Ion Hazzikostas, lead encounter designer recently talked to PCGamesN about the raid currencies (Valor and Justice). Ion had the following to say:
Quote from: Blizzard
We are planning on simplifying our currency structure. The traditional role of valor was to offer compensation for bad luck – and that goes all the way back to badges in Burning Crusade, where you’d go, “Okay, I’ve run this raid 15 times now and never seen a shoulder piece dropped – so I’ll take this currency and buy a shoulder piece for myself”. The bonus rolls system that we have these days actually goes a long way towards helping counteract that.
We think we can take the bonus rolls system and make it a little bit more intelligent, so that it tries to avoid giving you duplicate loots – and allow that to be the way players counteract bad RNG. It removes a little bit of the grind and a little bit of the awkwardness of the current valor system.
What about PvP?
We are trying to get rid of one of the two, but at the end of the day a purely random system probably would not work as well for higher PvP gear. Conquest makes a lot of sense.
So we could possibly see Valor Points and Justice Points dissapear. As far as Valor is concerned, it hasn’t been used for extra items in Siege of Orgrimmar, but instead just the item upgrading. So does this mean item upgrading is going to dissapear again as well? And then there’s the question of Justice Points, whose relevance are really when you just reach the maximum level and you can use them to buy items to gear up quicker for raiding when items don’t drop in Heroic Dungeons. Will that helpful stepping stone dissapear as well? Only time will tell.. until Blizzard does!
More information has come out in the past few days as the fan sites, who were lucky enough to attend the press event, are posting the results of their time there.
First off buffed.de actually posted a video interview with lead encounter designer Ion Hazzikostas:
Some highlights from the interview:
There will be a total of 17 raid bosses (7 in Highmaul and 10 in Blackrock Foundry) and possibly up to 3 world bosses
World bosses will be released over the course of the patch (so 1 will get released first, a few weeks later the next one and further into the patch the last one)
The raid instances will be nonlineair. Highmaul more like firelands where you can choose which order you do them in and Foundry like the 2nd part of ICC with the wings.
There will be two progression paths.
Normal Dungeon -> LFR -> Normal Raiding
Normal Dungeon -> Heroic Dungeon -> Normal Raiding
Doing the random challenge mode daily quest will reward you with an epic item with LFR quality item level.
Other than max lvl Scenarios, there will be scenarios during the lvling process to end epic quest lines. For example to fight in an epic battle.
Gul’dan could possibly become an ally against the Iron Horde
Up next we have the actual interview from mamytwink.com the french site we reported on last.
Again the (new) highlights of the interview:
Garrisons are specifically a feature for Warlords, they are bases that players use to help int he fight against the Iron Horde. You want to build up an army. However the technology we use to create Garrisons will most likely be used again in the future.
Heroic Dungeons will be in the difficulty range of easier heroic dungeons in Cataclysm such as Vortex Pinnacle and Lost City of the Tol’vir.
Patch 6.0 will include an in-game event, however I can’t say anything about it yet.
We will continue to add bonus bosses or phases in Mythic Mode raiding where we see fit. One of the bosses in Patch 6.0 will have an important difference in Mythic Mode. A nice surprise is waiting for you.
To reduce ability bloat we’ve removed about 20% of class skills and abilities, even if we will probably have to add a few more. Players will probably ask for it during the beta.
Karazhan was originally planned to be used for the event pre-WoD however we eventually decided against it and the developers then had fun with the dataminers from MMO- Champion.
The beta is of course.. soonTM
And then finally, another french site, JudgeHype, also released some new information. Again the highlights below:
Highmaul will open in the 2nd week of the expansion, just like MSV in MoP. Blizzard wants players to experience the lvling content without feeling rushed to start raiding as soon as possible.
Highmaul will be located in Nagrand.
All bosses in all difficulties will be available when a raid opens, except in LFR where wings will unlock progressively like they did in Siege of Orgrimmar.
One of the world bosses will be an ancestor of the gronns we know, but 3 or 4 times bigger. He’s made of stone and will attack players with stone shards and other earth-based attacks.
