BlizzCon 2011 Open Q&A Panel liveblog

Allison Robert
A. Robert|10.22.11

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Welcome back! The open Q&A will begin shortly and, as in years past, you never really know what to expect from this panel. However, I'm anticipating a lot of questions about Mist of Pandaria that the developers either can't or won't answer right now, and probably a lot of angry questions from people playing whatever is currently considered to be absurdly overpowered. Yeah, that sounds about right.

The liveblog is now over! Please click past the cut for the full piece.

The news is out -- we'll be playing Mists of Pandaria! Find out what's in store with an all-new talent system, peek over our shoulder at our Pandaren hands-on, and get ready to battle your companion pets against others. It's all here right at WoW Insider!

5:21 pm /cracks knuckles again

5:22 pm Piggybacking off that last panel (the classes, items, and professions Q&A), my small and somewhat depressed advice to developers is not to reference your protection warrior while talking about how you're going to nerf the bear ...

5:25 pm One of the questioners on the last panel raised a really funny point about being able to wipe your guild leader with the new priest talent swapping health percentages. Between that and Leap of Faith, I think the priest is fast eclipsing the rogue as the class with the most number of ways to make someone else's life a living hell.

5:29 pm Looks like we're starting.

5:30 pm Here we go!

5:31 pm "Guys having a good show?" Audience screams, "You're so sexy!" "We know."

5:31 pm Question: As a 10-man raider, there's a lot of disparity between the 25-man and 10-man raiders. They feel almost laughably easier. However, a lot of 10-man raiders are still hardcore. Going to raise difficulty?

Interesting, the Korean guilds consider 10-mans to be hard modes, it's the opposite way in the West. Hard to balance because you can't count on every raid buff in 10-man.

10-vs-25-man, maybe 15-man raids a better model?

Asking your guild to kick or add people is difficult. No matter what raid size is, there'll be problems.

5:33 pm Thank you for the Real ID dungeon thing, it's awesome. Do you have any plans to implement spectator mode for raids or bg's? Audience likes this.

That would be sweet. We have wanted that for a long time, spectators and replay modes. Question of getting around to it, but hopefully someday.

5:34 pm Do you have any plans to add more options to the guild leaders' UI? I'm the only one to turn guild repairs on and off. I'd like to be able to give the ability to do this to officers too. Audience also likes this question.

Good reason to be able to do that. The question is, how much power to give to officers? Do we want to give greater access to granting guild repairs and guild bank access?

Wouldn't that be the guild leader's decision, not yours?

Yup, but it comes back to us to fix it when there are problems.

Questioner: Ghostcrawler, don't listen to the idiots out there, you're a god, and we love you, keep doing it!

GC: I love you too.
Devs: If all the idiots could just identify themselves so we could ignore you...

5:36 pm Will we replace this expansion's epics quickly in Pandaria?

Green is the new purple every expansion. In the second zone or so, plan on replacing your gear. We'd love to have something on a website that says Hall of Heroes that records your accomplishments you did as a player when content was relevant. Preserve player accomplishments when they're most relevant.

5:37 pm Really excited about the Alliance and Horde both getting the monk. How do you fit the draenei and blood elves getting monks?

As if it was always there. Just throw it in! We'll make it work.

5:38 pm Hunters and crowd control. Currently with Wyvern Sting having a DOT, that makes it tough to Wyvern Sting then trap something after. Before Cata, we had the option to remove the DOT with Scorpid Sting. Any plans to return to that?

Weird place for questions like that because we won't do anything massive for 4.3, but 5.0 resets so many classes. Trying to strike a balance between ridiculous DOTs and crowd control ends. Definitely a problem, better in 5.0.

5:39 pm Thanks for fixing enhancement AOE! Wind Shear: In the dev blog, you stated this wouldn't affect DPS shaman, because they take Reverberation. Most specs don't take it, though. So enhance takes a hit, and suffers in PvP as well. Any plans to address this?

We're not worried about it for 4.3 Even in a 10-man raid, you should have enough people to do crowd-control. We always assume there's several people who can interrupt. We don't see a lot of PvP shaman with the issue.

5:41 pm Please bring back Illidan! I hate to see such a great character fall into obscurity. Do you guys hate enhance? They're barely optimal in PvE and PvP.

