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Greg 'Ghostcrawler' Street Presenting During Blizzcon


Hildegard: Today I welcome Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street, lead designer of World of Warcraft, as an interview partner for our Arena Junkies interview. We will start with my trademark question. What did you eat today?

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street: I just had salad with beets and blue cheese.

Hildegard: Sounds nice. When you started responding to players on the WoW boards you said "A year from now I will probably be the most hated person in the gaming industry." Do you remember that quote?

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street: Haha. I don't remember it, but it sounds like something I'd say.

Hildegard: Did it come true?

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street: Oh I am sure there are people that are more hated than me. Which is not to say I'm universally loved, but it goes with the territory.

Hildegard: Did you follow the recent online arena tournaments like NAO, Yaspresents, Curse Invitational or Bleached Bones?

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street: Yes, we follow all of that stuff. That's the work we live for.

Hildegard: The start of Mists of Pandaria will offer a tournament realm soon after the launch. With the PvP mechanics overhaul in Mists of Pandaria and streaming becoming massively adapted among more and more players, this all sets a great foundation for PvP to grow in popularity. Is a new dawn for the WoW arena scene coming?

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street: It would be awesome if that was the case. If you are talking from a professional level or about people watching it - arena always suffers a bit that it's fast paced and it's hard to tell what is going on. It has never been the most easy to watch game out there. It may be a pipe dream that it is going to grow in popularity like Starcraft. But can we make it more fun for the players who are interested in arena. Absolutely that would be great.

Hildegard: You recently said over Twitter that you would like to work on the tournament UI. This would be a huge boon to the PvP community and could start bring organizations like MLG to take WoW back in.

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street: We don't have any announcements. I totally get how valuable that would be. We would love to support it. It's just a matter of finding the time and resources to get it right and come up with a system that people would actually use and be excited about.

Rapture: Do you have any opinions on the tournament UI people have been using for the tournaments?

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street: We usually let the community come up with a UI mods that are filling holes in what we currently offer. From that standpoint that is awesome. It's something we don't provide, yet, but hopefully can at some point.

Hildegard: How about announcing player-made tournaments on official resources like the website or even the launcher?

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street: That would be cool. It's a little outside of my area, as it's about the PR and community aspect of the game, but it sounds like a cool thing to me.

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Snutz and Venruki during the WoW 2012 North America Arena Invitational


Hildegard: Do you think there is a place for professional players in World of Warcraft?

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street: That's a really good question. I watched tons and tons of arena and battlegrounds and I just don't know if it ever will have the spectator experience that a game like  Starcraft or hopefully Blizzard AllStars will have. We will always be challenged from that point of view. It would be awesome and we surely have nothing against it but I don't know if it will ever have the kind of popularity that professional players would expect.

Hildegard: A lot of ideas to increase competition and participation for arenas have been thrown around: Shorter seasons, region-wide queues and titles, cosmetic rewards and rating decay. Do you have plans to work over the matchmaking and reward system for arenas?

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street: I think the matchmaking system is pretty solid. It's not unlike the one we use for other games. The same people design all these systems. I know there is a lot of concerns about rating decay and should we discourage people from getting high ratings and then just camping and not playing again. That's a valid concern. Right now we are in this lame duck season where the patch has been going on for a long time and people know there isn't going to be another season until the expansion comes out. So it's understandable that the participation is off a little bit, but I think it's unfortunate anytime players want to play and feel like it's risky to play because, God forbid, it might hurt the ratings. That is an aspect of the rating system we can improve.
The reward system overall works pretty well in terms of the gear you can get. We think the changes to PvP Power and resilience will make PvP gear more attractive, than it has been traditionally when we ran into problems where sometimes they were weaker than weapons or trinkets from PvE. That change will help. I don't know how popular cosmetic rewards would be. The mounts are certainly exciting, as are the titles. I don't know if adding tons and tons of toys and transmog gear will make the PvP community as excited as the PvE players. We approach it more from the point of "what can we do to make the games themselves more enjoyable" and look to make it more surprising in good way when you are doing arenas with your team or are running battlegrounds over and over.

