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BlizzCon 2009: WoW Class Discussion #2 live blog

Mike Schramm

The second class discussion panel of the weekend is starting up in just a few minutes. We're live on the floor of BlizzCon 2009, ready to bring you all the news we can type while the devs are talking. Get ready to learn what's happening with your class when the Cataclysm hits.

The live blog starts right after you hit the "Read more" link below. Newest updates are at the top.

3:31PM That concludes the second class discussion panel. Stay tuned to for lots and lots more BlizzCon information. Thanks for reading, everybody!

3:30PM Q: I'm an armorsmith. Will the Reforging have armorsmith-specific plans?

A: We are going to look at specializations, and treat them a little differently. Instead of picking one out of three, you should be able to build up all three for that tradeskill. We'd rather differentiate your patterns through other gameplay, like drops, reputations, etc. There won't be anything specific with Reforging, though.

3:29PM Q: Gathering lumber has been a central part of Warcraft, why is there no woodworking or gathering lumber professions.

A: There's some things to do (making totems, making bows), but we don't feel that it's enough for its own profession yet. If it ever turns out that there's other things you can make that would fit with the game, we'd do it, but for now it's still on the back burner.

3:28PM Q: Ghost wolf needs a levitate animation. Also, as a scribe, all the other crafting professions get an epic pattern, and the glyph mastery books were cool for about 3 days, and then everybody got them. Any plans for very unique drops for scribes?

A: With Inscription, it takes a long time to get everything, which is kind of unique. But we don't ever really want to make a glyph very difficult to get, because they're so core to gameplay. People think they can't play if they can't get a glyph. But there are other things scribes can make that we can put in there.

3:26PM Q: With the revamp of Azeroth, more class-based quests?

A: Yes we have a great opportunity to have more class-based stuff -- teach more about how each class plays before they hit level 40. Maybe a big ability pairs up with a big quest, so you can learn how to use it.

3:25PM Q: Any plans to make Shadow Priests more desirable in raids? Our DPS lags, Replenishment helps.

A: We went from BC where we have to bring the Shadow Priests for Replenishment but his damage sucks. So we added options for Replenishment and then buffed SP DPS. We need to see more Ulduar hard mode numbers. GC: I'm concerned too much damage is tied up in Searing Pain, and we want to get back some more to single target damage.

3:24PM Q: Rogue Mage Priest in 3v3. Any chance of changing diminishing returns so they don't gel as well?

A: It's a broad topic -- for some high end arena players, if it's not RMP, it's terrible. We would like to buff other groups into that role rather than nerfing them out or dealing with diminishing returns. Matches here are still using pre-3.2, and we think in the new patch, they'll get some new comps in there. We don't dislike RMP, we just want to have alternatives to that.

3:23PM Q: Minus the Living Bomb period, Combustion has fallen off. What will you do to bring it back in line with other talents?

A: Combustion is a fun talent, we want to bring it back. It's on the list for 3.3, but we can't tell you what it is yet.

3:22PM Q: Items -- in vanilla, there were more unique procs and abilities, and now they're just stat-packed. Any more procs and abilities to come?

A: Yes. We love procs, almost everything on Illidan has a proc. Problem with a proc is that you can't do anything terribly overpowered. I get tired of making clean stat items, I'm sure you get tired too. In Icecrown, look forward to more than a couple of them.

3:21PM Q: Alchemy isn't all that fun. Any new stuff you are putting in?

A: Yes, we want to make a lot more of the fun potions. We're limited in useful potions, so we're aiming to do sillier and wackier or even convenience stuff. We're planning to do more with transmutation as well.

3:20PM Q: Bloodlust. GC said back in the day that raids shouldn't require it, and they basically do now. Any chance of putting that on the guild advancement tree?

A: That's an iconic Shaman ability, we aren't really ready to pass it out. All three Shaman specs have it. We don't think it's asking too much to say "if you're going to do hard modes, it's not too much to bring at least one Shaman with you." Applause. One thing we're doing in the next patch is having more scrolls that can bring more buffs at a weaker version. Can't bring a priest? Get a scroll of Fort that brings a weaker version of the class buff. So it's possible to someday have a Bloodlust drum or something that gives a weaker buff, but you can use it if you don't have a Shaman.

3:18PM Q: I'm a proud Fury Warrior, and when Titan's Grip came out, I loved it, but it feels like it doesn't match up on DPS. Do you have other stuff in store for Fury Warriors in Cataclysm?

A: GC: The numbers Ive seen recently show Fury Warriors doing pretty well. I think their DPS is going to be fine. One idea we've come up with is having an option to be the guy that wields dual-handed weapons or wields two one-handed weapons. And make that a player choice.

3:17PM Q: Profession question. Having all profession recipes keeps you from experimenting with other professions. Any chance of keeping recipes on a character even if you change characters?

