Ask The Devs #8 - Firelands (Answers)

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Welcome to the answers thread for our World of Warcraft "Ask the Devs" global Q&A. These answers are in response to the round #8 questions, which can be seen here: http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2098312571

Q: What happened with the Abyssal Maw dungeon that was supposed to come with Firelands?Maryjanee (EU-EN), Espiritu (NA)

    A: Our initial plan for this raid tier was to have fewer bosses in Firelands and a small number of bosses in the Abyssal Maw. As we looked more closely at Firelands, though, we realized that it deserved more bosses. We also got excited about designing item art (and set bonuses!) that were very fiery in nature, and the Molten Front questing area was turning out to be really cool, so we ended up piling more resources into Firelands. That led to the decision to focus on one strong theme (fire), rather than a more diluted fire-and-water theme.

    The case for Abyssal Maw pitch was that we could reuse a lot of existing assets (the fights were to take place in a giant shelled demigod like Nespirah), and while we are willing to do that, we thought Abyssal Maw would just pale in comparison to the magnificence of the Firelands. So, we put all of our eggs into that one basket. We’ve decided for now that the Vashj’ir quest line along with the Throne of the Tides dungeon does a pretty good job of finishing the Neptulon story.


Q: A majority of the fights in T11 favored having little or no Melee DPS. Are there plans to fix this?Merissa (NA), Espiritu (NA)

    A: We view this more of a class problem than an encounter problem. It used to be the case that casters really suffered whenever they had to move, which was the penalty they paid in order to make up for the fact that melee took a lot of extra damage. Nowadays, melee classes don’t really take that much extra damage, and we’ve also given casters a number of movement-oriented tools designed to keep their DPS from dropping as much as it used to when they are asked to shoot-and-scoot.

    Whenever there are situations in an encounter that encourage grouping, the ranged often move into melee (with the occasional exception for hunters), but melee never move to ranged. Any of the fights that punish clumping also tend to punish melee more. We recognize all of these problems, as do many players, but it’s challenging to address them quickly. For example, without compensation, casters would suffer a lot in PvP if their movement tools were suddenly stripped away.

    In the meantime, we don’t want to over-constrain encounter design, or worse, make it feel very formulaic by getting to the point where players expect the “melee fight” to be followed by the “adds fight,” followed by the “Patchwerk fight,” then the “ranged fight.” We’re making sure that melee have some fights where they can shine in Firelands. To use just one example, the Sons of Flame on Ragnaros tend to be better handled by melee than ranged.


Q: When Tier 11 content was first launched, the majority of fights in 25-person were explicitly easier than the 10-person version, such as Nefarian and almost every Heroic encounter. Do you have plans to make content for 25 players more appealing in patch 4.2?Wynter (EU-DE), Nisana (EU-FR), Espiritu (NA)

    A: The supposition that easier content is less appealing in the question is a bit puzzling given how few guilds have been able to finish the heroic 25 encounters. In any event, it wasn’t that we set out to make sure 10s and 25s were different. If anything, we wanted to make sure that 25s weren’t significantly harder, since many of the 25-player guilds were convinced we were trying to force them to become 10-player raiding guilds.

    There were some fights at launch where 10s were too challenging (and some fights where the opposite was true), but we view those as nails in a board that need to be either beat down or pried up until they are more even with everything else. Progress in NA and EU on the 25-player content was faster than on the 10-player content, but this was probably largely because most progression oriented guilds in those regions were already focused on 25-player raids. This is also a regional difference. In Korea for example, there are a lot of hardcore raiding guilds focused on heroic 10-player content.


Q: Will we see anything of a sympathetic view of why Fandral Staghelm changed allegiances before he meets his demise?Lorinall (NA)

    A: Not every villain in World of Warcraft gets a chance at redemption. In Firelands, the new majordomo will show you no mercy, so we don’t recommend holding back. However, one of the final quest rewards available from the Leyara quest line in the Molten Front daily quest area will give you a chance to see another side of the former archdruid.


