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BlizzCon Q&A Additional WoW Questions

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During the World of Warcraft Q&A panel at BlizzCon 2018, eight attendees didn't have the time to ask their questions. The developers have just answered these questions in a dedicated blog post.

The questions and their answers are quite interesting with topics ranging from the Mobile App and pet battles all the way to plans on removing warforging/titanforging (the answer is no by the way) and reforge costs for Azerite gear.

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On November 3 at the World of Warcraft Q&A at BlizzCon 2018, players questioned panelists Alex Afrasiabi, Ion Hazzikostas, John Hight, and Chris Robinson. Many of the questions deserved a bit more time to fully answer than we originally anticipated, and in the end, eight attendees were left without the chance to ask their questions. Here are the questions that didn’t make it in time, along with our answers to each:

Over the course of the last 14 years, we've killed many Warcraft villains. What is your strategy for introducing new characters and threats to this universe?

While many of the iconic villains in WoW over the years were first established in the RTS games (Illidan, Arthas, etc.), WoW has been introducing new characters and threats since its earliest days (such as Onyxia or the Defias). We’re keenly aware of the need to begin building up future threats even as we confront existing ones. A major villain shouldn’t come out of nowhere and be a surprise. We plan our expansions out far in advance, so that we can begin foreshadowing and weaving narrative threads to connect them. Garrosh Hellscream is an example of a character born within WoW and built up to eventually become a major villain and then a catalyst that led directly to Azeroth’s confrontation with the Burning Legion. If you look carefully, there are seeds that have been planted and clues that point to who central foes might be in the future.

When will the WoW Mobile App ever be complete?

If you mean “complete” in the sense of integrating the social features currently missing from the app, like guild/community chat and the calendar, that’s actively being worked on and we’re aiming to get that functionality added in the coming months. Due to some tech infrastructure changes in Battle for Azeroth, we had to basically rebuild the existing Companion App from the ground up, but we’ll end up with a more robust foundation as a result.

Do you have plans to make more reputation rewards account-wide?

We feel that it’s important for characters to retain a certain element of distinct progression. Part of making an alt can be having a fresh set of goals and rewards to pursue once you’re starting to run out of accessible goals on your main, so we don’t make reputation globally account-wide. But some players feel compelled to re-earn reputations in a way that’s frustrating and we want to do what we can to help alleviate their specific concerns. We’re addressing some of that in Tides of Vengeance:

  • Transmog appearances that have rep requirements will be unlocked account-wide once earned. You won’t need to re-earn a specific reputation on an alt if you want to use their tabard as part of your outfit.

  • The achievements that require a certain number of Exalted reputations will now aggregate progress across your entire account.

  • For Champions of Azeroth rep, access to the item level upgrades for the Heart of Azeroth will be account-wide. If you have at least one Revered character, any other fresh 120 alts can go visit Magni and collect all 45 item levels’ worth of upgrades right away.

What can you tell us about your future plans for pet battles?

Pet battles continue to be a fun system layered on top of the core WoW experience. As we introduce new zones and content, there will be new pets to tame or earn as reward. For players who are looking for a new challenge to overcome, we’re adding a new Gnomeregan pet battle dungeon in Tides of Vengeance. Beyond that, in the long-term, we’d like to take a fresh look at “PvP” pet battles to see if we can add a more structure to that system and elevate it beyond what is currently a niche pursuit.

Will gear ever return to the way it used to be with no warforging and titanforging?

That’s unlikely.

Gear used to be only available from a handful of activities, such as raiding or rated PvP. Obtaining a specific piece of gear could be a months-long pursuit. As the quantity and variety of sources of gear increased over the years, increasingly the pacing of rewards wasn’t matching the pacing of the activity itself. By Mists of Pandaria, a guild progressing through a raid zone over the course of a couple of months could reach a point where they were fully equipped with gear from that tier, before having finished the zone. Lacking individual motivation or excitement about rewards when raiding, even if the encounters themselves were still fun, meant a lack of continued progression for the group. If you were stuck on Sha of Fear, there was no real expectation that your group would get any stronger week over week to help you overcome that hurdle. That gave rise to Thunderforging as a system in Patch 5.2, which evolved into the system we know today.

