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BlizzCon 2010 Panel: StarCraft II Multiplayer & Art

Quote from: Nethaera
Following the StarCraft II Art Panel, attendees were treated to an inside look at balancing StarCraft II’s multiplayer game with Game Director Dustin Browder, Senior Designer Josh Menke, and Associate Game Balance Designers David Kim and Matt Cooper.

The StarCraft II developers feel that it’s important to take a look at the various tools that are employed in defining balance. At first, each one of these tools looks like it could be the one answer you need -- but it becomes clear over time that no single tool provides the perfect solution to balance. Instead, it takes multiple tools and a complete understanding of what those tools tell the designers. So what tools do the developers use?

Player Feedback

Player feedback is perhaps the best tool available to the development team, as it allows for many voices to be heard across a variety of skill levels and experiences. This method also represents the largest pool of players. While data is a great tool, raw stats don’t qualify what players are experiencing from their perspectives. By reading the forums and getting feedback from the community team, the developers can gain insight into how the community is playing the game, what units they're using, and what difficulties or successes they're having.

There are drawbacks to utilizing player feedback exclusively. Sometimes the loudest of voices aren't portraying their experiences accurately, and the many can easily drown out a single voice that has different, yet important information the development team needs to make balancing decisions.

Pro Feedback

Pro players represent another important balancing tool to the development team. These players have a high skill level and understand the minute details of the game. They are also a great resource for critical feedback. On the downside, these players are generally very focused on one particular race and represent a very small subset of the community. When taking these players into account, it’s important to note that they may not know exactly why they lost a match -- whether it was due to their own error or an actual imbalance to the race, ability, or unit they are using.


Tournaments can be a great resource for observing games played at a very high skill level. When watching these matches, however, it’s important to look at the games individually and not just the end results. A talented player like Fruit Dealer may just be so good that he was going to win no matter what race he played. However, each game can give some insight into where the holes within the balance might lie. Players in these tournaments are generally very good at finding these holes and taking advantage of them, and it’s the development team’s job to keep an eye out and determine if something needs to be changed. The weakness in looking only at tournaments lies in knowing that there’s no way to be certain that matches are equal. All it really takes is a single poor performance to keep a top player from progressing.

Play the Games You Make

There’s no better way to see what players are experiencing firsthand than to play the game yourself. It’s a good way to get into the trenches, analyze gameplay, and find out what’s fun, what’s not fun, what tactics work and don’t work, and so on. However, while the development team consists of players of every skill level, the team is only so large -- and even with additional feedback from within the company, it can sometimes take time before the next new strategy gets to our team.


Spreadsheets are a great tool for looking at straight damage numbers, how fast or slow units are made, how often, what combinations of units are used, unit costs, and more. What spreadsheets don’t tell the developers is the how or why. While designers can take a look at the sizes of armies and make adjustments to building times (such as what was done during the beta with terrans), spreadsheets can’t really take into account pathing, unit size, random target acquisition, and other factors which only occur in a real game.

Make Combat

Make Combat is a great in-house simulation tool that allows the development team to run various scenarios with units to see how they stack up against each other, but running one simulation isn’t enough. Simulations need to be run multiple times before any sort of pattern begins to take shape -- if there’s even a pattern to be seen. Unlike a spreadsheet, Make Combat can take a look at unit pathing and can even allow micro to be employed if the developers wants to drill down a little bit more. What the simulation doesn’t do well is take into account all the myriad combinations of units or terrain. While it’s a handy tool, it’s only one of many, and results can’t always be taken at face value. Stats provides information on millions of games: who’s playing, what they’re playing, how people are progressing through the ladder, and more. It also allows development to look at the win/loss ratios between the races.

Matchmaking within the system, however, intentionally does not account for win/loss and looks purely at player skill -- and any existing race imbalance gets worked into that equation. Adjusted win percentage simultaneously considers both player skill and race balance. After each match, estimates of player skill and adjusted race win percentages are updated relative to the expected outcome of the match. In other words, if what happened was exactly what was expected, then nothing changes. If the system is surprised, then changes may be in order.