Q: It can be anticipated that mana regeneration and maximum mana will increase from gearing up with the new Firelands equipment. Isn’t there a possibility that healers can spam big heals again (and more quick heals) just like in WotLK? If so, is there any plan to handle this without class nerfs?Whitewnd (KR)

    A: As damage increases, healers will need to use their largest, most inefficient heals more regularly to keep up. That’s fine and was all part of the design. We just didn’t want players to opt out of mana regeneration too early in the content because then Spirit (and mana-related procs) on gear wouldn’t be attractive, and because we’d have to balance difficulty by making the tanks die in a couple of GCDs if not healed continually. Most progression-oriented healers still want large amounts of Spirit, often in every single slot. As they get more comfortable with their mana, they’ll be able to replace some of that Spirit with other stats, but the Spirit will still be valuable; more Spirit on a set piece for example might mean being able to use a different enchant or reforge on another piece.

    This is still a much better place to be than we were with Lich King content, where mana stopped mattering in the first raid tier. Aside from the mana changes we’ve already made to Innervate, Mana Tide Totem and paladin heals, we don’t think an overall regen nerf is necessary.


Q: Do we have any plans to include events similar to the Wrath Gate?Mushik (LA), 잔메르 (KR)

    A: We have a short cinematic or two, but nothing on the scale of the Wrath Gate cinematic for 4.2. We enjoy that kind of epic spectacle and we’ll do it when it makes sense; however, we also received plenty of feedback from the Cataclysm questing experience that we occasionally took control away from players too often, especially in Uldum, in order to tell the story, so we want to be very careful when we do that in the future. That said, there are some very cinematic moments in 4.2 such as watching the druid trees on the Molten Front grow or seeing the bridge form to Sulfuron Keep.


Q: Will there be weekly missions in the Firelands similar to Icecrown Citadel in where the players were required to alter the dynamics of each encounter in order to complete them and receive rewards such as promordial saronite and gold?Orisai (LA)

    A: We aren’t doing these types of quests for the Firelands raid, but that doesn’t rule out us doing them again in some future tier of content.


Q: In Cataclysm, it has been hard to find unique raid mounts such as Siege Engines in Ulduar or Drakes in The Eye of Eternity. Can we expect to see battles using unique mounts or other objects among the Firelands raids?빛그리고사제 (KR)

    A: We were worried players might be suffering from a little bit of encounter vehicle fatigue. We’ll do it when it makes sense for an encounter, but we don’t want players to get sick of seeing fights on vehicles.

    There are several fight mechanics in Firelands that depart from usual “don’t stand in the fire” or ”interrupt important spells” routine. For example, you can fly during part of the Alysrazor encounter, you climb webs during the Beth’tilac encounter, and you steer Lord Rhyolith around in a manner very different from standard kiting. (http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/blog/2219880)


Q: Is Ragnaros gonna have a speech about setbacks?Gerox (NA)

    A: TOO SOON, GEROX!
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85 Goblin Priest
11045
Brilliant
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96 Night Elf Druid
9785
25/05/2011 17:00Posted by Takralus
A: TOO SOON, GEROX!


I love Blizzard ^.^
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85 Troll Priest
9715
Very Interesting
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85 Goblin Shaman
3190
Nice to see the opinion on melee dps in raids. Thanks blizzard :)
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85 Goblin Death Knight
1700
I want more answers! :<
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85 Tauren Druid
5685
25/05/2011 17:00Posted by Takralus
A: The supposition that easier content is less appealing in the question is a bit puzzling


There we go, mistery solved. The people behind the dungeon design don't think making a challenge too easy take the fun away. Well that's cleared up an awful lot.
Edited by Hugzy on 25/05/2011 17:36 BST
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100 Dwarf Warrior
12240
I want more answers! :<


Idd, very answers have been given. Looking back at the quantity of answers that were provided at the previous ask the devs threads.
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85 Orc Warrior
9335
The case for Abyssal Maw pitch was that we could reuse a lot of existing assets (the fights were to take place in a giant shelled demigod like Nespirah), and while we are willing to do that, we thought Abyssal Maw would just pale in comparison to the magnificence of the Firelands. So, we put all of our eggs into that one basket. We’ve decided for now that the Vashj’ir quest line along with the Throne of the Tides dungeon does a pretty good job of finishing the Neptulon story.


