Cataclysm Post Mortem -- “Ghostcrawler”

General Discussion
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I feel like I should mention Abyssal Maw again. As with many cancelled features, it somehow took on a life of its own in the minds of players. Believe me, though -- you just don’t cancel things that you think are going to be awesome. It was three bosses inside Nespirah, with no unique art. The reason it was originally appealing to us was because we had so many Vashj’ir assets that we could use. But by the time it was time to do the work, we felt like we (and many players) had Vashj’ir fatigue. Now don’t get me wrong -- I loved Vashj’ir. I was an oceanographer, remember? Vashj’ir delivered on the promise of an underwater zone, but we feel like most players were ready to be done with it by the time they had quested through that. (Individuals will feel differently -- it’s that diverse player base thing again.) Firelands received a lot of new art, from bosses to environments, and we just didn’t feel like Abyssal Maw was going to compete.

Um, what? You appear to be citing recycled art as a reason for not giving us Abyssal Maw but then gave us Dragonsoul? A 2 raid 10 boss tier would have been far superior to the 1 raid 7 boss we got. Farming the same place over and over again is a large reason raiders burnout. You give us multiple instances and it slows the burnout process considerably and is well recieved. Tiers with multiple raids are basically winged dungeons, and you recognize how that SM is so loved by the community that you're making a heroic out of it.

How did anyone have Vashj'ir fatigue? 4.2 Came out 6 months after launch and you did nothing with your most stunningly beautiful zone ever created outside of leveling from 80-82 and a 5 man. The Vashj'ir fatigue statement doesn't even make sense, you would have to actually have things to do in a zone to be tired of it.
Interesting he commented on no unique art for Abyssal Maw as one of the down sides of the raid, and then go go and release the king of no unique art raids in dragon soul....
Good read. Looking forward to Mists!
"We revamped old world like a baws." Is all I have gotten from this guy.
We don’t want to shut anyone out. So, we’re addressing that with Challenge Modes in Mists. You’ll have normal and heroic mode dungeons, and then Challenge Modes, for players who are looking to prove their mettle

I hope over time more types of challenges appear rather than just timed challenges.

Timed challenges as seen in Vanilla tend to lead to class stacking or spec stacking.
I've always been a big fan of Ghostcrawler as a game designer and his posts are usually some of the most interesting and insightful I've ever read for MMORPG game design. Daelo's post about Dungeons and Raids was absolutely awful, full of answers that avoided the questions and never even tried to point out any legitimate issues regarding PvE. To be honest I was really hoping NOT to get one from Ghostcrawler after reading that for fear that it was going to be worse.

I was very pleasantly surprised. Ghostcrawler calls it how it is and isn't afraid to tell people what they should and shouldn't expect. Even if I didn't agree with his direction he wanted to take Cata (and the direction he now wants to take Mists), he has my respect for actually speaking up about obvious issues and taking his stance toward them.

Really I have nothing to comment on for the individual points he mentioned. He hit all of my biggest concerns and wants to take this game in the same direction that I want to follow to play it.

I feel like such a fanboy here, but I really can't say anything negative about this particular post.

I'm even more excited for all of the big news coming than I was before. Hngh. Waiting is hard.

EDIT: Though I must admit, I do agree with the posters above me that cancelling Abyssal Maw because of recycled assets seemed like a pretty horrible decision giving the current situation we're in now. At least Abyssal Maw would be recycling current-expansion art instead of that from the last.
If they accomplish what they say they want to accomplish, my faith may be restored.
03/07/2012 09:22 AMPosted by Maigraith
I agree with most of what GC said in terms of what worked and what didn't. For my part, I think the 1-60 revamp was amazing and absolutely needed, and one of the best things to come out of the expansion. On the other hand, high level content suffered, and as a casual player especially, I often felt like I had nothing to do at max level for a good chunk of the expansion. I can run ZG again, or I can run ZG again, or maybe I'll run ZG again.