From there, the developers can see the win/loss ratio of the various races within each league. Generally these tend to be relatively even across the board, though there can be cause for concern if the percentage of win/loss between the races skews toward 60%/40%. When looking at these percentages, it’s important to note that they can shift very quickly -- in as short as 36 to 48 hours -- based on a change in the metagame.


While percentages between the ladders may look fairly balanced in other regions, the team also looks to Korea as a global leader in developing new strategies and setting metagame trends.


It’s important to take all of these various tools into account when looking at balance. For example: When talking with the community, a common perception is that marauders are too powerful and their Stimpacks need to be nerfed. When running scenarios in Make Combat, it appears that marauder Stim isn’t overpowered and the terrans end up nearly evenly matched with zerg. The developers can see that marine Stimpacks are very powerful; however, it may be that marauders are acting as shields for the marines behind them. So is it that marauder health is too high? Or are marine Stimpacks are too powerful? We still don't know -- but we’re always looking for answers to questions like these.

Pros on PvT

When asking the pros about protoss vs. terran matchups, there are conflicting opinions and a split in whether these players think one or the other is the more powerful race. When the pros aren’t sure, then the development team needs to look deeper to see if perhaps there’s a more fundamental issue than game balance to deal with.In the developers’personal experiences playing the game, the terran tend to be strong at the start of a match, but the protoss are more powerful toward the end, which could point to a design issue. However, as you’ve realized by now, it’s impossible to make such a determination based on these tools alone.

Future Balance

The designers employ all of these tools and more on a daily basis to determine future balance changes. Currently, the focus is on making terran vs. protoss matchups more fun and analyzing Stim vs. Psi Storm balance. But today’s problems will inevitably be solved, and others will invariably pop up -- and the development team is dedicated to investigating, analyzing, and balancing for the long haul.

Quote from: Lylirra
This year's BlizzCon StarCraft II Art panel (also known as The Making of ModCraft II: The Tinkering) featured an army of StarCraft II artists, including Senior Art Director Samwise Didier, Lead Artist Allen Dilling, and Senior 3D Artists Jay Hathaway and Brian Sousa. The panelists presented audience members with over 70 pieces of art, delving into their design philosophies and highlighting several unit models, concept illustrations, character animations, portraits, and environments featured in Blizzard Entertainment's upcoming custom maps: Aiur Chef, Left 2 Die, and Blizzard DOTA.

Below are just a few examples of what the team showcased:

Left 2 Die

Examples of a "zombiefied" Baneling and Brutalisk. Many of these units were rebuilt from the ground up just for this custom map.

Blizzard DOTA

Two variants of an Abomination in themed armor.

Meet the Marauder King. This unit is based on the Mountain King from Warcraft III and the Marauder from StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.

Like the Marauder King, the Blademaster in Blizzard DOTA draws upon themes from Warcraft III and StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.

Sylvanas Windrunner vs. Sylvanas, the Banshee Queen.

Blademaster, Abomination, and Murky Hero Portraits.

Aiur Chef

Zealot and cooking utensils.

Aiur Chef props and doodads.

Powerful chefs deserve powerful cooking devices.

Public Service Announcement

Brian Sousa is not Dustin Browder.

After the presentation portion of the panel, it moved on to an open Q&A session before ending on a special note, with the revelation of several pieces of concept art from the upcoming StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm expansion (which we'll keep under wraps for now).

StarCraft II Invitational Tournament - Day 2 Recap

Quote from: Daxxarri
The seats were filled at the RTS Tournament Stage as the BlizzCon 2010 StarCraft II Invitational moved into its second day. We witnessed some really great matches between some truly talented players in the first rounds of the tournament yesterday, as well as some highly entertaining and insightful commentary from our shoutcasters. With the field narrowed and reputations on the line (not to mention cash prizes worth $45,000), we were looking forward to even more exciting competition today -- and we weren’t disappointed.

See how it all played out on our BlizzCon Tournaments Page. If you missed that epic showdown, replays of yesterday's showmatch between SlayerS_`BoxeR` and Fruit Dealer, as well as the other tournament games, are available here.

