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Hey Guys,

I'm back from Blizzcon and back to work banging through admin stuff here. I know a lot of Name Changes, Title Updates, and PMs have piled up while I was away. Thanks for y'alls patience.

Also, I know the web servers have been hit and miss lately and throwing some weird errors as well as erroneously IP banning lots of you for short amounts of time. We're gonna drill down this week and get to the bottom of this. It's a new server setup and we're still figuring out a lot of the idiosyncrasies.

Thanks again for bearing with us. Back to Top

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WoW Open Q&A

PvP related questions in Red

Q: Are you going to use the dungeon finder to help build raid groups?
A: Raiding still requires more specialization to build your groups.

Q: Give races more customizations?
A: Yes, we need to address. Nothing solid, but possibly change around so that characters are clearly distinct.

Q: Easy way to merge 2 guilds?
A: No idea of features for that, but should be easier in Cata because the ui is so much clearer.

Q: Strong female characters? Could we have some that don't look like they stepped out of victoria secret? BOOING FROM THE CROWD.
A: We hear you, and we want to vary them.

Q: Plans for female druid forms?
A: MIght have seen the concept yesterday for one - want to do it, but it's tricky. We'll do what we can.

Q: Fury not good in Arenas.
A: Fury got a good deal of love in Cata. Be a lot better, short heroic leap give them new tools. GC expects to see a huge renaissance in PVP with rated bgs in Cata. Arenas not going anywhere, but going to be a lot of pvp going on once Cata hits.

Q: Plan to do more passes on the talents before release?
A: Keep tweaking over time. Lots more info in a few months of what is actually working and what's not.

Q: As a mage in Blade's Edge arena blinking backwards off the bridge or on top of a rogue.
A: Any time we come across bugs with pathing we try to kill the bugs. Or problems with geometry, try to fix the geometry. Send in the exact location you have trouble with.

Q: Lich king has a lot of cool abilities that DKs could use? Give us defile or infest?
A: Level 90 ability right there :P

Q: Plans for a melee legendary dagger?
A: No specific weapons in mind. But like to make legendaries usable by lots of classes. Decided on a legendary staff yesterday.

Q: Avenger's Shield seems like it's trying to do too much. Possible to move the interrupt part to a separate ability?
A: Want to make sure prot has an interrupt. Not against doing it. Purposefully using it as a way to show the glyph system. See if they feel cool there or if they feel like a burden.  GC thinks multitask abilities make decisions more interesting and more skillful to decide when to use a skill.

Q: Changing the glow of a DK's eyes to blue to red to green depending on the spec they are in.
A: Might get too "christmas treey." Want consistency - Blue eyes on any character mean "death" and represents the class. For example - red glowing eyes represents demonic.

Q: PVP Design balance. Can arenas be balanced around comp instead viability of each class?
A: Want arenas to stay viable and well balanced. Just because BGs are more easily balanced environment, it doesn't mean that we're giving up on balancing arenas. In beta took MS all the way down to 10% debuff - so we're seeing how that goes.

Q: Shadowdance is more energy producing rather than DPSing?
A: Challenge with subtlety is that we want it to be based around being sneaky  and trying to balance the sneakiness - very hard to balance. Have not done a ton of  level 85 PvP to test all of that. Not the intention to change the function of that skill.

Q: Removing moose mount because you hate canada?
A: You can't always get what you want.

Q: Should holy paladin's stack spirit?
A: All healers should have spirit, but probably has a point of diminishing returns. Want the mastery to be cool as well.

Q: Plan to let people use achievement points?
A: Depends on what you mean by using them. Meant to be a high score mechanic. No plans to translate them into character power or anything like that. Really just a pride thing.

Q: Multiperson mounts? Can engineering get a minivan?
A: New alchemy mount awesome and will be very hard to get.

Q: Will the legendary be available in both 10 and 25 and will it scale?
A: Want it to be available for both 10 and 25 right now. How it scales is hard to say. Like them to stick around longer, but hard to balance how far out the legendary should go.

Q: Worried everyone is going to be the exact same without any uniqueness? Planning on going back to extending it. Become more noob friendly?
A: Do you think the older, deeper spec trees people were that different from each other? Want to make sure you have choices. Might have some specs that are too cookie cutter, but that's something they will have to fix.

