Ask the Devs - Answers #4: Armor and Weapons

General Discussion
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My biggest complaint with gear right now, is that regular raid drops look the same as tier gear!!

I know they did that somewhat because people complained when their gear wouldn't match, but tier gear shouldn't be like anything else available. I'm sure there would be a way to model things so that the major pieces like helms and shoulders, which are the only "look" pieces anyone cares about anyway, look different enough to be unique, but stylized similarly enough so that you don't look like a hot mess when not decked out in all tier.

Also, and this may just be epeen talking, but ever since warriors got the ability to Titan's Grip big honking 2H weapons, the weapons have gotten much, MUCH smaller respectively. I enjoy tossing my old Lionheart Executioner and Jin'rokh on my warrior just to remember what it was like to handle some really big equipment again! I almost feel like I was castrated, metaphorically speaking of course.
I've had an idea for what to do in regards to character customization where armor is concerned for a long time now, and I suppose this Q&A is a prime place to put it.

The basis of my idea is the fact that there is a ton of art in the game already that has been added over time, and we get more every content patch. Many, many items and their models are in the database and MPQs and sit there taking space on our hard drive, which very rarely get used. So a question I ask is: If a player had the option to hunt down the gear they want to be seen in, would they? And I came up with this:

With a similar interface to that of the Reforging masters, have an NPC with an interface that allows them to take an item they wish for another item to appear like and put it in one slot, then the item they wish looked like the item in the 1st slot in another slot, and develop the tech for an item to permanently take on the look of another item. This would destroy the old item in the process so there is a cost involved, if not a monetary or material cost as well involved. However this would be limited to armor, and not available for weapons.


I don't like the look of Warlock T11's Twilight's Hammer Tent theme, so every week I'd run BWL for Nemesis Raiment drops. I obtain the shoulders and toss them into the GUI's first slot, then toss my Shadowflame Mantle in the other slot. Hit the button, pay some gold or something, then the Nemesis Spaulders are destroyed and now my T11 shoulders permanently display the Nemesis Spaulders model.

To avoid players making light of this feature, you could limit the items available for copy to only be dungeon and raid drop items, so that people replacing raiding gear aren't getting quite as ridiculous as replacing their T12 or 13 helms with a fishing hat; As well, you could limit an item to only be able to go through the transformation process once, but with the ability to revert back to the original model just incase. If you want to transform an item you're wearing again, you're going to not only need to hunt down the model you want to replace the current one with, but also a new shoulder or whatever to transform. Lore-wise something like this wears and tears on even magical armor or whatever.

Also, there are still class requirements on older tier sets so you'd be looking at people wearing their own tier sets still, unless they went out of the way to get the offset pieces that often mimic a given glass's tier sets.

The thing I feel is great about this if it could be developed, is that it would allow for really unique set ups, and players would have to work hard if they wanted to have matching sets. For example the conversion to the Nemesis Raiment look aboved, there is also the red, recolored version found through Outland heroic dungeons. And, in many tiers there is two or three recolors of tier sets available through non-set pieces players could chase down.

Something like this, would really encourage people to revisit old content, and the best thing is because it destroys the base item the model is copied from, they wouldn't want to do it all willy-nilly. Ultimately I think this is the solution to people who have been asknig for armor dyes and other than developing the tech to do it, it uses resources already in the game.
The "legendary" the gentleman was reffrencing is a web-cast on as well as called "Legendary" show starts every tuesday at 9pm deffinately worth the time to watch..
I'm definitely happy with what I've been seeing lately out of these Q&A forums. Certainly there are many questions that didn't get answered, which we would've liked to see answered. But I think Blizz is doing a wonderful job overall and it's exciiting to see these questions answered every now and again.
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.

WTF, Why should it take longer in a 10 man group then a 25 man group to get this. Thats really messed up. I hate 25 mans and by this it means I'll have to do them to have a shot at the drop on any of my toons.
Posted by Sabiras
You misunderstood what expensive meant. They mean expensive in TIME not money.

04/05/2011 06:27 PMPosted by Aureva
Money equals more animators which equals more man hours available to work on something which reduces the amount of time necessary to complete the task. If they really were talking about the time and not the expense, it doesn't invalidate my point, it just adds an extra step.

