Ask the Devs - Answers #4: Armor and Weapons

Community Manager
Q: Is there any chance we could have caster weapons involved in casting animations? It would look cool to be holding a staff and casting a spell through it, at least as a customization option. - Dromanthis (NA/ANZ)

    A: This is something we would dearly love to do. We agree that melee specs get to see their weapons a lot more often in combat while it's easy for casters to forget about them. It's definitely on the list, but understand that we have so many races now (and two sexes for all existing races) that the animations take more time to do right/well.



Q: Would it be possible for city quartermasters to sell the same equipment that guards wear? Stats wouldn't matter. - Pokemonmasta (EU|English), Tajit (NA/ANZ)

    A: Cool idea. We'll talk about it.



Q: Are you planning to return to the original principle of designing the Tiers, when the sets were themed with the classes, not with the bosses that drop them? Do you have any plans to make the tier items visually different depending on your spec? - Анви (EU|Russian), Trafalgarlaw (Latin America)

    A: We try and alternate the themes in order to keep things feeling fresh. Players can get bored if things feel too formulaic. The Firelands raid has a really strong theme, so the tier sets are based on the various creatures that live on the elemental plane: for example, fire spiders for the warlock set. Other tiers don’t have as strong a unifying theme so we go back to the classes for that. In the Call of the Crusade patch, we did faction-specific armor to solidify the military feel and Horde vs. Alliance rivalry.

    Varying tiers depending on spec is a cool idea, but it does add more work to the individual armor which usually means we’ll get less of it. Color shifts are one option, but tend to already use all of those. We have more unique art these days than ever before, but the number of items overall has grown tremendously faster.



Q: I like the creative items that are dropped from Icecrown Citadel such as Nibelung, Heartpierce, Deathbringer's Will. Can I see more of such items containing unique proc-effects in the near futuer? - Whitewnd (Korea)

    A: Yes. We think the procs are a good way from keeping the weapons from just feeling like a predictable bag of stats. There will be more in Firelands.



Q: Will enchanters be getting back the ability to make wands? - Trustybee (Taiwan)

    A: We have been discussing what role in the game wands are supposed to fill. We generally consider it a failure these days if a caster ever wants to wand for dps instead of using their spells. Working the wand into the cast animation (as in the question above) is one idea. In any event, we want to figure out what we want wands to do before we give them any more prominence.



Q: Any chance we can start heading away from WWE-esque belts? - Catriona (NA/ANZ)

    A: Azeroth is stricken by a terrible plague that inflates the size of shoulders and belts over time. Our artists like the belts because they have more room for detail when they’re larger. That said, your concern is duly noted.



Q: Do you have plans to make is so that the tabards don't suddenly cut off whenever we wear long vestments? - Hôwl (Latin America)

    A: This is a technical issue that’s fairly nasty to fix and ultimately trimming the tabard ended up looking better, at least as a short-term solution.



Q: Can we see gear won via need rolls become soulbound? - Lorinall (NA/ANZ)

    A: Yes. We plan on implementing a system where winning an item via Need (when using the Dungeon Finder Need Before Greed loot system) will make a BoE item soulbound. We hope to have this working for the 4.2 patch.

    To expand on that idea in case it’s not obvious, we don’t think players should be able to claim certain loot drops based on their class if their only intent is to sell the item. If you want to use the item yourself, awesome, go ahead and roll Need on it and you’ll get preference over players who can’t use that armor type. But if all you want to do is run to the Auction House, then everyone should have equal dibs.



Q: How do you plan on normalizing Legendary weapon aquisition rate between 10 man and 25 man raids? If the drop rate is the same for 'shards' in 10 and 25 man raids, this may 'force' 25 man guilds to run 2-3 10 mans in order to maximize shard/legendary aquisition. If the drop rate for 'shards' in 25 man raids was 2.5 times than that in 10 man, it could take a 10 man guild say, 2.5 months to gain a legendary whereas a 25 man guild would take 1 month. - Deathsaint (NA/ANZ)

    A: Our main goal is to offer the Legendary in both 10 and 25 without requiring say a 25-player raid to feel like they have to switch to running 10s for the sole purpose of Legendary fragment acquisition (and the same is true for 10s). Our plan is to make Legendary completion take longer to acquire in 10-player raids. The exact ratio will be somewhat obfuscated because of the variation in the amount of fragments dropped per boss based on both raid size and raid difficulty. However, you can plan on it being maybe 2 to 2.5 times faster for the 25-player raid. It should feel analogous to number of Valor points or gold dropped in 25s, and is being treated the same.

