Dnevne Blue Teme

Quote from Blizzard staff
PvP starting gear in Cataclysm easier to obtain? (Source Re: Shadow Priests, General PvP, and 4.0)
The fourth question, about the availability of starter gear in PvP, is something we are working right this moment on improving for Cataclysm. Players tended to view the Lich King starter gear as either tedious or a distraction while at the same time they were able to get high item level weapons from PvE. Those two factors contributed a lot to the very short matches we had in the first season.

We know players need some minimum level of resilience (say somewhere in the 300 - 500 range) before they feel like they can survive long enough to do anything. We need to make sure players generally aren't stepping into Arenas or BGs without it.

[...] I think 1000 is probably the point where you really start to feel like you aren't going to die at any given second. But that's okay as long as it is reasonably attainable. We offer resilience on gear largely as a reward. It's a good milestone when you realize that the gear you have worked to obtain is now keeping you alive. It's comparable to a raid that has trouble on a boss until they get enough of the right gear, at which point they now stand a good chance to beat him. In other words, if we didn't want players to have to work to get resilience, we'd just make it a passive damage reduction aura in Arenas and BGs.

But I do agree the starting sets of resilience gear in LK were unattractive given the investment it took to get them. To use my raid example above, you shouldn't be facing the boss in greens either.

Patch 3.3 Dungeon System Questions (Source Re: new LFG-TOOL questions..)
Will the random heroic search have the option of excluding certain heroics (i.e. oculus?)
You do not have the option to exclude specific Heroic dungeons, however, if you've already run a specific Heroic dungeon that day, it is less likely to be randomly selected for you.

Will players still need to purchase keys to queue for TBC heroics?
All standard requirements for entering a dungeon will remain. For instance, if you log into the game just after patch 3.3's release and queue for a Random Heroic dungeon, you will not be selected for the Icecrown Citadel Pit of Saron or Halls of Reflection wings unless you've cleared your way through each preceding wing in order to unlock the next wing (i.e. you must clear Forge of Souls for Pit of Saron, and Pit of Saron for Halls of Reflection).

- I've heard players will no longer be saved to heroics. Does this mean we can farm Champion's Seals?
Heroic lockouts still exist. The only difference is that the Random Heroic option will ignore lockouts. So if you've run every single Wrath of the Lich King Heroic dungeon in a day, you can still choose the Random Heroic option to continue running them. You can do this as often as time allows since this option will ignore lockout timers. As I said above though, the Heroic dungeons you've run the most that day will be less likely to be randomly chosen by the system.

Downranking (Source Re: healing in cata .. [blizz post])
I've addressed the downranking issue enough that you can probably find a good explanation for why we nerfed it.

The big problem with downranking was it propped up coefficients at the expense of everything else. It wasn't just that the lower ranked heals were cheaper. It was that the higher ranked heals just didn't have much to offer because the coefficients so completely trumped the flat points of the spell. The part of downranking that was choosing the cheap, small spell over the big, expensive spell was compelling, I'll grant you. But the part of it that was ignoring new spells because high spell power (or + healing back in the day) gave the lower ranks such great legs was just problematic for many reasons.

I agree that we need to make sure every class feels like they have the choice between big and small heals, and that may mean adding new heals to Cataclysm. On the other hand, priests have say Flash Heal and Greater Heal now but don't necessarily use them equally.

Useless/Overpowered healing sources - Lightwell and Replenishment (Source Re: healing in cata .. [blizz post])
I don't think Lightwell means non-healers don't care about their health. Lightwell means they aren't willing to take a huge dps hit (including losing targeting) to get it. Most players will use Healthstones in my experience. They just don't feel like they offer that much currently because the healers will be able to cover them.

[...] I know Replenishment is a popular bogeyman, but we don't think Replenishment itself is the problem. It's just a generous source of regen at a time when there are many generous sources of regen. We'd more likely to nerf everything than just Replenishment, because we like having player power grow so much when you're in a group.

[...] I'm not sure Replenishment even makes sense in its current incarnation in Cataclysm. Once all healers like Spirit, then Replenishment could just boost Spirit-based regen. But this is something we haven't worked completely through yet.

Mana pool management = Caster DPS vs. Healer (Source Re: healing in cata .. [blizz post])
When you think about the actual experience though the difference comes down to more damage nearly always being better while healing has a target, beyond which more healing isn't necessary because everyone is at 100% of their health. Overhealing exists as a concept, whereas overdamage does not (except in a few isolated fights or when threat is an issue). In a very coarse sense, damage is about as going as fast as you can while healing is about hitting your target -- damage is a 50 yard dash, while healing is playing darts.

Furthermore, most healing rotations aren't terrible complicated because they can't afford to be. If you had to get up e.g. 3 periodic spells and self buffs before you could even do your job, then a lot of time players would be dead before you could ever get around to actually saving their lives. Having a long ramp up time would just kill healing.

So the healing game ultimately becomes more about using the right tool for the job. If someone takes a little damage but isn't likely to die, a hot is a great idea. If someone is about to die, you might need a very fast spell or even a cooldown. If a lot of players take damage at once, an AE looks attractive. If you know you won't be able to cast for awhile (maybe you're moving) then again something with a duration like a hot or shield is the ticket. And so on....

Mana efficiency is ideally part of this calculus. If mana doesn't matter, then either your highest healing-per-second spell or your fastest spell (depending on the situation) is always the best choice. Increasingly in LK, it's just the fastest spell that wins because of the nature of incoming damage. If mana doesn't matter, then you aren't trying to hit the bullseye I described above because missing the bullseye (overhealing) has no consequence. If you use the proverbial bazooka to kill cockroaches, then who cares?

