Patch 5.4 Developer Interviews - Updated 8.26

General Discussion
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Not to insult you Lena, but perhaps you should speak to Stephanos...or...

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/game/lore/leader-story/velen/1


What about it? It's mostly about Anduin, nothing the draenei did in it ever appeared in game, and it just further pushed them to the outside of the alliance with Velen's vision involving the horde fighting alongside the draenei.

It doesn't address any of the issues I wrote about.
Kosak showing passion about Dranei lore? Not so much.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osB0_0G5N8g&t=19m50s 19:50 mark

Vs talking about Rexxar
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osB0_0G5N8g&t=22m35s 22:35 mark

Though I'll caveat: His flat voice on Draenei could be read as "totally doing that next patch, but I can't talk about it yet". So it's either that, or he looks forward to it as much as he does weeding his garden and watching paint dry.
Kosak showing passion about Dranei lore? Not so much.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osB0_0G5N8g&t=19m50s 19:50 mark

Vs talking about Rexxar
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osB0_0G5N8g&t=22m35s 22:35 mark

Though I'll caveat: His flat voice on Draenei could be read as "totally doing that next patch, but I can't talk about it yet". So it's either that, or he looks forward to it as much as he does weeding his garden and watching paint dry.


The second one is most likely since they've been giving similar answers for years now.
08/28/2013 06:44 PMPosted by Zarhym
For example, there are several people in this thread asserting that the entire concept of the Siege of Orgrimmar is flawed from a story perspective, particularly for the Alliance. Well, we knew Siege of Orgrimmar would be the final raid of Mists of Pandaria before the expansion was revealed at BlizzCon 2011, and the story framework for how we'd get there was already more or less in place. So, even when we do react directly to feedback about story concerns, we're looking much more at the big picture here, and what stories we want to tell and how they should unfold over the course of several patches (or even expansions).


I think there is a bit of a disconnect, the story is fine, its the implementation thats the problem. You are killing/deposing the warchief of the horde. Conceptually thats a great story everyone should be really hyped up and excited about that, however there really hasn't been an expansion worth of build up to this moment. A handful of scenario's may be but its been far too sparse (maybe that a problem with the pace of development of maybe its a case of too many eggs diluting focus on MOP)?

I play horde exclusively but even I can appreciate how Alliance feel. This should be a major fist pump moment for the alliance but they just don't seem to care about it because they haven't been led into it and the reactions/motivations of the leaders don't really seem consistent.

Are stories developed an expansion at a time? Are there different writers for each expansion? Garrosh in particular has jack knifed from expansion to expansion without any real continuous story arc or character motivations.

From an overview there are some really cool stories you guys are telling and its nice to go back and read something or watch you tube vids... but from only playing the game it feels very disjointed (scenarios help more of these would be great).
Look Zarhym, I appreciate what you do, really I do. And I appreciate the fact that the designers that work on the big picture stuff, the over arching story of Azeroth and the characters that make up the warp and woof of the rich tapestry of Warcraft do their thing many months and even years in advance, and cannot respond quickly to player feedback.

But honestly, how long does it take smart people like Chris Metzen and Dave Kosak and Cameron Dayton, and Micky Neilson to realize that "Hey, the Gnomes havent been featured in the main storyline...ever!"

How many YEARS of "feedback" do the long suffering Gnome players need to provide before someone with a Blue Tag deigns to respond back with a simple "We heard you, and we are doing something about it" huh? Is TEN YEARS worth enough??

You wonder why Gnome players get frustrated? Try having the fewest playable classes in the game for ten years, being excluded from cinematics for ten years, having no lore heroes for ten years, having no capitol city for ten years, being shut out of the main storyline for ten years, and then hearing Dave Kosak say that Draenei need more love.

HELLO?? The Burning Crusade expansion in 2007 was all about the Draenei and Blood Elves. The Gnomes are still waiting for their expansion! We're not asking for much, just to be treated like a playable race that is in some way remotely valued by the Alliance.

Since we all know youre going to unveil 6.0 at Blizzcon, and that the story is already set in cement, could you please just ask Dave to just hop in here tell us Gnome players if there is any point in subscribing to WoW for the next two years?

Thanks for your help.

- Forbs
"For Gnomeregan!"
08/28/2013 07:15 PMPosted by Zarhym
"Do we want to make sure Pandaren questing in Pandaria have a lot of unique VO and quest text, or do we want to design a rich gameplay experience on the Isle of Thunder in patch 5.2?"


