Ask The Devs #8 - Firelands (Answers)

Community Manager
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: As I understand, Firelands monsters and bosses have no immunity on fire damage. However, this seems a bit weird because we are killing fires with fire. Is there any in-game explanation (eg. Our weapons are enchanted with some special magic)?Whitewnd (KR)

    A: There is no in-game explanation. We just felt class design had gotten to a point where spell immunities (rather than adding flavor) were crippling certain play styles. We didn’t want every Fire mage and Destruction warlock to have to respec for Firelands. There is an interesting debate in game design theory about whether it is a good idea or not to try and provide “in world” justification for very game-based rules. For example, WoW doesn’t try to explain mounts that you can pull out of your pocket or how the global economy is affected by things like Hearthstones. In this case, we didn’t think it was necessary to explain Fire school immunity because we haven’t had school-resistant mobs in some time.


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://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/2682944)


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

    A: TOO SOON, GEROX!



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
Ask the Devs - Answers #4: Armor and Weapons http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2353015977
Ask the Devs - Answers #5: Achievements http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2369681189
Ask the Devs - Answers #6: Guild Advancement http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2416158906
Ask the Devs - Answers #7: Professions http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2522165843
Edited by Kaivax on 5/31/2011 10:31 AM PDT
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85 Night Elf Warrior
5755
A lot of these questions do not seem to be based around Firelands but raid progression in general. It would have been nice to see more questions answered which pertained specifically to Firelands.
Edited by Mancake on 5/25/2011 10:21 AM PDT
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    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.

A good job of finishing the story?

Are we playing two different dungeons?
Edited by Caith on 5/25/2011 10:35 AM PDT
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90 Night Elf Warrior
9935
05/25/2011 10:14 AMPosted by Mancake
A lot of these questions do not seem to be based around Firelands but raid progression in general. It would have been nice to see more questions answered which pertained specifically to Firelands.


I'm going to have to agree with this guy
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85 Worgen Druid
6500
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.


Really? Vash'jir is one of the best experiences I had on Cata and I was really looking forward to the Abyssal Maw dungeon.

I'm VERY disappointed.
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90 Tauren Paladin
11300
*pop* *pop*

oh look, legs...

MOLTEN CORE MERELY A SETBACK
Edited by Palaurus on 5/25/2011 10:30 AM PDT
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85 Tauren Druid
8865
How does the 5 man finish the Neptulon story when Neptulon is sucked up at the end of the instance? That's a pretty large cliff hanger to abandon there.
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90 Night Elf Rogue
16840
When you summoned Ragnaros in Molten Core, Executus says something about how this isn't the true Ragnaros and it's merely a shadow of his actual power. It's sort of weird to hear people talking like it's the same thing as Kael'thas.
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86 Orc Shaman
10880
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.


A good job of finishing the story?

Are we playing two different dungeons?


You did the questline, right? And then you did the instance? And you killed the local leader of the Naga, her top faceless one lieutenant, and the giant squid thing she used to beat down Neptulon and actually invade.

You have killed the invaders and allowed Neptulon to take back over his realm.

What part isn't finished?
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85 Tauren Druid
8865



A good job of finishing the story?

Are we playing two different dungeons?


You did the questline, right? And then you did the instance? And you killed the local leader of the Naga, her top faceless one lieutenant, and the giant squid thing she used to beat down Neptulon and actually invade.

You have killed the invaders and allowed Neptulon to take back over his realm.

What part isn't finished?


Did you not do the instance? Ozumat sucks Neptulon up at the end of the fight. You don't win. I guess they can make it a plotpoint for the next expansion though since it will for sure focus on Azshara.
Edited by Fehnris on 5/25/2011 10:39 AM PDT
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90 Blood Elf Paladin
16035
You did the questline, right? And then you did the instance? And you killed the local leader of the Naga, her top faceless one lieutenant, and the giant squid thing she used to beat down Neptulon and actually invade.

You have killed the invaders and allowed Neptulon to take back over his realm.

What part isn't finished?


We didn't kill the squid at the end and Neptulon was kidnapped....sounds pretty unfinished to me.
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it's nice that we're getting answers, but they're not really answering much.

A question that still needs to be answered: in Cata promotion and tlak up, there was mention made that hit would be a "moving target", does this still apply? I.E. will we need to recap hit rating for firelands bosses?

Also, Abyssal Maw please. Zandalari stuff is great, don't get me wrong, but "reboots only" for the non-raiders is pretty poor form. "Raid or Die" died for a reason, stop trying to resurrect it.
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90 Troll Hunter
15685
"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 am begging - begging! With a /beg emote! How pathetic! - that this gets clarified. It's not clear, but it seems to imply that you're simply done with it for now, yes? Because the Neptulon storyline is far from over. After all, we FAILED in Throne of the Tides, the naga won! They captured Neptulon with Ozumat and successfully invaded the watery realm!
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90 Night Elf Druid
14440
05/25/2011 10:29 AMPosted by Mypali
The solution is to not CONTROL the character, just show whats going on. Wrathgate was perfect there. We watched a battle. You didn't show us COWERING, we just sat back and watched.


I can totally agree with that. Doing the Uldum quests left me thinking "Aluri wouldn't do that".
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90 Human Paladin
15265
05/25/2011 10:33 AMPosted by Fehnris
How does the 5 man finish the Neptulon story when Neptulon is sucked up at the end of the instance? That's a pretty large cliff hanger to abandon there.


Yea, the story isnt really finished if one of the Elemetal Lords is kidnapped never to be seen again
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85 Tauren Druid
8865
Part of me wonders if they just don't want to give away what will be in 4.3 considering the Silithus revamp that has yet to be implemented and the daily area in the Steam Pools that mentions the Abyssal Maw (they are in the MMO-C and WoWHead databases). Then again maybe they just abandoned that all together too.

Either way the story is FAR from finished and better be revisited since the Abyssal Maw 5 man intentionally ended with a cliffhanger. That also doesn't mean you go 'o crap we gotta change that' and just alter the end of the fight (I'll have really given up all hope on Blizzard then).
Edited by Fehnris on 5/25/2011 10:47 AM PDT
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