Many long-term healers (and I'll include myself in that) enjoy healing because you feel smart when you do it right. Part of that "smartiness" is using the right tool for the job. It's a different approach to the game than say a mage or warlock uses however. To some degree it's hard for me to understand how you like healing if you don't like mana management. 

Now, in much of the above, I'm describing an ideal situation. Mana generally matters a lot less in Lich King for healers than we'd like, so instead of challenging healers to hit the target we just challenge healers to keep as many darts in the air as possible. If you miss even a single GCD, then it's possible someone is going to die. That doesn't feel like smart playing to many players. That feels like whack-a-mole.

Now don't jump to the opposite extreme and assume what we intend for Cataclysm is for healers to stand around a lot and regen. What we'd rather see is that say a Holy priest uses Renew in some situations, Flash Heal in others, Greater Heal in others, CoH in others, and so on. Furthermore, we'd like to see more coordination among the healers (again because the risk of going OOM exists). That doesn't have to mean talking on Vent, though it could be that too. It could be as simple as assigning more targets or roles for your healers instead of just "You heal the tank, everyone else heal the raid."

In addition, once the group learns that healing mana matters, then individual survivability matters more too. Health stones, pots and even bandages do something. An avoid-damage ability like Barkskin or Dispersion is an interesting part of the dps toolbox instead of a PvP-only spell. Standing in fires is dangerous rather than just sloppy playing. Avoidance on tanks is more attractive because being the guy who requires tons of healing can be as much of a liability as the guy who dies from big boss hits.

Yes, the risk is that the game becomes so stressful for healers that it's not fun for them. But I think healing can definitely be stressful now, and in a physically exhausting way instead of a I-need-to-make-smart-decisions-quickly way. 

Are pets going to scale for 3.3?
If we can get it in. On a technical side, the implementation just ends up being a little different for every stat.

Keep in mind that pet scaling isn't essential to good damage. It's only essential for keeping your pet's damage growing at the same rate as your damage, and by extension keeping your total damage growing at the same rate as other classes. There aren't going to be 3 more tiers of content for Lich King, so it only gets to be an issue if other classes scale so much better that they leapfrog you in Icecrown / the final PvP season.

Why can't warlocks have stackable shards? (Source Re: A technical question on Shards)
Technically we have trouble altering inventory space in existing characters, and that would especially be true for the shard bag. We can do it, but it's a pretty high risk change when you consider all of the things that can go wrong. For that reason, we'd prefer to do it during an expansion when we have plenty of time to solve any unforeseen problems that arise.

On the design side, we'd prefer to unveil new mechanics that all work well together rather than make changes now that we'd just turn around and undo. What I mean is that we don't want to sideline soul shards even more for the next few months to the point where locks, especially newer ones, sort of forget about them only to bring them back in a big way for Cataclysm. (Source)

Interview with Chris Sigaty @ IgroMir

Quote from: eu.blizzard.com (Source Interview With Chris Sigaty)
At the IgroMir Game Show which took place in November in Moscow, Russia, Chris Sigaty, Lead Producer for StarCraft II, met the Blizzard Community Team to answer some questions from the game fans.

Blizzard: How exciting and unexpected plot twists will be in the next part of the epic saga?

Chris Sigaty: We spent a lot of time creating some interesting story elements and plot twists, but I’m not going to reveal those because we want them to be a surprise for the players. What I can tell you is that the story picks up with Jim Raynor, four years after the events of Brood War. Kerrigan has returned and just her arrival kicks off all the events that unfold in Wings of Liberty. So that’s how things start and I really don’t want to give too much more away about the story other than what we’ve shown at various shows and events already.

Blizzard: What’s the reason behind the achievement system in RTS? What influence it might have on the overall game style?

Chris Sigaty: We added the achievement system to help guide players through the content. We thought they would add a lot to StarCraft II as a reward system, and to let you know that you are accomplishing some cool things. As you earn achievements you actually unlock avatars, which you can display on your Battle.net profile, and decals, which will appear on your units in game.

So what we hope it will do for the overall gameplay is that as you go through the campaign, you can use the achievements as a guide to help suggest things that you should go do. For example, after you've finished the campaign, the achievements (and the unlockable rewards) could be a good incentive for you to try the special challenge mode we've added to the game, or play some cooperative skirmish matches. We’re hoping that those achievements can encourage players to try play modes that they might not have tried on their own.

Blizzard: We’ve heard that battles in SC II are more dynamic to compare with SCI. What’s your view on this?

Chris Sigaty: We've said from the beginning that our goal with StarCraft II was to reimagine, not reinvent the original game. So it should be apparent that we have tried to stick with the mechanics of the original StarCraft to some degree. We wanted to capture the essence of what made the original StarCraft great, including the speed of the game, and the balance not only between races, but between the early tech units and later tech units. We feel we've done a good job at maintaining the speed of the game, and StarCraft II may be even faster than the original at the highest setting.

And then on top of that we have put in a lot of effort to try and ensure that all the units are good in various cases. As you’ve seen in some of the battle reports we’ve definitely seen a lot of different units being used. And our hope is that there isn’t a single answer or the best way to play and that all the units have specific roles, and that the game is more dynamic in general. We'll see how everything plays out in beta, and we will adjust balance as necessary.

Blizzard: Will we find out the fate of some other characters apart from the most famous like Raynor in SC II? Any light on Duran perhaps?

Chris Sigaty: Again, I want to be careful not to spoil some of the story elements that we've built into the StarCraft II. I can tell you that there are new characters that are introduced and obviously we play a part in their fate. There are also other characters that we’ve seen in the previous StarCraft games and also books that also make an appearance in Wings of Liberty and beyond.