"We're not making enough money from subscriptions (plus cash-shop only items that aren't obtainable through in-game means) to create a AAA gaming experience. If you people would just give us more money, we could afford to actually test and polish our game at every level. Until then, enjoy your scraps, because we know you're too invested to quit paying hand over fist."
08/28/2013 06:44 PMPosted by Zarhym
For example, there are several people in this thread asserting that the entire concept of the Siege of Orgrimmar is flawed from a story perspective, particularly for the Alliance. Well, we knew Siege of Orgrimmar would be the final raid of Mists of Pandaria before the expansion was revealed at BlizzCon 2011, and the story framework for how we'd get there was already more or less in place. So, even when we do react directly to feedback about story concerns, we're looking much more at the big picture here, and what stories we want to tell and how they should unfold over the course of several patches (or even expansions).


I'm sympathetic to the fact that the development process runs on a very different timeframe from how it can appear to players and thus it's not feasible to make drastic changes to the storyline of announced content.

I'm less sympathetic to the insistence that the developers couldn't figure out any of the many things wrong with Siege from the Alliance perspective until a bunch of yammering commoners on the forums (like myself) pointed them out.

I don't think that the people in charge of the story don't care. I just think they're not doing a particularly good job, even if they are very passionate about it. I'm not sure what the solution is to that, but over the past many years, 'Wait and see and I promise it will get better' has not worked out for me. They've been putting more and more emphasis on telling stories, but those stories have been getting more and more facepalmworthy.
--Alliance taking back undercity as an alliance capital.
--Getting back all the lands lost during cata to the forsaken and horde
--Gilneas becoming an actual city instead of having to be shipped over to darn to finish the
leveling.
--Alliance hero's actually doing something to stop horde advancement instead of just
standing around or having to be written in a book in order to get face time.

The majority of your suggestions are mechanically implausible. Two of them involve giving the Alliance an additional faction city over the Horde (or two), while the point about Cataclysm zones has already been addressed numerous times. You follow this up by accusing Metzen and Kosak of actually not having played through the Alliance quests (this must be a joke) and being dispassionate about the narrative.

Do you honestly think this is constructive feedback?

08/28/2013 07:50 PMPosted by Yinian
And Zarhym, while myself and others here are happy that you post and let us know some of the things that are currently going on... we really want the man himself, Dave Kosak, or someone high up in the Dev team for the narrative of WoW, to come on down here, not to Facebook, Twitter, or something else.

This is a difficult expectation to meet. Developers are generally preoccupied with working on the game, and don't have an excess of time to arrange player discussion sessions. These also aren't always the most constructive venues without proper mediation and organization. While they most certainly read the feedback given, it's the responsibility of community managers like Zarhym to direct interviews and the like. Based on his most recent post, I imagine he's looking into setting that up more as we type.
08/29/2013 03:16 AMPosted by Forbidra
You wonder why Gnome players get frustrated? Try having the fewest playable classes in the game for ten years, being excluded from cinematics for ten years, having no lore heroes for ten years, having no capitol city for ten years, being shut out of the main storyline for ten years, and then hearing Dave Kosak say that Draenei need more love.


I was going to argue the point on draenei, but then I realised that in-fighting and "My race has it worse than yours" would be stupid and counterproductive.

Suffice to say that it would be great if this massive game's massive story actually spent some time on all of its races in a way that made sense, rather than leaving us in narrative stasis because we're not Wrynns and Hellscreams.
08/28/2013 06:44 PMPosted by Zarhym
For example, there are several people in this thread asserting that the entire concept of the Siege of Orgrimmar is flawed from a story perspective, particularly for the Alliance. Well, we knew Siege of Orgrimmar would be the final raid of Mists of Pandaria before the expansion was revealed at BlizzCon 2011, and the story framework for how we'd get there was already more or less in place. So, even when we do react directly to feedback about story concerns, we're looking much more at the big picture here, and what stories we want to tell and how they should unfold over the course of several patches (or even expansions).


Not for nothing, but there were people asserting this same thing when it was announced that SoO and Garrosh being the big bad of the expansion was not going to be a good story experience for the Alliance. Why would you feature a story that could be told without one of your two factions?

How far ahead of the development do we have to get to have an impact? The next expansion? The one after? Titan?

How are the concerns being voiced, lack of logical action by the Alliance, lack of investment, lack of agency, since so many like to use that word, not incorporated into what is already planned? That's not asking to change the plans, its simply asking to change how they're enacted.