If Blizzard wants more time you'd think they'd simply need to hire more people to either assist with current projects or start new teams on different projects.

However these people will likely begin to start stepping on each others toes and writing redundant code, reducing the effectiveness of each individual developer, programmer, artist, or whatever.

These new employees will however require salaries on par with other people in the business or they'll go work elsewhere, or actually "work" less and less.

So although "time is money", the real problem is they only have so much money they can dole out in salaries to produce at maximum efficiency.

Therefore money is also a limiting factor, at the very least on par with time.

So therefore Blizzard has limited resources and has adopted a business strategy of focusing these resources on game play rather than aesthetics, which I tend to agree with.

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

[ul]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.

I think that this is awesome but I just want to be sure that the current soulbound loot rules will still apply in that a person will still be able to trade a won item to another person in the party for a specific amount of time in case someone rolls on an item that they really don't need or another person can use more.
Here's an idea for (endgame) Wands: Add a spell effect or mana reduction to an existing caster spell. (Keep the low level ones as filler for mana-out situations.)

For example: Warlock Wand gives Shadowbolt a DoT effect. (Because Warlocks always Need More DoTs!)
Priest Wand can make a big heal an instant cast (with CD).

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.

I'd like to hear more about this. Will priests/mages/warlocks equip relics? Could Warrior tanks also use relics (not losing the ability to use a Ranged Weapon and a cheap pre-80 ranged pulling method)? I think wands are a bit old, and while you're at it I think Strength guns are very niche (Warriors - regular guns can be used by hunters and rogues).
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.

Don't care.The demand is there.
I don't care about the time it takes, just do it. Or at least a confirmation you are going to do it instead of a "want" to do it.
Hard to believe that the model swap/model edit communities can do what the Almighty Blizzard cannot and have been doing so for years. At this point any excuse for not putting in an appearance tab is just that an excuse.

Blizzard offers less character customization than F2P MMOs, not to mention subscription based MMOs. And don't cite WoW's age as the reason. EVE is older than WoW, and yet look at the free upgrade to the character creation process they have made.

And using the barber shop as a reason? The barber shop that uses the same limited options that you have at character creation with maybe one or two new styles/colors? Are you really sure you want to use that as an example?

Character models are just as customizable as armor models and the process is very simple. There is no reason a blood elf shouldn't be able to use the female orcs abs, nor should swapping the orcs calves with a female trolls be a chore. Need a "lollore" reason? Add a gym/spa where the dance studio should have been placed.

Blizzard has become the slacker in the MMO industry, going forward by the power of its own inertia.

Get off yer butts and get to work!
in terms of the barbershop. I like to occasionally use it, on multiple characters. I think quite a few people are this way, or at least I hope so because it was long waited for me :D so thank you for adding in the barbershop function!
I think "character re-customization" would not fare very well with the community had their not been a barbershop for much more minor edits, hence, barbershop.
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.

I'd rather have a streamlined, minimally detailed belt than a intricately detailed shelf around my waist. All opinion, but that's mine. Maybe 'smaller' belts can be seen as a challenge of creativity (no, I'm not saying it's lacking!) - how do I make this belt look different from that belt when there's so little room to work with?
...and two sexes for all existing races...

Can we get another gender please? You call this a fantasy game yet we're stuck with the same birds and bees.
04/05/2011 07:43 PMPosted by Telstra
...and two sexes for all existing races...

Can we get another gender please? You call this a fantasy game yet we're stuck with the same birds and bees.
WTB Mandragora (plants fed the vitae of vampires, basically plant ghouls).
I absolutely love the barber shop! I want MOAR! As far as customizing goes, more unique hairstyles, accessories, tusks/horns/etc and face skins. I would like to see scars and tattoos added as a customizable texture. Since there will be no body types or anything model altering, then more textures for the player's model. The face seems to be a focal point in the character and that's really the main thing that separates each character from the rest of the race. Tauren and Worgen need some love in that department. I'm still waiting patiently for the dance studio. I love the little things in the game.

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