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Greg 'Ghostcrawler' Street, Lead Systems Designer For World of Warcraft

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the zug-zug dept.

Games 175

As World of Warcraft prepares for the launch of its third expansion, Cataclysm, on December 7th, the design team is busily trying to finish all the new high level content, the destruction and rebuilding of Azeroth, and major changes to many of the game's systems and classes. At Blizzcon we spoke with Greg Street (a.k.a. Ghostcrawler), Lead Systems Designer for WoW, about Blizzard's goals for this expansion, the problems they're trying to solve, reasoning for the creation of a few new features, and why they aren't willing to simply throw more people at complicated projects. Read on for our discussion about World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.

Slashdot: With the previous expansions, it seems like one of the goals has been to make things more inclusive for raiders. Do think you've reached the end of the road in that regard? Are there still goals for the future?

Greg Street: We've got a lot of players into raiding now. I don't encounter too many players these days who say, "I want to raid but I'm not sure how," or "It's too hard." Particularly, the raids underneath Wintergrasp and soon Tol'Barad are super-easy for any group to just pick up and go do quickly. So I think we're doing a good job of being inclusive there. I think we need to, perhaps, pay a little more attention to the super-hardcore guys who felt a little neglected at times in Wrath of the Lich King.

Slashdot: These days the design team is working on solving social and psychological problems perhaps more than technical problems. What types of those are you working on now?

Greg Street: Something that has come up a lot is that cross-server battlegrounds and then the dungeon finder going cross server has eroded the sense of community within a server. It used to be, "I knew these guys," or "He was the best mage on the server," or things like that. It's much harder to identify that now. And another thing is the ability to hop from server to server so easily now. One of the things we're doing to work against that, a little bit — Tol'Barad will be like Wintergrasp, in that it's just your server, so hopefully you can get to know people a little better there. And then the big push we're making for guilds in Cataclysm. You're going to have achievements, and [you'll be able to] level your guild. It's something you can work together with your closest friends to try to accomplish.

Slashdot: Do you think that will supplement the permanence of guilds, making it easier for people to keep their guilds going?

Greg Street: I think the guild itself will mean something, and people will be reluctant to give up a guild they worked really hard on. I mean, it won't be impossible — we're not trying to fetter people too much.

Slashdot: For Cataclysm you're increasing health pools significantly, not to mention all the other numbers. Is mudflation becoming an issue for you?

Greg Street: We're pretty confident that the curve we have overall can keep going almost indefinitely. The numbers are solid in most cases. We used to have a problem where, say, critical strike rating can't go up any higher, because it's at 60 or 70 percent. The way combat ratings work now, I don't think we're in danger of the combat systems collapsing on themselves because of the numbers. I think we are at risk for them becoming hard to manage. Once players are saying, "I have 17,000,000 health," and everything just has so many zeroes on it, at that point we'll have to do something. I don't know if it's just lopping three zeroes off of everything, or what. I think the human brain loses the ability to parse numbers once they get beyond a certain size.

Slashdot: For heroic dungeons, are you trying to copy what you did in Wrath of the Lich King? How are those evolving?

Greg Street: I think the heroic dungeons will feel a little more like Burning Crusade. Hopefully it will be the best of Lich King and Burning Crusade. Part of what people remember about the Burning Crusade heroic dungeons was the "17 pulls of trash in between bosses," or something like that. Hopefully we can get through that a little quicker, but still have the bosses as a challenge, something players have to learn. We think that the encounters are a failure if players can go through a boss fight, and then when we ask them, "What was that boss doing? What was special that you had to do in that fight," and they say, "Well I didn't notice anything." Then we know that they're just overpowering it instead of having to learn the encounter.

Slashdot: You mentioned in the panel on Friday that a lot of that information — boss abilities, loot lists — are going to be integrated into the game. Where do you draw the line at what's OK to have in the game and what players can be expected to go on a website and look up?

Greg Street: I think the game needs to provide players the information they need to play the game. It's fine if they are trying to improve their damage-per-second (DPS) by one extra percent by visiting a fan site or a news site. It's very frustrating with boss abilities, to use that particular example... we've all been in dungeons where the leader says something like, "He's going to do some kind of fire thing, I think it's called.. Flame..something? I don't remember, but you'll recognize it when you see it." And everybody else asks, "What?"

I think in that example, the game is just hiding information from players that they need to function. Now, you can definitely take that too far. We could get to the point where there are mods that say, "Stand here! OK, now press this button. Now stand over here." And at some point, they're playing Dragon's Lair, or something, instead of having to do a real boss encounter.

Slashdot: Speaking of mods, Cataclysm is introducing some welcome changes to the UI. How do you decide what players need to look at and what you want to integrate with the base UI?

Greg Street: That's really tough, because we want World of Warcraft to be moddable, and we support the community — both the developers who make those mods and the players who use them. We try to look at when the players are saying something is essential. We made a system to manage gear because players were telling us, "I can't play without this mod, now. This mod is so important that you guys just need to offer this functionality." We did the same thing with the big raid frames. Too many players were telling us, "Your raid frames are just not at all functional. No reasonable person is going to do a World of Warcraft raid with the standard raid frames. We won't replace everything. The QuestHelper brand of mods are something else we looked at and said, "We just need to do more here. Clearly, players are asking for it."

Slashdot: Are there any UI elements that are on your radar right now, that you're thinking about revamping?

Greg Street: I think we could do a lot more with the Auction House UI. I think our mobile and cell phone Auction House is probably superior to our in-game version at this point. And there are some mods that have done a great job -- we don't want to automate that whole experience too much, but providing the information and storing it, I think we could do better at. We'd love, someday, to do a better version of Recount, or some of the damage meters. Now, when I say better — our version sucks, which is just the combat log you have to somehow have to keep track of. Players really like to know: "What was my DPS? What could I do better this time? What were my sources of damage?" We'd love to just build something like that into the game.

Slashdot: Yesterday's Live Raid was very cool. (Blizzard invited a well-known guild to participate in set of custom raid encounters. They spawned groups of bosses that were originally designed to be dealt with on their own and had the guild fight them in groups of four at a time. At the end, the main villain of the new expansion flew in, annihilated the raid, and then began nuking one of the game world's capital cities. Longer description, YouTube video.)

Greg Street: I'm glad it worked. That was scary.

Slashdot: Has there been any discussion on getting those events out to more players?

Greg Street: That would be very cool. They require a lot of overhead and testing. One of the things people in the audience couldn't appreciate was how our encounter designer up there was changing things on the fly. He was herding bosses, in some cases killing them, and respawning things, trying to keep it all working. Obviously we can't have a human running that stuff from behind the scenes. We'd have to make sure it's cool enough. But I love this idea that Orgrimmar is being attacked and you have to defend it.

Slashdot: Azeroth is getting a complete redesign. How long have you wanted to do that?

Greg Street: Oh, forever. A really big moment was when the programmers put in a way for the level designers to make cliffs that look like real cliffs. We did that in Howling Fjord, [a starting zone in Wrath of the Lich King]. And that was huge. Up until them, all the cliffs looked like — they would call it a scoop of mashed potatoes. It's kind of this rounded blob that doesn't exist in nature. So once they could make these very sheer cliffs, they said, "OK, we've got to go fix everything, now!" Because we couldn't do this before.

Enough things like that had piled up. Originally, for Cataclysm, we thought of hitting five or six zones that were either never very good — like, say, Hinterlands — or just hadn't stood the test of time well and needed some updating. But by the time we were done, it was hard to make Darkshore look awesome, but leave Felwood looking crappy. So we ended up just doing everything.

