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[Updated] BlizzCon Day 2: Professions and Items session liveblog


We are back at our happy little camp of the power source spot in the press area to liveblog the WoW Professions and Items panel with Tom Chilton, Travis Day and Jon LeCraft.

Updated: This post has been cleaned up and extensively added to after it was partially eaten by a technical error.

Liveblog after the jump.

10:30 AM We are waiting for the panel to begin.

Drysc: Welcome to BlizzCon Day 2.

The designers arrive to the panel.

Jon LeCraft Lead Designer of Professions:

Creative Process for a Recipe
Design Phiosophies Going forward
Cool new stuff

So Many Recipes!

Added 1/3 for TBC and will add that many again to WotLK

Step 1: What do we Make?

A lot of sources, team, fans players.
Should It Go In?
Will it be a good fit for professions. Example: Frost Armor won't be crafted by blacksmiths.

How Good Is it? -- Green, Blue, Purple, Legendary

Step 2: Materials
Fit the Kit - the leather for wrapping around the hilt, etc. The "feel" of actually creating the item.
Match Item Quality. Time investment should be similar to getting it otherwise. Crafter only items should be easier to make.

Similar Complexity: Mind control - complicated. Sharpening stones easy.

Step 3: Skillz

Again, Item Difficulty

Skill Gain Potential -- can be vliexible. smooth out progression. make it hard in a spot

Step 4: Getting the recipe

world drop - random - distinguish yourself as a unique crafter
specific monster - more focused. guaranteed path to put in time for. allow to shine as an individual, too.



Trainer (bread and butter)

Vendor -- will talk about changes to that philosophy later

Things we want to do more

Best in slot -- will keep doing profession only items.
These are your Deep Thunders, your Primal Strike, your Frozen Shadoweave...
Those really great items that only the person with that profession can use. They really give you a feeling of pride and usefulness with your profession.

Will add more, keep doing it.

Will do Alchemist only potions and stuff like that. (applause)

Create Great Leveling Gear -- Crafting stuff will be really optimized for 70 to 80

Skillups should actually sell.

Provide what's missing
Let crafting fill in itemization gaps that we ended up with or the ones we actually manufactured. The more items that people want that only a crafter can make, the better a craft is.

Things we want to improve -- (shout Engineering) Engineering is going to get some love (applause).

Getting back to the flow:

Transmutes: They've worked out very well
Couple of uncool things, though: You only do the best transmutes. You don't care about the other ones.
And there are some bad transmutes too.
I don't know anyone who is doing Primal Fire to Earth.
Change to Daily Cooldown. Login at any time of day and do the transmute. Will reset like a raid instance. (applause)

The purpose of discoveries was to individualize the profession, but some of them are core to the profession.
You feel incomplete if you don't get them. We've tuned that down since.
The core recipes will be easier to get. But they are fun - they add some randomness to when you are creating items. Want to sprinkle in some of the super rare recipes as discoveries. Going back in time, Deviate Delight would have been good as a discovery.

Vendors: camping vendors for limited quantity items isn't fun. We're not going to really do that anymore.
Vendors are going to have this new awesome list of loot: blue loot, purple loot -- it will show up rarely but it is shared across all of them. So when you go to a vendor, there could just be some awesome item on there, just waiting to be bought.

It will be random enough so that you won't be able to guess. (applause)

New Profession: Inscription

Not Alchemy or Enchanting - not scrolls

Inscribe Spells and Abilities with power
All different things like:
Your Shadow Bolt can do more damage
Your Backstab can crit more
May even end up doing some wackier stuff: I heard someone talk about a Fireball with Knockback on a previous panel. i wouldn't hold your breath on that one. But we're going to see what we can get away with.

Think of it like a single talent point for each of set of abilities.

One of the problems we ran into is that eventually everyone is going to have their stuff inscribed, so what are you going to do?

So we're going to have this whole other element where you can create this new type of item and unfortunately too early in development process.

Can't talk about it but there will be a whole other side to inscription than making spells and abilities more powerful.

That's what is happening in the WotLK, now I'm going to talk about what's coming up in some patches: 2.2 and 2.3.

Coming Soon

Profession Daily Quests (applause)

Cooking ones added to 2.3 -- picked cooking. easy to skill up and anyone can get it. It's not one of those like Fishing, where we may not get that many people.

Any 375 fishermen in the audience? Applause -- You guys make me feel good!

We are going to be watching the cooking quests to finetune the other professions.

New Crafter-Only Gear and some upgrades. And Alchemist Only Potions and Jewelcrafter only Gems.

