DrJones: In one of the last Interviews you told us, that you will decide to make more classquests when you got the feedback and know about the success of the warlock greenfire-Quest. So we had a little chat about this in our team a few days ago and we asked ourselves how this considerations might have ended up? Are you happy with the warlock-quest? Will there be more classquests?
Greg Street: Yes! I would say overall the reaction to the warlock questline is really positiv. It felt immersed in the lore and in the world but it also had some really cool boss fights and things like that. I got a lot of emails personally from players telling me how much fun they had with it and an old friend of mine told me that it was the most fun he ever had in WoW. Based on that we considered a huge success and I’m sure we will do more of them in the future when it makes sence. We don’t know what class will be next and when will be the appropriate time to do it. But overall I would say this is the kind of thing we will do more of.
DrJones: That nice to hear. Our Gunslinger always asks me to tell you to do a priest questline please. So now that I told you that he will surely be very happy.
Greg Street: [Laughts] So he will now be happy. We will do some priest quest especially for him. [laughts]
DrJones: Let’s get over to Patch 5.4: You are, again, changing the behavior of proccs. You went from Internal Cooldowns to Proccs per minute, now we get real proccs per minute or RPPM. One of the Problems, some players are expecting is, that there could be a DPS-difference at the pull up to 70k DPS just randomly. Can you tell us some of your thoughts about RPPM and would you consider going back to ICD like some players want you to? Or what about some Trinckets with an use-effect?
Greg Street: I think idealy trinkets work best when there is a variety and players can kind of gravitate towards. Will they prefer a use one, will they prefer a passive one or an ICD one or something totally different. We have some pretty crazy trinkets this time around. We’re just trying to keep it fresh.
What we are trying to do with the RPPM was make the trinkets a little more random. We often use as a example how windfury worked once upon a time. One in a while you get 3 or 4 proccs in a row and that felt awesome and pretty cool. And we had balanced our trinkets to a point where they were fairly boring. ICD meant that they will procc immediately and once their ICD is done they procc immediately again. It felt… a term we often use is metronomy where you exactly know when the procc is gonna come up again. And when this happens it’s almost like having a passive statboost at the beginning. It’s not quite the same because you can capitalize on when the procc is up.
But we didn’t think that this was a very reactive gameplay and a very predictable gameplay. And what we thought what we could do with the real proccs per minute is have them over all procc the same amount but space them out with those cool back to back trinket proccs.
The two main changes we had to make to this system is at first, we did have to cheat a little on the players favor to make sure they would procc quickly because the on the pull cooldown usage has become such a critical part of raiding. Unfortunately we think it’s too much so we think the damage gain at the very beginning of a fight overshadows often the rest of the fight. We don’t think it’s a good place to be. But thats of our long term problems. In the short term it is what it is and players are used to. We don’t want their choice of trinket to ruin the pull just because it won’t procc.
And then the most recent thing we did is: originally the RPPM-Chance was affected by haste and we just decided that this is making the trinkets much more powerfull than they should have been. The On-Use, passive or IDC-Trinkets will never gonne be able to compete when the RPPM-Trinkets will have a 10% DPS gain or something absurd like that. So hopefully without this haste- interaction they are a little more on budget now legitimate choice.
DrJones: Another topic that is highly discussed all around the forums is cast while moving. In the so called good old times, damage while moving was a privilege of the meeles. Now, nearly every caster is able to cast while moving and meeles are getting more and more unpopular in raids. Are you making some first steps in the direction of making caster more static? Or how do you want to address this problem?
Greg Street: We think ultimately it’s a very complex problem. We think ultimately that the games works better when there is not a lot of casting while moving. For starters movement is supposed to be a challenge for the group to have to overcome. We ask you to move knowing that you have to interrupt what you are doing and throws you off a little bit and let players deal with it. Casting while moving is by the way not the only way to deal with it. We have also things like blink where you quickly finish moving and then you can get back to standing still and nuking again.
The problem appeared as some classes could cast while moving and others cannot. It could be a huge DPS difference between those. And coupled with that we know casting while moving is fun. It feels right to a lot of players, it feels more moderate, it’s something you used to know from other games. So we didn’t want to make a hard rule and say: no, you can’t ever cast while moving. We just try to keep it under control and we want to make sure that it felt like a DPS-lost whenever you cast while moving but to giving the players some options so that they don’t have to be just idle while they are moving.
Hopefully we can keep it at that kind of safe spot. For example a firemage using scorch makes not a ton of damage but a least they are doing something, they are not totally idle at that point.
DrJones: Ok, let’s talk about the Patch 5.4 Features: We love those lore trivia quests on the Timeless Isle. Are you planing to do such quests more often?
Greg Street: The Timeless Isle is a huge experiment for us. We haven’t done anything like it before. It was a reaction to feedback we got from players about our earlier patches. They said that no matter how many dailyquests we add, they begin to feel repetitive after a while. So we tried to come up with ways that players could be in the outdoor world making progression without it feeling so much like they were killing the same ten mobs every day, over and over again.
We experimented a little bit with this in Patch 5.3 with the barrens – I call them quests but they weren’t – with the barrens experience. And then the Timeless Isle there is even more of that. We tried lots of different things to see what players think is fun. There is just going out and killing mobs, there is grouping up for killing mobs, there is looking out for rarespawnes and events, there are treasure chests, jumping puzzles and there are thinks like this little hints of lore.
5.4 overall is really big in storytelling. The raid itselve – just because of it’s topic we felt like must have a lot of NPC-interaction, a lot of speaches, interactions between characters. And we carried this over a little bit on the Timeless Isle to make sure there were lore rewards, the trivia-quests and things like that. So, if players like it and we get a lot of feedback that is definitively something we will do more of in the future.
DrJones: You have talked about experimenting a lot. We will also see this amazing noodle carts, which seem to me like a test for some kind of playershops like we know them from other MMORPGs. With the Housing-test aka. Tiller-Farm in mind: Do you just like to experiment with such things or is there something really huge rising at the horizon?
Greg Street: Yeah… I wouldn’t read too much in the noodle carts. It was more that we got some epic looking art and the designers were like: this carts are too cool to just give the players without having to spend any effort. What can we do to make it feel like something cool they earned? So there is the idea of the scenario you do with the noodle cart that plays like a dino dash styled game where you are trying to get the right food or the right page. And then the reward for that will be the noodle cart, this awesome movable feast.
I don’t see it in the same vein of features like the tillers farm but I will say that we are really happy with the reactions players had with the farm. It was almost like the noodle carts an one of feature that a couple of designers got excited about and it turned into a really big thing. There will be definitely more of this stuff in the future.
DrJones: Can you tell us something about the destruction of Stormwind harbor?
Greg Street: Wow! I really hate to spoil that surprise because players haven’t quite figured it out yet. I predict they’ll figure it out but for now I think we should keep that a mistery.
DrJones: Ok, that sounds quite exciting but I can totally understand your point.
Greg Street: I will say that it is definitively part of Patch 5.4. So sometimes players find things that are just little experiments that aren’t seeing the light of day like the Defence of the Alehouse-Battleground. But this Stormwind thing is something we will actually see in 5.4.