Slashdot: That seems like a lot of work.

Greg Street: It was a stupid amount of work.

Slashdot: Compared to the last two expansions, it seems like Cataclysm contains an expansion of similar size, plus all of that revamped content.

Greg Street: That's totally true. Probably, if we had more business sense, we'd have broken it into two expansions.

Slashdot: One of the Diablo 3 team's big reveals was the PvP Battle Arenas, which are clearly similar to World of Warcraft's PvP arenas. Are we going to see more integration for the WoW arenas with Battle.net?

Greg Street: We'll have to see. The big focus for Cataclysm, as far as PvP goes, is the rated battleground system. I think too much attention had turned to arenas, and it was defining PvP for a while. For a lot of people, Warcraft was about the war; it was about the Horde or the Alliance fighting over resources, not three gnomes chasing each other around an arena. We're still supporting arenas. We like them, and there's a lot of players that like them too. We'll just have to see how much rated battlegrounds take off. There are a lot of things we can do to improve the e-sports portion of World of Warcraft.

Slashdot: With Wrath of the Lich King, you tended to schedule major content patches several months apart. Do you have a similar plan for Cataclysm?

Greg Street: Yeah. We would like to get patches out as soon as we can, because players are just voracious for content. I think there's a sense that we finished Ulduar too soon. The 3.1 patch, we could have left on a little longer — 3.2 came out a little too quickly. Whereas the final patch, 3.3, has been going on almost a year. That's too long for players to have to deal with the same content over and over. Ideally, we could get patches out every four to six months. Or, eventually we may scale them down to make them smaller but come out more often. It's definitely something we're looking at. We'd love to be able to get faster at doing that.

Slashdot: Some of the quests and dialog in the beta contain content that's a bit edgier than what we normally see in WoW. Will those things make it to live servers. Are you trying to broaden the age groups the game is designed for?

Greg Street: That's one of the fun things — we do it a lot in quest design and then item naming, too — pop culture references here and there. That's something where the Warcraft world doesn't take itself too seriously. There are some really dark, epic moments too, but then there are places we can cut loose a bit. We know players appreciate it, because the remember it and they mention that kind of stuff. You can take it too far, I think. We've had people playing the game for six years, and it's hard to offer them things they haven't seen before. So, in that sense, we do try to be a little edgier.

Slashdot: Are there any systems in Cataclysm that you'd say have improved greatly over Wrath of the Lich King?

Greg Street: Many things. I really like the new end-game point system, both for PvE and PvP. I has the advantages of the Lich King system without being so confusing and having all these vendors, and down-converting badges, and all that. I think we're really happy with the way Glyphs have ended up in Cataclysm. The original promise of Glyphs is closer to what we're able to deliver now. Seeing that awesome new UI, with the list of glyphs that you can just apply whenever you want, we're really happy with that.

Slashdot: One of your goals seems to be separating the fun choices from the math choices in building your character. Are you where you want to be with that, right now?

Greg Street: I would give us a B+ on that. I think we can still do a lot better. We're at the early stages, still, of that revamp. There are some talent decisions in trees that I think are awesome, and there are some other places where it still doesn't feel great. It feels like the obvious choice is to get this one, and this one's the trap. "Don't take this dumb talent over here." There are fewer of those, for sure, but there are still some, and we eventually need to polish all of those, too.

Slashdot: What's the solution to that? Is it adding more talents? Swapping out the bad ones you have?

Greg Street: It's more of the latter, but sometimes a new talent is the answer, too. We just have to really ask: "We thought this was going to be a compelling choice; did it end up as a compelling choice?" "If it didn't, was it because the numbers were wrong, or was it because the encounters we put players into [made it wrong]?" To use a very contrived example: if there's a talent that makes you take less magic damage, and there's not a lot of magic damage being thrown around, that talent's not going to be exciting.

A lot of our survivability talents are based around the premise that healer mana is going to matter a little bit more, so you're going to care a little bit more about trying to keep yourself alive. If everything works out well at the end of a fight, people might post the damage-taken meter, and say, "Dude, this rogue, he took a lot of damage. He was a mana hog for us." If that doesn't happen, then all those utility talents look dumb, because you don't need them, and you could have gotten something else.

Slashdot: Can you talk a bit about why the Path of the Titans system was scrapped?

Greg Street: There are two parts to that. One is that Cataclysm was an unbelievably ambitious project, and we kept adding more and more to it. I mentioned the original glyph version, and at a panel earlier I mentioned the barbershop as feature that were cool, but we could have done a lot more with them. We want to try to limit that in the future. We didn't want to release Paths and then in 5.0 be like, "OK, now we're going to fix the Path system!" We'd rather just do it right the first time.

At the same time, it was tied into a lot of other features, like Archaeology and Glyphs. Those grew a lot on their own. We realized that we were using the promise of Paths to fix up the Glyph system, when what we wanted to do was just make that system actually cool. But we love the idea of some type of end-game progression that isn't item-focused, and I think we'll return to that in the future, sometime when we can get it right.

Slashdot: We're seeing some interesting new mechanics in Cataclysm — for example, the blind dragon, which relies on hearing and makes you moderate the noise your character makes. How much of that is thinking of a fun concept and going from there, versus trying to think of a brand new, innovative concept and trying to make it fun?

Greg Street: We honestly spend a lot of time on innovation. Players are kind of merciless — "Yeah, that was a fun fight, but we've done it before," or, "This is just like that other guy." So we really try to push the envelope there on things players haven't seen before, new systems. We'll have encounter designers say, "I was playing Final Fantasy last night, and it had a boss that did this, and I think we could make that work for a boss in World of Warcraft with these tweaks."

Slashdot: A lot of players, when they hear you talk about how you didn't have time to make a feature good, their question is, "Well, why can't you just go out and hire more people?"

Greg Street: Yeah. The mythical man-month.

Slashdot: Can you explain why you don't find that to be a viable solution?

Greg Street: The other example that gets used a lot is: if it takes a woman nine months to have a baby, then if you have two women, it'd only take four and a half! Our development process is hugely based on iteration and communication. It's more important — for, say, class design and item design — it's more important for me to have a small team that's totally in sync than to have a large team and have no idea what anyone else is working on. We would end up with Hunter talents working one way, the Priest would work a different way, and it wouldn't feel polished. It wouldn't feel good to players. Often, when we say, "We didn't have time," players say, "You shipped it before it was ready." That's not the way we look at it.

The way we look at it is: we are extremely critical of our own designs. We have very long lists of things we want to fix in the game. Some of these things have been around forever, and some of the things are new that we just added recently. If we waited until we addressed every single one of those things, we would never ship anything. It would be years and years before games came out, and that's just not realistic. That's not what players want; they're not going to wait six years for a new expansion. So, instead, we do what we can and we keep other things on the back burner. We've got Paths — this great idea. A dance studio — we're going to do it some day. Just not yet. We're saving it for the right time.

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Damage Meters built into client (1)

Fippy Darkpaw (1269608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038534)

I don't understand why something like Recount isn't built into clients during development. How do they debug to ensure every client is getting the same combat messages? Yes you can do it server side, but you need to do it client side as well to ensure all clients are synced.

Re:Damage Meters built into client (1)

Dashiva Dan (1786136) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038720)

They're not built in yet due to time management priorities (feature creep prevention).
I thought GhostCrawler made that pretty clear?

