal raiding are not required to do LFR. Looking for Raid is supposed to be it’s own progression. It’s not meant to be a stepping stone to go over before going into normals. If upgraded or an item that is optimal, tier 14 normal gear is better than tier 15 LFR gear.

The system of limited attempts (30 a week) that Blizzard has put into place for Ra-den is done so with Blizz feeling confident about what they’re doing. This is because they learned from the mistakes they made with limited attempts in WoW: WotLK. Wrath had them in place for normal mode bosses. This lead to raiders gearing up alts just to test fights and wipe on purpose.

Ra-den will not be reachable by alts in almost any circumstance as he is a very difficult boss to get to. His system of limited attempts is based off of what they feel was the best implementation of the system: the Lich King fight. However, they’ve given players 30 attempts to allow for any disconnection or simple mistake leeways.

The scenarios that are in WoW 5.2 are “scenarios in name only.” They use the scenario technology to isolate the players. They’re much more like single player instanced quests.

Blizzard loves the idea of the actual WoW scenarios, but Ghostcrawler admits that they haven’t yet lived up to their full potential. He comically says that they are in the “Wailing Caverns, Ragefire Chasm” era of design, but they are being improved upon.

When designing the new determination stacks in LFR, there was a bit of worry about people trying to exploit it by wiping on purpose, but there are measures in place to prevent this abuse. While Ghostcrawler didn’t want to encourage exploiting it by going into full detail, they’re based off of various things, one of them being time spent in the fight.

Blizzard is confident in regards to the increase in health with rare mobs and quest mobs when another player joins in on the fight. The increase isn’t too game changing and the areas in which the mobs are aren’t exactly the safest places for a solo player to just come by and try to troll another player by hitting the mob.

Ghostcrawler says he doesn’t want to go into detail or talk about his new feature for WoW quite yet because he doesn’t want people to hype it up as some beautiful “Path of the Titans and Dance Studio combination.”

In regards to WoW PvP, there will be less silences in the future. However, they don’t want to change too much right now and have it bother the players mid-expansion.

Continued in part 4!

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