We like that Warforging preserves a sense of possibility to most encounters, and it allows a group’s overall item level to continue to increase steadily. It also creates moments of surprise and excitement across all types of players and activities. Of course, we understand that when an exceptionally lucky player gets a perfect Titanforged item from a Raid Finder boss, that can feel like it undermines Mythic content, but ultimately, that’s just a single piece of gear. Overall, the Mythic raider will be better-geared than the Normal or Heroic raider, even if the latter gets lucky once. We restrict the ability of pieces like weapons or Azerite armor to Titanforge, and we’ve reduced the chance of extreme Titanforging in BfA. We used to see players who felt obligated to run content they’d outgeared just for a chance at lucky upgrades, and we now see far less of this behavior.

Players will always want to use the best traits on Azerite gear for every situation. Why punish the player with a big gold cost to reforge?

We draw a distinction between items and character attributes like spec or talents. Usually you can’t change the former at all, or there’s a destructive process involved like replacing a gem or enchantment, or Artifact Relic in Legion. A healer trinket is a healer trinket, and can’t be morphed into a tank trinket if you want to switch from Holy to Prot. If you want to perform at a given level in both specs, you need separate trinkets of similar quality for each.

However, we’re mindful of feedback we’d gotten regarding spec flexibility. We want Azerite armor to be flexible, so that you could switch from Fire to Frost if you want to, or you could switch from Arms to Protection for a week if your raid’s tank was absent. Without some friction, the system would just turn into a secondary (and awkward) set of talents, and a mere cooldown could create situations where you switched from one trait to another, and then couldn’t go back at all without having to wait. We ultimately settled on a respec cost that started out very low (5 gold) and increased and decayed rapidly, such that periodic respecs would be essentially free, but swapping back and forth routinely would be unsustainable.

Nonetheless, mistaken choices or experimentation can quickly spiral out of control and leave even occasional respecs feeling overly costly. In Tides of Vengeance, we’ll be doubling the rate at which the respec cost decays, so it will go down by 50% every 24 hours. Additionally, given the changes to several Azerite traits and the new ones coming with the update, we’ll provide a one-time reset of all respec costs when the update goes live.

How will you motivate Mythic Raiders to raid, when Mythic Keystone gear can titanforge to such high item levels?

Aside from prestigious titles and cosmetic rewards, Mythic raiding remains one of the most reliable sources of high-end gear in the game, with more ability to target specific pieces via bonus rolls and trading. It’s no coincidence that the best-geared players in the game are, almost without exception, Mythic raiders who also do other types of endgame content. Historically, raiding was the only way to get the best gear in the game, but our goal today is to provide parallel endgame item progression paths for different playstyles (raiding, dungeons, competitive PvP) to reward skill, dedication, and organization in various forms. Ideally, each of those paths also offers some unique benefits that set it apart from the others.

How do you plan to accommodate new players who are overwhelmed by the size of the content?

On one hand, the breadth and depth of World of Warcraft is one of the game’s strengths. A new player entering Azeroth gets access to fourteen years of content, with entire worlds to explore and stories to unravel. But that same content can also be a daunting. Including a character boost with our recent expansions is one way of making sure that players can always leap directly into the latest and greatest content, but that’s far from a complete solution.

We’re taking a fresh look at our new player experience, with the goal of making it better reflect the quality and scope of the modern game. That’s a long-term project, but it’s an essential one as many brand-new players try out WoW for the first time every way, and we want to make sure we’re welcoming them into Azeroth and really showing off everything that is awesome about World of Warcraft.

Thank you all very much for taking the time to participate in the Q&A. It was amazing to see so many players come to the Darkmoon Faire and submit questions (and sometimes, comments) for the development team. We read every single one of them, and we really enjoyed talking with everyone we could in Anaheim.