Spoilers below!

Grand Finals

South Korea's Min-Soo “NEXGenius” Jung's dreams of tournament victory were almost squashed when China's Dai “Loner” Yi's terran army sent him to the lower bracket in the semi-finals of the 2010 BlizzCon StarCraft II Invitational Tournament. NEXGenius wasn't finished though. Undaunted, he went on to defeat all comers in the lower bracket to meet Loner again for another chance for glory. If Loner were to take those matches, he would win the tournament and dash NEXGenius's hopes in a single round.

These competitors were unbelievably well matched. Every battle was marked by back and forth fights and almost identical expansion timing, with the pendulum swinging in favor of one competitor then the other after each clash of armies. Fortunately for NEXGenius, and a crowd hungry for more action, he went on to take the first round of three games with a hard fought 2-0 victory. This set both pros up for another best of three games in the Grand Finals.

Again, each game was incredibly close with very tight macro and play from both Loner and NEXGenius. Matches featured armies hammering at one other in fight after fight, both players expanding almost simultaneously with the winner in doubt until the very last second. Again, NEXGenius matched Loner's solid and methodical fundamentals play with his own. Again, NEXGenius managed to pull out a 2-0 victory against Loner to take home the tournament victory, the first place prize of $25,000 and, new for BlizzCon 2010, a BlizzCon Tournament Ring. Loner took home the second place prize of $10,000.

Please join us in congratulating NEXGenius for his unflinching persistence in commanding the protoss to victory against a field full of very skilled StarCraft II players! We'd also like to thank all of our talented tournament participants from around the globe for two days of exhilarating competition, as well as Blizzard gamers everywhere for attending BlizzCon 2010 and watching from home.

BlizzCon 2010 Day 1 & 2 Wrap-Up WoW Panela!

Evo mesta gde možete naći sve panele koji su vezani za Cataclysm u ova dva fenomenalna dana! Uživajte klikom na koj god panel želite, ispod! Hvala svima koji su pratili naše StarCraft, WoW i Diablo III postove!

Blizzcon 2010 Coverage: WoW Art

Na World of Warcraft Art Panel-u govorili su Chris Robinson Art Director, Robert Foote Senior Game Producer, Eric Lead Artist , Tomas Blue Lead Technical Artist, Wendy Vetter Lead Dungeon Artist, Gary Platner -Lead Environment Artist. Ovo je tim koji je zadužen za dizajn kompletne igre. Oni su nam objasnili kako su odradili kulturu svih klanova u igri, kako su došli do odredjenih ideja da naprave izgled i model npc-ova, dizajniranju Gilneas zone, kao i ostalih zona u celom Azerothu, i  istance. Tu je i glavna priča kako su uradili Cataclysm Login Screen, koji je premijerno objavljen na Blizzacon 2010 Art Panel-u.
{yoogallery src=[/images/stories/news/blizzcon/2010/art/] width=[400] height=[260]}
Cataclysm Login Screen:
{yoogallery src=[/images/stories/news/blizzcon/2010/art/loginscreen] width=[180] height=[140]}
Izrada kulture NPC i Opreme
Ovde možete videti slike kako su dizajneri odradili Kulturu izgleda NPC, i modela stvari koje vidite u igri, mašina, kutija, stolova, stolica, hrane, statue, urni, sveća, tepiha, dragulja, topova i ostalo.

{yoogallery src=[/images/stories/news/blizzcon/2010/art/creature_kit] width=[180] height=[140]}
Izrada Animacije nove rase Worgen i Goblin kao i ostalih NPC
Ovde se govorilo o izradi animacije Worgena, Goblina i ostalih stvorenja koje smo videli u Cataclysm, izradi njihovog modela kao i njihovih tekstura.

{yoogallery src=[/images/stories/news/blizzcon/2010/art/models] width=[180] height=[140]}
Dizajn Istanci, zona i ambijenta
Slike pokazuju kako su dizajniranre Cataclysm Istance kao i odradjenih zona u igrici.