Re:Damage Meters built into client (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038824)

I think the GP meant that it should already be in the client as a debugging / diagnostic tool.

And I wouldn't be surprised if it was. But having something in the client and having it polished to the point where it is end-user friendly, are two different things. The latter is probably the feature creep part.

Be that as it may (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34039686)

This expansion is just "more of the same."

Guild Wars 2 is approaching combat differently (more action and no dedicated healer class), has no monthly fees (though is still massive), has much nicer graphics, and will make WoW look silly once it is released.

And also coming out soon is Star Wars: The Old Republic, which Bioware is saying is the most ambitious game they have ever made so far.

The days of WoW's dominance over the MMO genre are numbered.

Re:Be that as it may (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34040204)

Replace GW2 and SW:TOR with WAR and AoC and you could have made the same post 2 years ago. We'll see how it pans out this time.

Re:Be that as it may (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040712)

Agreed. There have been about a dozen games that were supposed to kill wow, and none of them have made a dent. Last I heard, WoW's overall subscriber base was back up again and had broken the record they set a few years ago when they first brought the chinese client online.

Also, to the GP, I LIKE being a healer. When designed well, it's an enjoyable role.

Re:Damage Meters built into client (1)

KevMar (471257) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038858)

Verifying that every client received the same message is fairly easy. You can just collect the logs and compare. A good damage meter does more than that.

With that said, if they would have built a damage meter then the logs would be more accurate and the resulting damage meter would be more accurate.

The early damage mods parsed the combat log as text. So every mob that had the same name was the same mob. single pulls were fine, but double pulls of the same mob was confusing. Then pets were an issue. If 2 people had a wolf named wolf or god help you if someone named the pet after someone else in the raid. Blizzard saw this issue and revamped the logs so there were ID numbers for mobs.

I wrote a damage meter once for another game (when people told me it was impossible to do in AOC). Text parsing natural language combat logs is not fun but it is doable.

Re:Damage Meters built into client (1)

Graff (532189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038884)

I don't understand why something like Recount isn't built into clients during development.

Building so much into the client is doing it wrong. WoW has a great API for building 3rd party addons and there's a lot of stuff that should just be left to a 3rd party. The problem is that they don't have a particularly STABLE API so most addons break with every patch. That's what creates the pressure for Blizzard to simply bundle the addons into the default client.

If Blizzard would work on a stable API and a better system for finding and managing addons then there would be a lot less clamor for more features in the client.

As for recording combat messages I'm sure that Blizzard has a much easier way of doing that in the client. They probably have a special development client that allows stuff to directly write out to log files. It would be much easier to do this than build a Recount look-alike to do the job.

Re:Damage Meters built into client (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039082)

Yeah. The Blizzard guy mentioned QuestHelper, but QH has been discontinued for a few main reasons:

1) Developer didn't quest any more
2) Blizzard changed rules on addon financials a few patches ago. Addons are apparently not even allowed to *suggest donations* ingame. They did this mainly in reaction to an "always-for-pay" addon, but a lot of the well known addons have either discontinued or slowed development pace WAY down since those rule changes.
3) Blizzard duplicated 50% or so of QH functionality ingame. Lots is still missing. :(
4) Too much effort to keep QH working properly

Re:Damage Meters built into client (1)

RalphSleigh (899929) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039198)

This, if you follow Ghostcrawlers posts on the WOW forums its clear that combat data from dungeons/raids is saved and mined for tuning/balance purposes. Especially the really hard stuff that not many groups attempt. Client side damage meters get pretty much the same data from the combat log sent to the game.

Re:Damage Meters built into client (1)

Vaphell (1489021) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039228)

i don't like the idea that you actually need addons to be successful. Devs have to account for all these addons so the difficulty of the game is artificially inflated, leaving 'casuals' behind. You simply can't raid instances with vanilla client. Addons are not convenience - they are a must have thing or you are just a nub nobody would ever want to team up with.

Re:Damage Meters built into client (1)

rcuhljr (1132713) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039408)

That's convenient, because you don't. They just make it easier to be successful. I know plenty of people who raid with stock or near stock interfaces.

Re:Damage Meters built into client (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039492)

You can. It was comprehensively proven when 4.0 came out breaking all major unit/raid frame addons for almost a week.
Additional proof can be found on beta, where people raided some really hard stuff with no addons allowed at the beginning.

It's not that it's impossible. It's just that it's harder.

Re:Damage Meters built into client (1)

Graff (532189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039796)

i don't like the idea that you actually need addons to be successful. Devs have to account for all these addons so the difficulty of the game is artificially inflated, leaving 'casuals' behind. You simply can't raid instances with vanilla client.

You can raid just fine with the "vanilla" client. Some aspects of it might be a little tougher, such as keeping track of debuffs that need to be cleansed, but I've done it without much problem.

I agree that addons are nice to have but I'd rather have a thin client and then add-in the functionality I need rather than a fat client with a lot of features that get in the way. The only two things missing are the ones I've mentioned: stable API and a in-client way of finding, installing, and managing addons. With these features you wouldn't need to worry about addons breaking every patch and you wouldn't need to be as dependent on an addon author staying active in the game.

Re:Damage Meters built into client (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34040466)

You're dreaming if you think you can raid "fine" at a high level using stock or near-stock interfaces.

To cite an example, Anub'Arak phase 3, where most of the raid is at 500-1000 health, and at random intervals he places a debuff on 5 targets that deals 5000 damage in 3 seconds time. It takes 1.5 seconds to cast a heal strong enough to avert the impending death, and you have only 5 healers, each only capable of saving 1 person. How do you organize your healers in such a way that none of those targets die? You need a method to quickly assign each healer to a unique target in about half a second, so that they have time to react to the assignment, and then cast a heal. And, you need to do it perfectly 6-8 times in order to defeat the boss. And, unless you do it perfectly on your first attempt on the week, you don't get the high-level loot.

About the only possible way to do this without any mods is to have everyone agree on an ordinal 1-25 for each player in the raid. Then, each healer is assigned to heal the nth target that is affected. So when the debuff goes out, they have about 1 second to scan the entire raid list to find and sort the set of people affected in order to determine their target. Good luck getting 5 people to do that 6-8 times in a row with 95%+ success rate. Good luck even finding 5 people that would consider such a task fun.

I'm sure that you can raid "fine" at a low level with a vanilla client, and perhaps even certain high-level roles can be done with the stock interface. But in general, you absolutely need the conveniences that raiding mods provide for high-level raiding.

Re:Damage Meters built into client (2, Insightful)

meta-monkey (321000) | more than 3 years ago | (#34041242)

It depends on your role.

I've got a Kingslayer hunter, priest (disc healer) and paladin (tank). I use very few addons. Really just a damage meter and DBM (mod that tells you stuff like "5 seconds until boss casts {some spell}). But with the priest...I just don't understand how it would be possible to heal with the default raid frames. I use Healbot (others like Grid) which allows you to map spells to certain mouse clicks. So instead of clicking on a player's name in the raid frame and then hitting 1 for a flash heal or 2 for a shield, I have my raid's health bars all arranged in Healbot and I left click for a flash heal or right click for a shield, or shift-left click for a binding heal, or control-left click for a dispell, etc. When you're trying to maximize how you use every global cooldown, having to click and then press a button just takes too much time. I can replace that with one click instead.

I agree, you don't need a ton of addons, even for raiding. But I don't see how you can heal without healbot or grid, and you'll probably get booted from the raid if you don't have DBM.