Hildegard: High rated arena players hate the long queue times, especially the long wait for cross-battlegroup queues that can take up to ten or 15 minutes. Any chance to make the search for cross-battlegroup teams shorter?

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street: Yes. We have a lot of opportunities to improve that. The battleground queuing system is pretty ancient at this point. Players could only meet players from their own realm and then we extended it to battlegroup level. Meanwhile we created this whole new system for dungeon finder that then developed into raid finder and it is much more clever and advanced system. Occasionally players can still hit queues for it, but I think there is a lot of promise in taking that system and try to integrate the battleground queuing there.
We would like to able to support things like letting five players queue together for rated battlegrounds instead of having a whole group of ten before you go into it. That would be really cool. We talk more about letting players queue together as a group, even for the non-rated battlegrounds. But only matching these pre-mades with other premades. It's a lot of fun to get together with a bunch of friends and be coordinated and we would like to support that rather than work against it.

Hildegard: According to early numbers heroic PvE weapons will be stronger for PvP than tier 2 PvP weapons. Is this true?

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street: We follow that math, but I am still not convinced that this is the case. The PvE gear is higher item level but when you consider the PvP power and also the resilience that is on the weapons that should be enough to make up for the difference. The PvE gear item level isn't so high that that should overcome it. There is always a possibility that if we introduce another Gurthalak or one of the trinkets that there will be procs that will make up the difference. Based on the stats alone we believe that PvP gear will still be superior for PvP.

Hildegard: Why do the PvP trinkets have different stats? Mastery/Crit/Spirit for the Medallion and Battle Master, PvP Power for the on-use and proc trinkets?

This question was skipped at first due to audio problems, but answered later on.

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street: I will follow-up on this.

Hildegard: I know this is not your field of expertise, but the recent title disqualifications haven't touched players that stated themselves they were boosting or wintraded with other teams. Do you plan to correct this?

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street: We have a team that looks for players exploiting and abusing the system. They try to catch it, when it happens and follow player reports. We try not to go into too much detail on how they do their job because the whole point of them is to catch exploiters. It's not something that is up to me. It's a system that we have in place as a company. I do think that, when listening to the forums, it's happening a lot more than it is. It's a fairly isolated case. It can have ramifications on the highest rankings, just because the population size is smaller in that group. Not sure what else to say about it. We try to have open channels for players that feel like they were disqualified unfairly or that other players got away with it. It's always tough when you are trying to mediate punishments like that.

Hildegard: Many players are worried that overpowered abilities will allow players to reach high rating within the first two weeks and camp it for the rest of the season. We talked about camping, what about balance? Examples such as BM Hunter Burst, Frost Bomb, Totemic Restoration, Blood Fear, Wild Charge, hybrid healing or Psy Fiend get mentioned a lot. Will you make fast balance fixes if classes are not competitive or other too strong or do you prefer to do changes only with major content patches?

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street: That's a really tough decision. Players really recent it if you suddenly go through and do nerfs particularly. We do have a break in between Mists of Pandaria launching and the season starting. It's a time to catch the problems at level 90. We have seen PvP at level 85 and have seen some players at level 90 on the beta realms. That is nothing compared to having millions of players on live. If BM burst or Wild Charge or Avatar are overpowered we will have a chance to get them. Whether or not we make huge sweep changes is just going to depend on the magnitude of the problem. It really pisses players off to suddenly be nerfed. Particularly say two weeks after the season started. If you build your arena team around this synergy among these class and then we suddenly pull out the rug from under you, players understandably get upset.

Voice from the off: We have time for one more question.

Hildegard: Let's try two. I'll be quick. Do you read Arena Junkies from time to time?

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street: Sure.

Hildegard: I personally like the approach you took to crowd control on monks, where every cc except the disarm has a downside: you either need to be in melee range, are rooted yourself, have to be behind or in front of the enemy, the projectile has a travel time etc. Is this a general approach to give crowd control a trade-off that we may see in future designs?