{yoogallery src=[/images/stories/news/blizzcon/2010/art/dungeons] width=[180] height=[140]}

Cataclysm Login Screen

Cataclysm Login Screen objavljen je zvanično na Blizzcon 2010: Art Panel-u. Do sada najbolji login screen ikada uradjen !
{yoogallery src=[/images/stories/news/2010/Oct/24] width=[345] height=[260]}

BlizzCon 2010 Day 1 & 2 Wrap-Up StarCraft II Panela!

Evo mesta gde možete naći sve panele koji su vezani za StarCraft 2 u ova dva fenomenalna dana! Uživajte klikom na koj god panel želite, ispod!

Blizzcon 2010 Coverage: Open Q&A

Na ovom Open Q&A panel-u govorili su J. Allen Brack Production Direcotor , Greg Street (Ghostcrawler) Lead system designer, Cory Stockton Lead Content Desinger, Chris Robinson Art Director, Tom Chilton (Kalgan) Game Director, Alex Afrasiabi Leade World Designer. Oni su odgovorili na sva postavljena pitanja, koje možete pogledati dole.
{yoogallery src=[/images/stories/news/blizzcon/2010/openqa/] width=[180] height=[140]}
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Q: Currently in the game you can use the dungeon finder to put together 5 man teams within a battlegroup, is there any possibility you can revisit that for making raids?
A: The way we tune our raids demands the players use several compositions, buffs and debuffs represented and it gets pretty hard to apply there, you may not always have the best players with you.

Q: I was wondering if in the future they were any plans to make races across the board more customization, when you place all armor on them they look the same
A: Currently there aren't any solid plans but we are tossing around some stuff.

Q: Any plans of adding a guild merging system?
A: we don't have any plans for a feature, but merging a guild is easier to do in cata due to the easier interface.

Q: I love what you guys done with wow, I love you have a lot of strong female chars, I wonder if we can have some that didnt look like they came out of victoria's secrets catalogue?
A: Which catalogue would you like them step out then? we feel ya, we want to vary our female chars, so yeah we'll pick different catalogues

Q: With the talent tree overhaul, are you guys planning to do more passive talents?
A: We're still in phase 1 of the balance and those going live, so we'll tweak them over time especially with 4.1.

Q: In PvP, some people can be crowd controlled up to 20 seconds consecutively. Switch to PvE, one target can be CC'd for 1 minute. Not much skill to that.
A: Seems like more of a statement than a question.

Sorry, what's your philosophy with CC now and what might change in Cata?
A: It's a different answer depending on PvE or PvP. In PvE we want people to use more CC than they did in Lich King. We want stuff to be as CCable as possible. Any time we make something immune there's a lot of consideration. Do we really have to do this?
As it relates to PvP, the approach we're taking right now is to slow down the pace of combat. Any time you slow it down then CC has less of an impact.

Q: Lich King has a lot of really cool abilities DKs could use. Have you given any thought into giving us Defile or Infest?
A: Level 90 abilities right there! Thanks.

Q: Are there any plans to add a legendary dps dagger?
A: Not really. We don't make legendaries often, so we try to make them useful for a lot more people. We decided on a staff yesterday by the way.

Q: Will I be able to get my warglaives in Cataclysm?
A: Yep, everything except Atiesh. Because teleporting to Karazhan is important at 85.

Q: With all of the specs being viable now, can arenas finally be balanced around comp instead of the viability of each class?
A: I think we'll still have arenas balanced around viability, but we're always looking at changes. One change coming up for beta is that Mortal Strike -- the effect -- will only reduce heals by 10%.

Q: Did you not add a moose mount because you hate Canada?
A: Well we discussed it, we wanted one. But you can't always get what you want.

Q: Are we ever going to see the Emerald Dream again aside from a phase?
A: You can count on it, it's just a question of when. But you'll definitely see the Dream again, and the Nightmare.

Q: Theres a lot of great mounts coming out, I was wondering about profession crafted multi-passenger mounts, if so engineering needs mini-van
A: heard about the new alchemy mount? itll be fun to see who gets that first. Who doesn't want to mount their friend? i mean..