Blizzard: Any hints regarding system requirements?

Chris Sigaty: We’re still putting the final touches on what they are. We’re working on trying to ensure we hit the widest spectrum of systems out there, so we have a very scalable number of graphics options so everybody can play. But the game does require shader 2.0 or better video cards. And on top of that you should expect to have at least 1 gigabyte of memory to play the game. Those are really the two main things that we are communicating at this point.

Blizzard: Will SC II also be released for Mac OS X?

Chris Sigaty: Yes, and it will be sim-shipped with the PC version.

Blizzard: What interesting SC II features will be offered through Battle.net?

Chris Sigaty: We’ve completely revamped Battle.net for StarCraft II and that’s what we’re hard at work on right now. Our goal with Battle.net and StarCraft II was to completely integrate Battle.net into the game, so effectively you have an always connected experience with StarCraft II and Battle.net. Features like achievements, and being able to communicate with your friends even across games like World of Warcraft, are possible because of the changes to Battle.net.

We've also made improvements to our skill-based matchmaking system compared our previous games. There’s a new league and ladder system that ties right into the automated matchmaking system. This league and ladder system will serve both hardcore and casual players alike, and make sure that you're competing only against players that are close to your skill level.

We’ve also added some things for the players that aren’t interested in the competitive side. So for example, we now can do a co-op skirmish, and you can play through the custom games with friends. We make playing games with friends on your team even easier than ever, with our new party system. With the party feature, you can invite your friends into a party and then jump into custom games or start your own games as a party. As you complete matches, you'll always stay on the same team with the friends you've added to your party. You can also do the same thing for the anonymous match make games where you play 2v2, 3v3, 4v4 and that sort of thing. So overall it’s a much more cohesive experience.

Blizzard: So the most important question! ;) Will Jim Raynor and Kerrigan have children?

Chris Sigaty: That’s not something we would reveal here, because it would be a huge plot-spoiler. But, you know, obviously their fates do play out in Wings of Liberty and I think people should check it out, get the game once it’s released and see what happens.

Dnevne Blue Teme

Quote from Blizzard staff
Reasons behind the removal of Crashin' & Trashin' from Merrymaker (Source Re: Blues, why remove Crashin' & Thrashin' fr)
For players who weren't there when this gift was given out, it's, well, kind of hard to get. We have plans to fix this in the future but they weren't implemented in time for this year's event.

Icecrown 5-Man and Random Dungeons (Source Re: 3.3, Icecrown 5-mans as random dungeon?)
I actually got one of them when I was doing the testing on the PTR, so yes, they are part of the table. One thing to keep in mind though is that you have to unlock the Halls of Reflection by doing the Pit of Saron and the Pit of Saron is locked until you do the Forge of Souls. I was not able to queue for locked two dungeons until I opened them up so that probably locks them from the random heroic rotation as well. 

Trash mobs in Wrath of the Lich King raids (Source Re: Are DK Tanks going to get a buff soon?)
A lot of players have an impression of Wrath of the Lich King trash tanking as the tank spamming their AE moves while the raid uses Fan of Knives, Blizzard, Volley, Hurricane, Mind Sear, etc. This wasn't necessarily something we set out to do. We buffed warrior and druid AE threat abilities in response to paladins having such an easy time of it throughout Burning Crusade. At the same time we also buffed a lot of the AE spells, particularly for those classes / specs that didn't have good ones.

I wouldn't call this is a stirring victory though. It meant that crowd control was irrelevant on a lot of fights. It was important on say Freya or Vezax trash before everyone became so overgeared, but our raid trash didn't feel at all like the BC raid trash (which is both good and bad I suppose). Likewise, classes with a lot of ramp up time (e.g. warlocks, Shadow priests) or whose most interesting mechanics really only kick in on single targets (e.g. combo points) just didn't have as much fun on the AE extravaganza.

A better design might be that you use e.g. Thunderclap when a group of adds spawn in, but you don't keep applying Thunderclap over and over to lock them down. (This is a little bit of a bad example because there are other reasons to use Tclap obviously). Instead, you tank maybe a 1-4 adds while the raid CCs and then burns down single targets at a time. Vezax trash generally worked like this. TK and SSC trash certainly worked like this. Now not every trash pull has to be the same. It's fine to have say the Solarian trash that you're clearly supposed to just AE down and can't effectively tank all at once. It's fine if groups shift more to AE when the instance is truly on farm. The majority of tanking abilities are just designed around the assumption of tanking 1-2 things at once though, so AE tanking just doesn't have much depth. (Surprise: sort of how AE dps and healing don't have as much depth.)

I suspect too that our encounter design has probably adjusted to fit the current state of things, so I wouldn't worry that Cataclysm is going to constantly bombard you with large add groups while your DnD is on cooldown and your group constantly calls you a bad tank for not being able to manage the adds. Related, runes on cooldown works out as a reasonable gating mechanism overall, but I'm not sure the emergency buttons are doing what they should. Things like Blood Tap need to be more about "Oops, I have no runes for DnD, but I really need it this instant."

Tanking class disparities (Source Re: Who else is tired of the Warrior MT line)
I would agree with most of this, though I wouldn't use that tone of course. I feel like the heart of the matter here is your definition of "easier."

Does easier mean he wipes less than you? If so, this is a big problem. I don't think it's happening though.
Does easier mean you don't need the same amount of gear? This is a slightly smaller problem, though I'll point out again that the server firsts are typically done with very little new gear, which reinforces that skill and coordination can outweigh big gear disparities.
Does easier mean you have to work a little harder at playing your class?
Does easier mean the healers have to work harder?
Does easier mean your group can have a little more slop in its execution?