Doesn't it "end" on a total unresolved cliff hanger? I mean the most powerful Elemental Lord (supposedly), get's dragged away by a giant old-god squid thing?! No, no, no my friends you see this is a critical error in explanation for it's removal. This concludes that you would like to make more of and continue this story at some point in the future.

Now let's put on our conspiracy hats!

So we know Queen Azshara is underwater. We know that the next expansion will go back to the new continent formula of WotLK/TBC. We know that Blizzard never puts anything to waste! (It took 4 years but Hyjal finally made it to live minus an Onyxia-lair style cave...) Using these quasi-facts we can extrapolate that this time next year we'll be in the exotic South Seas on a rescue mission to salvage support in the form of Neptulon. It'd make a very good first major content patch for such an expansion and would nicely mirror the Firelands of this Expac.

I'm on to you blue!
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85 Blood Elf Death Knight
5835
25/05/2011 17:00Posted by Takralus
The supposition that easier content is less appealing in the question is a bit puzzling


ah, well this explains a lot tbh. blizzard couldn't care less if stuff was way too easy, they said it right there.
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85 Orc Warrior
9335
On a seperate note. When I think about it, the melee/ranged favouritism doesn't make sense. In some fights melee fair better (Flaming Dragon Twins - Melee in P2 can just afk/auto-attack on top of the Tank) and then everybody knows the fights where ranged fair better. It's strange how people seem to notice it more when the melee have to do things. Perhaps this is because Ranged CAN DPS from melee and range whereas it's difficult for a melee to DPS from a distance. (Heroic Throw like your life depends on it!) Therefore moving around alot is much more difficult on the melee than the casters who can essentially move and pick up where they left off once they're safe regardless of the boss's location. But you can't make bosses stationary every fight or the tanks would get bored. It's a tricky situation. Maybe melee range needs to be increased a few yards. I'd love to see the revamped-character models have larger hit boxes when they eventually come xD
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100 Night Elf Rogue
9200
25/05/2011 17:00Posted by Takralus
The case for Abyssal Maw pitch was that we could reuse a lot of existing assets (the fights were to take place in a giant shelled demigod like Nespirah), and while we are willing to do that, we thought Abyssal Maw would just pale in comparison to the magnificence of the Firelands. So, we put all of our eggs into that one basket. We’ve decided for now that the Vashj’ir quest line along with the Throne of the Tides dungeon does a pretty good job of finishing the Neptulon story.


Wait, so Neptulon just being sucked up in such a manner that is is hard to even tell what's happening is a "good job?", let alone the lack of closure about what's actually happening to him. Dead? Being turned against his will? Still alive but a prisoner?

Q: A majority of the fights in T11 favored having little or no Melee DPS. Are there plans to fix this? – Merissa (NA), Espiritu (NA)


I'm actually dissapointed with this answer. Didn't beasts of northrend show that an encounter which could directly forced ranged to suffer mechanics that melee didn't was more that viable? Why not even just a "attacks against this target increase you casting time be X%" aura for about 20 yards? With so many suggestions, it's rather suprising that the response is "It's hard to do, mmkay?"

25/05/2011 17:00Posted by Takralus
The supposition that easier content is less appealing in the question is a bit puzzling given how few guilds have been able to finish the heroic 25 encounters.


Wait a minute. Did the devs actually read over what they said? "It's hard, and it's odd that people think that it's popular, because if people like hard stuff, why aren't they completing it?" Even if it's true, did it not occur to the person writing it that people perhaps couldn't complete the harder encounters because they were, well, hard?