I think we should answer the Illidan quesetion! Big crowd cheer when Chris Metzen says, do you want to see him back? How about a newer and more powerful version named Skillidan?

We hear you on the enhance issue. We want classes to have options, e.g. we know frost mages don't do as well in PVE. Different with enhance because you can't just say, hey, go to ele. PvP-wise, all stuff we want to address in 5.0. In PVE, we think they do fine when they have an opportunity to just sit and whale away on a boss, they suffer from movement. We know that casters are stomping melee right now too.

5:43 pm Combat rogues: now that haste gives energy and we have Restless Blades, feels like we have to do things really quick. Rambling question, not sure I'm picking it up. Do you want combat using cooldowns more often, or more cyclical?

Developers don't understand either. Questioner clarifies: Restless Blades wants you to use cooldowns when they're up, everything else says wait for 30%.

GC: I would say Restless Blades option.

5:45 pm Is the guild name change service going to be in 4.3 or 5.0? Is that going to fall by the wayside like the dance studio?

One of these days we will unleash the dance studio on the world and it will take over the World of Warcraft with its awesomeness. But not today. Less than two weeks for the guild services we've been doing.

5:46 pm I love what you've done with heroic Rag, best fight since M'uru and KJ. In upcoming expansions, do you want to bring the same kind of challenges, or will we see more of a neutral-raiding thing, or bigger things?

Heroic modes will always try to be very challenging.

5:47 pm Healers' design in MoP. Bring more healers to a 25-man raid? New healing class to be introduced, so increased pressure on existing healers to justify their slots.

I don't think we'll change the number of healers we expect raids to bring, some will mix it up, some won't.

5:47 pm Everyone's excited about challenge modes. Wondering about gear normalization there. People are really passionate about optimizing their gear so it's perfect, so what's gonna happen when you downgrade stats? Will I lose hit and expertise?

We want to avoid messing with hit caps because they have such a role to play inhow much DPS you do. Intent is for people to do roughly the same DPS, healing, mitigation, etc. Some complexities to work out, for sure.

5:49 pm With some pets and achievements becoming account-bound, will we see some mounts account-bound?

Someday, but probably not in 5.0. I think it's likely.

5:49 pm As a parent, I love my authenticator, because when the kids are grounded, I take it away. Now I don't have that (due to Blizzard not prompting for the authenticator if you keep logging in from the same IP)! Is there an option to take that away?

Soon! It's something we're actively working on.

5:50 pm Balance druid moonkin form. What are your plans for it? Going the way of metamorphosis, or constant?

We're going to update the art on moonkin form as we see fit, but in the thick of art planning for 5.0, so nothing immediate.

5:51 pm You guys have the best customer service out of anyone I've seen, so thank you (big cheer). In regards to that, race-change, quest credit, legendaries -- I lost my quest credit while race-changing for a heroic. Trying to recruit casters is really hard, because most of the ones you want are on the Tarecgosa quest. They don't want to switch factions because they'll lose all their progress.

I'd like to create a whitelist of quests that don't get dropped when you race or faction-change.

We try really hard not to do stuff that will tie up Customer Support. We don't want legendaries to be a CS nightmare.

5:53 pm Will you ever make BOA items go across servers?

Maybe some day in the future, probably not in the immediate future. We don't yet have a mechanism to do that. The databases don't do the best job talking to each other.

The mail system is a terrible way for send gear to your other characters. It'd be wonderful if you had a constant pet page across characters that you could visit and grab, could do that for heirlooms and mounts.

5:54 pm Two-button classes, Swipe Swipe druids and arcane mages (hey!). Intro of the monk, which resembles a rogue and is being built from the ground up, what are you looking at in terms of keeping it from becoming overpowered (audience hates this question).

Think I heard a little QQQ in there (audience agrees). Initially we never put a lot of thought into AOE rotations because it didn't play a big role in classic. However, that's not the case these days, integral part of the modern game. Even though the arcane mage doesn't have a lot of spells, they've still got a lot of other things to worry about.

5:56 pm Whoever came up with the name for mage tier 13, I love you. Arcane mages: Do you plan on altering or adding spells that gives us a DOT?

As a matter of fact, with the 5.0 talent revamp, Living Bomb will be going to all mages.
I love the tier 13 set too, suggested we try to theme the set after the new spells we got in Cata, and the artists went crazy. Fear with transmogrification that artists wouldn just phone it in, from the players. Won't happen!

