Ask The Devs #8 - Firelands (Answers)

General Discussion
Prev 1 5 6 7 12 Next
: 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.


I don't think you answered the question that was asked. They didn't ask if Staghelm would be redeemed. They asked if we'd see the story from his perspective.

But, based on your answer, I'm guessing the answer is "no"?
What?

They didn't answer the thing about alts trying to level and having to go through unnecessary gear progression?

For shame.
05/25/2011 10:11 AMPosted by Kaivax
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.



I really.. really hope Blizzard doesn't intend to BS us by saying Neptulon got eaten in a 5 MAN HEROIC and open it to an Azshara expansion : /

Sounds to me like a cop out.
05/25/2011 10:11 AMPosted by Kaivax
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.


Wait, what? The Blizzcon 2009 D&R panel indicated 6 bosses. I know plans change, but initially it was going to have 6. That's fewer than 7 I guess, but I get the feeling that's not what you meant. I've still got the chart on my photobucket.

Edit: Here's the map from BlizzCon09 - http://www.wowpedia.org/images/archive/c/cd/20101023021925!Firelands_Map.jpg. 6 bosses. Looks pretty close to exactly what we're getting with an extra boss before Sulfuron Keep. Same map they showed at Blizzcon 2010, FWIW. And - http://wow.joystiq.com/photos/blizzcon-2009-wow-dungeons-and-raids-gallery/#2228320 - there's the chart showing the instances and raids they were going to have at release with the number of bosses in each raid.

05/25/2011 10:11 AMPosted by Kaivax
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.


Frankly, I'm a bit agitated. A good comparison I saw in another thread...maybe it was at Scrolls of Lore... was ending a Spiderman arc right after Mary Jane gets kidnapped. It was supposed to be out at release. Then 4.1. Then it fell off the radar. So, now we hear that we're not getting it at any point in the near future?

I've been pretty strongly behind Blizzard with a lot of the things have been dropped or pushed back with this expansion, but how much is enough?

-Path of the Titans dropped, ok yeah, it is really similar to the glyphs we have now and probably not something needed so I completely understand when it went away.
-The Dance Studio? When I saw that in the initial Cata trailer, I fully expected it not to hit.
-Firelands and Abyssal Maw being pushed back to 4.1 from release? Well, T11 has lots of content already so this is for the best.
-Firelands being split off from 4.1 and put into 4.2? Ok, sure, maybe it'll let them get 4.1 out quicker than I expected (which was not the case, unfortunately).

And now, no second Abyssal Maw dungeon. Neptulon in the hand of the Naga and the Old Gods. What's next? CoT: War of the Ancients raid cancelled?

I love Blizzard. I really do. I would give up a limb to work there. But sometimes it feels like they treat announcements in the past like they never happened, or they completely ignore things that they announced in the past. Like the Dungeons and Raids panel at BC2010, announcing Firelands in 4.1, the map was showing like it was something we hadn't already seen the year before. I get that the reality is there are a huge, IMMENSE number of things they're working on, and things get forgotten. That doesn't change the way it feels sometimes to a player who never really forgets anything. Just something to keep in mind.
So no new 5man in 4.2?

Everyone should get some new content each patch. The idea of having nothing but Za/zg for at least 3 more months is depressing.
Now how about answering questions about... You know... Firelands?

Like my question about how can we avoid standing in the fire with so much of fire going around?
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.


I was disappointed by this answer.

1. "25 man guilds are just better" - very weak for Blizzard to hide behind this bit of forum rhetoric. If this provides you some comfort, so be it, but it is a dishonest argument and rather absurd to proclaim to your audience that all raiders who raided in 10-man format were simply worse, and that's why the progression was *and still remains* so different.

2. What I expected to hear in response to this question was - "this was our first time trying to balance 10 v. 25 man raids, and we learned some lessons which we will apply to Firelands." Instead we get this "actually everything was fine" response which is EXTREMELY discouraging.

