Dev Watercooler: Ghostcrawler on Threat Changes

In his latest Dev Watercooler blog entry, Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street covers some upcoming changes to threat. A hotfix this week will buff tank threat generation "to where it’s generally not a major consideration." Expect to see the following changes implemented:

  • Hotfix: The threat generated by classes in their tanking mode has been increased from three times damage done to five times damage done.
  • In an upcoming patch: Vengeance no longer ramps up slowly at the beginning of a fight. Instead, the first melee attack taken generates Vengeance equal to one third of the damage dealt by that attack. As Vengeance updates during the fight, it is always set to at least a third of the damage taken in the last two seconds. It still climbs from that point at the previous rate, still decays at the previous rate, and still cannot exceed the current maximum.

Ghostcrawler goes on to say they "want to shift more tank mitigation to require active management" and suggests that all tanks can use the Death Knight model of managing resources to maximize survivability. You can read the entire entry after the jump.

So what do you think? Are the changes worthwhile or unnecessary? Join the discussion in our WoW general forum.

Dev Watercooler: Questing at Level 85

Lead Quest Designer Dave "Fargo" Kosak has written his first Dev Watercooler entry, and it's an interesting look at how Blizzard is attempting to make questing a rewarding experience after you've hit level 85. Kosak explains that there are a variety of things that can keep players invested in questing past the level cap:

  • Participation in an epic story
  • A sense of progress
  • Discovery of something new or unexpected each day
  • Earning character customization (including cool mounts!)
  • Earning fun toys
  • Making your character more powerful

Kosak also discusses the new Firelands daily quest area that's coming in patch 4.2. He hopes that players will enjoy the personal progression and epic storyline that will be told through approximately 60 quests. You can read his entire Dev Watercooler entry after the jump.

So what are your thoughts on questing past the level cap? Do you do it for the storyline or the gold? Or do you simply switch your focus to raiding?

Dev Watercooler: Ghostcrawler on Talent Trees

Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street is back with another installment of his Dev Watercooler series, and in this entry he explains what worked and what didn't with the new talent trees that were introduced in Cataclysm. For example, he feels that "the game is as balanced as it’s ever been," but admits that "there are still a few clunker talents" in the trees.

You can read Ghostcrawler's full talent tree post-mortem after the jump. What is your pros and cons list regarding Cataclysm talent trees? Let us know in the comments below.

Dev Watercooler: Ghostcrawler on Crit Percentages

In his latest Dev Watercooler blog entry, Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street discusses the logic behind having different crit percentages for different classes and suggests that any crit in the game could ultimately be set at 200% to balance the playing field.

"It would be a very simple rule, and I’d argue any loss of class distinction is more than made up for by the positive balance ramifications," he said. Of course, nothing mentioned in these Dev Watercooler entries is set in stone, so we'll have to wait and see if this change becomes a reality.

For more details, read Ghostcrawler's full post after the jump.

Dev Watercooler: Ghostcrawler Discusses Gear Stats

Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street has published a new Dev Watercooler blog post, and this one focuses on gear stats. He basically discusses whether gear should be more universal or more targeted toward specific talent specs. If gear is focused on specific specs, then bosses feel like slot machines. If gear is more universal, more players would be competing for items.

"Unless we come up with a really compelling reason to change gear stats, we’ll probably stick with the Cataclysm model for the foreseeable future. But we’re interested in seeing your feedback," Ghostcrawler said. So what are your thoughts on the topic? For more details, check out the full blog entry below.

Dev Watercooler: Ghostcrawler Discusses Interrupts

Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street just published his second Dev Watercooler blog post, which is a new series "that provides an inside look into the thoughts and discussions happening within the World of Warcraft development team." In this entry, Ghostcrawler looks at the butterfly effect that spellcast interrupt abilities have had in the game.

Because interrupts such as Kick are easy to use and have a low cooldown, casters have been given a lot of instant spells and movement abilities to compensate in PvP. In PvE, casters have become more mobile with minimal DPS loss, which could make players view melee classes as a liability on certain encounters.

So what's the answer? Ghostcrawler suggests giving Pummel, Kick and Wind Shear 30-second cooldowns, but a lot of other mechanics would need to be redesigned to make that work. For more details, read Ghostcrawler's brainstorming session after the jump.

Blizzard Kicks Off 'Dev Watercooler' Blog Series

Remember when the Blue Tracker for official Blizzard posts was filled with comments from Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street? It looks like the team is attempting to capture a similar feeling with its new Dev Watercooler blog series. As Ghostcrawler puts it, these blogs will be "much more conversational and less proclamational. ... It will hopefully feel like you’re eavesdropping on our design meetings."

After emphasizing that these blogs should be viewed as brainstorming sessions rather than official patch notes, Ghostcrawler goes into a lengthy discussion about the role of Hit and Expertise on tank gear. How can Blizzard make them more interesting? He mentions turning them into defensive stats, but they're not sure yet.

You can read Ghostcrawler's post after the jump. What are your thoughts on this Dev Watercooler style?