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street: We didn't want to copy a lot of existing abilities and give them to the monk. So we tried to have some interesting quirks on them. We were also super careful not give them tons and tons of crowd control.  Monks are a very mobile class and they have a lot of off-healing capability and the healers have a lot of damage dealing abilities. So we think that a combination of these two advantages would be so much that they did not need mage-level crowd control or we would end up in a situation like we were with the death knight were the class was just kind of a joke.

Hildegard: Thank you for your time. Will you continue to write over Twitter after the launch?

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street: I will be traveling after launch. I don't know how much access I will have. But I have been enjoying it so far and so I'm planning to keep it up. It can't answer every single question that players send in, but so far I really enjoyed the communication.

Hildegard: Well thank you again for the interview.

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street: Sure. I will follow up on that trinket question.
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Comments

#1 khuna

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 08:50 PM

[quote name='Zong' timestamp='1348087467' post='3775096']
[color=#282828][font=verdana, tahoma, sans-serif][size=3][background=rgb(244, 244, 244)]This is such bullshit. I personally have no idea what the fuck is going on when I watch Starcraft 2 games. The only reason competitive professional arena isn't more popular is because Blizzard stopped fucking giving a shit about it, scrapped the spectator UI and tried to switch focus to rated BGs(unsuccessfully). Blizzard tanked the professional scene 100%.[/background][/size][/font][/color]

[/quote]

Just wanted to back you up on this, i think you are right that was my first reaction when i saw this.
I think commentators are the main factor to make a game understandable for viewers, and i think WoW is easier to understand than Starcraft 2 for new players with great commentators like Azael or Conrad.
Starcraft 2 commentators are just so good, they know the game almost as much as top players do and they are funny/dynamic so it makes it so much easier to understand what's happening.
I dno why GC answered that but i hope thats not cause he doesnt understand shit himself, would be sad.

#2 Aniroxlol

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 08:50 PM

He says WOW is not as spectator friendly as starcraft... are you kiding me? Shooter games are really the only type of game people can just jump into watching without knowing alot about the game.

#3 WildeHilde

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 08:52 PM

We are working on a UI that is really spectator friendly. First public test will be on Sunday for the team. I guess it's time to show that WoW arena can be entertaining to players not following the scene, yet.

#4 Itsnel

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 08:52 PM

[quote name='WildeHilde' timestamp='1348087428' post='3775095']
I asked two times for it, but then we decided to move on. I think he realized his answer was not really about the question, as he started to talk about the queueing system. The problem was that my audio was send over Skype while he was on the phone. So he had sometimes trouble understanding me and vice versa. Hoping to get a longer interview before 5.1 to talk more in-depth.
[/quote]

what a pity :( that 8min+ queue's for arena are actually worser than any op/imbalanced shit in this game

#5 Vioz

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 08:55 PM

[img]http://i.imgur.com/WXbOc.jpg[/img]

#6 Hynníx

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 09:06 PM

[font=verdana, tahoma, sans-serif][size=3][background=rgb(248, 248, 248)]we would end up in a situation like we were with the death knight were the class was just kind of a joke. [/background][/size][/font]

[font=verdana, tahoma, sans-serif][size=3][background=rgb(248, 248, 248)]when he said this at the end it made me smile ))))[/background][/size][/font]

#7 WildeHilde

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 09:09 PM

The DK in S5 was that strong because the devs listened to forum feedback, among that AJ. The community claimed DKs would be easily kited and were very weak overall. This is one big reason why the devs listen less to the PvP community. When was the last time a top-notch player explained why his class was too strong? We need to make feedback of higher quality, like Elitist Jerks does for example.

#8 Warac

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 09:13 PM

[quote name='WildeHilde' timestamp='1348088994' post='3775108']
The DK in S5 was that strong because the devs listened to forum feedback, among that AJ. The community claimed DKs would be easily kited and were very weak overall. This is one big reason why the devs listen less to the PvP community. When was the last time a top-notch player explained why his class was too strong? We need to make feedback of higher quality, like Elitist Jerks does for example.
[/quote] I concur
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#9 Thaya

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 09:15 PM

"It may be a pipe dream that it is going to grow in popularity like Starcraft. But can we make it more fun for the players who are interested in arena. Absolutely that would be great."