    Without giving too much away, the Firelands legendary weapon has an amazing story and quest chain associated with it. We think it truly delivers on the fantasy of a legendary weapon.



Q: I feel that the current item drop ratio per part for caster's is little bit weird. While belt slot items are very common, wrist and ranged (wand) item are drastically rare. Now players don't like going to Throne of the Four Winds because belt and pants are so easily acquired via other way. What if the drops of Throne of the Four Winds changed into rare slot items, such as wrist and wand? - 빛그리고사제 (Korea)

    A: There are a few issues embedded in this question. One is that while we like the random nature of the Throne of the Four Winds gear overall, it occupies a strange niche in the current itemization scheme. Al'Akir for example is fairly challenging, but so are Cho'gall and Nefarian. The net result is that many players lack epic legs, heads or shoulders and so have a strong incentive to spend Valor Point on their tier set of legs. By the time they defeat Al'Akir, nobody wants his legs. We plan on tweaking those loot tables a little for 4.1; Al'Akir will drop some random necks and cloaks as well as helm or shoulder tokens in addition or in some cases instead of his current loot.

    As far as some items being rarer than others, that is the kind of thing we vary so that every tier of content doesn’t feel like a photocopy of the previous tier with bigger numbers. Our PvP gear for a variety of reasons has become very formulaic, and we don’t want the same thing to befall PvE. Bracers are hard to get now (though the trolls in 4.1 have a lot!), but next tier it might be a different item that becomes precious.



Q: What are the criteria you use to design the loots in a certain dungeon/ raid? Is it the backgrounds of the encounters, the preference of the designers, or basing on the existing models? - Kiolds (Taiwan)

    A: All of that and more. As in the question above, if the dungeon or raid has a really strong visual kit, then we definitely jump on that. When you consider say the Cataclysm dungeon tier, there was a really diverse set of environments with no strong unifying theme. We could have tried to plan ahead of time that say Corborus would drop a certain weapon so we should theme it like a ring worm. That kind of rigid planning though doesn’t allow us a lot of room to maneuver if we decide to add a boss, change the source of certain items or so on. Naming the items can come from a variety of sources. Sometimes we play off of the boss (Symbiotic Worm from Magmaw), but there are pop-culture references (License to Slay), inside jokes (Chestplate of Hubris), and words that just sounded appealing together (Battleplate of the Apocalypse).



Q: Is there any plan to allow Account Bound items to be transfer to other realms? This could really give meaning to the phrase "Account Bound". - 텔레토비아스 (Korea), Деадхил (EU|Russian), Åtchøûm (EU|French), Tellua (NA/ANZ)

    A: Yes. Some day. It will take a lot of programmer time to implement, but it’s something we want to do.



Q: Is it possible to let the players create/edit their own looks? - Zed Loft (Taiwan), Vysha (NA/ANZ), Ráchel (EU|German)

    A: As we said in an earlier Q&A, we definitely hear loud and clear from players that they want more customization for their character. This is something we want to provide, but we want to do it in the right way. Consider the Barber Shop feature. It lets you change your character's hair, but there’s not a lot of gameplay to it. We're not sure that feature really added a lot to the game in retrospect. Is WoW more fun for you now that you have a Barber Shop? Are you more likely to keep playing because of it? Maybe, but it wasn’t a cheap feature to add in terms of development time. Dumping a bunch of dyes on the game might have a similar effect, where some players might have fun playing around with the system for a bit, but a lot of players might change their colors once or twice and then forget about the feature after that. Now, not every aspect of the game needs a ton of depth and a lot of interesting decisions, but we tend to attract more players to a feature the more robust the feature is.

    We also think it's fair to argue that the game just needs more armor and weapon art. As we said above, we deliver a lot of art these days, but we also produce an enormous number of new items every expansion or patch and it’s understandably disappointing whenever items use the same art. It would be really cool if not every mage or priest converged on the same look after a given expansion or patch.