(source)

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"It’s no coincidence that the best-geared players in the game are, almost without exception, Mythic raiders who also do other types of endgame content"

It's also as you said in the past, people who do Mythic + are a majority of mythic raider because you rarely see people doing M+ only. so dodging Titanforged question by saying "yeah but look what the top gear guy's do" is fucking stupid, if you take 10 min to look deeper you would see a lot of them get their stuff from m+, personally I'm 377 with my "main" and at least half of my current gear is m10 proc into titanforged, I have literally 2 piece of Mythic after multiple weeks of using seal on the first 4 boss. Thanks blizzard to not learn from blizzcon 

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4 hours ago, Zadina said:

Players will always want to use the best traits on Azerite gear for every situation. Why punish the player with a big gold cost to reforge?

We draw a distinction between items and character attributes like spec or talents. Usually you can’t change the former at all, or there’s a destructive process involved like replacing a gem or enchantment, or Artifact Relic in Legion. A healer trinket is a healer trinket, and can’t be morphed into a tank trinket if you want to switch from Holy to Prot. If you want to perform at a given level in both specs, you need separate trinkets of similar quality for each.

However, we’re mindful of feedback we’d gotten regarding spec flexibility. We want Azerite armor to be flexible, so that you could switch from Fire to Frost if you want to, or you could switch from Arms to Protection for a week if your raid’s tank was absent. Without some friction, the system would just turn into a secondary (and awkward) set of talents, and a mere cooldown could create situations where you switched from one trait to another, and then couldn’t go back at all without having to wait. We ultimately settled on a respec cost that started out very low (5 gold) and increased and decayed rapidly, such that periodic respecs would be essentially free, but swapping back and forth routinely would be unsustainable.

Nonetheless, mistaken choices or experimentation can quickly spiral out of control and leave even occasional respecs feeling overly costly. In Tides of Vengeance, we’ll be doubling the rate at which the respec cost decays, so it will go down by 50% every 24 hours. Additionally, given the changes to several Azerite traits and the new ones coming with the update, we’ll provide a one-time reset of all respec costs when the update goes live.

Other words, "we are aware of the issue but we don't care and still going to charge you more gold each time you switch out Azerite traits.  But you will have 1 freebie when 8.1 launches."

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I am a fan of titanforging to be honest. I don't mind the azertite armor, but I am glad there are going to be improvements for sure! The legos in legion were cool, but getting the one you wanted was so random.

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12 hours ago, Zadina said:

Will gear ever return to the way it used to be with no warforging and titanforging?

That’s unlikely.

Yadayadyada...

I am willing to defend Blizz on a lot of their decisions, but come on, how can you be that daft?

Whatever their intention with WF/TF is, it simply does not work.

1. Nobody goes into a raid because they're hoping for a lucky forge. The fact that you don't see people run trivial content for forging (except for some extreme cases like WF mythic raiders, I'm sure they are having tons of fun farming the same M+ for hours...) shows that this idea doesn't work. I don't do M+ because I'm 370+ in every slot, and our raid is about to drop Heroic Uldir for the same reason, we are mostly just equipping new members now, and if anything WF/TF with forced Persoloot is actually preventing us from doing that.

2. If you can't beat an encounter even though you have all the loot you could possibly get, you are obviously out of your league. Either learn to play, or keep wiping until the end of time. Beating a hard encounter is supposed to be an achievement, not something that gets handed to you automatically over time.

3. There is no surprise or excitement with titanforging. It's not surprising because it happens so frequently that you start to expect it, so if anything, it's rather dissappointing if it doesn't happen. It's not exciting because it's not a reward for doing something exceptional, it's just a roll of a dice on top of a roll of a dice. 

4. Yes, it is unlikely I will one day run around in full mythic level gear just because of TF. But I still feel like a cheat when I run around with a 395 ring that I didn't earn. I have 3 items that are beyond Mythic level. None of them are from the Mythic. I did not earn this, I just pulled the leaver on the slot machine and got lucky.