A: We've talked about that, but no plans to do it yet. That's the option we'd take over adding another profession or allowing for a "dual spec" kind of system for professions.

3:16PM Q: I offspec as a Ret Paladin, and go Prot usually, and the button pressing is very different. Any smoothing coming for Ret Pallies?

A: We've made some small changes. Exorcism/Art of War change and so on. But it's far from done -- we don't want to make the cooldowns too punishing, but we want to keep you from having to worry too much about Mana.

3:15PM Q: With racial changes, any option to change races?

A: Yes, we did announce that we'll have paid race changes right after paid faction changes.

3:14PM Q: With removal of block value, how will tanks improve the block percentage?

A: There will be a block that you can improve through gear, there'll just be one stat instead of two. Talents will get you up to where you need to be, and going to a percentage base will help it scale to whatever encounter you need to do.

3:13PM Q: Prot and Holy Paladin. With the consolidation of the stats, any chance to make plate gear more appealing for Holy Paladins?

A: You don't mean healing in DPS gear?

Q: With mp5 being replaced with spirit, Pallys might move towards cloth.

A: We've talked about that, if it's ok for plate to pillage whatever other gear is out there. It's been an ongoing discussion. It's possible that we could do that. I'd rather encourage you to wear plate rather than put restrictions on it. It's a problem, no perfect solution yet, but maybe we'll come up with something.

3:12PM Q: Thanks for acknowledging problems with Banish. Any time table on when it might get fixed?

A: Client/server problems can cause lag and bugs. GC has pitched ideas on how to design around banish, but there's no timetable. GC: It's a bad thing for me to promise.

3:11PM Q: Ghost wolf and travel form could maybe accelerate to mount speed?

A: That's a tough call -- Druids already don't see their gear very much, and we think that's a problem. So I would be hesisitant to say "you can't even see your mounts." We've talked about is it time for epic travel form. Maybe that's something to break out in Cataclysm.

3:10PM Q: Offtanks and how they can do DPS while offtanking.

A: GC: Agree with that. I think that's a case where the Death Knight model works better. Prot Warrior and Paladin are focused on getting beat up, but Death Knight can get their resources from damage. Offtanks shouldn't have to worry about being resource starved.

3:09PM GC: We don't want to give DKs the same kind of debuffing tools that the other classes have. They should stay distinct while letting players bring who they want.

3:08PM Q: Death Knight tanking. For a while, we were pretty much the only option, but now that you dropped us down a peg, we're the low man on the totem pole (crowd groans at that). Def cooldowns all require resources (more boos), and none of the other tanks have to deal with that. No debuffs to attack power (crowd: that's because nobody likes you! Harsh).

A: GC: We're aware of the theorycrafting and community opinion that stacks tanks all the time. That is frankly very overstated, Death Knights can tank stuff just fine (applause at that). There are certainly legit concerns, but it gets oversold. We make slight changes and all of a sudden it's "Death Knights can't tank."

3:07PM A: That's a nice perk for Hunters, that's kind of a cool idea. (!)

3:06PM Q: Several different racial and profession capabiliies - like engineer only mounts. Maybe Hunters could tame a mount?

3:06PM Q: Why are Elemental Shamans only caster DPS that don't have a channel ranged AoE?

A: GC: This is one of those examples where we're trying not to give every spell to every class. You should do decent DPS, but not just Shaman Blizzard. Totems should be responsible. We want to fill the niche, but we don't just want to give the same spells as Mages and Warlocks.

3:05PM A: GC: We were talking about that, because it's now very easy for Hunters to level up without actually fighting anything -- the pet handles it. That questline did a really good job of saying this is a skill you need as a Hunter. We want to integrate that concept at a lower level, and somehow imbue the Hunter class with the ability to handle things like that. We understand class specific quests are popular, but if you're catering to 1/10th of the player base, you're working ten times as hard. But we know people like it.

3:04PM Q: With Onyxia being redone and the retuning of old content, any thought to bring back Hunter epic questline? I thought that was a really good measure of skill, very fun and rewarding.

3:03PM Q: Prot Warriors. Fury and Arms are running wild, but as you go into Ulduar, Prot comes down in DPS. It's hard to keep up. What are you guys doing?

A: GC: We always have this problem -- in blue gear it works. But then everybody keeps improving, and so damage and ability gets out of wack. The changes to stats should help out with this a little bit. We understand the problem, we've toned back how much you have to worry about threat (no more Void Reaver fights). But we don't want threat to become a problem as your gear gets better.

3:02PM A: Yes.

Q: Will you change moonkin form for trolls and worgen?

A: GC: We would like too. Artists are eager to do aquatic forms as well.

3:02PM Q: Enhancement Shamans have spirit wolves, and Mages have Water Elementals. Any changes coming to Treants to make them remotely decent?