Sloppy work here. Should probably be "but can we make it more fun for the players who are interested in arena? Absolutely, that would be great."

"Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street: That's a really tough decision. Players really recent it if you suddenly go through and do nerfs particularly."

It's "resent", not "recent".

There's tons more errors here and there. I can spot them and my English isn't even that good. Have someone proof read this.

P.S.
"Voice from the off: We have time for one more question."

Voice from the off, haha.
Default UI Scripts - Compilation & how-to

#10 Zong

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 09:19 PM

[quote name='WildeHilde' timestamp='1348088994' post='3775108']
The DK in S5 was that strong because the devs listened to forum feedback, among that AJ. The community claimed DKs would be easily kited and were very weak overall. This is one big reason why the devs listen less to the PvP community. When was the last time a top-notch player explained why his class was too strong? We need to make feedback of higher quality, like Elitist Jerks does for example.
[/quote]

They listen to idiots and bad players though. I happened to be playing a DK during wrath beta and I made a thread about gargoyle doing way too much damage after a buff(it was pretty much like you'd pop it and strangulate and someone would die, which is how it ended up on live too), the thread ended up like 40 pages long of people flaming me and saying it wasn't overpowered. I don't tell you this to say "i told you so" or anything, but it proves my point that Blizzard actually listens to these kinds of brain dead retards, and clearly is not taking proper feedback from top players.
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#11 Shawir

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 09:23 PM

learnt nothing from this interview, as usual

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#12 Warac

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 09:23 PM

[quote name='Zong' timestamp='1348089545' post='3775114']
They listen to idiots and bad players though. I happened to be playing a DK during wrath beta and I made a thread about gargoyle doing way too much damage after a buff(it was pretty much like you'd pop it and strangulate and someone would die, which is how it ended up on live too), the thread ended up like 40 pages long of people flaming me and saying it wasn't overpowered. I don't tell you this to say "i told you so" or anything, but it proves my point that Blizzard actually listens to these kinds of brain dead retards, and clearly is not taking proper feedback from top players.
[/quote] We as a group need to out voice those lesser knowledgeable players. Whenever a thread's made go onto the wow forums and backup what you think is right. If enough of us put the effort out someones bound to be heard.
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#13 Niadus

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 09:30 PM

Not bad

#14 Evolute

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 09:30 PM

[img]http://ww2.sinaimg.cn/large/8a356118gw1dvi9cl3nq6j.jpg[/img]

much better photo

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#15 WildeHilde

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 09:32 PM

Exactly
[quote name='Warac' timestamp='1348089833' post='3775118']
We as a group need to out voice those lesser knowledgeable players. Whenever a thread's made go onto the wow forums and backup what you think is right. If enough of us put the effort out someones bound to be heard.
[/quote]

Exactly. You guys can bring the right feedback if you want. If everyone just tries to avoid nerfs or get buffs it will not work.

#16 Zong

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 09:41 PM

[quote name='Warac' timestamp='1348089833' post='3775118']
We as a group need to out voice those lesser knowledgeable players. Whenever a thread's made go onto the wow forums and backup what you think is right. If enough of us put the effort out someones bound to be heard.
[/quote]

You are right of course, however we are unfortunately in the minority here and the WoW forums have a LOT of bad players. While open letters and feedback threads have their place, they are very often drowned out by the mindless majority.

What I really like to see more of is YouTube videos from high level arena players, a video is an excellent medium to quickly address balance, ladder and general pvp scene concerns, and you have simply a name to back it up(that's all you need). Braindeadly seems to be the only one passionate enough to do this at the moment unfortunately. I really hope he continues to address the state of the game at 90, and that that would inspire other high level players to weigh in.