Totally agree here.

But 4.3 was possibly the best patch in the game's history. The Raid Finder is one of the best things to ever happen to the game, the new dungeons were great, and we can all agree transmog is a resounding success. I really like how it makes old content relevant again; it's given me a great excuse to get back to Outland and Northrend and appreciate the content all over again.

I still have a soft spot for 2.4 and 3.3, but I agree with what you said here. :D

If I have one disagreement with GC, it's that I don't think there's anything wrong with linear questing. I enjoy it quite a lot, personally. I think the only place where it maybe doesn't make sense is tying it to major rewards for endgame, as was the case with Therazane and the shoulder enchants. Having to grind through that entire zone on every alt is simply onerous and annoying.

I don't think he meant linear questing is bad inherently. It just shouldn't be the only option. I also enjoy how it streamlines my leveling, but there are players who really like just doing things more haphazardly than running in a straight line of quests. You brought up the best example though, of how onerous the Therazane grind was. Still nothing on Sons of Hodir, but tedious nonetheless.

I do like the idea of Molten Front-style progression. Hopefully we can also see some of its other innovations -- like diversity of types of mobs and the ability for the environment to be an aid or a hazard -- make their way into general questing, too.

This was head and shoulders better than the other two Post Mortem. He admitted to flaws, gave some light into MoP without saying "Media Press Release soon!!," and he spoke well of what was actually done well instead of just tooting his own horn.
While Cataclysm has been my favorite expansion, personally, I'm elated to hear the self criticism from Ghostcrawler. It is very encouraging to know that the not-so-fun parts of cataclysm (especially running out of content) are understood and appreciated by Blizzard.

I know actions speak louder than words, so I'll have to wait and see, but this blog has certainly done the job of making me absolutely thrilled to hear and play what's coming in Mists of Pandaria.

Thank you so much for that honest and heartfelt assessment of Cataclysm! WoW has stayed relevant because of its ability to adapt and evolve to an ever changing player base and video game industry and I know Mists will continue that trend.
Reading this was awesome. I'm even more excited for mists now!
03/07/2012 09:45 AMPosted by Ollian
This was head and shoulders better than the other two Post Mortem. He admitted to flaws, gave some light into MoP without saying "Media Press Release soon!!," and he spoke well of what was actually done well instead of just tooting his own horn.

GC has always been more open in his communication and it's cost him because the community as a whole does not understand how to have a discussion in a thoughtful and civil manner.
I have to say -- I very often disagree with what GC posts (though wish he was able to post more regularly, even as insight-based, in the forums vs. the Dev Blogs). I was decently positive after the Quest post-mortem and nearly ready to cancel-sub (as well as laughing maniacally) after the D&R post-mortem.

This though? This was amazing. I may still disagree with at least SOME of what GC posted (on first blush though, can't think of much), but this was the kind of internal-critique I think was sorely lacking from the D&R post-mortem. Incisive, honest (at least it seemed!) and with an eye towards acknowledging and fixing mistakes, even if some of the specific details (e.g. Archaeology) aren't available yet.
03/07/2012 09:00 AMPosted by Nethaera
As part of our World of Warcraft: Cataclysm post mortem series, we sat down with World of Warcraft Lead Systems Designer Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street to talk about [url="“Ghostcrawler”_Street-3_7_2012"]his thoughts[/url] on World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.

This was a good article. Pretty honest, despite not touching on the MoP raid model with a 10 foot pole.

I found this part very promising:

We’ll be offering brutally difficult challenge modes of dungeons for players who thought the Cataclysm heroics were too easy. We’re experimenting with some tricky boss encounters for players who loved the hard-mode Ulduar achievements.