5. If it's such a great system, why take it off Azerite Gear and Weapons?!

 

I was somewhat indifferent about WF in WoD because it was so insignificant that it didn't matter that much. TF made everything so much worse. That awesome item you got is not as awesome as it could be. Not because it's only the normal or heroic version, that's the content you did, that's the reward you get. It's because it could have been better simple because of RNG. And that feels aweful. As much BS the Legion leggo system was, at least once you had the item, you had it.

 

Edit: After some time to cooldown, I made a more constructive post on the official forum:

https://eu.forums.blizzard.com/en/wow/t/item-upgrades-rng-vs-concrete-goals/

Maybe give it an upvote or something, I don't know...

Edited by jinsu2301
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15 hours ago, Ragingwolf said:

Other words, "we are aware of the issue but we don't care and still going to charge you more gold each time you switch out Azerite traits.  But you will have 1 freebie when 8.1 launches."

Then quite honestly, stop trying to min/max every single fight. It's not required.

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3 hours ago, Bnetmyke said:

Then quite honestly, stop trying to min/max every single fight. It's not required.

No, you miss the point.  It's a pain in the ass when players, like myself and others, are constantly switching from DPS to Tank to help out with Guild Mythic Keystones and or Uldir Raiding.  Not to mention the horrendous RNG drop on gear and trashy Azerite traits that don't compliment one or the other specs.

I am not talking about changing Traits for single and or AoE spec every other fight.

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Am I the only one bothered by the fact that there are never any questions taken about the growing insignificance of guilds and how every “improvement” to the game further separates players from guilds (press a button for random gear, communities, broken UI for community/guilds) or further reduces the benefits of guilds (removing master loot, personal loot restrictions, etc).?

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On 11/17/2018 at 11:25 AM, jinsu2301 said:

I am willing to defend Blizz on a lot of their decisions, but come on, how can you be that daft?

Whatever their intention with WF/TF is, it simply does not work.

1. Nobody goes into a raid because they're hoping for a lucky forge. The fact that you don't see people run trivial content for forging (except for some extreme cases like WF mythic raiders, I'm sure they are having tons of fun farming the same M+ for hours...) shows that this idea doesn't work. I don't do M+ because I'm 370+ in every slot, and our raid is about to drop Heroic Uldir for the same reason, we are mostly just equipping new members now, and if anything WF/TF with forced Persoloot is actually preventing us from doing that.

2. If you can't beat an encounter even though you have all the loot you could possibly get, you are obviously out of your league. Either learn to play, or keep wiping until the end of time. Beating a hard encounter is supposed to be an achievement, not something that gets handed to you automatically over time.

3. There is no surprise or excitement with titanforging. It's not surprising because it happens so frequently that you start to expect it, so if anything, it's rather dissappointing if it doesn't happen. It's not exciting because it's not a reward for doing something exceptional, it's just a roll of a dice on top of a roll of a dice. 

4. Yes, it is unlikely I will one day run around in full mythic level gear just because of TF. But I still feel like a cheat when I run around with a 395 ring that I didn't earn. I have 3 items that are beyond Mythic level. None of them are from the Mythic. I did not earn this, I just pulled the leaver on the slot machine and got lucky.

5. If it's such a great system, why take it off Azerite Gear and Weapons?!

 

I was somewhat indifferent about WF in WoD because it was so insignificant that it didn't matter that much. TF made everything so much worse. That awesome item you got is not as awesome as it could be. Not because it's only the normal or heroic version, that's the content you did, that's the reward you get. It's because it could have been better simple because of RNG. And that feels aweful. As much BS the Legion leggo system was, at least once you had the item, you had it.

 

Edit: After some time to cooldown, I made a more constructive post on the official forum:

https://eu.forums.blizzard.com/en/wow/t/item-upgrades-rng-vs-concrete-goals/

Maybe give it an upvote or something, I don't know...