If you agree with any of these issues other than the first one though, I have to ask why it's such a big deal. That falls more into quality of life issues. What I keep reading in this forum (though remarkably not so much on other WoW-dedicated forums) is that warriors and DKs have a higher failure rate on "bosses that matter" to the extent that they are being replaced by paladins and perhaps druids. We don't have a lot of evidence either of those things are happening though, which is why I have spent so much effort trying to understand where some of you are coming from.

Death Knight
Death Knight and tanking
We think it's still a good goal to have DKs who are tanking use different abilities than DKs who are doing dps. I don't thing tying Blood Tap to Vampiric Blood et al. the way it has been has worked out well however. That wasn't really where we were going with it.

I'm arm-waving here, but imagine a world where (say it in movie preview announcer voice):

-- Blood Tap finishes the cooldown of all your runes. It's on a 15 sec cooldown.
-- You can use Blood Tap for an emergency Death and Decay.
-- Neither of these are things you do rotationally, the way you hit Plague Strike, Icy Tough and Blood Strike though. You use them for emergencies.
-- These emergencies aren't super common because there aren't encounters where large groups of mobs regularly stream in that will one-shot the healers if they aren't tanked. If it's a large pull, sure AE tank that, but the individual mobs will die quickly. On large pulls with serious mobs, you CC the dangerous casters, kill a couple of others as quickly as you can, and have the tanks pull out a couple of the mobs, essentially tying them up too.
-- Likewise, Consecrate (especially Consecrate) gets somehow changed to a similar mechanic. Now nobody is just spamming AE threat moves to keep stuff stuck to them.
-- Imagine a Hyjal raid where the dangerous adds have to be tanked or CC'd, and then the weaker minions are just blown up with AE. These weaker guys don't have to be tanked because they won't one-shot a dps player (though you may have to Frost Nova once in awhile or whatever).

How would you enforce this on dps? I'm curious.
Make Death and Decay cause almost no damage but very high threat, and let dps DKs use Blood Boil or something. I'm not saying that's the best solution, but it isn't an unsolvable problem.

I'm not sure where you're going GC... I've read the thread and imagined all this, and it sounds cool but... what do you mean? Are you saying that this sort of mechanic is the direction you'd like to head in the future or what?
Yes. I was answering Devium's question in a round about way. We could make DnD take one rune, or give it a short cooldown and make it free. It would make it easier for DKs to AE tank, but I'm not sure it's a good direction for the game ultimately. (Though if DKs have horrible problems AE tanking in Icecrown, we'd fix it anyway.)

What would happen if Assassination was overpowered in 3.3? (Source Re: can we get an answer on PVE Rogues in 3.3)
Yes, there would be a change. The goal is not to get every rogue to go Assassination. The goal is to give you options. If Combat totally out-performed Assassination even on a target as simple as a static dummy then we can't see why anyone would try Assassination. I know some of you are concerned that the Mutilate buff was too high. We'll have some better real-world (not that it is a "real world") soon (tm). 

Tanking as a warrior (Source Re: Who else is tired of the Warrior MT line)
The red flag part is all I've ever really been talking about. We can't find any evidence that warriors are failing on encounters, and not many players have been able to provide much yet. Most of what is being brought up is that "When I estimate EH, my number looks lower than his number." That is very much an issue IF it actually means something in the game. I'm looking for some explanation of what actually happens on a boss. Some players post that they've personally experienced a discrepancy and I have no reason to think they're lying or anything. But if it's a trend, it's one that's pretty hard for us to detect.  

TL Interviews Dustin Browder

Quote from: Cydra (Source Check out Dustin's Interview)
StarCraft II game director, Dustin Browder had an interview with Team Liquid. Check it out!

http://w ww.teamliquid.net/for um/viewmessage.php?to pic_id=107013

Teamliquid.net: First of all thanks for taking the time to do this interview. I know you guys are really busy with development.

Dustin Browder: Oh, it's our pleasure man.

TL: Dustin, we know you've worked at a number of other studios on other franchises including RTS titles – how early in life did you decide you wanted to make games?

DB: Well, when I was 10 I got a copy of Dungeons and Dragons for Christmas and I think by age 12 it was the center of my life. So I didn't know what kind of careers were available in games at that time. There weren't a lot of video game design positions back in 1982/83, but I knew I wanted to do something with this. And then it wasn't until I was in college that I found out there were these positions where this stuff could be done. Even then it wasn't until I was out of college and looked around a bit to see that companies were starting to hire designers – guys specifically for content as opposed to just for engineering.

TL: So you would say DnD was one of the biggest influences in deciding you wanted to make these sorts of products?

DB: Absolutely.

TL: I know you've said you play a lot of other games to keep up with what other developers are doing – you mentioned Dawn of War 2. What types of influences do you get from SciFi movies, TV shows etc?

DB: Oh of course, we're always looking at everything all the time and trying to get inspiration from wherever we can. You look at Starship Troopers or Aliens where there is obvious influence on what Blizzard has done. We are obviously watching everything we can get our hands on to try to create moments in games. We've got a mission in game now that's largely inspired by 300, which obviously is not a science fiction movie but has those core dramatic moments that we really really enjoy. And that is one of the great things about being a geek and being in this business – it's something that comes naturally. This is not stuff that I wouldn't be doing if I was an accountant I would still be wanting to do this. I'd still be going to see Zombieland as many times as I could – I'm just fortunate enough to work in a business where that has huge benefits.

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TL: You had said in previous interviews that you basically had to relearn how to design games when you moved to Blizzard. What sort of challenges did you face when getting acquainted with the range of skill levels in the StarCraft community?