The second world boss will be a giant plant that lives in the jungle of Draenor.
The lvl 90 character boost will work differently if you already have a high lvl character or not. If it’s your first character and you boost it to lvl 90 directly the game will offer you 3 or 4 skills first, to familiarize with the game. It will then give you more abilities progressively.
They admit it’s a flaw of the system. Blizzard wants players to be able to use the feature but also understand that there’s a danger to see poorly played characters because of a lack of knowledge.
The world PvP zone Ashran will be somewhat based on the classic Alterac Valley. Where it could takes days for one side to win. Things such as resource collecting and summoning creatures to help the fight will be part of the zone.
To at least get everyone on the same page in terms of information, since a summary of a translated version of a translation of a few sentences in a single interview may not be the best foundation for a 24-page discussion, here’s an overview of our current thinking:
We will have Normal and Heroic versions of our max-level dungeons. (Note that we did not have Normal level 90 dungeons in Mists.)
There will be no special requirement other than basic level/ilvl requirements on queuing for Normal dungeons or LFR.
Level-up quest gear will get you into Normal dungeons/scenarios, and Normal dungeon/scenario gear will get you into LFR.
Heroic dungeons will be more challenging than the Normal version (not brutally difficult, mind you — just somewhat more demanding).
You will need a Silver Proving Grounds medal in a given role in order to queue for random matchmaking for a Heroic Warlords dungeon. If you form a premade group, you can zone in regardless and no such requirement applies.
In the past, challenging content and random matchmaking have often not gone so well together. Relying on item level does nothing to prevent a random group from getting, for example, a tank who may literally have never tanked before. Everyone has to learn somewhere, but we’d rather not have that learning come at other players’ expense. One option would be to require a full premade group to do Heroic Dungeons, as we do with Heroic Scenarios, but that would present a very high barrier to entry (finding 4 other people with rigid role requirements is much harder than finding 2 other people with no role requirements). This solution represents a compromise in order to allow the content to see a broader reach via matchmaking, while minimizing frustration.
And yes, we realize that by formally using Proving Grounds as a qualification, it will be incumbent upon us to further refine their balance and mechanics. We’ll be updating them for Warlords, and we’re confident that we can make them a fair test of baseline ability within a given role.
His second to last paragraph really explains the reasoning well, let’s hope the proving grounds update will provide more interesting game play!
In another surprise, not just one but now a second character model preview has come out this week! However instead of an Artcraft blogpost they put the new model up on the Warlords of Draenor website. The preview is a bit different from others but check it out here or the images down below (click on them for the full image)!
Blizzard WoD Press Tour
Blizzard also started a WoD Press Tour in Europe and Korea, so we can expect more information from those in the next few days/weeks! To start off with the french site Mamytwink.com got to play in Draenor and he gave his first impressions. The full article can be found here, below is a translation (My french is not brilliant but I’ll do my best):
I played a Gnome Warrior in Shadowmoon Valley, the area of the alliance. After playing for about 5 hours and 80 quests I reached the end of the zone and lvl 92.
The new character models are excellent. The facial expressions are great!
At lvl 91 I had 63k health as a tank.
Mobs had around 100k health.
I did between 1k and 5k noncritical damage. I hit for 10k with crits.
To get from lvl 90 to 91 I had to get 597k experience and 640k exp for 91-92.
Quests grant between 10k and 15k exp with the hardest ones giving 20k experience.
There’s a new type of quest, the bonus quest. When you walk into a zone bonus quests can appear in your list. If you complete them you’ll get bonus experience and if you leave the zone it’ll be removed.
Shadowmoon Valley consists of big lush plains, everything happens in the moonlight. The surroundings are calm and feel good. The trees and plains are beautiful (colorful). The zone contains the Naaru, Draenei Villages and an Iron Horde base.
The Alliance starting area is very far along. Many details, impressive vegetation and full of different types of mobs.
I found a whole lot of The Burning Crusade mobs: Talbuks, Turtles, Larvas, Bears, Sporebats, Wolves, Bees. The new Talbuk and Sporebat models are EPIC.