 

 

Gave your forum post an upvote, mon.

Out of curiosity, which decisions are you willing to defend? 

Edited by Jinzuru

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1 hour ago, Jinzuru said:

Out of curiosity, which decisions are you willing to defend? 

Things like mobscaling both in relation to character level and item level, or flexible raidsizes. Or even the removal of the old talent system which simply wouldn't work with the current way of leveling unless it all gets a complete overhaul.

If something they do makes sense from a certain game design standpoint, I can defend it to a degree.

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7 hours ago, GorditoLOL said:

Am I the only one bothered by the fact that there are never any questions taken about the growing insignificance of guilds and how every “improvement” to the game further separates players from guilds (press a button for random gear, communities, broken UI for community/guilds) or further reduces the benefits of guilds (removing master loot, personal loot restrictions, etc).?

Not to sound like a grandpa here, but back in my day, guilds had no benefits other than the social aspect. If forced persoloot or a broken UI is enough to keep you out of a guild, than that's your own problem. I for one would never want to raid without a guild. Playing with friends who share the same goal as you, working together as a team, that's when this game is the most fun it can possibly be. People whine about how the social aspect is missing from the game, yet they are actively avoiding it at all cost. 

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Back in the vanilla days, you joined a guild because it was the main way to interact with others. You could not just press a button if you wanted to run a dungeon or gather a group for a elite quest. Either you tried to pug in the general chat or you could join a guild and have chance that there were other players who wanted to run a dungeon too. And raids were almost out of the question since you needed a group of 25(I think. I only started raiding in WOTLK but I did have a friend who organized raids) attuned people. If you refused to join a guild then you had to rely on the general and the trading chat for any group content

Edited by EBONHEART
tried to find out how to link others post.

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6 hours ago, jinsu2301 said:

Things like mobscaling both in relation to character level and item level, or flexible raidsizes. Or even the removal of the old talent system which simply wouldn't work with the current way of leveling unless it all gets a complete overhaul.

If something they do makes sense from a certain game design standpoint, I can defend it to a degree.

No issue with scaling while leveling. Max lvl ilvl scaling I find very dumb. Never tried flex raids, but also no issue for me there.

I've heard a rumor somewhere that this expansion will be the last one with current talent system, that they're gonna take their knowledge of all systems combined and deliver us something absolutely new.

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On 11/18/2018 at 9:56 AM, jinsu2301 said:

Not to sound like a grandpa here, but back in my day, guilds had no benefits other than the social aspect. If forced persoloot or a broken UI is enough to keep you out of a guild, than that's your own problem. I for one would never want to raid without a guild. Playing with friends who share the same goal as you, working together as a team, that's when this game is the most fun it can possibly be. People whine about how the social aspect is missing from the game, yet they are actively avoiding it at all cost. 

 

I don’t actively avoid it. I’m an officer in my guild and have been raid leading since BC. Recruitment gets worse every expansion, and guild activities are mostly just raiding now. 

22 hours ago, EBONHEART said:

Back in the vanilla days, you joined a guild because it was the main way to interact with others. You could not just press a button if you wanted to run a dungeon or gather a group for a elite quest. Either you tried to pug in the general chat or you could join a guild and have chance that there were other players who wanted to run a dungeon too. And raids were almost out of the question since you needed a group of 25(I think. I only started raiding in WOTLK but I did have a friend who organized raids) attuned people. If you refused to join a guild then you had to rely on the general and the trading chat for any group content

These are the benefits that I’m referring to.  Over the years many of the things that guilds were great for have shifted to group finder, with nothing being added to the other side to make up for it.  The guild ui being broken, and guild control hasn’t improved, they’ve actually removed features from it.  In game guild finder is depressingly bad, and hasn’t seen any improvement since its inception in cataclysm. It still looks like a feature that is in beta and it’s been almost 10 years.

That pressing the button thing makes it so organized guild activities outside of raiding, and even including raiding, are really easy to knock out in pugs. The personal loot system nonsense makes it so that rewarding attendance, participation, and doing what’s best for the raid group is totally non-existent. 