Re:Damage Meters built into client (1)

AltairDusk (1757788) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039604)

Building so much into the client is doing it wrong.

Keep in mind that there are people who do not use addons, for a myriad of reasons. Some of those may be because they think it's "cheating", or they're worried about viruses, or they just don't know how to get the mods/don't want to deal with the hassle, etc... When Blizzard sees that a certain addon or type of addon is providing an advantage to the point that guilds are demanding it to raid or that people without it are severely disadvantaged they will often either break it (AVR) or add the basic functionality into the default UI (CTRaid, Outfitter, QuestHelper). Is it wrong for them to say "this addon developer has significantly improved the interface in a way that benefits all players" and then decide to integrate the functionality so that everyone can benefit?

Re:Damage Meters built into client (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34040652)

You really should not post about something you're so ignorant about. Any player can get the full combat log output to a text file by typing /combatlog in-game. Combat log messages are sent to the client (and readable by any mod, and then later output to WoWCombatLog.txt if you enabled logging) in a highly machine-readable format like this:
  10/27 14:19:06.220 SPELL_CAST_START,0x0200000000203F7D,"Beria",0x511,0x0000000000000000,nil,0x80000000,686,"Shadow Bolt",0x20

It's been like this since around patch 2.2 or so. And this is pretty much entirely for mod authors' benefit, because Blizzard can just get all the combat data they need from the server side.

Also, there's a thread on the Blizzard UI forums [worldofwarcraft.com] entirely dedicated to keeping mod authors updated on API/UI changes, often posting them several months before they are even on the test realms.

The fact is, Blizzard doesn't think mods should be necessary to play the game, and up until now, the only one generally considered necessary by most players has been the healing raid frames, something remedied in 4.0. By not having any official channels for users to obtain UI mods, Blizzard tacitly does not have to approve/disapprove any UI mods, which I think actually gives them MORE freedom and gives people MORE options than if there was some official channel for third party UI mods.

Re:Damage Meters built into client (1)

Graff (532189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34041214)

You really should not post about something you're so ignorant about. Any player can get the full combat log output to a text file by typing /combatlog in-game

So ignorant about? As I stated, I thought there probably was such a command, although I assumed it might be just part of a custom client instead of the default client. That Blizzard has this information available in the default client is a good thing. I know that mod authors used to parse the combat log text for their information and I thought they had moved onto a more direct method for obtaining their data but perhaps they are still using log parsing.

Also, there's a thread on the Blizzard UI forums entirely dedicated to keeping mod authors updated on API/UI changes, often posting them several months before they are even on the test realms.

Yes, I've done some rudimentary addon programming for WoW and I'm aware of the communication between Blizzard and the mod authors. The fact is that even with the communication the API is still far too unstable. It's such a moving target, often changing every couple of months, so that addons break if the authors aren't extremely on top of updating them. Even if the addon author is keeping up with the API changes there are often problems for weeks after a new patch.

It's very draining and frustrating to both the users and the addon authors and it doesn't need to be this way. Blizzard should produce a much more stable API and back-support older versions better. Take a look at most modern API such as Java, Cocoa, C++ STL, .NET, etc. They are often stable on the order of years instead of months. Now I'm not saying that a game needs to have THAT stable of an API but Blizzard can certainly do a better job at keeping their API more stable than they currently do.

Re:Damage Meters built into client (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34041304)

That line I posted is actually sent to the client as an "event", with which mods can do whatever they want instantaneously. It's only written to the combat log after the fact. You're just digging your hole of ignorance deeper and deeper.

Re:Damage Meters built into client (1)

cigawoot (1242378) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039062)

I think it what it boils down to is Recount is an addon that is already freely avaliable to those who want to analyze their DPS. I'm pretty sure they feel that adding a built-in Recount would be a waste of time, when there is already something out there that already works. The built-in threat meter was a different story, as Blizzard's threat meter uses information straight from the servers, instead of having to guess at it based on damage done, buffs, etc. Just because something is an internal development tool, doesn't mean it would work well for players to use. By all rights their internal tools for analyzing DPS and healing are so complicated a normal player wouldn't be able to wrap their mind around it in a reasonable manner, or provide information to players they don't want players knowing.

Re:Damage Meters built into client (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040284)

Your "was" suggests you already know this, but just to be clear: Blizzard has a Threat API. Only disadvantage with it is (IIRC) you can only poll it every couple of seconds.

Re:Damage Meters built into client (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040354)

Also as Ghost Crawler kind of alluded to, one is more less necessary, the other is kinda nice to have. As long as my raid group has one guy willing to parse the combat logs and tell us what went right and what went wrong in that last attempt, we could mostly do without Recount. It's nice to have. It's a friendly face on a lot of ugly numbers. It's great that I can get information in real time on what I personally did right or wrong in that last fight, while the guild is busy analyzing the bigger picture. All in all though, we could clear content without Recount.

The threat meter is arguably much more "necessary". I need to know, in real time, during the fight, if I'm about to pull aggro. Without that information I'm going to be as shocked as everyone else when the baddie turns around and one shots me. In a fight where things are tuned to the point that I must do very close to my maximum possible DPS in order to beat an enrage timer, some kind of threat meter is critical.

Re:Damage Meters built into client (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039134)

Combat logs man combat logs. You save them off and parse to you hearts content. I would suspect that they can do nice things like add fine grained timing to them as client to server and UI lag have HUGE impacts on DPS.

Re:Damage Meters built into client (1)

AltairDusk (1757788) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039512)

Combat logs. The damage meters evolved from the idea of parsing the combat log information and presenting it in a more helpful way.

Re:Damage Meters built into client (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040170)

I'm not sure why they want to make a game where they'd feel like they SHOULD have recount. I

Re:Damage Meters built into client (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34040298)

That and GearScore can be argued to be the two most critical add-ons for finding people with basic capabilities for raids or guild membership.

Recount is important for a lot of reasons. Raids live or die by DPS, and if you have people not doing 5-6k DPS, they need to be kicked pure and simple in order to save everyone else repair bills and wasted time. GearScore is important because it shows if the person actually has seen actual raiding and has won something.

All other addons are class specific, but knowing what someone is geared with and knowing their capabilities are essentially 100% of what a guild needs for membership.

Re:Damage Meters built into client (2, Insightful)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34041410)

Any competent guild can take any j.random jerk, carry them most of the way through ICC 10, and get them halfway decent gear. With my guild, it's far more important to make sure they're someone we actually WANT to spend time with (in terms of guild membership).

We want folks who show up on time and prepared. We want folks who either know the fights or take a little time to google for them. We want folks who don't bitch and whine about not getting this loot or that. We want folks who have half a clue about how to itemize for their class/role (or who at least care enough to ask the right questions).

Getting back to GearScore for a second:

I've seen very good players with top gear be such pricks I couldn't stand to be in the same raid with them.

I've seen very well geared folks who have no idea how not to stand in bad.

I've seen poorly geared folks use their class to its fullest and stand toe-to-toe with folks 1000 GS higher than them.

GearScore is useful for a quick "what's the POTENTIAL of this person to do their job well?" ... its fine for PUGging soemone in, but I'd care a lot more about ability, experience, and personality if I were looking for a new regular member of my raids.

Biff Buff, Extraordinaire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34038650)

These are getting annoying. Why can't they just save up all the interviews and put them in one article so I don't have to hear about them every day?