If you are a "name" in the PvP community then you can do a lot. I definitely think that players like Ming, Radikal, Serennia etc were very influential in balance changes back in BC and Wrath, even if indirectly through their blogging. Where has that gone??
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#17 Saikx

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 09:47 PM

[quote name='WildeHilde' timestamp='1348088994' post='3775108']
The DK in S5 was that strong because the devs listened to forum feedback, among that AJ. The community claimed DKs would be easily kited and were very weak overall. This is one big reason why the devs listen less to the PvP community. When was the last time a top-notch player explained why his class was too strong? We need to make feedback of higher quality, like Elitist Jerks does for example.
[/quote]

This is like the dumbest thing I´ve ever read. DKs were overpowered because they(blizzard) listened to the community?

The problem here isnt that they listened to the "wrong" part of the community but that it takes Bizzard literally over a year to change a decision or to balance shit.

In every competetive game, lets take MOBAS for example, lets see how companys that care about esport handle this situation of sth being "broken"
-> 1 Champ/Hero whatever gets released
-> this champ/hero is obviously too strong based on data/player feedback etc
-> NEXT WEEK = HOTFIX
-->DONE (maybe some tweeks if it was too much or not enough of a nerf)

w/e my point is you try here to blame the community, not wanting their class to get nerfed etc, while its blizzard who dont give a shit about esport/arena/pvp and literally take over a year to "fix" a class. Or in fact lets take it real, they don't actually do anything and give us this "fuck that mentality", gear will fix it", next season will fix it, next addon will fix it"

TL;DR

This is how Blizzard thinks about PvP/Arena/E-sport in WOW:
[img]http://i2.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/original/000/005/180/fuckthat.jpg[/img]
Because of people like GC and this mentality, WoW will never have the chance to become a "big" esport title. Its fucking PvE everywhere.

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Visit my stream: http://www.twitch.tv/saikx


#18 pocketcurse

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 10:00 PM

You did a great interview Hilde, considering the little time and all the comunication problems you had, also the fact that the guy has an incredible question dodge rating.

I belive Most of the people complaining is probably just upset because they where expecting a more long interview and maybe some class specific questions, which is understandable considering of the short time you had.

On the matter of the better pvp feedback the main problem  is us, we are not a very united community and most of the feedback here is heavily biased and sometimes very rude.

#19 Pritchard

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 10:01 PM

I really would have liked to have gotten more out of this interview. The questions were ok but i personally would have liked to have seen all the questions regarding tournaments and pro pvp put into one question instead of taking up several questions with that and asked more questions about game balance issues, more importantly greater detail on things like instant cc/hybrid/non hybrid healing too strong.  I know you tried to work in the cc thing in the question about monks but i dont think he got the point. Apparently you really really have to spell things out for GC.  But yea I feel like  everyone kinda knows their stance on tournament play, it feels like they have been saying the same thing since mlg dropped, so it's kind of like beating a dead horse.  Overall, interesting interview at least, not so much from the answered questions pov but more from a "i can't believe this is how he actually answers questions" pov.



one of the things i wanted to know is what happened to the concept of the game being in a wounded state?  at this moment you are either dead or topped off.  I liked the concept of being wounded, but now burst healing is so crazy to counteract the burst damage (frost bomb lol???) game just feels gimmicky now.  Whoever can burst the most and instant/endlessly cc the most.

#20 Hackattack3

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 10:06 PM

[quote name='WildeHilde' timestamp='1348086522' post='3775078']
I actually think he commited on two things.

1.) The trinkets will be looked at.

2.) He thinks it's a good idea to announce player-made tournaments on website and launcher.

This is more than I expected to get. Also we have a direct answer from him regarding PvE gear, which is at least something we can quote when it turns out to be wrong.

Compare it to any other developer interview during the last days. I would have loved to ask more things in detail and stay on certain topics (did that for the trinkets, which cost us 3-4 other questions). We had 18 minutes and 37 seconds for this interview and audio problems. This was the best we could get.
[/quote]

Thanks for the effort, I think you did a great job with the limited questions and he probably screened/prepped for the questions you gave him.

For a serious constructive discussion, follow up questions are where you can really dig in.  His reactions to your initial questions about growing the pvp community and increasing accessibility were concerning.  I feel as though he doesn't have any long-term plans for the pvp scene, as evidenced by his references to Starcraft and other games for "pvp fixes".  It would have been nice if you could have followed up on a few of those points.

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