5:57 pm Will enchanters be able to make epic wands?


5:58 pm What changes are going to happen with professions in the new expansion? Gathering don't give much, crafting gives you the best stuff. A main that raids has to have two crafting professions.

We'll always look at it, but no sweeping changes planned for the perks to those professions. We don't want min-maxers to feel they HAVE to have two crafting professions, don't want people to feel their professions got needlessly nerfed. hard to hit the sweet spot where they feel cool but not mandatory.

Quivers for hunters? Can LW make quivers and ammo bags again?

Not sure what the delivery mechanism will be. We want it to be more of a cosmetic reward. We want to add more cosmetic upgrades, tomes for paladins, quivers for hunters, unique cosmetic things for all classes.

6:00 pm Transmogrification: what about items like Benediction that have been removed? Worried that you'll open up older models to players when I want my special staff.

That's tough. Players went to the effort and want recognition of their efforts. But then some players had to get rid of other stuff due to bank space issues. One way we've solved that is by offering items with a different skin.

6:01 pm On behalf of all retadins, sorry for crying all day every day on the forums, it's ridiculous. If you can deliver the RNG changes promised, I'd be happy! Biggest issue is that the 90 tier on our new talent tree, theres an obvious choice for Ret in Holy Avenger. Looks like a flat DPS increase. Afraid of getting the nerf bat again and getting the cycle of hatred (audience laughs). We're so close to being balanced for the first time ever! I'm fine at middle DPS! Audience really likes this.

Not sure that was a question but it was very moving, thank you (audience laughs hard).

Intent is for 90 tier to give similar bonuses and we feel like we've got enough knobs to tweak there.

6:03 pm Wind Shear. Nerfing it for resto PvP. Intended to be a trade-off, but you don't want them to have it.

We don't want you to have it. (audience laughs)

Why not hardwire it to the spec bonuses?

Another way to go, but this is tricky. Fairly big change for players, and tweaking in talents seems easier to swallow. Might do that in 5.0 though.

6:05 pm Craftable mounts in MoP? Will you be able to attack others from a mount?

We've talked about a craftable mount, I'll get killed if I talk more about it (gets pressed) ... maybe jewelcrafting? Maybe? I said maybe. Maybe herbalism. (laughing). No attacking others though.

6:06 pm Green fire for warlocks?

Definitely a possibility. We thought it might be possible through minor glyphs. Technically, though, we have to make another copy of the spell in order to let players customize it. We could just give you another spell, but that's a big decision to make.

6:07 pm You guys don't like warriors. Can we fix Heroic Leap? No large representation of LGBT folks in Warcraft lore. Likely to change that in the future?

Heroic Leap was something we had to pull earlier when we couldn't get it to work correctly in the Wrath of the Lich King beta. Movement like that is just hard for the game. It's a cool ability, but it has its biggest problems in changing elevations. Sometimes players try to cheat with it, and it's really hard to try to prevent.

For part two, 7 quest designers who currently work on the game, plus CDev, and we appreciate every component of our audience. Off the top of my head, I don't know if we're developing any LGBT characters, but anything's possible.

6:09 pm 10-man vs. 25-man model. Wasted loot in 10-mans especially, mail drops for players who aren't there. Could we implement a smart loot system?

More likely that we would go down the road of trying to make loot drops slightly, vaguely intelligent. Going up to a 15-man raid, while something we've discussed, is ultimately difficult for players. Can't say, go recruit another 5 players, especially if it's just for loot purposes.

6:10 pm As a kitty druid, I really love what you did with Fandral's Flamescythe. Any plans to make another item like that? Spread the love among other druid specs? Any access through transmog?

We talk a lot about that. Do we want this to be what every druid looks like, etc.? ALl cats are on fire or capable of getting the item? For the moment, we want to stay conservative, keep that to Firelands. What if we build up a library of different ways that druids can look? Ice Cat, Fire Cat? (Thunder Cat, they quip) But we'll definitely do stuff like that in the future. We just don't want to make it so formulaic.

6:12 pm As a hunter who's played that class for 5 years, the recent pet taming challenges in 4.2 were so much fun, really brought the hunter community together. So proud of all the pets we've tamed, but it seems a shame that we're not able to take them into raids and dungeons where we have to switch to high DPS pets. Can we change that? Why can't I have my spirit cat with me while I'm marksman or survival?