Re:Biff Buff, Extraordinaire (5, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038828)

Really? I'm thoroughly enjoying Slashdot putting out some original content. I like seeing the news aggregated in the firehose, but every now and then it's nice to seem them produce something.

Personally, I'd like to see at least one interview a week with a figure that fits in with one of their submission categories. I think that would help shake things up around here.

Re:Biff Buff, Extraordinaire (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038872)

Agreed. I like knowing what's going on, but marketing-spun interviews are a waste of my time.

Re:Biff Buff, Extraordinaire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34038898)

Go crawl up and die beneath a rock, you miserable douchebag.

Re:Biff Buff, Extraordinaire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34039192)

It's better than the other crap the editors let through. It involves some form of actual dialogue with a person.

Re:Biff Buff, Extraordinaire (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039224)

go away you miserable contrarian.

Re (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34038730)

Yeah Ive wondered the same thing... Id imagine they have some sort of dev tools that allow them to parse out damage easily for bosses but who knows maybe they just use recount also. lol

Re:Re (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040766)

or dump the combatlog to a text file and parse it with a perl script.

Before the inevitable (0, Offtopic)

Norsefire (1494323) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038752)

Blizzard don't ban people for cheating in singleplayer (they also have their own cheats built in ). They ban people for cheating to unlock achievements on their multiplayer Battle.net account while playing singleplayer. Even with a banned Battle.net account you can still play singleplayer in offline mode ("Play as Guest" from the login screen).

Re:Before the inevitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34038844)

Ya ya, but what happened to the "normal" single player choice. Diablo / Diablo 2Why am I am guest on my own system (or did I rent that too) with a game I own? Besides, if I understand correctly, I heard that you cannot play "as guest" for long as well. Eventually, you need to connect to WoW to "check in" every 30 days? Please correct me, as I know you will.

Re:Before the inevitable (1)

Greguar (1225686) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039542)

A big component of the battle.net service is DRM. Requiring an account to play, even offline single player via check-ins, is the most effective way that they've come up with to prevent piracy.

They made a gamble that it would be something that their playerbase would be willing to swallow, and it seems like they were right: for most folks its restrictions aren't a hindrance, and there are a few benefits thrown in, like being able to download, install and play the game on any computer. It has a lot less ugly pointy barbs than some other (cough Ubisoft) DRM schemes in recent history.

I'm sure there are some people who don't want multiplayer and don't want content updates and don't want cloud-based saved games and don't want achievements and whatnot and who find authenticating to play a single-player game inherently offensive. But seriously, you obviously have an internet connection, and you're only being inconvenienced for seconds to get a month of unrestricted take-it-anywhere play on that (or any other) computer. That one login gets you enough time to play through the whole single player campaign, and then you can uninstall the game to free up its huge disk footprint and move on with your life.

I personally will gladly authenticate every time I play in order to spare the headache of having to put in an original optical disc. I think the latter is far more inconvenient.

I'm not sure what any of this has to do with WoW, though, which has always required authentication for all forms of play. It, like all MMOs, is a 100% online game.

Re:Before the inevitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34039722)

to be honest i find this method of DRM to be more acceptable than others that various game publishers have used in the past. I don't need the CD, they aren't loading nasty crapware drm drivers, and I am also allowed to load and play the game on multiple computers, and if i logged into battlenet when playing the single player campaign i could hop between my desktop and laptop and it would keep track of what level i was on in the campaign.

so what it calls home on occasion to make sure i am legit. i think they are doing a decent job trying to add extra value so that it isn't just a burden.

Re:Before the inevitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34039824)

I guarantee if you'd just bitched about being banned for hacking in single player or the lack of LAN functionality in SC2 you'd be modded +5 insightful instead of offtopic even though both posts would have been equally offtopic, redundant, and useless.

3 Blizzard interviews in 2 days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34038806)

Soulskill is on a roll.

Re:3 Blizzard interviews in 2 days (1)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038900)

Blizzard is feeding them to him to get free press for the upcoming Cataclysm launch.

Re:3 Blizzard interviews in 2 days (1)

Conchobair (1648793) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038902)

Keep in mind Blizzcon was this last weekend. /. was probably there and did a bunch of interviews. People complain about this every year. Be ready to be the first next year.

Re:3 Blizzard interviews in 2 days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34038992)

I wasn't complaining. I actually appreciate it. It's a nice change.

Pony? (2, Funny)

Conchobair (1648793) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038864)

Ctrl+F, "pony"... nothing. I'm not reading this until he makes with the goods

Re:Pony? (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038926)

Not pony; moose.

Re:Pony? (1)

AltairDusk (1757788) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039646)

Not just moose, SpikeMoose!

Re:Pony? (1)

TBone (5692) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040438)

But you do have Goblins on Dinosaurs on Sharks with Laser Beams....

http://pc.ign.com/dor/objects/24939/world-of-warcraft-cataclysm/images/world-of-warcraft-cataclysm-20100813113214236.html?page=mediaFull

This is getting close.

The game is so tempting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34038892)

But I must resist the addiction. I will not succumb.

I should have known better than to read this interview though, it's like walking by a coffee shop while you're trying to avoid caffeine.

Re:The game is so tempting (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039044)

Its a good game. I've been playing since the day it launched, but took a couple six to nine month breaks.

My fiancée totally got hooked on auctioning and crafting and playing as a healer while I like to gather and do 5 mans with either a warrior or warlock.

Re:The game is so tempting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34039250)

Just to be clear, I'm on such a break myself. Trying to make it lifelong though, not just a short stretch.

Re:The game is so tempting (1)

AltairDusk (1757788) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039704)

You may be different but for me the addiction was only bad before I quit the first time (actually sold the account, back when you could ebay them). I was convinced to come back by a few friends shortly before Burning Crusade came out and although I've played on and off since there's no "need" to play like there was before. I just play for my enjoyment, mainly when friends are on and if something comes up or I feel like doing something else I just go do that. My point I guess is that it doesn't need to be an addiction every time.

Re:The game is so tempting (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040634)

I took my first break when I had some neuralgia and my guild was in trouble going into BC raiding content.

I took my second break when I met a girl, was breaking up with my SO, that kept going into meeting another girl and getting engaged.

I took some time off this summer to play alot of Xbox with a buddy and fire up some Empire Total War.

I'm back getting ready for Cat, will be around for that.

Re:The game is so tempting (1)

digitalnoise615 (1145903) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040548)

Its a good game. I've been playing since the day it launched, but took a couple six to nine month breaks.

My fiancée totally got hooked on auctioning and crafting and playing as a healer while I like to gather and do 5 mans with either a warrior or warlock.

Precisely. I played the original Vanilla beta and then picked up the game about a month or so after launch and have had an active account since. I've taken plenty of breaks, weeks, months - whatever - but I come back. It's great for when I need a distraction and nothing else will do.

I would like to see them make crafting both more reasonable (in terms of mats - some things are insane) as well as usability. The best gear in the game continues to be what drops at end-level content; however, crafted gear should come at least a close 2nd or 3rd, but often times doesn't.

Re:The game is so tempting (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040658)

Gems and Inscriptions are great money makers even for players like myself who don't have end-game recipes, but you are right, blacksmithing, leatherworking and engineering should have viable recipes for end-game.

this guy is a dumbshit (0, Flamebait)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 3 years ago | (#34038906)

ex marine biologist ?? often doesnt even understand the mechanics of the classes he talks about. will outright ban anyone on the forums for pointing out his mistakes/lies

Re:this guy is a dumbshit (1)

cigawoot (1242378) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039102)

Blizzard doesn't ban people for pointing out that type of stuff, they ban people for HOW they do it.