Q: Will the legendary be available in both 10 and 25 man, will it scale similar to the way Val'anyr did?
A: At this stage we want it to be available to both 10 and 25 man. We want legendaries to last longer than normal items, it's always hard to balance these expansion wise.

Q: Basically, I originally liked the idea you had about lowering the talents, but now i really hate the fact there is no uniqueness anymore, everyone is the same number/combo of talents atm are you ever going to extend it again for more options?
A: Do you think the specs in the deeper trees were very different from each other? They weren't. It's a new design, the last 10 points are the most exciting ones to spend, we'll see what specs develop. hopefully we can tweak things. There were cookie cutter specs before this change, and there probably will be some for this as well.

Q: Do you intend to make anything except heirlooms account bound? Pets, Achievements, etc?
A: Sure we would like doing that, things that are not char power oriented will have a higher chance of being account bound in the future, it's something we'll like to do in the future. Most of the archaeology items and the guild mount are account bound already.

Q: I would like to ask for a closet, we get all this awesome stuff from events but have no place to put them
A: We actually hoped to do that for cataclysm, there's still some issues with that that we need to resolve

Q: The horde curently has two very good battlecry's, can you give some characters somewhere to shout back (alliance)?
A: "Have mercy!". We've experimented with a amount of battlecry's for the alliance, but none of them match up with "For the Horde!". We'll keep trying to find one. "We'll keep trying" is not the battle cry though.

Q: You stated that you want mastery to dynamically change up your gameplay but some of them are just flat damage bonuses and aren't very exciting
A: Crit makes you hit harder, Haste lets you do more things, Mastery generally makes you better at what you do, particularly for mages haste does a pretty good job at that already but the goal isn't necessarily to modify your rotations.

Q: I'm working on insane in the membrane, with all the changes to Dire Maul north will I still be able to achieve this achievement?
A: The biggest problem is the changes to the bloodsail buccaneers, that kinda put a bullet in that feat of strength for now. It's fun to do painful things in WoW. If there's a huge outcry for it we'll try to put something equally brute in the game.

Q: With the existance of Pandarens being hinted at, are Pandarens still being excluded away?
A: I don't see them flying out of the cracks.. we'll see. They're a super cool race and an awesome concept, maybe we can see them in the future. We'll see.

Q: In terms of voice acting, I noticed that I missed Metzen on the panel. every new major character sounds like Thrall, are you guys willing to open auditions for players?
A: Deathwing is actually not Metzen. We have a process (believe it or not) we've had a lot of talented actors, not just Chris (he has a lovely voice), we'll keep adhering to that process.

Q: I'm desperate for another character slot, give us some more room!
A: Do you need twelve for you 12 step program? I can offer you another 10 slots for 15 bucks a month! It is something we've talked about just right now its not what we are going to do, we'll have to wait and see.

Q: Regarding Cataclysm Raiding. What is the incentive to do a 25 man since the gear is the same in 10 man?
A: Something you might enjoy more? It's something we are focusing on, it's a daunting task but we're working on it.

Q: I have a lot of low level friends, are you planning something for me to quest with them, without them being penalized?
A: It's one of our philosophies to let people play together as much as we can, we've talked about a sidekick system, where your char would play as a low level char something we'd like to do in the future.

Q: People love legendaries, maybe trade them in for a heirloom version so they can level with it?
A: That'd be awesome, but we dont want people to need to going back to old content to get legendaries

Q: When are we getting a tabard tab?
A: We would like to do it, the only reason why we didn't do it yet is because we have click on-use tabards but we kinda want a dropdown or something.

Q: Any better plans to integrate the TBC races into the lore?
A: We've kinda failed at bringing Draenei into the wow culture, we tried to do it more in Cataclysm. We're not there yet but it's better.