 

Guild raids have no benefit outside of consistency, and loot restrictions make it frustratingly hard to get gear to people that actually need it. Add to that the fact that instant gratification is the standard in almost every aspect of the game and you have an average player mentality where guild stuff is an afterthought. 

There SHOULD be some sort of benefit to guild activities. It used to be the only way to enjoy many aspects of the game and now that all of those aspects are enjoyable in solo play, guilds are sort of left behind. 

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The question that should have been asked....

"With the overwhelming number of guilds that were 10 man with split raid size raiding, why did you choose to go with 20 man and will we ever see Mythic raiding come back to 10 man size? Smaller mid progression guilds fall apart so easily, people just want to play with their friends."

 

Maybe add something about allowing flex for Mythic but locking the "Hall of Fame" to 20 man only as to keep the world race a "pristine accomplishment" for those who value that.

I get the whole bit of some fights are easier than others with more or less people, but it just confuses me at this point on why its locked in at 20 people only. The most difficult boss in the game is the roster boss.

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      However, after a while the novelty of it wears off and you do start getting a little bored of all the eating and drinking (and wondering why your character isn't getting to Kul Tiran levels of fat), especially if you hop on to BfA for a bit in between. The difference is huge and once you're used to just slamming into 5 mobs and downing them quickly it can get a bit boring to just pull 1 mob at a time and then wait and wait. The really low levels aren't that different between live and Classic in terms of gameplay however, as the small amount of abilities means combat isn't exactly the most exciting thing in either. On live you get past that pretty quickly, but it takes a while longer in Classic (especially if you're playing solo).
      In Classic, playing different classes actually feels different in more ways than just their abilities, at least if you think about it a little. Playing a priest, you really want to find a group because that's what the class was designed for, which is both good and bad - you're stuck very slowly leveling if you're solo, emphasizing the frustration of the slow pulling, but having different classes require different gameplay can be good. If you want to play a priest you're going to have to be more social by default, just whisper the guy you see killing stuff next to you and go level together, you'll immediately have a better time of it (this part is particularly exacerbated in the beta, as there are fewer players).
      In the end, while it may be a huge cop-out, it really does come down to personal preference. Some people will simply not be able to handle the huge downtime between pulls, not being able to buy a new skill rank because you spent all your money on food and drinks (mages were popular for a reason back then), the very slow pace of leveling, and a whole lot more frustrations and not user-friendly features. On the other hand, the experience really is significantly different enough from modern WoW that it does feel enough like a "new" game, or at least a new and different expansion. An expansion that has many more differences than the last 3 or so, something that's both new and old and familiar. And, yes, it also offers massive quantities of nostalgia for those of us that played Vanilla, but what's so wrong about that?