Archive:

Ask the Devs - Answers #1 http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2228225718
Ask the Devs - Answers #2: PvP http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2267599521
Ask the Devs - Answers #3: UI http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2301722463
Edited by Lylirra on 4/5/2011 11:45 AM PDT
Reply Quote
90 Night Elf Druid
13165
Tabards, and character appearance questions answered? Really Blizz, really? I can't wait to hear tonight's break down on Legendary.
Edited by Verrin on 4/5/2011 11:23 AM PDT
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85 Human Death Knight
7585
04/05/2011 11:05 AMPosted by Verrin
Tabards, and character appearance questions answered? Really Blizz, really? I can't wait to hear tonight's break down on tonight's Legendary.

Eh? It's going to be something that the bosses of Firelands drop pieces of, and we'll have to assemble them.

Also, inb4 Aetish
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85 Orc Rogue
13185
Interesting.
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90 Undead Warrior
14270
04/05/2011 11:00 AMPosted by Lylirra
inside jokes (Chestplate of Hubris),


I admit to being curious where this comes from...

I'll toss my two cents in on the barber shop thing though.

When I first created this character, he was bald and clean-shaven, which fit his character at the time. As he grew and evolved (yes I'm an RP'er, yes my character has his own personality, not it's not split personality disorder), that didn't fit him anymore. I was overjoyed when the barber shop was added, so I could put some hair and a nice beard on this character.

Since it was added I've made use of it on multiple occasions, using it to change my beard, hair, or the color from time to time. I also enjoy using it to test hair styles on my models, because sometimes it doesn't look quite the same when you're starting at the character creation as it does when you're actually using it in-game.
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90 Night Elf Druid
13165
04/05/2011 11:08 AMPosted by Zophös
Tabards, and character appearance questions answered? Really Blizz, really? I can't wait to hear tonight's break down on tonight's Legendary.

Eh? It's going to be something that the bosses of Firelands drop pieces of, and we'll have to assemble them.

Also, inb4 Aetish


I was referring to an awesome web show, called "Legendary" dealing with all things Warcraft. The new legendary cast weapon does hold some excitement for me... Nothing more lovely than hearing my healers squeal in delight about their sick heals, or my dps sitting in stunned silence getting ready to link the post-victory dps recount.
Reply Quote
85 Human Death Knight
7585
04/05/2011 11:13 AMPosted by Verrin
I was referring to an awesome web show, called "Legendary" dealing with all things Warcraft. The new legendary cast weapon does hold some excitement for me... Nothing more lovely than hearing my healers squeal in delight about their sick heals, or my dps sitting in stunned silence getting ready to link the post-victory dps recount.

Ah, my apologies.
Reply Quote
85 Undead Warrior
8670
I just want to know why I can't find books in Org anymore......Stormwind still has a library right?



Right?!!?! books are cool.
Reply Quote
85 Human Death Knight
7585
I just want to know why I can't find books in Org anymore......Stormwind still has a library right?



Right?!!?! books are cool.

Well, they are Orcs... And under the command of Garrosh...
Reply Quote
90 Human Rogue
OOB
6720
It really disappoints me when they reference finances as a reason for not doing anything. At this point, I really don't think money should stop them from doing anything. They have enough money to do whatever they want.
Reply Quote
85 Worgen Druid
8065
Why is Cookie's Cutter no longer a rolling pin? It's hilarious. Dude is cooking himself during the fight. Why is he handing out any item that looks "cool" ?
Reply Quote
85 Night Elf Warrior
10285
A: As we said in an earlier Q&A, we definitely hear loud and clear from players that they want more customization for their character. This is something we want to provide, but we want to do it in the right way. Consider the Barber Shop feature. It lets you change your character's hair, but there’s not a lot of gameplay to it. We're not sure that feature really added a lot to the game in retrospect. Is WoW more fun for you now that you have a Barber Shop? Are you more likely to keep playing because of it? Maybe, but it wasn’t a cheap feature to add in terms of development time.


I wonder where the Dance Studio got to. Oh wait, now I know.
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85 Worgen Hunter
6480
I for one am happy you're implementing this system for needing on epic boe world drops. Now people who could really benefit from it other than a quick get rich on ah will greatly appreciate this.
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