There is a difference between.....

"I believe my class does not do enough DPS and here is why... [insert evidence of your beliefs in a non-flambait manner]"

and...

"OMG PALLY HOJ ME FOR 5000000 DAMAGE TEY R OP PLZ NERF KTHXBAI"

The first example contributes to the conversation, whereas the second example does not.

Re:this guy is a dumbshit (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039254)

On the other hand, they've been mass-banning people for pointing out (or even asking nicely about) the extreme similarity between the Worgen (wolf people)'s "mount" (the wolf runs on all fours, sans-mount) and the Discarded and Never Implemented Tauren "Plainsrunning" (where the cow-people would do basically the same). If they're adding one, it can't be a tremendous amount of work to add it for the other -- and yet even mentioning it is enough to get a ban on their forums.

It's puzzling, but most players chalk it up as "Oh, Blizzard's so crazy, and no one reads the official forums anyway".

Re:this guy is a dumbshit (1)

AltairDusk (1757788) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039716)

They don't ban people for bringing this up, I've seen plenty do it that are still around. The people getting banned are either doing something else to warrant the ban or it's the way they're going about it (furious wall-of-text attacks against blizzard and the "lazy developers who won't do what I want" are not the proper way to bring up an issue).

Re:this guy is a dumbshit (1)

Greguar (1225686) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039890)

If they gave Tauren players plainsrunning then people would want to be able to ride Tauren players as mounts, which would be... awesome!

Re:this guy is a dumbshit (2, Informative)

cigawoot (1242378) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039956)

Plainsrunning was different then Running Wild.

Plainsrunning was "always on" and increased your movement speed while moving over time until you reached 100% (over 10 seconds). Once you stopped or entered combat, you'd go back to normal run speed. It was a completely different mechanic then a standard mount, and it was broken and hence removed.

Running Wild is basically a mount, but instead of a mount model your character just runs around really fast with a different animation. All the other rules of mounting apply, such as being unable to cast, having a cast time to mount, being unable to mount in combat, but remain mounted while in combat, etc.

Re:this guy is a dumbshit (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34041482)

Parent is aware of this. Observe:

If they're adding one, it can't be a tremendous amount of work to add it for the other

The suggestion is they add it as a mount option for Tauren.

Re:this guy is a dumbshit (2, Insightful)

ildon (413912) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039968)

First, they don't ban people for that unless they're obvious bitch posts like the previous poster pointed out or if the person is purposefully spamming the forums with threads about it.

Second, they are DELETING threads about it (not banning) because there are already a lot of active threads about it and if there's already an active thread on the first couple pages it's just useless spam to create a ton of new threads about it.

Don't just make shit up about how Blizzard manages their forums. I could make a plainsrunning whine post right now and I would not get even an hour ban (unless there was coincidentally a concerted thread spam campaign going on at the same time and I just got caught in the crossfire). I could probably find a 20+ page thread about it and bump that with whatever complaint I had and my post wouldn't even get deleted. Blizzard's moderation is EXTREMELY lenient as long as you don't spam or post like a total douche.

how many WC slashvertizements will there be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34038922)

They just keep coming.

People: don't contribute to this mono-directional transfer of fair use rights from customers to corporations.

I'd have bought the game *IF* they hadn't gone all control-freak on us, removing LAN play and requiring maps be served through their servers and so on.

Re:how many WC slashvertizements will there be? (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039268)

You realize that World of Warcraft (an MMO, where by definition the servers need to be running the maps and encounter AI) is completely different from Starcraft II (both Blizzard products), right? There is no meaningful "LAN" play for WoW, whereas it might have been nice for SC2 and Diablo 3.

Re:how many WC slashvertizements will there be? (1)

rakuen (1230808) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039534)

Nonsense. All Blizzard products are the same. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to play some World of Diablo: Starclysm.

Re:how many WC slashvertizements will there be? (1)

Greguar (1225686) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039676)

Even then, the "lack" of LAN-play for SC2 and Diablo 3 is splitting technical hairs.

Your computer doesn't host the game and a connection to battle.net is required to play. What real-world difference does this make? How many people set up a LAN party without having an internet connection these days?

I play SC2 with other folks connected via a LAN all the time, moreso than I play with random people online. This supposedly missing feature hasn't affected my LAN-play experience one bit. I don't even get an uneasy feeling that my consumer rights are being eroded by corporations as I do so, it's that seamless.

Re:how many WC slashvertizements will there be? (1)

Vaphell (1489021) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039870)

care to share what you do exactly with your SC2 when the bnet goes down for maintenance? or when the few second timeout of internet connection drops you out of the game?

Re:how many WC slashvertizements will there be? (1)

Greguar (1225686) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039976)

Can't say they've ever happened to me yet. I guess if I had a crappy internet connection I'd have an issue, but I would complain to my ISP or change ISPs if I did.

Re:how many WC slashvertizements will there be? (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34041078)

you keep going with that line of thinking, the "it can't happen to me, so anybody it does happen to must be a target of ridicule" thinking.

My brother and I were on the same LAN, with a DSL connection to the internet. The DSL connection would randomly drop anywhere from once every two or three hours to as bad as 4 to 5 times an hour. We couldn't even finish stupid easy achievements in SC2 such as "beat 5 medium opponents in a row" because the game would decide that if the connection drops for even 2-3 seconds, you need to be disconnected from battle.net.

I used to troubleshoot internet connections for a living, I knew what to do. I replaced the modem. I replaced the router. replaced the noise filters. removed the noise filters. I plugged both into a dedicated UPS. I had the lines checked. I had the local node checked. I had the dsl moved on to a separate physical line in the house (different wiring and everything). Every time, it got a little bit better, but never really got fixed. We had technicians out to check the wiring (the house is all of 2 years old I might add) and it never really fixed the problem.

Finally, in disgust, I called up the local cable company and said "bring me cable internet". They did. no more random drops... no, instead, I get anywhere between 6 and 12 hours during prime time where I'm getting horrendous packet loss instead, with the occasional blocks of ping spikes into the stratosphere. The cable company has obviously oversold the hardware, and obviously doesn't care either.

So what choice do I have here There are two choices for ISPs, and I've chosen both. Neither is an adequate replacement for LAN functionality for games that really do not need an internet connection.

Re:how many WC slashvertizements will there be? (1)

AltairDusk (1757788) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039734)

You may want to read up on what an MMO is. How do you propose they implement a persistent, massively multiplayer online world for LAN play?

Blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34038950)

GC is a douche who often comments on things he has no clue about in the WoW forums. He constantly makes promises he can't keep. I honestly don't listen to anything the guy says anymore. He has very little knowledge of actual game mechanics and tends to rely on the other forum posters to make his points for him.

How much did Blizzard pay for this advertisement on /. ?

Re:Blah (1)

Dashiva Dan (1786136) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039312)

I just deleted my page long reply. Instead I'll just post myself (and whoever else) a reminder/warning:
Don't feed the trolls

w0w (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34038986)

erm, screw warcraft.