The Alliance area focusses on Sporebats, Draeni / Iron Horde. Ner’zhul is the main bad guy in the zone.
The Zone ends with a scenario which I could not test. It’s called “Grommar’s Purge”.
I got to listen to the new music which was very good.
To conclude I thought the zone was really well done. The fact that it exists out of the colorful plains it immerses you in a new game with out a feeling of déjà vu (with the exception of the mobs but that’s not a real shock).
The Korean site Inven posted 3 videos with Warlords of Draenor footage on youtube:
And then to end this Warlords packed news post, Celestalon tweeted we’ll be seeing much more WoD information soon!
In the mean time, please hold tight, and forgive me for not answering every question until our big burst of info goes out. Thanks!
Welcome to the third edition of Artcraft! I’m Chris Robinson, senior art director for World of Warcraft, and today we’ll be discussing the revamp of the female Orc model. As part of that, we’ll touch on our overall character redesign philosophy, show before and after images, talk about our art process with this particular model, and give you a glimpse at some of her awesome facial expressions courtesy of our animation team.
Before we start talking specifically about the female Orc update, I’d like to address some questions we’ve received regarding our goals for these revamps. Boiling it down to essentials, our primary focus is to upgrade the aspects of player character models that currently exist in-game.
We’re all creative people with tons of great ideas, and we could certainly keep designing and redesigning and never actually release anything—and while we’d no doubt have a lot of fun doing that, obviously we need to set specific goals so we can actually create finished artwork for you to see and play. That’s not always easy to do—we’re a passionate bunch, and we get incredibly excited about new features and want to do everything. Nonetheless, staying focused and keeping the scope reasonable (while still ambitious) helps us stay on track and avoid having to make painful cuts later on down the line. We really wanted to prevent that with the player-character revamp, so we made the decision early on to stay focused on improving what already exists in-game, and making sure we really nail it.
That said, we’ve also read your great ideas and feedback about features that you’d like to see as character customization options. Your collective voice matters to us, and we’d love to bring some of the coolest ideas to life someday if we can. We’ll continue to share behind-the-scenes information with you in these Artcraft pieces, and I look forward to giving you more insight into our plans for character models beyond the initial release of Warlords of Draenor.
Enough about philosophy—now on to the female Orc!
We’ve actually been working on this particular model for quite some time now. You may have caught some brief glimpses of her new model in the Warlords of Draenor announcement cinematic at BlizzCon. Since then, we’ve been balancing our effort among all of the models currently in progress, and she’s received some additional polish along the way.
When we first discussed the direction for this character, I think we all agreed right off the bat that we wanted to focus on her “warrior” side a little more. That means moving away from the more doe-eyed version we know now toward a character you would expect to see fighting on the front lines alongside any of her Horde brothers and sisters. We’re still ironing out the fine details, so the art you see here is subject to change, but I’ll let Senior 3D Artist Dusty Nolting and Lead Animator Steve Aguilar expand a bit on where we currently are with our green-skinned . . . oh wait, green and brown-skinned, long-tusked heroine.
Lead Animator Steve Aguilar:
“The original female Orc’s facial expression is pretty much a blank stare, which sadly doesn’t convey much life or personality. We wanted to give her more of an edge so she would project a confident ‘Don’t mess with me!’ attitude. Now that these new high-definition models have a facial rig attached, the animators can bring to life the personality that has been so sorely missing. She now looks and feels more like you’d expect an Orc to. When you get your hands on the expansion, be sure to take a look at her talking animations, dancing animations, and emotes to see all the various expressions the team has created for her.”
Character Artist Dusty Nolting adds:
“Orcs are one of the most iconic parts of the Warcraft universe. Because she’s so identifiable, it was important for us to use the original female Orc as a starting point and stay true to the silhouette and proportions that existed. The goal was a new model with much higher fidelity, while still retaining that classic look. We want a strong female counterpart to the male, equally battle-ready in appearance, yet still feminine.”
That’s all we have for the female Orc right now. We hope you’re continuing to enjoy this series as we invite you to meet the team, get some insight into our development process, and get an early look at some of the art we’re creating for Warlords of Draenor.