      After the first 2, I actually forgot to take more screenshots, so here's Stan barely being able to afford skills because of his nasty water addiction.
      A simple truth
      The simple truth behind all of this bickering and squabbling is that there really isn't a bad way to enjoy a game. You like the feeling of Classic taking you back to your young(er) days and that rush of falling in love with WoW for the first time? You like the slower pace of both combat and leveling? You like that the social aspects of the game take a front seat? Good, enjoy it! You prefer modern WoW and BfA with it's tons of improvements, smoother design and more player-friendly features? Great, enjoy it! It doesn't matter whether you prefer modern WoW or Classic or WotLK or whichever your personal high-point was (it was Burning Crusade and Legion for me), you're not wrong. You literally can't be. No matter what anyone says in all these heated discussions, they care about WoW, in whatever form they prefer it. So why can't this be enough of a commonality for us to have a civil discourse?
      I wanted to talk more about Classic here and my experience with it, especially relating to my Vanilla days, but somehow I kept writing about this rift that's forming in the WoW community. I can't seem to shake it, and for all the many, MANY times WoW was diagnosed as "dying" (and never did/never will), this one actually worries me. Some people have worried that Classic servers will split the community because BfA and Classic can't play together and few people will have the time to play both, but I'm worried it will REALLY split the community on a more philosophical level. At the moment WoW is back to being the most watched game on Twitch, beating out Fortnite and the rest, so shouldn't this be a happy moment for all of us that care about the game? Regardless of whether you enjoy BfA, or are holding on for the next expansion to fix things, or can't wait for Classic, can we at least TRY to keep things civil? We can disagree all day long, and I'm the first to put my opinions out there, but just don't accuse people of being... whatever it is you think they are. Argue facts, discuss calmly (or well, at least try to), and if you see the other person isn't doing the same, just politely stop talking to them. It's that simple.
      Next time I'll hopefully be talking more about the game itself than the narrative around it, but until then: enjoy what you enjoy and don't get sucked in to discussions about how you're wrong to do so.
      What is Classic really like and why is it causing such a rift in the WoW community?
    • By Stan
      Venturebeat interviewed J. Allen Brack and he talked about Classic WoW, Diablo Immortal, and Blizzard games in general.
      You can read the full interview here.
      Interview Highlights
      Brack played every Blizzard game, but World of Warcraft will always be closest to his heart. World of Warcraft changed Blizzard. When the game launched back in 2004, the company had 300 employees. Currently, they have 4,300 employees. They've got more games that they're working on now than at any other time in the history of Blizzard. Not every game released by Blizzard needs to cater to everyone. It's fine if you don't like a certain game. Mobile is a platform on its own, similar to consoles or PC. The games they're developing for mobile are going to provide an authentic experience, but mobile titles aren't trying to replicate PC experience. Nintendo has been a great partner and they are happy with how the Diablo III panned out. Switch has some unique properties that consoles don't have. From a player perspective, Brack's proud of his guild downing Ragnaros back in Vanilla. Kael'thas was also a hard boss during the Burning Crusade, so defeating him was also considered a feat for the President of Blizzard. Doing the Argus patch in Legion was quite the challenge. Mists of Pandaria was the most misunderstood expansion. They've been experimenting for 15 years with content schedule for the game and figured out that the two-year expansion cycle with 3 major patches is the right thing. They were thinking about making Argus an entire expansion, but ended up not doing so.
    • By Stan
      When it comes to Classic, Blizzard's goal is to provide an authentic Vanilla experience, but they also needed to come up with technology to handle many players at launch, which is similar to sharding. While the use of this technology will be limited to the first month following launch, many players are questioning this decision and wouldn't like to see layering in the game at all.
      Sharding
      Before we talk about layering, it's important to talk about the sharding technology used in modern-day World of Warcraft. When a zone in the game becomes overpopulated, players will be seamlessly moved onto a different shard, which is essentially another instance of the same zone. It is important to note that you will still be able to play with your friends, because you are moved to the same shard when you create a party.
      Sharding should not be confused with phasing, where a zone gets substantially altered due to in-game changes (think talking to Zidormi to visit various zones before and prior to these kind of changes), like Tirisfal Glades or Darkshore.
      Advantages of Sharding
      Sharding eliminates server load and realm stability. Cross-realm sharding is here so that players are evenly distributed across realms and helps combat underpopulation. Sharding at launch is vital to ensure a stable launch of an expansion. Starting zones would be filled with millions of people and that would turn even accepting a quest into a nightmare. Disadvantages of Sharding
      Sharding causes a lot of problems, especially in Battle for Azeroth with War Mode on and when players join parties to take down world bosses. There are multiple reports of entire raids sharding away. Blizzard's Stance on Sharding in Classic WOW
      Community Manager Lore talked about sharding in the Classic Demo back at last year's BlizzCon, where they believe some form of sharding may be helpful at launch.
      Blizzard (Source)
      As you've noticed, the Classic Demo does have realm sharding. This is to let as many people as possible experience it without technical issues such as server capacity or spawn density getting in the way. 