The game with PvP that is stop motion animation (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34039296)

yea, really, and no exaggeration. pvp in wow is so that you go 5 steps, someone randomly cces (crowd control - makes any player/mob lose control of the toon and be passive for a while or rooted in place) you, and you lose the control of your toon for a few seconds (tooo long in a pvp environment), you walk another 5 steps, and again. the appalling part is, the player who have cc'ed you generally has NO idea that s/he has cc'ed you - a lot of ccs are area effect ccs that you can just fire away and cause a lot of players to lose the control of their toon. even the cc heavy classes suffer from this issue in mass pvp.

this situation is due to a design decision they made back before the last expansion (wrath) and placed 1-2 crowd control abilities to talent trees of all classes. apparently, as they later said, they were balancing pvp around 3v3 arena games they were offering. ie, 3 toon team vs 3 toon team. whereas, a huge bulk of the pvp action that goes about in this game, goes on in battlegrounds, the minimum of which containing 10 to 15 people in each team, and the maximum of which containing 40 people in each team, the much renowned alterac valley battleground. so much that, at one point a few years ago, one could find 4000 people playing that battleground alone, and 8000 total playing mass battlegrounds, as opposed to arenas. and this is just one battlegroup's session data, imagine around 12 to 20 battlegroups - 160,000 people actually in battlegrounds, as of 02.00-03.00 at night. (leave aside other parts of the game, raids, realm etc).

one would think, if you gave all classes 1-2 ccs each, and let them play, it would be evident that all hell would break loose and game would be unplayable due to ccs flying about in a mass pvp environment.

well they didnt think that. and since the last expansion, mass pvp is a stop motion animation, in which you are not in control of your toon more than you are, during the course of any given pvp engagement.

moreover, they totally killed the logic of some of the elements of the game, like physical damage, armor, magic damage, magic and so on.

the casters, before this expansion, were either ranged classes, or, cc classes. and, because being casters and having ranged damage ignoring armor (all kinds of armor), they either had escape abilities or cc abilities, and therefore were given light cloth armor or leather armor.

melee classes were given plate armor that reduced physical damage, but, to offset the fact that they are not able to ignore armor on anything, they were given big melee physical damage when in range.

so much logic was balanced, and things worked fairly well.

however come this expansion, the great heads of class design have thought it would be fit to give caster classes all-damage absorbing magic shields, or, boost up the power of the ones that already existed. without effecting any kind of reduction in the abilities of ranged/magic damage and their armor ignore, and the amount of cc abilities for the classes that relied on them.

and now, we have another added oddity in the game, in which the ranged, armor ignoring cc having magic classes having more and better damage reduction/resistance for all kinds of damages, including melee. whereas, the melee classes, which had plate armor and high physical damage, are weaker in regard to toughness than the supposedly ranged, melee-weak classes.

imagine, a class that was designed to wear cloth and therefore be susceptible to physical damage to offset the armor-ignore damage they do, is way tougher than the durable, plate wearing melee class you have rolled and leveled to play.

suddenly makes one think, if a cloth armor class is going to be so tough, whats the point of having a plate class in a game.



this rather intricate example, and the very obvious example before it shows that, one needs at least SOME linear thinking in any kind of design/development. because, even if you are designing intricate systems that depend on many factors, it is possible that all kinds of peripheral, side factors may not be able to undo the big effect you introduced to some aspect of the system. and then you may have to come up later, expressing a design mistake and trying to find ways to offset it.



in any case, the game is unplayable in regard to mass pvp. and since a lot of the ccs they introduced to the game are still there, it is more a frustrating stop motion animation style game that lacks fluency and flow. i totally would recommend against playing it, if you are interested in player vs player action at any level.

Re:The game with PvP that is stop motion animation (1)

AltairDusk (1757788) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040092)

I've been playing since the level cap was 60, and I can't figure out if you're just confused and actually playing a different game or just awful at pvp. Other possibility is that you're trolling I suppose.

AoE cc that causes you to lose control of your character: Fears. The classes that have this available to them are: Priest (Instant, on cooldown), Warlock (Cast time, can be made instant with talents, also on cooldown), and Warrior (I believe this is also instant and on cooldown). As with all types of CC Fear is subject to diminishing returns, the basic concept of which is that each time you are affected by a Fear effect it will be shorter, the fourth time you will be immune and continue to be immune until the timer resets. Each category of CC is on a diminishing return timer, they specifically designed it so that you couldn't be CC'd over and over and over with no recourse. There are also abilities and items that can be used to break CC used on you.

The PvP in WoW has definitely become more balanced over time, back at 60 it was basically rock, paper, scissors. Class design was such that one class was the counter to a few classes, and was hard countered by a few others, the few left were mostly on equal footing. Melee classes have traditionally been more reliant on gear but also scaled better with it. They have also been granted more ways to close the gap over the last two expansions and a well geared melee will tear apart a caster if the caster can't keep away from them. I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that Blizzard will make plate have less survivability than casters in Cataclysm but I'm not seeing that at all.

TL;DR: Perhaps there are other players who agree with you but having played for quite awhile myself I have a hard time believing we're even talking about the same game.

Innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34039562)

'We honestly spend a lot of time on innovation. Players are kind of merciless — "Yeah, that was a fun fight, but we've done it before," or, "This is just like that other guy." So we really try to push the envelope there on things players haven't seen before, new systems. We'll have encounter designers say, "I was playing Final Fantasy last night, and it had a boss that did this, and I think we could make that work for a boss in World of Warcraft with these tweaks."'

The Blizzard definition of innovation: Copy Squeenix.

No (3, Interesting)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039600)

I can't read anything that GC says.

This is the person that, as far as I can tell, single-handedly ruined WoW. I am not alone in this sentiment.

He's the person who brought us the hungry-hungry-hippos style button-mashing PvP in 3.0.
He's the person who brought us massive cleave teams.
He's the person who made mana to a large extent irrelevant.
He's the person who brought us Naxxramas (revisited) as "serious" raiding content.
He's the person who basically eliminated threat as a mechanic.
He's the person who wanted to make the game "less like Chess" and "more like Poker".

The problem with GC is that he likes to fuck with things. In major ways.

In PvP, this leads to 'flavor-of-the-month' classes/combos - who knows which one is going to be imba and at what time. In PvE, this leads to entire mechanics getting deprecated.

The problem is, many of us liked how the game played prior to GC. No, it wasn't perfect. Yes, there have been some improvements (like the queuing system for daily heroics).

You can't just go and upend everything whenever you feel like it. After a while players get tired of the change and decide, "screw it, I'm going to play something else".

That's what I did. After 5+ years of WoW, GC convinced me that it's not worth it anymore.

Re:No (1)

rcuhljr (1132713) | more than 3 years ago | (#34039806)

You can't just go and upend everything whenever you feel like it. After a while players get tired of the change and decide, "screw it, I'm going to play something else".

You can't just leave everything the same or after a while players get tired of the same old thing and decide, "Screw it, I'm going to play something else."

Re:No (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040122)

I agree with both of you. However, with a game as large as WoW, a single person could not experience the entire game within a reasonable amount of time. I've got 5 characters, all Horde, but only two of them I am playing and learning at the moment. I have not had a chance to experience the Allies point of view. I've not had a chance to learn the Rogue's or Paladin's mechanics. I've not even touched my healer druid since it hit 30-something. I've been trying to work my Mage up to 60 so I could finally learn the polymorph-rabbit spell that my Hunter acquired in an Easter event two years ago. He's stalled around 48 because I started a DK so I could have a tank my friends and I can rely on when they want to play a DPS or healer.

I've barely figured out the DK and tank issues when, now, I have to completely re-learn how to play my Hunter (what?! No more Volley!!)