Why have the writers not engaged in some kind of discussion with those who are dissatisfied? Every time I see them speak about Alliance story concerns they demonstrate they have zero understanding of the complaints. It won't get better until they understand why people are unhappy, and its clear that right now they have no clue.

So interviews are great and all, but if they just say "Alliance fistpump incoming" it will not matter, at least to me. I won't speak for anyone else but at this point I do not trust them. I believe they say things to placate us instead of engaging in debate. I believe there are times when we've out and out been lied to and there is zero accountability coming from that quarter. They won't even defend the fistpump comment or explain what it was if it was put in or why it wasn't put in if it was cut.

In the end, I wanted to be a fan and they didn't let me. So I hope something changes, more interviews would be nice for people who enjoy the lore, but if what seems to be the basic approach to the story doesn't change, it won't matter if they talk about it more.
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08/29/2013 01:46 AMPosted by Therealgor
I think there is a bit of a disconnect, the story is fine, its the implementation thats the problem. You are killing/deposing the warchief of the horde.


We'd be killing the warchief of the Horde if we weren't told all the time that he isn't the warchief of the Horde.

Gary is simultaneously not the warchief, when viewed through Horde perspectives, and the warchief, when Alliance is told killing him is a fist pump.
Well, now we know why. Metzen and the gang had already mapped out a five year makeout session with the Horde by the time the Alliance players started complaining about getting the short straw on content and story development. Then they apparently put it on Kosak to figure out some way to get us to buy into it, even though it didn't involve us at all.

Look at the bright side - we might soon be coming to the end of the story they'd laid out by the time we started to complain about our representation. They couldn't very well say "wait three years and see," could they? Maybe we're far enough past the start of this mess that we'll see the end of it some time soon.
08/29/2013 07:33 AMPosted by Kaganfindel
Look at the bright side - we might soon be coming to the end of the story they'd laid out by the time we started to complain about our representation.


I dunno; if they knew Siege was coming more than two years ago, and they're only in the last year or so acknowledging that Alliance aren't happy about the story direction, it seems like there could still be a major backlog yet to come. And if they were selling Siege as a major Alliance victory this whole time, and thinking that we were going to enjoy their gong-show of the Trials of the High King, I'm not sure how much faith I have in their ability to identify what the Alliance would actually enjoy, without vast quantities of feedback given actual consideration.

(I'd like to think that they started making changes prior to now, but the rebellion storyline didn't even get the much-vaunted "call Vol'jin's bluff" option until it had been on PTR for a while. And not to harp on details too much, but it's rather revealing that the extent of the Horde perspective acknowledging the revolution's supposedly-desperate need for Alliance help is one vague remark from Baine at the very end about needing more allies.)

For example, there are several people in this thread asserting that the entire concept of the Siege of Orgrimmar is flawed from a story perspective, particularly for the Alliance. Well, we knew Siege of Orgrimmar would be the final raid of Mists of Pandaria before the expansion was revealed at BlizzCon 2011, and the story framework for how we'd get there was already more or less in place. So, even when we do react directly to feedback about story concerns, we're looking much more at the big picture here, and what stories we want to tell and how they should unfold over the course of several patches (or even expansions).

We can make some tweaks and refine some story arcs along the way, but regardless of the discussions taking place right now, the 5.4 story is set. It has been for quite some time.


Well, that makes it crystal clear, then. Because that's how it's always going to work, isn't it? By the time the players even know where you're going with the story, it's already set. Under those conditions, no amount of feedback that we offer can affect the outcome. As you said, you're focusing on the story you want to tell. The story we'd like to hear -- or need to hear, particularly in terms of the Alliance -- is a non-issue.

So I'm going to offer you the only feedback I can now that might continue to have relevance. It's not about the story but the storytelling. You tell us that Kosak deeply cares about whether we're invested in the story or not, and that being Horde or Alliance doesn't matter. There is a significant segment of the playerbase (most that I'm familiar with are Alliance) that do not believe that statement, and we do not base that disbelief on anything but the storytelling being done. I won't repeat the examples. By now, you've either seen them, or you're ignoring them, and my repetition of them won't contribute anything. But you want to pass this on through your teams: our faith and trust in the storyteller has eroded, and if he wants to get it back, he needs to do a better job telling the story.