Going to smooth out progression. Specifically that 275 to 300 gap. It used to be that final push to 60, but we now don't want it to be that difficult of a stepping stone.

New Enchant: Executioner.
Armor penetration proc -- pretty juicy one, too. (applause)
Tom has specifically requested that the visual effect be at least as cool as Mongoose, so you can look forward to that, too.

Jewelcrafter only gems. The cool thing about these, is that even though these are 12 point Purple gems which you can't get anywhere else, they will be made from just your normal blue gems. The Falling Star there is just made from Star of Elune.
The Jewelcrafters are always going to have some really great gems available to them. These are going to be available through the Reputation System -- pretty reasonably, too.

Prices of Talasite are very low on the AH. New Talasite recipe will make it more valuable - Resilience/Stamina. That's in 2.2, actually. You should save up your 4 research tokens and head to Halaa when it comes out.

New cooking recipes.
The daily quests will not only give supplies, every once in a while you will get a random recipe in there. Those recipes can't be found anywhere else in the game. They are completely new.

Good for melee hit as well as spell crit. Also stormchops which are like dragonbreath chili. Does lightning damage and will be fun to use in rain and near ambient creatures. Image of Stormchops proccing below:

Move on to Travis Day for items.

Can you see me through the glare off my head?

Items: we doubled the number of epic items included in the game with BC.

Itemization issues in BC:
In the past, if you wanted to PVP you had to Raid or else you would get killed by the guy with the high end raid gear. So we decided to separate the two aspects of the game. (applause)

PvP shouldn't require raiding
Focus on what you like

Equal but different progression:
The power levels should be similar but reflect the fact that it came from a different progression.

Gear looks similar but you can see the difference for the higher level gear. Similar but can differentiate the heavy raiders or PvP gear -- concept of "equal but different" progression.

Why so much Stamina in TBC in my gear?

Looked at better itemization of PvP gear vs. itemization of PvE gear. For PvP: What makes PvP not fun? (shout from audience: "Warlocks!" -- big laughter)

Why more stamina in TBC? Looked at what makes PvP unfun? Walking into an arena and getting Instagibbed is not fun -- except for the mage who did it (laughter).

Wanted to work on survivability.

Why were people dying so quickly. People prefer DPS over the ability to not die. Maybe the way we build items is contributing to the problem.

Is the fault with stat distribution?

How items are made overview:

When making an item, look at different factors:

What kind of item? What kind of stats? Previous to TBC, 50 points = 50 stamina or 34 sta + 33 Str. Had to choose between survivability and damage. In general, people choose killing things quickly over survivability. To reduce the choice, after TBC, 50 stat points = 75 stamina. Survivability built into dps stat gear.

The creation of Resilience:

More defensive mods
Good against everyone
Crit strings aren't fun

Problems with Resilience. Didn't feel like it was working. Felt bad when it didn't work. Rogues and crit based classes felt like their specs were less useful. Changed to reduce crit damage. Crit based classes felt like they were still doing enough damage and visibly able to see it work for resilience armor wearers.

To improve in 2.3 added reduction of DoT damage to resilience. (much applause).

Moving on to Tokens

People didn't like seeing items drop that nobody needs and the Warlock didn't need it or there was no Druid present.

Tokens were introduced into the game to reduce the problems with things such as stormrage drops. Screenshot shown of stormrage drop. (much laughter).

Considered single token drops - one token for everyone.

Problems with predetermined loot: boring. Also, not everyone feels they have a chance to get a good drop -- only get gear after all warriors and healers, for example.

Solution - 3 different tokens. Still have the excitement of randomness but have some control over what classes get the loot.

For Zul'Aman, the classes have been redistributed on the tokens to adjust issues with the current distribution.

Another thing that the token system allowed us to address is that different classes like to do different things. We didn't want the word Hybrid to be synonymous with Healer. (applause)

Just because you are a Druid doesn't mean you should have to heal. We have all these different roles and we spent time in TBC to make them more viable, so we thought we would allow them to actually play their chosen playstyle.

The token systems allow for new set bonuses. Talents specify set bonuses. Can assume certain talents for certain specs.

That wraps it up for TBC. We've got a good separation between PvP and PvE and characters have gear to be able to do what they want to do with their character...