DB: It was a pretty huge challenge. The games I've made before look like Blizzard games...but they're not (laughs). And I had played quite a few Blizzard games but I haven't played them as competitively as I would have liked. After I got here I sort of saw the difference in quality level but also depth of the gameplay and the detailed experience the players have while playing it...and all the fine control that goes into a ‘craft experience as opposed to games made by other studios. And so it was really, really challenging to relearn – I think the hardest part was learning that I HAD to relearn it. That was sort of a difficult pill to swallow (laughs). Once I got over that, it came very quickly – it became very obvious what had to happen.

I'm also really fortunate to be surrounded by such a great bunch of guys – guys like [senior game designer] Mike Heiberg and [executive vice president of game design] Rob Pardo and even guys like Jeff Kaplan [who was game director] on the World of Warcraft team. I'm surrounded by a group of guys who are so talented, who ultimately just by osmosis you can pick up so much from. One of our great strengths at this point is that we've been able to attract, really, really AAA talent to the studio – guys that really know their stuff. Then we are able to just teach each other as we go. I'm able to have lunch with Jeff Kaplan and [game director] Tom Chilton whenever I want and I tell you, I learn something new everyday from those guys. Not just about World of Warcraft, but other games as well, including what works and what doesn't work in this business and what we should be shooting for.

TL: Obviously we are a StarCraft Progaming community, how much of an influence has progaming been in the development cycle and can you give us any examples?

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DB: It's been pretty enormous. You know, when we announced the changes to rallying and multiple unit selection stuff we knew that was going to be kind of a big deal. I don't think we appreciated how big of a deal it was going to be. And then the discussions that resulted from that on your site and other sites around the community were very educational for us in what we were trying to accomplish.
The benefit you guys bring to the game, the passion and knowledge this community brings has been a huge benefit working on the game. It's had a huge influence and I think it has made the game a lot better.

I don't have specific examples, which I know you want and would love to give them to you because you've certainly earned it. I don't have specific examples of units you guys have come up with or a specific post that I've read that I thought “Oh we need to put that in the game!” and went ahead and did that. Really almost nothing in the work we do here survives the development process – I don't ever come up with an idea (well maybe rarely) – almost never, that goes right into the game and that's it. I'll get an idea and I'll take it to a designer and we'll talk about it and say “that's kind of cool, we'll see how we feel about it tomorrow”. We go back the next day and say “you know what, I like it but maybe we should change this from protoss to zerg and maybe it should be plus armor instead of % damage lost”. It will slowly get tuned and it goes through me talking with the designers, talking with Rob Pardo, talking with the lore guys, the artists, the balance guys. At that point it's changed so much that was it really my idea (laughs)? I dunno... I guess, technically I said the words that started the whole thing but it's not really my idea anymore – it has no relationship to what I originally said at the beginning. At that point, it's evolved into something that is really tight and good and hopefully we would like in the game.

So there is definitely stuff you guys have said that has spurred conversation – that have created things that have gone into the game but there's no sort of one idea that we took right off a post and put in the game. But the influences are real and are really serious and have been extremely helpful. I've often said and will continue to say that StarCraft II specifically has been extremely fortunate to have you guys watching over it. The benefit you guys bring to the game, the passion and knowledge this community brings has been a huge benefit working on the game. It's had a huge influence and I think it has made the game a lot better.

TL: I think you'll make a lot of nerds really happy with that.

DB: It's the way it is man!

TL: To follow that up, what types of challenges do you face when trying to balance the needs of the casual player versus the rage of hardcore players like in the progaming community. You had mentioned the macro mechanics being a big one.

DB: Sure that's definitely a big one – it's a place where we feel we can definitely do better but it then does break other systems. You know a great example I love reading on Teamliquid and elsewhere were not so much that you guys were missing clicks – some people said that and I didn't agree with that – but that we were missing the difference between a macro player and a micro player. That we were destroying the sense of style of the player. I could be playing a micro game and you could be playing a macro game with both the same race, and we are still playing a very different game from one another. And when I saw that I was like “Ohh!” I was opening my eyes like
Thanks! THERE IT IS! That's great! That's genius! That's exactly what we need to try to accomplish”.

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So yeah, it's always a challenge. It's very easy to make units and abilities and missions and UI that appeals to the hardcore gamer. It's also very easy to make those kind of decisions that appeal to the very casual gamer. The real challenge is making it easy to learn and difficult to master, which makes everybody happy. The casual gamer has learned it easily, the hardcore guy is finding it very difficult to master. And like I've said before, and you see this in World of Warcraft all the time – there's not a hardcore gamer and a casual gamer, there's a continuum. Casual gamers can and will become hardcore gamers if you let them. If you create a game that's easy to learn, the casual guy will come and sit down and play. And if you make it really difficult to master, what you are allowing him to do is play week after week, month after month and still learn something new. Then there's always some reason for him to come back and so he'll become a hardcore gamer over time. I can't tell you how many soccer moms I've raided with – it's ridiculous. These people according to conventional gaming wisdom would never be hardcore gamers, but they have better gear than I do! And I'm the archetype of a hardcore gamer, buying 3 or 4 games a month and staying up into the wee hours of the morning to play. Yet here are the soccer moms out there with their purple gear and epic mounts.

So what is that? I don't know but it's not the usual breakdown between casual and hardcore. You've made a game where they are allowed to get into it and enjoy it easily but they have a lot of trouble mastering it and become us. So that is the goal, and that is always challenging. That's when it's easy to come up with something for the casuals but doesn't have any depth – so what's the point? It's very easy to come up with something that has a lot of depth and nobody will understand. So we definitely go back and forth, and that's one of the reasons it takes us so damned long to make our games. Cause this stuff is hard – we're smart guys but we're not geniuses, so we have to work at it and put a lot of effort into it. So we just grind on it until we've got it to a place we are happy with.