Damn. Either i'm getting really jaded, or there's problems.
Edited by Maievs on 25/05/2011 18:10 BST
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100 Draenei Shaman
12610
Well that was a waste of time...
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97 Human Warrior
18750
25/05/2011 17:00Posted by Takralus
Not every villain in World of Warcraft gets a chance at redemption.


Except you've turned Fandral, along with damn near every other boss in this game, into a screaming loony ranting about Twilight and destruction and Light only knows what else.

What happened to the Archdruid who saw his beloved son brutally murdered by minions of the Old Gods?

Apparently he decided that becoming a minion of the Old Gods himself was a fantastic career choice.
Edited by Blayzereborn on 25/05/2011 18:13 BST
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90 Human Warlock
5125
25/05/2011 17:00Posted by Takralus
a more diluted fire-and-water theme


I like the sly word play here :P

That aside things are sounding good :)
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87 Orc Death Knight
0
25/05/2011 17:00Posted by Takralus
We’ve decided for now that the Vashj’ir quest line along with the Throne of the Tides dungeon does a pretty good job of finishing the Neptulon story.


No! No, no, no!
(Apparently) the most powerful elemental lord was sucked into a squid and pulled away!
How the hell, Blizzard, does that finish a story?

Next you'll be saying "and then you and him woke up and it was all just one dream."
Edited by Soupyboy on 25/05/2011 19:13 BST
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100 Human Mage
10000
new question: why all the damn nerfs ? if they can't handle it let them work on getting better, eve online team is like that. They just make stuff give it to players and let them figure it out ... and look at the game, totally dynamic.
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85 Draenei Death Knight
10405
Q: Is Ragnaros gonna have a speech about setbacks? – Gerox (NA)

A: TOO SOON, GEROX!


Love it. Thanks for the answers btw. :)
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MVP
85 Gnome Priest
13245
I'll second the concerns about the Neptulon storyline. Considering that storyline finished, by any stretch of the imagination, is just plain wrong. It is the biggest cliffhanger in the entire expansion - how can such a thing be considered finished?!

And given that the Abyssal Maw has long been considered - even by Blizzard - as an instance, then there must have been more story intended as well, beyond Vashj'ir and Throne of the Tides.

How they can then just consider all that finished now....that doesn't make any sence. I consider the Ragnaros plot more finished after doing the Hyjal quests than I consider the Neptulon plot finished after Vashj'ir and Throne of the Tides.

There's something fishy going on here :P

25/05/2011 17:00Posted by Takralus
A: Not every villain in World of Warcraft gets a chance at redemption. In Firelands, the new majordomo will show you no mercy, so we don’t recommend holding back. However, one of the final quest rewards available from the Leyara quest line in the Molten Front daily quest area will give you a chance to see another side of the former archdruid.

This is weak as well, though known for some time I guess.

First of, no villiain in World of Warcraft gets a chance at redemption. When did I redeem anyone, ever?
Secondly, it's not to say that I want Staghelm to be redeemed, but it is sad that Blizzard never tries to tell a different story-outcome with their boss encounters than "We killed him!". It gets too predictable, and too one-dimensional, story-wise.
And with a guy like Staghelm, at least there was an oppertunity there to create a different outcome than the ususal "We beat him to a pulp!"

Why spend so much effort building the character up since Vanilla WoW, with the suspicious Morrowgrain questline, follow it up with the sympathetic Ahn'Qiraj story, and do the whole Stormrage novel around his corruption, only to reduce him to yet another Glass Joe in a raid instance.

I am dissapoint :|
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Seriously. Some of you people need to read what you quote.

The Neptulon storyline ends with Throne of the Tides. Not the quest outside the Abyssal Maw.

Geez.

We’ve decided for now that the Vashj’ir quest line along with the Throne of the Tides dungeon does a pretty good job of finishing the Neptulon story.
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