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BlizzCon 2013: Open Q&A Liveblog

Allison Robert

The "World of Warcraft: Q&A About Almost Everything" panel scheduled for 5:30 pm EST/2:30 pm PST is set to get started momentarily. Once again, we'll be liveblogging the full panel for you!

Having liveblogged several of these panels over the years, I would make a small request of the questioners: Please don't use this as an opportunity to complain about your class. BlizzCon tickets cost money, but you can complain about your class on the forums for free!

6:25PM And that's it!

6:24PM A: You're saying you have hundreds of friends?

Q: Yeah, I'm a big supporter of pugs and the extended community, would like more slots. If WoW Armory app had a way to contact them outside game that would be cool.

A: Good suggestion.

6:23PM Q: Removing cap for RealID and

6:23PM A: They're not on Draenor at this time. Won't see them here but we DEFINITELY have plans for them. You will see them again.

GC: Final boss confirmed.

A: On the yak.

6:23PM Q: If we're going to be seeing Alleria and Turalyon again?

6:22PM A: Would like to do that, yes. Need to do that while being mindful of challenges that mid-expansion 5-man content can bring. Removed a lot of the reason to do Cata launch dungeons and left you with 2 or 3 dungeons that you ran over and over. We don't want to do that again. Possibly scaling up older dungeons to match the challenge and gear of newer 5-man content.

6:21PM Q: Really cool heroics alongside endgame content in Wrath and Cata. Would like to see that back.

6:21PM A: Would really like to do that and have plans for a collection system but may not be able to finish that by the time WoD came out.

A: Almost showed that in presentation but don't want to turn that into a promise we might have to break.

6:21PM Q: Really impressed by transmog in Diablo. Can unlock an appearance across all characters. Any chance we can do that in WoW?

6:20PM A: Not sure yet. Planning to let you find recipes on missions. Not sure we've finalized which ones you'll get. Could let you build epic blacksmithing weapons if we wanted, just need to balance that with players who are blacksmiths themselves.

6:20PM Q: Garrisons: What are the NPC and building limitations, can they make things like epic gear?

6:19PM A: Backlog of hairstyles we haven't yet put in so they're there.

Q: Little concerned because there weren't many on the examples we saw.

A: Definitely more than that but we just showed the stuff that was done. Somebody ask about quivers and stuff please, we have answers.

6:18PM Q: Any new hairstyles with model changes?

6:18PM A: Honestly, a lot of classic world PvP happened in the absence of battlegrounds. Don't really know that we can recapture that especially with heavily unbalanced realms. Going to try to focus on the world PvP zone that we're creating, just making it a really fun place to go when you want some PvP action. Don't think we'll see the Tarren Mill/Southshore thing back though.

6:17PM Q: Original WoW player here. World PvP has gone down, or feels like it has at least. Servers that are massively populated for Alliance or Horde bad for world PvP. What are you doing with that sandbox?

6:17PM A: Something we've addressed. Moving forward we have to make the decision: Do we want to support multiple raid levels at equal difficulty or streamline? Completely understand, not everyone can make that jump, we apologize.

A: Could also get really slow computers and just play heroic (for the same level of difficulty).

6:16PM Q: Seven times as many guilds have killed have Garrosh on 10-man as 25-man. By going to a 20-man raid you're completely changing the unique culture and personality in 10-mans. How to preserve that?

6:15PM A: Sounds like a good thing to be on the back of the yak.

A: Way to rile 'em up.

A: Horde is going to go back and redefine itself and what it values and I think it'll come away from this venture a lot stronger over the course of WoD.

6:15PM A: Faction-change to Alliance.

(Audience reaction is mixed)

6:14PM Q: Horde took a pretty big hit lore-wise. Alliance is super-strong now; what can Horde do to get back to that level?

6:14PM A: We want to make it easier to play with friends. We still believe in realm locality and having a home, but we want lower barriers. If you don't want to realm-transfer that's OK.

A: Still a lot of attraction to being in the same guild with your friends.

6:14PM Q: Earlier today it was mentioned that WoD features normal and heroic raids cross-realm. Why would you want to realm-transfer anymore?

6:13PM A: I would like to apologize for what happened to Eyes of the Beast. We had good intentions in pruning unneeded abilities but some of the ones we took weren't really bloat so much as fun. Some of the code got clipped off in the removal and it would be non-trivial to add it back in. If we can figure out a way to add it back we will, just no immediate solution. Great question.

6:12PM Q: On behalf of the hunter community, I'd like to ask where is Eyes of the Beast? Coolest ability ever and we lost it.