TL: Up until Blizzcon we had heard a lot about the Queen and in previous interviews, yourself and other members of the development team had said they found Zerg to be the be pretty weak. Now when we got to Blizzcon we played and released an article where we had said we found the Queen's macro mechanic to be extremely powerful (perhaps too powerful). So a big discussion spurred from that about why was the development team finding Zerg to be so weak vs. our play test. Now obviously we only had a limited amount of time with the build, but do you have any thoughts on that?

DB: Well yeah, there's a couple of possibilities. One is that you guys may not have had as much time to play with it as we did. Certainly the Queen stuff is very obvious how powerful it can be – we've certainly found specifically at tier 2, the Zerg lack legitimate ways to really push an advantage. The Mutalisk has been running into a little bit more trouble with stalkers than say it would against dragoons. Where using Blink and Warp In are fundamentally game changing kinds of moments that suddenly change the relationship between these old units. Certainly having watched some of the games played at Blizzcon, there's a lot of stuff which you guys aren't using yet which is only to be expected. You haven't really had a chance to get your hands on it for that long – you would be gods among men if you could sit down at this game and master it in 3 days. I really hope you don't! (laughs) That would really suck and we wouldn't have done our job if that was the case. Obviously you guys are very skilled though so I do expect you to go through the cycle stuff of understanding very very quickly. I would guess that maybe you aren't seeing what we're seeing cause you haven't had enough time with it.

The other possibility of course is that we're wrong, and you guys are correct. And because we haven't gone to beta yet, maybe we are seeing the wrong thing. Now while you guys don't have enough time with it, we have a lot of time but we have a very limited player pool. We've expanded to the studio at large, but the studio at large is not all playing with one another. The Diablo team is playing like crazy but they are also playing mostly with each other. Cinematics is playing a lot but they are mostly playing with Cinematics. We do get some cross team play but not enough that would be necessary to really shake things up and show us what's going on.

So it's very possible that you are correct even with your limited play time. But simply, we have too limited a player pool and we are not pushing it as much as maybe we should. So who knows? We'll find out when we get to beta what the reality of that stuff is. It doesn't really...well it matters to me right now and we are going to keep working on it, but we've got plenty of time for those kinds of adjustments.

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TL: When Starcraft 2 releases and the Battle.net ladder goes live will the dev team be actively seeking to make tweaks to official maps to promote racial balance? Or will they be trying to release standard maps and then tailoring the races like that. For example if you look at some of the classic maps that are still played where there is relative balance from the game balance versus some modern progaming maps that are designed with dramatic features to alter how they are played upon.

DB: We're gonna choose a selection of map types – to start with we'll probably start with some very limited set of maps that we feel are pretty similar at a basic level and we'll test our balance on those. We'll start releasing a wider set of map types probably – that may change of course - during the beta to see what kind of maps are the most fun. We will initially be tailoring the races a little bit more to the maps rather than doing a lot of map stuff to affect the races. But it will depend what is easiest and best for us, so we may change our mind on that.
“I can't tell you how many soccer moms I've raided with– it's ridiculous. These people according to conventional gaming wisdom would never be hardcore gamers, but they have better gear than I do!”
Like “wow this game would be perfectly balanced if only we did this to the maps” (laughs). So yeah we are definitely looking at making a standard set of maps that we riff on in a lot of creative ways and then tailoring the balance like that.

I really do feel like using map balance as a method of racial balance is something that the community has quite correctly evolved because we aren't doing a lot of patches. And so you guys have taken over the balance for us in many ways by doing the map balance which I think is glorious and I think you do a great job. But initially we won't be doing that because we know we can patch and will be patching frequently. So initially we'll be doing the balancing with the races themselves. As time goes on we may evolve, I don't know right now. We may evolve into a similar type of formula where we are doing more with map balance but we may not. Certainly for the next few years with the expansions we are going to be doing a lot of stuff with the races.

TL: Are there any gameplay paradigms that you as a developer see in Starcraft: Broodwar that, whether that be progaming, personal etc that you are actively trying to prevent in Starcraft 2? For example sitting back and turtling in TvP. Is there anything like that that you think “that is not something we want to see”?

DB: It's a little broader than that, but yeah all types of play that are extremely predictable where it's a given what you must do is what we are trying to disrupt. Now we know that you guys are smart, and we know that you guys in the community are looking for ways to win the easiest, fastest and safest way possible. So we know those things are going to happen anyways. We know that at some point there's going to be the ultimate Zerg build versus the ultimate Protoss build and that's just what you should do. But we're going to do everything you can to make it as flexible as possible to do everything creatively on your feet at the time. So you can't just become complacent and memorize a build and just run with it.

It's going to be kind of a constant arms race. We're going to be looking for ways to make it a flexible game where there's always new decisions to be made and always creative problems being presented to you. At the same time, the community is going to be looking to break that – you guys are going to be looking for ways to make just one build that always wins. Because that's what I always want to do - always win.

So that's going to be the challenge for us, and again it's not that we are trying to destroy anything specific to the original Starcraft, but we are trying to limit anything that comes up where its like “that's the obvious move.”

TL: OK, Blizzard has recently been making moves into the world of E-Sports - you have a dedicated E-Sports team now. With Starcraft 2, will you actually be organizing and sponsoring SC2 events or will you be leaving that to 3rd parties, either professional or in the community?

DB: I think Bob [Editor's Note: Bob Colayco, Blizzard PR Manager for SC2] is going to answer this one.