Couple of different issues there. Yesterday we talked about this, any pet can be ferocity, cunning, or tenacity. That won't solve the problem of BM hunters not wanting MM style pets, but it will address some of this. BM DPS is really pretty good, and it's really a self-fulfilling prophecy where we have players evaluating parses, and the best players tend to pick Marksman, and BM players are often experimenting or just messing around, so that's tough. Individual skill will have more effect than talents.

6:15 pm Lore question. Gallywix in charge and he's a bad guy! Where is he anyway? Blinding shield for pallys, what happened to that too?

We haven't had a conversation about Gallywix in a while, so I don't know if there are any plans at the moment. I think he's interesting and I think he's a bastard, which is what makes him interesting. We'll definitely be looking at that, but we're mostly concerned about pandaren at the moment.

On blinding shield, repeat with me, things can change, but currently penciled in at 87 as a general pally ability.

6:16 pm Shaman's new talents. A lot of them seem to be geared to resto and not DPS. I know you want hybridization, but what about DPS?

There are definitely DPS options there, there will definitely be ways. We just don't want to do it to the point of giving everyone another cookie-cutter build. We do want some healing tiers, or others based around totems, movement or utility.

But you said you wanted to get away from totem talents. Why would you put them back in?

No, we like totems, but we don't like passive buff totems.

6:18 pm Paladins: According to the war behind Warcraft, each paladin has a libram, but we're getting rid of those. Any way to make them visible?

Do you mean make it visible on the character? Yes.

Yes, we're talking about that. We don't want to fall through on the visual side.

6:19 pm Gameplay and lore question. In 4.3, we get to kill Murozond in a 5-man, but Deathwing and Malygos require 10/25-man. Is this the last we'll see of the Infinite? I want to kill them in a raid. And player housing?

For housing, standard answer, it's something we'd love to do some day, and we have a general idea of ways we'd do it, but they're time and resource-consuming. As long as you guys want new races and classes and dungeons, it's tough, but we're still thinking about it.

Relative to the Infinite Dragonflight question, the component is wrapped cleanly in End Time, but the Infinite concept is very cool and very useful for the world. No current plans post-4.3 for the Infinite, but it's an idea that could and should be leveraged forward.

6:22 pm Crafting. For JC, endgame feels bland. Any possibility you could add stuff equivalent to raid drops?

Always possible, question is when it's appropriate, not for every single tier and whether forcing people to switch professions is what would result.

Could we make them BOE to avoid that?

Even if it's BOE, a JC would expect gold from that, so it's still giving something to one profession that others that don't get.

6:23 pm Pandaren: You choose Alliance or Horde, how is there a way to distinguish between Alliance and Horde pandaren in bgs?

Your UI will have to tell you. In arena, you can fight members of your own faction, so we have to rely on that red name. There might be ways to distinguish enemy pandaren, but we don't plan to make them look different.

We experimented with making, say, Horde pandaren more feral or bestial, but we don't want to mess with making them look too different from a classic pandaren, so didn't do that.

6:25 pm Dungeon system with leaderboards looks awesome (challenge modes). Would that translate to raids? How many times a guild has wiped on a boss versus actually killed it?

Certainly a possibility. I can imagine extending it to raids somehow.

6:26 pm Lots of people want reskins on older races. Pandaren look amazing. Reskins and bone structures for older races, because the newer pandaren are just so much better?

Totally, we're all right there with you. We're in the game too and we know the difference. The facial bone structure -- 10 times the number of bones that exist in older races. So much more emotion in the modern models, we really want to do that, but we don't know when it'll happen. It is being worked on with the character artists currently though. We don't want to come out and say everything will be new, we don't want to give players unrecognizable characters. Fidelity to the original characters.

6:27 pm Really enjoyed watching the items you get from raids evolving in art and texture and glow effects. Kind of wondering what the new theme for pandaren raids was going to be? Bamboo and wood?

Brewing! We want to maintain that part of their culture, definitely. We want to make sure all that stuff feels appropriate to their culture.

And that's it, folks!

The news is out -- we'll be playing Mists of Pandaria! Find out what's in store with an all-new talent system, peek over our shoulder at our Pandaren hands-on, and get ready to battle your companion pets against others. It's all here right at WoW Insider!

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