To be clear: I don't care about territory, number of quests, whether the artwork of our armor sets is as "cool" or not. I care about having my faction portrayed as a bunch of incompetent, insensate, unintelligent idiots, just so they can be a foil for the other faction. That is bad storytelling, and it has been going on long enough that I can't dismiss it as an accident. And that's why my faith in Kosak and his team has suffered, and will continue to suffer until it improves. And unlike the timetable you are running on, I will not be patient over "several patches or expansions" to see that issue addressed. And that can be done without changing too many plot points. Just tell the story better, and stop reducing the Alliance to a cardboard cutout.


Well when your opinion is as condescending as "find a new hobby you care too much" or "stop whining alliance" it starts seeming much more like a you problem. If you're such a casual player, why does it matter to you what they ask for? (I guess you'd call it demand)


You, and others of your ilk, read what you want to read. Condescending? Nope. Chagrined that there are still people who think paying for something gives them the right to dictate direction.

You know what your monthly fees and expansion purchases pay for? The game the developers present, not the game you want. You want to control direction? Get off your hiney and create something yourself and you'll see quickly how others will want to change what you create to fit within their understanding of what "the right way to do something" is and how you're ruining it for them.


Apparently you read what you want to as well. None of the posters in this thread feel they deserve control of direction. You're putting words in mouths, yet again. You're the one with the real problem here, as blues have already stated constructive feedback is WELCOMED. You just want everyone to shutup and play the game right? Just like you are? (sarcasm)
And finally, while I understand the importance of having a mix of text, audio, and video formats, I want the developers on camera more. I believe strongly that the more you get to see and hear the individual behind the name, the better!


This is fine but transcripts are still important. The fan sites should be encouraged to show the transcripts with the audio and video. Especially since closed-captioning is never used.
I think alliance would feel more motivated and included in the story had the 5.1 shieldwall quest chain been more recent(even parallel to battlefield barrens?) and anduin's injury had actually been more prevalent within world events. Not one word was spoken of how garrosh struck him down in ANY quests or texts outside of that line. It happened, most thought he was dead, and now he's just back sitting next to wrathion (with a crutch I think, big deal) and I guarantee a large percentage of the alliance never even knew it happened. I mean mention it on the isle of thunder somewhere, in wrathion's quest somewhere, SOMEWHERE! This is the kind of miscommunication and just plain forgetful or negligent storytelling thats angered most alliance folks I've seen expressing their disappointment. All the talk of "fist pumping moments" and "can't please these guys" is just getting old. I know it can't be changed now, but you guys can do better.
First off, thanks for the dialogue here Zarahym and all the work on getting the developer interviews out there.

I understand the difficulty inherent in developing story and understanding player reactions compared to the process of make class balance changes. One is long-term and the other is short-term and it's much easier to make changes in direction with short-term issues like class balance and game mechanics. That being said, there were obvious story issues in the overall Cataclysm-Mists story arc that one would think should have been anticipated early on. For instance, the game needed leveling zones evened out for all the races. Totally the right thing to do. However, it was the manner in which it was done (Alliance having loss after loss with no player experience or quests even developed to explain the loss -- I'm looking at you Southshore) that has caused a large number of the issues that continue to this day with the Alliance player experience.

This Alliance alienation is not something that occurred overnight. It's been building for four years. Add in a lack of interaction of the Alliance player and his own faction leaders compared to how often we've interacted with Horde leaders and the alienation builds some more. Or learning that there's additional Gilnean story in Silverpine if you play Forsaken. Or see that there's no Alliance-centered content for Patch 5.3 (some mobilization quests in Stormwind would have been nice or Alliance-centered ones in the Barrens, etc.). Were told we've won numerous battles in Pandaria but what exactly was the turning point in Pandaria where the Horde started losing because I didn't experience it. Were told that the Alliance is unifying and yet it's never shown in-game or we never experience it through questing.

There's just a general lack of connection to the story developed for the Alliance player and it so apparent I find it hard to fathom that the developers don't seem to see it or acknowledge it. It's very apparent to many Alliance players and yet we're told we're whining or told "Hey, you're smashing Orgrimmar, what more could you want?" I want an independent storyline for the Alliance. One that doesn't depend upon reacting to the Horde story, includes me interacting with Alliance leaders and relies on Alliance-centered motivations. One that makes sense for those motivations. I want the same quality and attention to detail the Horde storyline gets.
i think it'd be cool if instead of reporting to varian at the start of every new xpac, we go to our race leader. that way we get a quick and easy explanation from what they want out of us, their goals in whatever the new mess is, some feeling of relevance of what our race is up to, and all without a huge amount of effort. Maybe even every patch, but certainly at every xpac. Is that a lot to hope for?

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