Q: Stuck with weapon chains in PvP for warriors and ret paladins?
A: Got rid of a lot of anti-crowd control measures. Felt like they were in an arms race that keeps escalating. Go back to most of the time CC works and diminishing returns. People shouldn't die in one CC. Balancing around that.

Q: Making anything other than heirlooms account bound?
A: Very cool, like to do that where appropriate. Things that are not character power oriented are more likely to be there. Many archeology items and guild mount is account bound.

Q: Would like a closet like a key chain?
A: Hoped to get it in with Cata. Question of resolving the UI and data storage. Would like to do it.

Q: Horde has great shoutable battle cries? What should alliance shout back?
A: "Have Mercy" Nothing has ever matched up with "For the Horde" Will keep trying.

Q: How does say a Warlock or Mage which is flat damage make game play more dynamic.
A: Mastery makes you better at what you do. Not meant to change how you play.

Q: Insane in the membrane achievement. Can I still get that achievement?
A: Can't get that Feat of Strength. Fun to do painful things in WoW.

Q: Voice acting - why do all new major characters sound like Thrall? Open up auditions?
A: We have a process. Have a lot of talented actors and actresses and we'll keep doing VO.

Q: Desperate for another character slot?
A: Offer you another 10 slots for $15/month. Not something we're going to do right now.

Q: What is the incentive to doing a 25 man other than more justice points? Why do something harder to get the exact same thing?
A: Something you might enjoy more? But the jury is still out on 25 mans being harder.

Q: High levels play with low levels?
A: Want people to play together whenever possible and try to lower barriers to that. Looked into side kicking type of system. Not something they have done yet.

Q: Trade in legendaries for an heirloom version to level up on them for an alt?
A: Would be sweet. Don't want to force people to have to farm old content for legendaries so they are competitive in level 20 bgs.

Q: When will we get a tab for tailboards?
A: Like to do it. Haven't done it yet because we have clickable on use tailboards - so trying to solve for the on use ones.

Q: Plans to bring Draenai into the wow culture and roles.
A: You're right - we have done a poor job incorporating them and something we need to work to do.

Q: Balance in numbers between alliance and horde.
A: Definitely is a problem. Interesting that people who are interested in PvP gravitate to Horde.  Making alliance proud to be alliance is something we want to do.

Q: Add more functionality/features to the heroic training dummy? Timer?
A: Not yet.

Q: Can we get skirmishes back for Arena?
A: Took it out because it just wasn't ready yet.

Q: New dance moves? Or a dance studio?
A: New goblin/worgen dances that will be awesome. There will be more dance customizations in the future for the dance studio. Want it to be cool.

Q: Lots of recipes you can't get because no one runs the content? How can we get the older recipes? Like enchants from AQ40 or Kara.
A: Hard question - how much do you support the old content. We should take that more seriously. If you wait enough expansions you will be able to solo :P

Q: Will there be predictable high damage phases where you can coordinate? Or spur of the moment damage?
A: We have both. Plenty of variety.

Q: Why are shadow priests from being mana batteries to a dps role?
A: Feedback was that players wanted to be awesome themselves. Back to Top

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Diablo III Crafting Sanctuary

How story becomes game:

Action game with a blistering pace. Unique story telling challenges. Blizzard philosophy - "play, don't tell" Always better for you to feel and play the story rather than just hearing it. They aim to tell the story by allowing you to play it - action story telling. Keep the talking short and break it up. When possible allow you to play while you hear it.

Opt-in storytelling. -Put the choice in the player's hands. Lore books. Dropped item, when you pick it up, the audio starts to play and you can continue to play while you listen to the lore.

What is a good story scenario to support gameplay?
A siege - easy to understand. Easy to design awesome action for. The action implies the story - don't have to tell us what the stakes are, the player knows that you have to defend from the demon army.

Visualizing Diablo:

What is the first image we visualize? Going through the design of Bastion's Keep. Then they refine the initial sketches. Cut away the unnecessary.

Getting the images ready for the modeler - put as much information into a single images as possible so they have a lot of parts to make modular.

Shift the mood for the inside of the keep - less battlefield, but more warm, lived in.

Taking the sketches and making a level:

How do you take the concepts and make them into in-game assets. Create a graybox version that has no textures, making sure the gameplay space works well.

Next they start to drop in materials and texture the graybox.

Finally, add in lighting, shadows, and effects, breakables - snow, particle effects.