Things to come:

Free spell damage for healers. (much applause)

This is something that has bothered me for a while, though it doesn't affect me because I've been playing a Warlock (mutterings from the crowd)...
Something that always bothered me was after raids, healers would have to get on their lesser geared alts to solo.
Priests would have to get on their rogues with their terrible gear because it would take them 15 minutes to kill a mob that others could kill in 20 seconds. (applaud)

A priest in tier 6 should be able to enjoy the other game content without having to switch to an alt. Won't be as good as a mage, but will outdamage a poorly geared rogue if you have higher raid gear. You won't have to log on to your alt to kill stuff. (more applause)

Legendary Ranged Weapon - in Zul'Aman
Details aren't fleshed out yet
Time for hunters to get some love

Only showing melee because the Art Team is still wrapping up the other stuff.

Zul'Aman gear: Dagger of Bad Mojo for rogues.
So we've got a nice chunk of armor penetration.

Zul'Aman: Added new rogue set as well.

Also, new dps warrior armor and weapon in Zul'Aman: Jin'rohk, The Great Apocalypse -- hi stam + haste sword.

Time for Q & A:


Q: Why do Enchanters have to stand around Org and spam chat channels instead of put items in AH? (applause)
A: Was originally designed for player interaction. Didn't work out quite as well. We still like the player interaction and may be keeping it on the higher enchants, but we are talking about going to an item based system. (applause)

Q: Engineering - portable mailbox out of the game -- will it be put back in?
A: It will be put back in once it is no longer prone to exploits.

Q: So many professions compete for ore
A: We do like some sharing of materials because it keeps the demand high. We don't have any plans on alleviating mining. We are looking at more nodes or faster respawn (applause) but we are also talking about putting more in dungeons. Maybe after boss kills.

Q: Will everyone have to take Inscription or will it be useable on others?
A: You will be able to inscribe other players's skills and abilities. You will be able to create a scroll that you can put on the auction house that others will read to have their spells improved.

Q: Will you ever be able to dye your armor?
A: We don't have plans to allow you to dye your armor. That is a philosophical decision we made. We will allow more customizations in WotLK like the new dances and hairstyles. But coloring the armor gets in the way of distinguishing levels and playstyles of gear. It is important to be able to look at a player and know what kind of content that player does.

Q: Will blacksmiths get a shield pattern again?
A: Yes. I don't know when.

Q: Leatherworking epic best in slot gear not as good as blacksmithing and tailoring best in slot gear.
A: Blacksmithing gets the weapons which are super sexy and look better than armor. We overoptimized Frozen shadow weave - it is not a fair comparison to where we want it to be. We did do a second pass. In general, all best in slot gear can still be replaced by slightly better raid gear.

Q: Is Frostmourne going to drop?
A: You'll have to be able to kill Arthas.

Q: Will the current legendaries be upgraded?
A: No. The intent behind legendaries is that the better the item is, the longer it takes you to move on to other gear. We don't want guilds to force their players into old raids just to farm the better legendaries.

Q: Legendary items for spellcasters or healers?
A: Naxxramus legendary -- shortlived so most people didn't get their hands on it. Beyond the legendary ranged weapons, we will see more caster based ones.

Q: Offset tokens for Mage, hunters and warlocks?
A: They are dps, no matter what the spec so no intention for those.

Q: Plays a priest. Will Spirit be looked at as a stat?
A: Spirit is good for you please have some, but it doesn't make everyone happy. Looking at how to re introduce spirit to make it more desirable. Maybe add another aspect to it. Make it better for mana regen. Trying to fix for next expansion. (applause)

Q: In a massive raiding guild. Epic cloth piece of the wolf -- drop rate really high. Why? Since you play a warlock, is that why tier 6 has wings? (laughter)
A: The fact that of the wolf is on cloth is probably an oversight. Will look at that on Monday. (laughter and applause). I don't make the art for the warlock gear and that was done before I knew it was there. Now play a shaman to work on their itemization. Did the hunter thing and wanted to kill myself. (laughter and applause)

Q: Will rogues ever see elite thistle tea? Inscription system -- will switching to it mean having to do noob things to level up?
A: Inscription - haven't determined how it will work out. Been brainstorming how to make all professions easier to switch to for higher levels. Thistle tea? maybe... no.

Q: Death knight will have their own greens and own mount?
A: They will have their own mounts probably and will have own itemization as well as share the appropriate items.

Q: Engineering?
A: Working on reducing the selfishness of Engineering profession.

Q: Moonkin gear?
A: There will be sets for Moonkin and Elemental Shamans in Zul'Aman. Also the help for the healers' dps will help the Moonkins.

Q: DPS Warrior gear?
A: Every warrior needs some amount of tank gear, regardless of spec. Agility used to be nice but not anymore. Accidentally designed items for stats that became outdated. Zul'Aman will have full set gear for dps warriors.

Thank you for coming!

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