Bob: You know, we have an E-Sports team for a reason and I think you're going to see some 3rd party stuff as well, but we definitely like to get hands on with our own things. If you look at what we've done with WoW Arena, we do have the tournament realms and we do regional finals that we run and we sponsor. And then there's the grand finals which we have at Blizzcon, so I think you're going to see a mix of things. I can't say anything specific

DB: I think the important message for the community with this one would be, that we love the 3rd party tournaments as well. We love watching those, going to them and seeing them live etc. So we want to do stuff as well, and we want to promote E-Sports overall.
“We are trying to make this game as complete – like if nobody buys any other product, this game needs to be awesome. Like if Blizzard gets hit by a meteor tomorrow and we all die, at least Starcraft 2 was awesome – that's what it needs to be.”
We want E-Sports to grow and grow and grow – ideally with our game of course, but even in the wider world of everybody's games. We think E-Sports is an important component of what video games could become, and we want to take this opportunity with Starcraft 2 to push E-Sports forward. But, we really hope that lots of people out there see how fun it is and jump on board to make their own tournaments for our games or whoever's games. As long as we have a lot of E-Sports out there, we'll have more E-Sports players, more sites and bigger sites. It's just good for the business overall and because we put so much energy into it, it's good for us.

So we are really hoping that E-Sports, in the States specifically and in Europe as well takes off like it has in Korea where it's huge. We see that opportunity like “wow this is so fun, there's no reason this couldn't be a world-wide phenomenon” instead of one limited to a few places in the world.

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TL: What is your design philosophy with regards to expansions, and have you hit a point where you have to say “OK we'll have to put this in the expansion”. And then, how do you decide “this is something we can patch in” versus “this deserves its own separate product”?

DB: We haven't gotten to that point yet where we are designing stuff exclusively for expansions, but we haven't been throwing anything out. If we have something that doesn't fit right now but we think it's cool, we'll ear mark that as “possible expansion”. Like at this point we're going to be done with the original Starcraft 2 here, Wings of Liberty when they rip it out of our cold dead hands. We are going to put every ounce of energy into this release and then we'll worry about the expansions.

So if we have an awesome idea that will just not squeeze in, sure, we'll earmark that for expansion. But we are always watching to say “hey does that suddenly fit?” and if it fits, we'll put it in the ship.

TL: You already touched on this next one but with StarCraft II and the expansions are you designing it with a Global scope for the multiplayer the way we consider StarCraft+Broodwar now? Are there units that you think “that could work in the future, but we can leave it for expansion”.

DB: No we aren't leaving any intentional holes, is that what you are asking?

TL: Yeah.

DB: No we aren't doing anything where we think “there's a hole here but we can fill it with the expansion”. We are trying to make this game complete – like if nobody buys any other product, this game needs to be awesome. Like if Blizzard gets hit by a meteor tomorrow and we all die, at least StarCraft II was awesome – that's what it needs to be.

Then with the expansions there's just going to be more, and we are going to tune and tweak the gameplay and give you some more strategic options, but we are definitely looking at this like we are going to intentionally leave blanks that can be filled later on. That would probably be pretty lame (laughs). No, we are definitely thinking of them as separate products, like “here is a great game. Here is ANOTHER great game. It's like the other game, but great in its own right.”

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TL: Typically balance feedback has been given to developers by word of mouth – typically through forums. Is the development team going to have any sort of method by which high end/high ranking players can directly give their feedback?

DB: Yes...yes.

TL: Can you give us any more?

DB: I don't know what we are exactly going to do, but we've already been in discussion with some of the high ranking players around the world. We talked to people at Blizzcon and I think we sent a professional build overseas so some of the high ranking players could take a look at it and I've gotten the feedback from them on that.

But we are definitely going to be opening up...I don't know how we are exactly going to do it, whether it be a special secret forum or if we'll do email or what. We'll definitely be talking to the high ranking folks, the guys who have traditionally been really great at our games and see what they think.

TL: You've been asked before about HLTV type functionally in StarCraft II and had noted that it was on a wishlist but weren't sure that it would be there at launch. Given that Beta has been pushed to 2010, is this something we can expect with the final product?

DB: I don't know at this point which features for Battle.net are going to make the release. There's a minimum set which I know is going to make it. Then obviously there's going to be features we patch in, and ones we do with the expansions. Some of that is still swirling around, like which ones make which cut at which time. Those guys are working really hard to bring the best possible feature set with the game launch, but there's definitely stuff that's going to be put off to the expansions and patches.

Bob: One thing I wanted to say before we get off that topic - I really want to emphasize that people are used to seeing Battle.net only get overhauled with each product release, but there's going to be a concerted effort to do more in between releases with patches.
There's going to be some juicy stuff in between the actual product releases as we go forward.” -Bob Colayco
Again... I hate to bring the World of Warcraft analogy again but it is pretty analogous to the World of Warcraft content patches. There's going to be some juicy stuff in between the actual product releases as we go forward.

DB: We've seen what WoW has done for our games and our community, and we have a pretty good history of patching – not always what the community would want, but we try to do well. I think WoW has shown us what we can accomplish and the value it has for us, so we are trying to make the RTS team behave a little bit more like that in terms of how we get content patches over time. We'll see how we do.

Bob: That's for Battle.net features.

DB: Right.

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TL: One last question here. I went to the community summit at Blizzcon and had a chance to ask Tony Hsu [EN: SC2 Producer] this question – I wanted to hear your thoughts. A lot of people's jobs and careers even outside of Blizzard rely on the success of Starcraft 2, does that immense pressure ever get to you? Do you ever have one of those “....whoa...” moments?