Every tier needs a Heroic Ragnaros or Firefighter or two. I hope Blizzard really figures out how to re-introduce meaningful progression for the raiders who relish long, fulfilling challenge. Related to this, I also hope they revisit the nerf-over-time model; yes, some guilds hit walls but I think you saw an equal outcry from guilds all along the progression curve who felt the rug was pulled from under them. The factor that the current model completely ignores is the pace of raiding. There are a growing number of guilds who tackle this content on a reduced but consistent schedule. Frankly, given the changing demographic of raiders (i.e. we've grown up since EQ), I think this is a market they should really examine.

If you truly dread seeing the "nothing to do" comment, you need to figure out how to make a progression tier last *or* introduce the next tier much faster.

I like most of the other messages. I think people were bummed about Abyssal Maw because of how few bosses there were in T12 and T13. Sure, the story would have been kind of cool but really, I just wanted more raid bosses. The stuff I really liked:

- Getting people out into the world more
- More PvP <> PvE crossover (big one for me)
- The talent redesign -- still disappointed that the feedback during Cata beta was ignored (i.e. we still had cookie cutters, nothing had changed etc.)
- Getting content out faster

We'll see how well this is delivered.
Between GC's responses from Blizzcon last year and this interview, I am really coming around to like the guy (wasn't a fan during WLK).

I so far love all of the ideas being presented in Mists of clearly having the defined play of both those who want challenge, and those who want to play more socially (hell, I can be both depending on the day), and the fact GC was able to admit to the glaring faults of Cataclysm and talk about how he hopes to fix them: That just sold MoP to me. I'll give it a fair shot now.
Ghostcrawler, you are awesome, and that explains what the guy in the last one was saying about "hitting the sweet spot in difficulty" with HoT's. I can't disagree with a single thing you've said, and I'm more excited for MoP than I've ever been.

The only thing I haven't heard anything on yet is whether these challenge modes and so on will have appropriate rewards...but I can't imagine they won't.
I'm going to have to say that you're idea of what is fun isn't the same as other healers though. Too often it's healers who are punished by people who refuse to use CC, or won't move out of bad thing or interrupt a spell, or groups that won't wait for a healer to drink between pulls if needed.

I see no reason to attempt to punish healers even more by making it so people complain at them for having to drink between pulls.

As someone who played almost nothing but healers throughout this expansion, I REALLY enjoyed the direction they took healing from start to... about half-way. Drinking between pulls shouldn't be a legitimate concern for in-combat balancing. They could easily skyrocket out of combat regen so drinking isn't even needed and continue to keep the same challenge in fights. Other games do this and work just fine.

If anything, healing became way too easy by the time Dragon Soul came out. I don't enjoy healing that raid because it's simply boring. The only intense healing fights (outside of heroic) are Spine and Madness and both of those are only because they have gimply healing mechanics. If the Arm/Wing Tentacles did no AoE damage, that fight would be the easiest one to heal in the game. It's not counterable or anything, it's just damage that adds up the more they burn it down.

Spine just has an absorb debuff that gets tossed to people non-stop.

I enjoy healing Heroic DS but that's just because I actually have to use my full kit and mind what I do and who I heal. H Yor'sahj purple is amazingly fun because I actually have to consider each and every heal I do. H Morchock is a blast as well because I'm just about capable of solo-healing my side.

Healers will always be the last in line when it comes to picking up from other's mistakes. It's up to the tanks and the DPS to do fights and mechanics correctly so excess stress isn't put on the healers. This isn't a design flaw, it is just a concept that comes with the role. If healers want it easy, they need to play something else or find a better team that executes fights much more effectively.

Personally, I wish healing was harder. I play all 4 healing classes and I enjoyed healing at Cata's launch quite a bit. THAT was fun.
"Firelands received a lot of new art, from bosses to environments"

So Molten core skins 2.0 is new art....

We’re pretty happy with the level 80-85 content that we offered.

considering It took me 17 hours to run it all instead of a week like wrath took me I cant say it was much content at all.
legendaries will be legendary again.

brought to you by the same good folks who said epics would be epic again.
I loved reading this and I'm very excited about Pandaria :) Some great ideas that I can't wait to play with!

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