      Longer term, we know how crucial it is to the Classic experience for you to see your friends when you walk into Stormwind or when you’re helping them on a quest you’ve already completed. And there should only ever be one Kazzak on a realm, no matter how many people are waiting for him to spawn.

      We’re still looking at how we can best deliver an authentic Classic experience at launch, and in the weeks and months that follow - both in terms of gameplay and community. You won’t see phasing (which is tied to specific quests that don't exist in Classic) or cross-realm zones (which combine multiple realms together) in Classic. However, realm sharding is one of the best tools we have to keep realms stable when hundreds of players are swarming the same initial few zones and killing the same few mobs (like they will be at the launch of Classic). To that end, we do believe that some form of sharding may be helpful, especially in those early days. But we recognize that a cohesive world is critical to WoW Classic and are committed to bringing that to you. Layering in Classic WoW
      Recently, Game Director Ion Hazzikostas talked about layering in Classic WoW. This is a limited form of sharding, invented specifically for the launch of Classic.
      Instead of sharding the zones, their plan is to shard the entire continent at launch. In Classic WoW, there are no dynamic spawns and questing in starting zones would quickly become annoying, so it's understandable that the game is all but fun when there are no mobs to kill, but layering will also cause you to see new players, every time you sign in to the game, which is a clear downside of the tech. 
      There will be multiple layers of the same continent at Classic WoW launch, but Ion said the technology is going to collapse few weeks after launch, eventually merging all layers into a single unibody realm.
      Layering for How Long?
      The technology is there only for launch and will fade away in about a month, albeit it's still hard to determine if this is true, but it should definitely be gone before Phase 2 and world bosses become available in Classic.
      Advantages of Layering
      As mentioned before, Vanilla had no dynamic spawns, so people would need to wait for mobs to respawn at Classic launch, which could lead to frustration and an overall unpleasant gameplay experience. Layering will be gone in a few weeks after launch, merging all layers of the same continents into a single realm. Disadvantages of Layering
      You will be assigned a layer at random upon logging in to the game, so before the tech is gone, chances are you won't be able to see the opposing faction's guild which ganked your guildie. It's too early to predict, but we don't know what effect layering is going to have on Classic economy. Sharding Versus Layering
      Redditor Salvage_di_macaroni came up with an image, where he highlighted the differences between sharding and layering. 

      What do you think about layering? Do you not mind at all or would you rather not see it in Classic, because you think it strays away from the authentic Vanilla experience?
      Layering is limited scope sharding invented for Classic WoW. Read on for more details!
    • By Stan
      Keys to the Model W is a new mount coming in Patch, rewarded from the Mechagon meta achievement (Mecha-Done).
      This tme around, the achievement shouldn't be too hard to complete, because Mechagon is enabled for flying and Blizzard is adding Broken Isles Pathfinder, Part Two in Rise of Azshara.
      Mechacycle Model W
      The rapid technological evolution of the descendents of Mimiron began with the introduction of a new gear, leading to such wonders as the tragically under-produced Model W.

      Animations (Run / Mount Special)
      Do you like the mount?
    • By Stan
      Players are currently reporting instances of sharding on Classic Beta. Blizzard confirmed this to be a bug, as they're not planning to use sharding in Classic and they came up with a completely new technology to ensure a smooth launch and an authentic Vanilla experience.
      Blizzard (Source)
      Seen a couple instances of sharding happening since the last server restart about an hour ago. Blizz, what did you do?
      This is a known issue that we are actively investigating. Please continue to report these types of mob-behavior if they are happening in other locations.
      They just said it was a bug tho, it’s a beta, this is what we test in a beta.
      This is definitely why we do a beta test. We can also do things like reset the realm at a busy time like 4:30pm PDT to try and find the source of a certain issue where a crocolisk is losing it’s brain due to how multiple processes are interacting and mirroring code to form a cohesive world. There were similar types of issues like this back in 2004 but we wanted to try and resolve this one before the weekend for the folks who are testing.
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