Ask the Devs - Answers #3 "UI"

- Technical Support
90 Human Priest

Can we get an answer on whether or not Warriors and Paladins can be excluded from the weapon swap lockout during combat? There are times when suddenly the tank goes down and the fury/arms warrior and ret paladin is the next most capable in line to tank temporarily, but attempting to swap their weapons out for a sword'n'board not only fails, but until you log out, makes those items unequippable (or even moveable within the bags themselves).

I had this situation happen to me as fury in VH and since I tried to switch my offhand to a shield during combat, I was forced to finish the dungeon (a timed gauntlet that gave me no leeway to ALT-F4 -> return to restore weapons) in dual wield mode, which made life miserable for the healer, especially since we were already four manning it due to the tank DCing.

This would be a real quality of life improvement for us and didn't even get looked at in the Ask the Devs thread it seems. :(
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85 Night Elf Rogue
i don't know why but every time i see one of these.. i just get more and more furious at blizzard..I'm glad and happy to see the answers to the questions it only took 3 of these to finally get some solid answers (the first 2 were awful)

but the forums are in an uproar, and ghostcrawlers last blog dodged the issue without addressing it leaving us wondering whats happening with the game and whats going to happen in the future to address it.
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55 Tauren Death Knight
Q: Would you please implement a feature that allows players to change the order of their characters on the Character select screen? – 흑풍육손 (Korea), Fanahlia (North America/ANZ), Perle (Latin America)
A: Sure. Does 4.2 work for you? :)

Question: When is 4.2? :)
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72 Night Elf Rogue
Q: What if there was a separated target system? For example, if I can set defensive and offensive target at same time then I don’t have to switch target to use heal or other emergency skills for our friend no matter what target I’m attacking. I think this feature is especially useful for some classes, such as Retribution Paladin and Shadow Priest. – Whitewnd (Korea)

A: We understand why that might be beneficial, and some games have gone that route, but we’re not huge fans of the idea for a couple of reasons. One, it just adds more complexity to the UI, which you can see from previous questions is something we’re trying to remain vigilant against. More importantly, we like players having to make the choice of who their target is. We don’t want to make the game so smart that harmful spells always seek out enemies and helpful spells always seek out allies. We do this in a few rare cases, like Discipline’s Atonement, but in general we want players to make the second-to-second choice about whether they are playing offensively or defensively.

Also.... I heard of this fancy feature already in game. It's hard to find, though. I mean... I don't even remember what it's called. Maybe it's like "hocus focus" or something. Please learn to use it. Set a focus and macro your heals to heal focus target if you mean the sort of thing where a shadow priest or holy paladin may need to constantly be using these sorts of spells constantly on the same other person. Other than that, click on said person, cast spell, press hotkey to target last target. It's not exactly hard and doesn't take long.
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100 Blood Elf Mage
First off, thanks for the answers. We don't always get the answers we want, and we don't always get the questions we'd like answered, answered, but this is certainly far better than nothing at all. :-)

Also thanks for answering my milling/prospecting question - and thanks for everyone who voted it up and into the 'answered' pile.

It does spawn more questions, though. Forgive me for spinning yarn out of air here, I can only go by what's been said. I presume the 'smelting' type interface is out for prospecting/milling since bots would potentially exploit it and ruin two crafting professions.

By 'recipe-based', I presume for inscription that this would apply directly to the glyphs, i.e. you craft glyphs directly from herbs, and each glyph might require a different composition of raw herbs, to keep overall herb demand steady? That might work, but it'd also mean I'd abandon inscription, since the need for storage space would effectively increase again. In that model, you'd need all the various herbs stored, rather than the inks, never mind the logistics of farming them all rather than downtrade inks for specific shortages. How you'd make it work for jewelcrafting, I'm less certain of - eliminate the uncut gems, and go straight from assorted raw ores to cut gems/items?

The drag/drop interface sounds like a much better alternative to me, provided it has a lot of slots (closer to ten than one) for batch processing. It'd presumably be less bot-friendly since it requires manual drag/drop action?

I'm left wondering if either solution might ever make it into the game, though. Cautiously optimistic, for now.

The clear-cut answer on character rearrangement was refreshing, and also very much appreciated. Since I don't/can't raid, 4.2 didn't seem to have much in it for me yet - and yes, I know it's too soon to ask for 4.2 information, with 4.1 still in the works. I'll take this little nugget of improvement. :-)

The answer to the mail system question was also appreciated; I hope that means that some future content patch will see the auction house interface - in particular auction retrieval - improved and disconnected from the mail system entirely.

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- Technical Support
100 Human Warrior
Q: Some Addons are so powerful they simplified the game content to a degree (e.g., boss fights). Do you think that when the majority are using these Addons, the original reasoning behind the game design is violated? And isn’t it unfair for players who don’t use Addons? - 冷影幽光 (Taiwan)

I agree boss mods are quite powerful. i know, i work on most of them ;)

range finder is number one shortcoming of blizz UI for sure. Almost every fight requires one and blizz doesn't provide one. It's pretty important for something like explosive cinders, or spreading on chimereon etc. That is first thing the UI should add.