6:12PM A: No time to go into that in detail on the panel but there are so many different forms of dragons it gets interesting in the game. Some of these details haven't been ironed out so it's a great question, believe there's a printed book that's coming out soon with answers. No answer right here but we have talked about it.

6:11PM Q: In Dawn of the Aspects we saw a great variety of proto-drakes. Was wondering if we could get a definitive answer on the different dragonflights and their breath abilities.

6:10PM A: Mythic raid lockout will work like heroic does today. Boss-based, static raid ID, nothing changes there. No parallel main-alt raids through mythic. Everything else will work pretty much like it does today. E.g., heroic ToT raiders went to normal SoO and then heroic SoO, mostly ignored flex. That progression should be preserved.

6:09PM Q: Just want to thank you for decades of awesome work. 10-man guild in heroic content and I'm in for some big changes. Concerned about going to mystic for 20 with a bench of 5 and the logistics. Concerned about doing 48 bosses every week to be competitive.

6:08PM A: You're trapped there forever.

A: We're still talking about that, one way to do this might be through Caverns of Time. Also talking about how to handle for non-max-level characters. Current timeline is kind of broken. Cata is 1-60, then back in time to Outland time through Northrend, then back to Cata, then to MoP. Trying to resolve how to do this for everyone.

6:08PM Q: Gameplay mechanic question. When the Dark Portal turns red, how do you get to old Outland if you want to go there rather than WoD?

6:07PM A: (playing dumb) Surely we would never troll our player base like that.

A: Who would do that?

A: Yes, they're in a predetermined location. If you choose to have it in different zones you know the general location, it's buildings that you can change up, incorporates unique features of the zone it's in.

A: If we allowed players complete freedom they'd just park it in front of the raids.

6:06PM Q: Garrisons. Are they going to be in predetermined locations? And it's got a dance studio?

6:06PM A: Guys on our team who are working on a side project to do something like that. (Audience claps and cheers) We're fans of WC1, WC2, WC3, we want to play them again too.

6:05PM Q: POssibly consider the old WC games being available to play again on modern computer?

6:05PM A: Secondary and tertiary stats should always stay the same but you can still function with primary stats even if you don't get the exact stats you want.

A: Still experimenting and testing, still arguing over how best to implement them, a lot of details will morph before going live, but it's a legit concern.

6:04PM Q: With tertiary and secondary stats, are we going to see a morph of that when we spec-change or will I have to collect multiple sets?

6:04PM A: No idea.

A: We need a bucket of red shirts for WoW.

6:04PM Q: Horde crest: Is it a naaru? (ooooooooooooh good question)

6:03PM A: Uther Pendragon's crest was a dragon but there were no dragons in England either!

A: Now Tom needs the red shirt.

6:03PM Q: Horde and Alliance quests. Alliance crest is a lion but there are no lions in the EK whatsoever. What's up with that?

6:03PM A: That question came up almost immediately after that presentation. One idea was transmog (cheers).

A: Were you guys designing at BlizzCon? Don't do that.

A: We were sober.

A: It was over lunch, like two hours ago.

A: What do you want on the yak?

(Audience screams suggestions)

A: Vanilla servers on the yak!

6:02PM Q: With reforging gone, what will replace the vendor on the yak?

Audience loves this.

6:02PM A: Excellent question: What are celestial dragons? Think the Titans were involved.

A: We need to get you a red shirt.

A: No official story or lore about celestial dragons, but honestly ... they just look really bitchin'.

6:01PM Q: What's with celestial dragons? They're not celestial or dragons.

6:01PM A: No. And by the way, you don't want to do that either. You think you do, but you don't. Remember when you had to spam cities saying NEED A TANK, NEED A TANK, NEED A TANK during the BC days? Now you push a button to say I want a dungeon. You don't want to do that.

Remember that one bug we fixed years ago? Still there.

6:00PM Q: Ever thought about adding servers for previous expansions?

6:00PM A: We've talked about it a lot and have some ideas. Desire is there.

(Please, Blizzard, don't do this. I'll lose my job if I can do pet battles everywhere)

5:59PM Q: Pet battles going to mobile devices? (Audience likes this)

5:59PM A: We have a guy in the office with a drinking bird pressing YES or NO to your bonus rolls all the time

(Audience laughs)

Don't worry about wasting your chances, it will not be affected by winning or not winning loot elsewhere.

5:58PM Q: follow-up; how does it work now? Does it change from raid to raid?

5:58PM A: Yes. Not sure exactly what you'll do for them but we like the idea that you have some control over loot.

5:58PM Q: Are bonus rolls continuing in 6.0?