3. Blizzard's designers ought to be owning up to two oversights:

a) In the current scheme of things it is impossible to have every class' utility, every buff, and every debuff in a 10-man team. For example rogues can be used to trivialize several of the heroic mode mechanics. Balance druids and shadow priests are balanced on the assumption that they always have dark intent. Etc. It's not hard to have a 10-man team missing such vitals as replenishment or an area snare, let alone more subtle points like % damage increase or phys. dmg vulnerability debuff.

b) In the current scheme of things, 10 man raiders face the exact same number and frequency of mechanics as 25 man raiders. However, 25-man raiders have 2.5 times as many raid-wide cooldowns to use. So many 25-man strats include instructions like "use a raid wall on every xyz" and it must be wonderful to have things so easy. In 10-man we simply don't have enough cooldowns relative to the number/frequency of mechanics.

4. Conclusion - Blizzard needs to do better than simply designing a 25-man encounter and then tweaking the hitpoint and damage values for 10-man. This answer was so disappointing because it showed a total lack of awareness / acknowledgement of this basic issue.

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.


I have two problems with this answer.

First of all, ZA, ZG and all Heroic Mode raiding already works this way - tanks die in a couple of GCD's if they aren't healed continuously. Triage does not exist, and the insta-gibb mechanics that you told us were failed and would not be used again are back - in full force! So the answer is not consistent with what you are actually doing in the game.

Secondly, if you are going to keep acknowledging that the Wrath model was a bad idea on all these points (insta gib mechanics, infinite mana, aoe fest in 5-mans, etc.) why are you taking us back there? Why do you scale the gear so quickly that we must repeat this same tired cycle that players complained about so much in Wrath?
About melee DPS getting the short end of the stick in T11...
05/25/2011 10:11 AMPosted by Kaivax
A: We view this more of a class problem than an encounter problem.
When can we expect this "class problem" to be dealt with? =\
: 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.


I don't think you answered the question that was asked. They didn't ask if Staghelm would be redeemed. They asked if we'd see the story from his perspective.

But, based on your answer, I'm guessing the answer is "no"?


I guess they answered the question depending on what this reward item is. I don't suppose it's turned up on the PTR yet?

BTW here's the actual question, which was phrased differently from the one that appeared:
The most anticipated boss in the Firelands raid besides Raggy himself is Fandral Staghelm, who has never been seen as a particularly positive character. Either he's whining that "Tyrande has no idea how to lead our people," or he's moody because his son died and he's taking it out on dragons. Now the arch druid serves the Firelord. Will we see anything resembling a sympathetic view of why he changed allegiances before he meets his demise, or will he suffer the same fate as so many lore characters before him?
05/25/2011 10:11 AMPosted by Kaivax
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.
That's nice, because we can't help with the Living Meteors at all. Being able to help the ranged kill an add during a fight doesn't really qualify the fight for "melee friendly" status, although frankly I'll make an exception for Ragnaros - hopefully everyone gets their ass kicked equally on that fight (looking forward to it).
Blizzard will likely find a way to rub it in melee's face by creating the following achievement:

"But who will take out the trash?"

Defeat Ragnaros with only ranged classes.
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.


I'm quite sure that there are the same number of bosses in Firelands as you said there would be when you announced both the Firelands raid and Abyssal Maw 5 man at Blizzcon 2010. I'm also pretty sure you wasted 4 months rehashing 2 old raids into heroics when you could have spent that time making new and exciting content. This whole lying to your customers is getting old.
05/25/2011 10:11 AMPosted by Kaivax
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.


Wow... uhm, really? How does Neptulon getting spirited away by a not-so-dead Ozzumat "finish" the Neptulon story? I'm hoping this is just delay tactics or I'm gonna be miffed; there is much more the the story of the Abyssal Maw, and "finishing" it at a cliff-hanger is the worst thing develpers can do.
Just thought I'd chime in...



While the story with Neptulion is certainly not ended with satisfying closure, it still offers a natural break in the plot. It's at a point now where Blizzard can just come back and revisit it when necessary. (I.e., not distracted with pimping out the Firelands)


They won't leave loose ends hanging indefinately. Need I remind of the Lashtail Hatchling?
Q: Is Ragnaros gonna have a speech about setbacks? – Gerox (NA)

A: TOO SOON, GEROX!


MOLTEN CORE WAS MERELY A SETBACK!

LOL
Neptulon wasn't kidnapped, folks.

Ozumat is his own seahorse type mount, Neppy just didn't want to hang out with us mortals anyway. He heard about the big smackdown put on Raggy initially, and those who have Thunderfury.

"Dudes, I am so outta here before you try to STEAL MY TRIDENT."

That's what they mean by finishing the story.

Join the Conversation

Return to Forum