There are also other shortcomings we work around. Like in DBM i actually turn projected textures off for the user any time you enter maloriaks dark phase. Why? cause the verticle axis for abilities puts player abilites at higher level then boss abilities, which has been a problem since wrath (anyone remember hunter traps completely covering defile?). On maloriak, you simply cannot see dark sludge under all the desecration or other abilities. Even that 4.1 change to desecration won't fix that, since the adds are snarable targets. These are precisely the shortcomings that make us add big special warnings that tell the user "you're standing in no no, move". The user cannot be "aware" of their environment when the projection of textures priority is apsolutely screwed up. When people ask for these features that's their number one reason why. People depend on boss mods because the blizzard UI fails them.

Where boss mods are just OP are ability timer and prediction. But you guys already counter that intentionally on fights you don't want predictability on when certain abilties follow random cds instead of fixed next timers. It's pretty clear you want some things to be predictable and some things not, you already handle that just fine :). But if you fix the PT problem, and you may see less hand holding to move out of stuff (at least from me) :)
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85 Goblin Rogue
Bear asses.


bear asses.... bare asses.....aha.... i just got that -.-'
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85 Human Paladin
Questions are over, but maybe this one can be answered anyways? When you change how tabards work, can you offer an option to not display them, like helms or a cloak? It seems sort of counter-intuitive to the purpose of a tabard. However, when you consider that we MUST wear certain tabards in order to gain rep at reasonable speeds, we're often forced to "represent" with colors we don't find particularly appealing. We might rather show our armor off!
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100 Blood Elf Mage
Wow, I was really hoping and expecting for more questions to be answered in this Q&A. There were a lot of really good questions asked that were rated highly that weren't answered.


There always will be, with potentially five hundred questions from each separate user forum. Even with all the duplicate questions and entries not posted in the form of a question removed, there are many interesting questions left. I do wonder how many pages down you can post a question and still get enough votes for an answer, though. The voting period is relatively short, and there are a lot of questions to vote for every time.

On the plus side, this way we know they're read, and possibly advanced within Blizzard, even if no answer is 'officially' returned at this time.
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90 Goblin Hunter

Q: Are there any plans to expand on the current mail system? It's rather cumbersome to have to withdraw, one-by-one, my mail when I have pages of it. – Patrïck (Latin America)
    A: This sounds like it is really an Auction House problem. The mail system is intended to be a little throttled and slow to discourage spam and junk mail, and works just fine for “real” mail between friends, alts or guildies. The problem is the design choice we made to hitch the mail system to the Auction House. Players dealing with a high volume of commodities have no choice but to deal with tons and tons of mail (and this is particularly bad for diverse commodities with low margins, like glyphs). We are discussing different ways the Auction House can work, but we’re not convinced the right answer is just to make the mail system more automated.

I would think just putting in another npc vendor like an Auction House broker would work for this instead of having the funds go to the mail system. You just speak with this NPC and collect your coin.

Q: Before Cataclysm launch, you talked about maybe giving the chance to players of increasing their main bagpack number of slots. Are you still having that in mind or did you forget about that idea? It has been 6 long years with the same bagpack! – Proenix (Europe [Spanish])
    A: Believe it or not, it’s just technically challenging. The original backpack just wasn’t coded with expandability in mind, and bumping it up now carries the risk of losing players gear, which of course would be catastrophic. It’s still on the list, but it’s not as simple as someone changing a 16 to a 24.

If you are going to take the time to code this why not just remove this locked bag and make it a normal bag slot? Give new characters a 16 slot bag in their inventory on creation and let players upgrade as they go just like all the other slots.
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95 Night Elf Druid
Q: Would you please implement a feature that allows players to change the order of their characters on the Character select screen? – 흑풍육손 (Korea), Fanahlia (North America/ANZ), Perle (Latin America)

A: Sure. Does 4.2 work for you? :)
Hey hey hey!
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91 Draenei Death Knight
A: We think bags are about as big as we can make them. Imagine if you got rid of all of the folders or directories on your computer and just stuffed everything into one big directory. That feels like the direction we’ll head if we keep down the path we’re on.

I'm extremely dissatisfied with this answer. Perhaps a better question is why hasn't the inventory system been revamped to get past the clunky bags? You use a file system analogy. Well there are bag mods that provide a virtual layer of a file system so you no longer have to deal with the raw bag storage. I personally use Baggins with its all-in-one preset. I can set up all the categories I need while it automatically sorts items into those categories and by rarity. If there's any one mod I can't stand WoW without, it's that one.
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100 Orc Warlock
Q: Would you please implement a feature that allows players to change the order of their characters on the Character select screen? – 흑풍육손 (Korea), Fanahlia (North America/ANZ), Perle (Latin America)

A: Sure. Does 4.2 work for you? :)

why do I feel like this is going to be the single most important thing people take from this? =3
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90 Human Mage
Q: Internal Cooldowns are pretty hard to track currently (I'm thinking of Nature's Grace, since it's an important element of my gameplay as a Resto Druid). Do you plan to add a feature in order to make it easier to track Internal Cooldowns? - Anyä (Europe [English])

A: This is a difficult problem to solve without a lot of additional UI bloat. We could put a debuff on the player, which is the solution we sometimes take with long cooldowns like the 60 sec one of Nature’s Grace. We could also consider something like letting players put passive abilities on their action bar, and then provide an option to view cooldowns as numbers instead of the current ‘sonar wipe’

How about just making ICD information available in the API, and let us code our own solutions. That way when you see one you like you can steal it, and until then we can all find our own favourite way! :)
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