5:58PM A: No specific plans but we've done that with other glyphs and it'd be interesting to explore more cosmetic options.

5:57PM Q: I play a mage. Can we change the color of Evocation?

5:57PM A: Any hour we spend on the old stuff is an hour more to spend on gettnig you new stuff.

5:57PM A: We definitely love that, but we do have to juggle resources and concentrate on the new stuff. Not in the immediate future but we'll keep experimenting with it.

5:56PM Q: Events in Draenor to keep the world alive. More events like that for older zones so people who are leveling can also benefit from that? As in, hey look, barn on fire, maybe we can help?

5:56PM A: Healer comp has always been tough, my guess would be 5 baseline, maybe 4 when you need to squeeze out more DPS, but one of the good things about 20-man and 20-man only is that we can PLAN around that number of players and never worry about scaling boss mechanics.

5:55PM Q: What sort of metagame are you looking for there?

5:55PM A: 18.

5:55PM Q: How many healers do you expect to be running in 20-man format?

5:54PM A: It's hard, we can't win. For years you guys have been asking for draenei stuff and now out come the gnomes.

A: Chromie? We gave you Chromie.

A: They retook Gnomeregan in Cata, maybe we can find some opportunity to explore more gnome stuff, maybe not right away.

A: Blood Gnomes confirmed.

5:53PM Q: Love the stuff I've seen in WoD, really like exploration of the draenei story and lore. When can we expect the same treatment for gnomes?

5:53PM A: Couple of questions wrapped into this. As far as racial balance goes, in terms of pure damage potential there, some things still need to be balanced. Hit and expertise racials will be replaced and we want to narrow the gap. Idea is that you play the race you want to play out of interest, maybe a little for utility, but not, "OK, this sim says troll is 2% better."

5:52PM Q: Thanks for green fire! As a raider in heroic progression, will we continually be punished for race and class changes?

5:52PM A: Really not happy with how the game has gone where it's a checklist: "OK I got my belt from this raid, OK I got my gloves from this raid," we want it to be more interesting.

A: What we're trying to say is that Mr. Robot is not sitting on this stage and he should not have to approve your items.

5:51PM Q: Cutting out the crap on all items like hit/expertise is great, but how should I feel rewarded when I gotta get a heroic warforged good tertiary stat weapon?

5:50PM A: The Titans are a really interesting concept and their fingerprints are all over the universe. They did visit Draenor and we might get a little hint of what they did there. They shaped Draenor and kinda peaced out, so not as much. I don't think this one will have so much Titan stuff in it but we will always revisit it, they're the opposite of the Burning Legion and there's great symmetry there.

5:50PM Q: Lore question. I've always found the titan story fascinating and it's been front and center in previous expansions. Can you say anything about that? Will we see it in next expansion or become its own expansion?

5:49PM Sorry about that, I misheard that question -- I'll amend later.

5:49PM A: Want to do something to help you -- if you want to make a garrison on your alt, we want to make a speed boost for that.

5:49PM Q: Design for garrison followers?

5:48PM A: We definitely want to do a legendary questline combined with something maybe like the heirloom rops off Garrosh, something between the two.

5:48PM Q: Legendary in WoD. The others felt like special things, this cloak feels like a raid requirement.

5:47PM A: Intent is that tertiary stats are rare enough that you can't depend on them, possibly confined to specific armor slots like belt or boots.

A: Kinda similar to Warforged, v. difficult to get a full set and players don't expect or plan around it.

Q: Are you removing heroic Warforged gear?

A: No.

A: Thought here is that there are multiple vectors along which items can be different or special, more interesting combinations and ways to interact with them.

5:46PM Q: With the addition of Tertiary stats, how do you plan to keep players from getting too much, like 20% movement speed? Huge advantage on high-level raiding.

5:46PM A: context? Missing Volley?

A: No definitive answer. Greg?

A: Overall the problem with the original Volley was that there are players who want to do the best damage they can, and others who want an interesting rotation rather than spamming AOE on multimob packs. With hunters we wanted to find something more interesting than just spamming and channeling and then when you finish channel it again.

5:44PM Q: Hunter AOE abilities are target-only. What does Blizz intend to do about this?

5:44PM A: Ultimately we want to make it easier to find people to do content you enjoy, and we want to give advance notice of this change for that reason. We anticipate people moving to mythic raiding over time and giving their rosters time to adapt. Change is being made in the long-term interests of raiding health. Completely understand and sympathize with short-term difficulties but in the long run we think it's better.

A: Plus Gorup Finder will find you 10 new best friends.