3:00PM Q&A time. Looooong lines are forming for people to ask questions of the devs. These will obviously be all new.

3:00PM Fishing is being examined to try to make it more fun. They've been looking at other games that have fishing in them, and one they liked is Animal Crossing. Fish are in the water, and you throw your bobber out and wait for the fish to jump in and bite. So you'll be able to see bigger fish or different types of fish, or junk nodes, "so that's kind of what we're going to roll with on there." Sounds cool? Very very early in that process, seems like.

2:58PM He alluded to big Fishing changes yesterday. Something new about fishing?

2:57PM Gathering professions will also get a look, buffs, perks, or something. No information yet, but they're thinking about it.

2:57PM Cataclysm will have multi-gains, so you'll have a chance to get multiple skill points at once while making something useful instead of punching out five bracers just for the points that you eventually vendor off.

2:56PM Now talking about Reforging. We heard this yesterday as well, but it'll let tradeskill people change around stats on items -- reduce a stat you don't want to beef another you do. Of course, some restrictions will apply.

2:55PM Lots of vanity items, money, titles, big rewards coming from Archaeology. Personally, I can't wait. "Fedora and a bullwhip are the minimum" for the rewards they'll design. Also showing off the mockup of the Archaeology interface that we saw yesterday.

2:54PM Archaeology will unlock Path of the Titans, extra glyph slots for high level characters. They talked more about this earlier in today's Systems Panel as well.

2:53PM Now talking about professions and the new secondary profession, Archaeology, repeating what we heard yesterday. It's a gathering skill that helps you collect Artifacts around the world. You can decipher them through a minigame or another type of gameplay, and then putting the pieces together sends you to a quest somewhere in the world, where you "face some sort of challenge."

2:52PM Showing off Shadowmourne, the 2h Legendary axe that "you will be tearing your guild apart over." Also, it's obviously a Hunter weapon. (I think these jokes we're making are reused as well, but the audience likes them anyway.)

2:51PM Block value is also gone, they're also repeating what they said yesterday about how talents will fill in where these extra stats will be lost. You can see our liveblog of today's Systems Panel for more information about Mastery and how it will work. As soon as they're done with this repeat presentation, we'll get to some new Q&A.
2:49PM In Cataclysm, they're trying to make the DPS classes not worry about resource management so much.

Don't want to turn Hunters into ranged Rogues. Class doesn't have to be so cooldown-locked any more, more about choices of abilities. Aspect of the Viper definitely won't do what it does today, but it might be there. Maybe AotV will go away, maybe Aspects will go away. (!)

Now going through item changes from yesterday, including the revert back to core stats -- no more mp5, Attack Power, Spellpower, Haste on gear any more, it all comes from the Spirit, Strength, Intellect, and Agility that you get.

2:40PM Soul shards will regen -- not "going behind a pillar" but they'll regen pretty quickly. Drain Soul may become kind of a shard Evocation.

2:39PM This is all old information from yesterday. He's going through the Warlock soul shard changes again. If he says anything new, we'll let you know.

2:39PM GC: "Draenei get jack." Apparently there are too many Draenei already playing, so no new classes for them to play as.

2:38PM Goblin: No Pallies or Druids, everything else is in for classes. GC says there'll be lots and lots of Goblin rogues. Worgen everything but Paladin or Shaman -- as we heard earlier, the new Druid races will have new feral forms. Also going through all of the new class/race combination. GC: "Gnome Priest. She's so cute. Could eat her up!" Dwarves get two new classes, they want to see more Dwarves.

2:37PM Likewise, the Flayer racial for Worgen gives you +15 skinning. Expect other racial bonuses to get the same buff.

2:36PM Better Living through Chemistry is +15 to Alchemy Goblin racial. They want to revamp all of the trade-related racial skills, beef them up a bit.

2:35PM He's going through the Goblin racials again. "Goblins are overpowered," he says is what he's heard in response so far.

2:34PM Here we go. Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street, Jonathan LeCraft, and one other developer is here. Travis. This is the same panel as yesterday, but the Q&A will be different. I'll try to pull anything we missed yesterday out to repeat for you.

2:31PM This may, on the other hand, be the same class presentation as yesterday (where we heard about Hunters losing Mana and gaining Focus instead, and many high math stats being folded into core stats). If it's the same presentation, we'll try to grab more information, and of course the Q&A will be completely different.

2:26PM Apparently this panel isn't on the DirecTV feed, so we'll bring as much information to you as fast as we can. Please forgive small typos and errors.

2:21PM We're all watching a Zerg vs. Zerg Starcraft battle on the monitors. Both guys are really great -- I guess? Effort and Mensol are apparently the two guys playing. WoW Panel should be starting up soon.

2:17PM We're live on the floor of the hall. They just said this would be a "repeat performance" -- does that mean they're going to reshow it or does it mean they're going to answer some all new questions?

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