DB: Oh yeah it's terrifying, no question. We are very aware of the importance of the product to a lot of different people but also to gamers at large. We know how much they are expecting of this product, how good they want it to be etc. At a certain point though, you have to put the horse blinders on and say “look here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to make the best game that I can possibly make, for as many people as I possibly can. But it's got to be about the game and about the product. I'm not going to worry a ton today about a specific IGR (Internet Game Room) or whatever”. But you do take it into consideration, and it is absolutely terrifying to consider how many people need and want this product to be great and how much pressure there is to make something that is going to fulfill everyone's expectations.

TL: I have to ask quickly about the beta – there had been hints that it would be coming in the first few months of 2010. What types of numbers would we be looking at for the first wave? And is there any sort of format for how new players will be added later on (bulk waves, trickle in etc)?

DB: I don't think I have the answer to that question, it would be a better question for Chris Sigaty as he usually keeps that stuff. I also know that those numbers will change over time and we will decide as the beta goes forward how many people to invite based on how well we are doing with our server load, player activity etc. It will be a little bit organic – there isn't sort of a secret document somewhere that I can read to you and say “Oh there's the whole plan!”. We're going to play it a little bit by ear as we go.

TL: Thanks very much – I really appreciate you guys giving us all this time since I know you are all very busy.

DB: We'll hey thanks a lot man, it's always a pleasure to talking to you guys. You always have really great questions – it's just really fun talking to Teamliquid specifically. Thanks for talking to us today.

TL: Thanks very much guys, I'll let you get back to work!

Patch 3.3 - PTR Build 10952

Novi Build postaljen je na test serverima, i ovo je Release Candidate verzija za Live Servere, i kako nam se čini patch je moguće da će biti postabljen na serverima 8 ili 9 decembra. Ova informacija nije zvanična i mogla bi da se promeni ako se nešto loše desi.

Ništa novo u ovom buldu trenutno, par sitnih izmena koje možete videti dole:
Quote from Blizzard staff

Icecrown Citadel

  • Eclipse now increases damage done by Wrath by 40% (up from 30%) and the critical chance of Starfire by 40% (up from 30%)

  • Item - Warrior T10 Melee 2P Bonus - When your Deep Wounds ability deals damage you have a 3% chance to gain 16% attack power for 10 sec. (Down from 20% attack power)

Dnevne Blue Teme

Quote from Blizzard staff
Cataclysm, Mastery, Passive Talents (Source Re: Cataclysm, Mastery, Passive Talents)
We're not going to be able to get all damage out of the trees. For example, Improved Frostbolt, a talent that makes Frostbolt cast faster is essentially a passive damage increase, but it does it in a more interesting way than a talent like Arctic Winds, which grants +Frost damage to keep it from being a PvP only talent.

I don't know that Improved Overpower will make the cut, since you pretty much always want to Overpower when you can so it isn't that interesting a talent. Taste for Blood is an interesting talent even though it's pretty much just more damage at the end of the day. Trauma is not particularly interesting, but it's an important group buff which makes it marginally more interesting that a talent that just passively improves your own damage. Something like Deep Wounds is tough. It's pretty passive but it's also pretty iconic for the Arms tree. If crit chances are lower in Cataclysm, and they will be, then it's not the no-brainer it is today, but I still can't imagine an Arms build without it.

Ultimately, what we want to do is just give players a lot more flexibility in how they talent. Some of the trees currently have a "cookie cutter" spec that says something like "Spend the last 3 points wherever you want." We want to get that feel in all the trees, and hopefully with more like 5-8 points spent wherever you want. We also want to make sure you aren't able / forced to skip over the utility talents just to get the +damage, healing or survival talents.

Death Knight
Death Knight Tanking (Source Re: Are DK Tanks going to get a buff soon?)
My comments above somehow got twisted into "We want DKs to be OTs and not MTs." My actual post was that warriors are the most common MTs in progression-oriented guilds and my suspicion is that DKs are the most common OTs, though I acknowledged that I did not have the data to back that second part up.

Now you can't have it two ways here. You can't say "DKs are so terrible that they can only OT," while at the same time saying "Guilds use warrior MTs even though they're terrible because they are either ignorant (unlikely) or stubborn (possible)." I think a more credible conclusion is that tank balance isn't in such a dreadful state that it really affects what tanks groups use. They use the tanks they have or that their players like to play.

Example: I asked a designer here whose guild is on heroic Anub 25 what tanks they use. They haven't beaten it yet, but they're close and they'll probably get it before 3.3. They use a DK MT and a warrior OT. I asked him why. It turned out their old warrior MT and paladin OT moved on and they used who they had left. They didn't feel the need to recruit or reroll to get say a paladin MT and druid OT. Now this is a sample size of one so it's hardly a trend. At the same time, I speak to a fair number of players and I think this kind of situation is typical. The relative strengths or weaknesses of the various classes and specs -- including dps and healers here, with a couple of exceptions like Subtlety rogues -- are not a huge factor in who gets brought to a raid. This seems to be true both of those groups that get server first kills and those guilds that come later but still defeat the toughest fights in the game before they are old content. That argues that the differences aren't that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.

[...] I think this is a legit concern. While we don't want to give every tank class identical abilities, I do think DKs suffer from lacking something to fill the Shield Slam niche -- an on-demand high threat ability, great for smacking an add that has just arrived, but that can't be spammed to the exclusion of all else. Rune Strike isn't dependable enough and it is spammed anyway. However, it's pretty easy to conceive (and much harder to implement of course) of a Rune Strike that works more like Shield Slam, but with plenty of threat capable from other attacks. I think DK AE threat is fine, occasionally bordering on overpowered if you can get full use of DnD and Pestilence.

Blizzard na Facebooku

Quote from: Zarhym (Source Blizzard Entertainment is now on Facebook!)
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