Q: About the balance between horde and alliance characters, now I have to level up all my chars, it's gonna be 20 vs 100 horde fighting
A: we just need a better battlecry for the alliance, its definitely something we are keeping an eye on, it's just the psychology of the coolness of the horde that makes them more popular, making the allies be proud of them being allies is a thing to solve in the long run

Q: Could you make the heroic training dummy more interactive, could you change the stats or give it buffs/debuffs, built in recount?
A: We'd like to do more with the dummies, just a question of time and priority at the moment.

Q: Are you going to implement the dance studio?
A: Yeah well you got goblin and worgen dances who are pretty awesome, we've been doing some work on that, we just want to see when to introduce it, we need to make sure to add a LOT of new dances, whenever the animators have free time we make them make new dances. We wanted it to be a cool feature too, there wasn't much gameplay in the barbershop for example, we want to add more gameplay.

Q: Are you going to add more alchemy research-ish things for old content recipes?
A: It's always a good question on how much to support the older raids, its something we should take more seriously.

Q: Blood Elves weren't a large part in WotLK, and is lorthemar actually going to be a leader instead of just a reagent?
A: In cata we have a new faction, they counter to the explorers league. Lor'themar is absolutely being developed to a more leadership-ish position. we absolutely want to put him in the front.

Q: Will there be predictable high damage phases where healers and tanks can plan their cooldowns together?
A: We have planned areas in some bosses where you need to coordinate your cooldowns.

Death Knight
Q: Has anybody given a thought to changing the glow on DK eyes to blue, red, green depending on their spec or what presence they're in?
A: No, we haven't. It might get a little to christmas-tree-y. I mean the current glow, it gives the feeling of "death". We like the way the glow represents the feel right now. Generally we use red to represent demonic, blue for Scourge influence, etc.

Q: Are there any plans for female druid forms?
A: I might have seen concept for something like that yesterday, we'll do what we can.

Q: I like the dog pet a lot (Gilnean dog pet) any plans on making it more ferocious?
A: Maybe we can make them a little meaner, give them rabies or something.

Q: Blade's Edge arena, I'm on a bridge as a mage and blink, and I blink backwards. I mean what the hell?
A: Well when you blink, make sure you're facing the right way. Any time we find bugs with that we obviously try to fix that. The geometry especially, like Blade's Edge. Things don't line up correctly and it causes a hiccup. We try to fix that.

Q: Any chance for mage water elementals to get new abilities?
A: We don't have plans right now, we'll have to see for the future. We have to see how the permanent water elemental works out. It's something we'll probably consider for a future expansion.

Q: Can you move the interrupt from HoJ to something else for prot paladins?
A: Yeah we've talked about that. We would like to eventually move the interrupt to something else so they have a more consistent interrupt.

Q: If you decided to cut out abilities for prot or ret paladins due to rotations being too complex, what would they be?
A: We've been looking, we probably could take out Avenging Wrath and bake that into Zealotry. Same thing with Inquisition, we could move that somewhere else.

Q: Why did you remove the support role of the Shadowpriest?
A: Players didn't want to be there to make everyone else awesome, they wanted to be awesome themselves.

Q: Shadow Dance has turned into more of an energy increasing ability instead of a DPs increasing ability. Was that the intent?
A: The challenge with Subtlety is we want that to be the spec where the rogue feels sneaky. The problem is that if you pull it off, they're dead -- that's great. If you screw it up, you're dead. We'll have to see how it plays out at 85 in PvP since we haven't seen a lot of that. We didn't try to change the core function of it.

Shaman (Forums / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Q: For enhancement, burst vs abilities that need to ramp up, is there any consideration of addressing the problem in PvE where it's hard to ramp up during an encounter?
A: We've given a lot of considering to mix things up so that every spec has to adapt and have tried to add ramp up abilities to every spec. That way you can sometimes have the quick burst, or may need to ramp things up depending on the encounter.
At 85 it works really well.

Q: Are there any plans for making fury good in pvp?
A: Fury did get some love in cataclysm because we changed the talent trees around, short heroic leap gives them a little more tools compared to before. We also expect players to play a lot more in Rated Battlegrounds and things will be different there, Arenas will still be around but we expect the focus to shift to Rated Battlegrounds during the next year.
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