5:42PM Q: 10-man raiding. 20-man for mystics, not necessarily a problem, but any solutions you can give me? Aside from recruiting and merging guilds, what options do I have? (some cheers here) Recruit, or find a new guild, what solutions exist?

5:42PM A: Smart heals are one of those things we agree have gotten out of hand to a certain extent and comes at the expense of engaging and interesting healing gameplay. Really detracts when a good healer is halfway through a cast to get someone up from spike damage and a smart heal snipes it. Want to keep a place for smart heals but we're exploring making smart heals a little less "smart." Might have AOE smart heals prefer anyone who's injured without necessarily prioritizing people who are the most hurt. Should have to make intelligent choices to top people off.

Q: So that's a yes?

A: That's an Ion yes.

Q: Are you going to take away the 25% penalty to Chakra? It's not a bonus.

A: We've struggled a lot with that kind of design re: modes to do different things. Not sure there are many successful things in the game that do that. We still like Chakra, exploring other things we can do with it, but entirely possible we pull the whole thing.

5:40PM Q: Smart heals?

5:39PM A: I love Wrathion. He played a great role in Pandaria and helped tie the storyline together, but he doesn't feel appropriate for the WoD storyline. More cameo-ish, I think.

GC: Not the final boss of Warlords?

A: Grommash will ride him into battle.

5:39PM Q: Are we going to see Wrathion in the next expansion?

5:39PM A: Taking it in stages right now, bringing everything up to the level we want, then going to take another look. Question of cost vs. reward but we're going to keep looking at it.

5:38PM Q: What is the likelihood of you answering more character customizations, mixing hair, dances, facial marks?

5:38PM A: Few things in mind. We feel great about the base, want to expand the collection aspect, more new pets in Draenor to collect, find, and new trainers to battle against. Couple ideas for garrisons as well, one building is the pet stable with opportunities for a new trainer, possibly even a way to do epic pet battles.

5:37PM Q: Pet battles: Any major changes to the pet battle system?

5:37PM A: No plans to use the area for the Scythe of Elune questline (which questioner referenced). Cool area but sometimes we get ahead of ourselves with too much content, that was one casualty.

5:37PM Q: Duskwood. There's an era called Beggar's Haunt with a lot of art associated with it, was it ever intended for something bigger?

5:36PM A: We keep our existing content as is beacuse it reflects a particular timeline that leads to the modern one, and it's appropriate for Garrosh to be leading the Horde during the Cata-era quests.

5:36PM A: TWo good questions. Emerald Dream is restricted to Azeroth. Updating old content is pretty resource-intensive and we're likely to leave it as it is for now.

5:35PM Q: Certain zones like Silverpine where you can talk to Garrosh. Will those have to be updated to Vol'jin, and what's going on with Emerald Dream and is it in Outland?

5:35PM Q: So we can kick both Hellscream asses?

A: Yep.

5:35PM A: Grommash Hellscream.

5:34PM Q: Do you know what the last boss is in Warlords of Draenor yet?

5:34PM A: More focused on Moira, the Dark Irons, and the Council of the Three Hammers, Moira stepping up to help the Alliance in a big way, and we'll see more of Moira and the Dark Irons in the next expansion.

5:34PM Q: Dwarves, not a lot of them lately in the storyline, not sure what's happening with Magni?

5:33PM A: Re: parties, I assume you meant your followers --

Q: I mean, how many of your guildies and friends can be in your area.

A: Oh, invite a raid, all 40.


A: Dear server programmers, we're sorry.

5:33PM A: Probably not while you're offline, no mechanic design for it and we're not sure what your friends could do while you're there anyway --

GC: Trash it. (NEVER CHANGE, GC)

5:32PM Q: As an RPer from Earthen Ring, very excited for "player housing" on steroids in the form of garrisons. Was wondering -- how many people can be in your garrison and any plans for friends to access it while you're offline?

5:32PM A: Can't say that we're actively working on it, very complex and we'd have to devote a lot of attention. Won't rule it out.

5:31PM Q: Garrisons: Looks like tablets, kind of? Are we putting them into the Wow Armory app?

5:31PM "Fire away!"

5:31PM Ooh, extra person. Art director Chris Robinson has joined us for the panel!

5:29PM With us this afternoon/evening will be Ion Hazzikostas, J. Allen Brack, Tom Chilton, Dave Kosak, Cory Stockton, and Greg Street. Even if you're a newbie to Blizzard or BlizzCon, those names should look pretty familiar to you by now.

To be honest, I find it kind of heartening that we know and recognize so many of the people who make this game. Somehow this feels important. Off to ice my wrist after two previous liveblogs before I get too maudlin.

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