My point is that they could leave well enough alone and people would be able to continue playing the game for several years.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34040132)

I totally agree. Greg Street ruined the game. They brag about the 12 million players. That would be more like 15 to 20 million if GC (street) had not of alienated so many players by doing all the things you mention. Every patch was a whiplash to the way things worked. After a few years of his shoddy leadership, I couldn't bring myself to log in anymore.

Re:No (1)

js3 (319268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040264)

I don't like him either. He's more lawyer than marine biologist, he does anything he wants and justifies it (I know it's funny when I say it too) but frankly there's nothing I hate more than running around in circles and WoW is doing exactly that.

Ruler of a game that has no idea what it wants to be.

Re:No (1)

digitalnoise615 (1145903) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040496)

I don't like him either. He's more lawyer than marine biologist, he does anything he wants and justifies it (I know it's funny when I say it too) but frankly there's nothing I hate more than running around in circles and WoW is doing exactly that.

Ruler of a game that has no idea what it wants to be.

Well, when you have the title "Lead Systems Designer " you kinda get to do those things. And 12 Million people agree with him. And considering that ACTV's stock price is based over 50% solely on WoW, even though Activision-Blizzard have many other titles would suggest that most people disagree with you.

Re:No (1)

js3 (319268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040564)

ugh same old tired argument. I was part of the 12million, it's like saying 12million smokers agree smoking is good for you. Your fallacy is thinking everyone who plays wow likes to play it. I hated it the last 2 years until somehow I broke the addiction and quit.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34040752)

That must explain why WoW subscriber numbers keep falling. This game is definitely on the way out!

I mean they went from 11 million to 12 million users, this is surely a sign of the game dying.

Re:No (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34041534)

In PvP, this leads to 'flavor-of-the-month' classes/combos - who knows which one is going to be imba and at what time......After a while players get tired of the change and decide, "screw it, I'm going to play something else".

I'm decently convinced that this is the design. You're supposed to reroll, but if you quit they expect you to return eventually, so you're just 'taking a break' to them. Either way, we as players are supposed to see that the other guy has it better and react. Of this I'm certain.

No questions about QA? (1)

_bug_ (112702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040036)

Blizzard has had some crap QA issues before, but 4.0.1 was one of their most atrocious releases to the point that they said some of the Mage glyph bugs just simply can't be fixed right now and that they had to just deal with it. How does crap like that get by their QA? We're not talking about some arcane feature with a small bug, we're talking about a major component of the system that is totally broken.

I think you really see it in the patch notes, which tend to contain about 1/10th of the actual changes made in a given patch. For example 4.0.1 includes a ton of new UI features such as graphical elements used to alert the user that a special ability is ready to be used. However nothing was ever disclosed about it nor were players given a chance to learn what each graphical identity means when its displayed. It becomes trial and error. Watch for the new graphic to appear, now look at your list of buffs to see if there's some new, temp buff there. Wait for it to go away and see if the graphic goes away as well. That's a lot of tedious crap to deal with, especially when you're in the middle of a boss fight.

I wonder if this guy's approach to development by keeping development teams small is responsible for the poor quality of both documentation and product.

Re:No questions about QA? (2, Insightful)

cigawoot (1242378) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040420)

4.0.1 was the largest patch they had ever created. Anyone who has worked 10 seconds in the software development business is that bugs are apart of life. World of Warcraft is the most bug-free MMO in existence. Blizzard does a really good job working as many bugs as they can out of the game, but bugs do creep in.

Re:No questions about QA? (1)

digitalnoise615 (1145903) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040512)

Blizzard has had some crap QA issues before, but 4.0.1 was one of their most atrocious releases to the point that they said some of the Mage glyph bugs just simply can't be fixed right now and that they had to just deal with it. How does crap like that get by their QA? We're not talking about some arcane feature with a small bug, we're talking about a major component of the system that is totally broken.

I think you really see it in the patch notes, which tend to contain about 1/10th of the actual changes made in a given patch. For example 4.0.1 includes a ton of new UI features such as graphical elements used to alert the user that a special ability is ready to be used. However nothing was ever disclosed about it nor were players given a chance to learn what each graphical identity means when its displayed. It becomes trial and error. Watch for the new graphic to appear, now look at your list of buffs to see if there's some new, temp buff there. Wait for it to go away and see if the graphic goes away as well. That's a lot of tedious crap to deal with, especially when you're in the middle of a boss fight.

I wonder if this guy's approach to development by keeping development teams small is responsible for the poor quality of both documentation and product.

Considering there's at least one more major patch (4.0.3 - The Sundering) before Cataclysm is released, I can see their point of view. The Beta servers are currently running post-Cata patches (obviously) and the Mage Glyph issues doesn't exist there - which would indicate it's been fixed, just not released yet.

Re:No questions about QA? (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040820)

You're right. The patch notes for 4.0.1 were particularly sparse. The only way to know everything that was coming was to read all the blue posts on the WoW forums (or play the PTR). One silly thing was, for death knights: "The way in which runes recharge has been changed." Well, that's vague. Why not spend one more sentence: "Only one of each rune recharges at a time; the second will not begin recharging until the first has done so." Maybe because that way, everyone will see how arbitrary and random the change itself is.

Too Easy (1)

BuckaBooBob (635108) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040186)

I understand That they are making the game easier to appeal to more people... But really the game is getting too easy and as a result there are people ending up in a raiding environment that simply just do not understand how to play their class.. Blizzard needs to start to think about adding Heroic servers that have the new EZ mode turned off so I can play with people that are closer to my skill level and have a desire to be significantly challenged by the content without bumping into someone that is just clueless how to play their class or is just looking for easy loot.

Re:Too Easy (1)

js3 (319268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040318)

I used to raid hardcore a year ago, I keep asking myself why I did it. At the time it didn't seem that strange or wrong at all but looking back the difficulty is what attracted me to it. I wanted to do something hard and that required some amount of dedication put forth to that task.

Once they made it easy the entire thing seemed pointless and trivial.. so I stopped and never doing that again lol. Well i'm doing that in starcraft 2 now.

Re:Too Easy (1)

cigawoot (1242378) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040452)

It is called being in a guild that does heroic encounters.

Too little too late. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34040274)

Sorry chumps, but everybody cancelled their subscriptions for this shitty game already.

Re:Too little too late. (1)

Wowlapalooza (1339989) | more than 3 years ago | (#34041386)

Mmmm... yeah. That's why my Trade Chat window is always empty and I never see anyone in Dalaran. Dungeon Finder is a waste of time, too, since all the other servers are the same way. Completely deserted. It's sooooo lonely...

tl;dr (1)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 3 years ago | (#34040606)

Seriously, how much of a hardcore WoW fan do you need to be to read the whole thing?

Re:tl;dr (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 3 years ago | (#34041028)

I'm a hardcore fan, and even I skipped this entire post and went to the comments.

So pretty fucking hardcore. :\

I don't know -- I just don't want want to know anything that goes on behind the scenes with WoW. Kinda takes the fun out of it.

Raiding (2, Interesting)

Mybrid (410232) | more than 3 years ago | (#34041138)

"Greg Street: We've got a lot of players into raiding now. I don't encounter too many players these days who say, "I want to raid but I'm not sure how," or "It's too hard." "

Seriously? You can't even get into an Ice Crown raid unless your gear score is 5K and most people are going to want you to already know the fights.

If by "raiding" he means the Dungeon Tool, he's probably right there, but other than that forget it.

It is nigh impossible to reasonably PUG a raid.

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