Details Make the Difference:

Diablo about killing monsters and getting loot. Treasure distribution, pace the game flow, populate the world with 1,000s of places for potential treasure, all of them are hand placed. ONly a few treasures populate when you load up.

Mini dungeons - give a change of scenery, introduce new monsters, bite sized goals, add in new story elements. Not all this has to be in a dungeon.

Events in the overworked bring the world to life add unique enemies and hazards, add in story elements.

Breaking things - a lot of fun to break things, it also makes you feel more powerful. it makes the world feel more real because the world reacts to you and your skills. Objects can tell a story - things that you can make up for youself - "why is this barrel filled with blood", "why was this guy left on the torture rack"

Monsters - What lives in this area? Mix up the monsters - make sure the monsters live as a family to always keep you on your toes.

How do monsters behave? Do they swarm? cast? etc. Starts with concept team, take it the modeling team and take it for a spin - does it work? Refine the ideas - try out all sorts of ideas.  Make sure he's fun to KILL - the most important stage in any monster's life is death. Make sure the monster dies in a different way, add visual  variety.

Monster Behaviors: monster AI. Example - Grave Digger.

Start with what he does when the player isn't around - Idle (unalert) state
Come closer - suspicions state -> active state

Normal enemies have VERY short life spans, make players feel powerful, mow through them. Non-combat behaviors aren't seen because of this. Players don't sneak around and watch  - they bash them in. So, a challenge to show you more about the monster and give them personality.

Goal is to make the player feel awesome not design the monster to efficiently kill the player - add in a closing delay, add in an attack warmup, add run/stop movement. all to reward the player for moving. Add taunts to add character, add runing near the player not right to the player to add the threat. Add a flee in.

Tools of Destruction: Customization is a huge part of D3.

Armor Sets - give lots of choices, but make sure it feels like the character. Gives a flavor for the class. Make sure the armor sets look good from the camera perspective - pay attention to the silhouette of the character. Showed moving armor - snakes.

Icons have to match - no disconnect between what icons you see and what appear on your character model.

Armory Dyes - Customizations - show 20 color dyes on screen. There are rare dyes.

Weapons - Progress from basic to ornate and complex. Really feels like you're upgrading and getting more bang for your buck. Make it interesting.


Working with a random system for loot? Sometimes it fails. Completely unpredictable. Sometimes you don't get what you want.

Vendors save the player from bad loot - always go to get a "good enough" item to fill in the gaps.

Artisans are "Vendors 2.0" have a much more robust system than just filling in the gaps. Make them feel like real people, distinct, have opinions, everything they touch try to add story. As they level up the caravan levels up and looks more epic.

Mystic - Crafts wands, staves, and other magic, enchant and id.
-Caravan Design: Rough organic vibrant cloth nature theme

Blacksmith - crafts armorer weaponry, adds gem sockets, repairs items
-Caravan design: Blocky aggressive shapes, thick wood, heavy metal, cool desaturated tones.

Jeweler  - rings amulets, combines gems and de-sockets - remove the gems from socketed items (preserves the gems and items.)
-Caravan design: Triangular crafted thin wood, intricate detailed bling.

Gem levels - 14 gem levels (only the first 5 levels only EVER drop, past that the jeweler has to combine to make)

User Interface:
Vendor consistency: Blacksmith - don't want you to learn new interfaces for each vendor. Add in flavor imagery.

People don't like scrolling or paging if it can be avoided - More items displayed, less paging. Make it simple.

Q; Customized UI, how much is customizable?
A: None. Because…they don't want doable to become too complex.

Q: Single player vs multiplayer? What vendor is shown in the game?
A: People generally just want to see their own vendor - can always trade with people with higher level vendors.

A: Never want to nerf a skill because it's too powerful in PVE. When you go into pvp skills might be tweaked for balance.

Q: Ditch all the old gear at the end of each difficulty level?
A: Gear reset look - doesn't happen. Always progressively better looking throughout the game.

Q: Rare Dyes - use a dye at the beginning, can you transfer that to your next armor?
A: No. Need to dye armor again. Don't want to make finding dyes punishing.

Q: Anything that will make you feel frail or terrified?
A:  We're gonna kick the crap out of you. Don't worry about that. Find a sweet spot between D1 and D2. Changes to potions, town portals, etc to make sure you feel terrified by hell difficulty.

Q: D3 Exclusive Edition?
A: Haven't talked about what would be in it. Back to Top

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