Chris Metzen talks about story stuff, since that's what his job is: vice president of creative development. What does he have to say about WoW?
- Not that this should surprise anyone, but the story team is "looking forward to future expansions".
- The original WoW was basically a snapshot, story-wise, with not much in the way of dynamic content. The expansions get more back to linear stories.
- We'll see themes in Wrath of the Lich King like Titans, the creation of the world, the dragon flights, and why Azeroth is so central to the events of this universe.
- Magtheridon was indeed intended to be the Onyxia of BC; it's now being nerfed because the encounter ended up being harder than intended.
- The designers focus a lot on feedback from the forums as well as people they know that play the game, gathering "tons and tons of feedback" before making changes. I'm not sure how that fits in with the current Life Tap debacle.
- Phase 1 of the Mag fight was deemed to be the most complex, with later phases being earlier; the goal was to even that out somewhat.
And now to my favorite part, the Q&A. Anywhere that players get answers directly from the devs is fun to read. There were some Starcraft II questions that I won't cover here (this isn't Blizz Insider, after all), but for the WoW stuff, they had lead designer Tom Chilton on to give answers, and here's what he said.
- In the expansion, a big goal is to have different specs and classes use similar types of gear. This is so they don't have to make separate gear for every spec in the game, because that leads to the perception by players that tons of the gear out there is not for them. To this end, Ret Paladins are being moved more towards Warrior itemization; full effects of this won't be seen until Wrath.
- There are ideas to have multiple battleground maps for each type -- capture the flag, say. Players would queue up for a "capture the flag" match, and be able to get dropped into a variety of different maps. This would introduce BG variation without splintering the queues too much.
- Daggers are due to be improved for Rogues; they've sort of fallen by the wayside at the moment.
- The want to potentially, in the future, have the game be able to save settings for two different talent specs, including action bar settings. They may also do something to "ease the burden" of respeccing, because they really do want players to be able to participate in many aspects of the game. The whole respeccing process should become "more graceful in general."
- They want to improve the viability of tanking specs in battlegrounds, but at the same time feel that it's OK if some classes aren't competitive end-game specs, so there are no serious plans to make tanks viable in arenas. Taunt in particular is not going to be given PvP utility as a sort of crowd control.
- PvE-PvP crossover is going to be addressed, in terms of letting PvE players PvP effectively. In 2.4 there is a bunch of PvP-oriented loot that doesn't just drop in instances, obtained through reputation and tokens.