WotLK credits

I gave a quick glance at WotLK credits. It seems that the happy trio got promotions.

Jeff “Tigole” Kaplan is now “Game Director”
Tom “Kalgan/Evocare” Chilton is now “Lead Designer”
Alex “Furor” Afrasiabi is now “World Lead Designer”

The hard part is getting in the loop.

Fire in the hole!

It’s fun how things are developing. After Kalgan pathetic defense of Arenas we got Tigole turning things on their head.

But first an explanatory, spontaneous discussion I spotted on guild chat earlier today:

Now the wonderful backpedaling:

Actually, we have been discussing new battlegrounds quite a bit lately. Wrath of the Lich King will feature Strand of the Ancients (attack/defend) as well as Wintergrasp (non-instanced, world PvP).

But past that, we are exploring ideas that would involve expanding our Battleground content in future patches and beyond. We believe we have some strong ideas for improving Battlegrounds and PvP as a whole in the game and we’re definitely going to focus on improvements in the future. Now, it’s very early to be talking about some of this stuff but I think it’s important for the community to know that it’s on our minds.

Our general thought is that we could provide more BG content over time. The BG content that we could provide could be of higher quality with a higher degree of accessibility. Overall, we’d like to have more content and variety. We also want the gameplay experience in the BGs to be better directed. We’re also exploring the concept of a complimentary “competitive” bg system as well. Over time, we’d like the focus of PvP to shift back to being more BG-centric and more focused on Horde versus Alliance — the core of our game.

We’re also planning on improving some Battleground and PvP features in general. For example, we want to give you the ability to queue for Battlegrounds from anywhere in the world. We’re also going to explore EXP gain through the PvP system as well as low level itemization to support that.

Please don’t take this post as a promise. This won’t be an overnight process. Not all of these things are set in stone and guaranteed to happen. It would take us a while to shift in this direction. But these are some of the current thoughts on the development team. I think it’s important for you guys to know some of our thought process in regards to PvP.

Yep, not an overnight process. It requires Kalgan to be fired first, now that he is way beyond recovery.

Third and fourth paragraph are a shameless Warhammer rip-off. “We believe we have some strong ideas”. Oh yeas, I’m sure. Just that they aren’t yours.

And it’s late for you. The “core of your game” doesn’t exist anymore.

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Kalgan is worth a parody

It seems that my personal crusade isn’t anymore personal.

Why wasting words when some players can make the perfect summary:

YOU’RE GOING TO ARENA, AND YOU ARE GOING TO LIKE IT, YOU HEAR ME?!

AIN’T NO WAY IS THE BOTTOM FALLING OUT OF THE GLORIOUS PYRAMID OF SKILL MY ARENAS HAVE CONSTRUCTED, I WON’T PUT UP WITH THIS CRAP. COME WOTLK, YOU’RE ALL GOING TO GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY IN MY LINE-OF-SIGHT, COUNTER-COMP, RUN-AWAY-AND-DRINK, BURST-THE-WARRIOR, TRAIN-THE-LOCK, OOM-THE-HEALERS, FLAVOUR-OF-THE-MONTH, SAND-BOX CREATION THAT IS THE BE-ALL-END-ALL OF ANY KIND OF PVP EXPERIENCE YOU PATHETIC RETARDS WILL EVER SEE IN ANY MMO OF YOUR SHORT INSIGNIFICANT LIVES. I MEAN JESUS CHRIST YOU GUYS SHOULD BE SIPHONING OFF SOME OF YOUR GRANDMOTHERS PENSION TO ME CAUSE THIS IS JUST SO GOOD.

AND IF ANY OF YOU SKILLESS WORMS DARE THINK OTHERWISE YOU"RE GOING TO HAVE TO SETTLE FOR PVE BLUE GEAR, GOT IT? GOOD LUCK PVPING IN THAT CRAP, YOU’RE GOING TO BLOODY-WELL NEED IT. THEN AGAIN, THAT’S ALL YOU BATTLEGROUND / WORLD PVP LOVING FAILURES DESERVE. HELL, YOU’RE LUCKY YOU’RE EVEN ALLOWED TO BUY WOTLK WITHOUT HAVING A PERSONAL RATING OF 2200. WOW ISN’T ABOUT FUN ANYMORE, IT’S ABOUT GODDAMN SKILL, YOU HEAR ME? AT LEAST WATCHING THE GLADIATORS (THAT ARE PROBABLY BETTER THAN YOU IN RL AS WELL) MORTAL-STRIKING / DIVINE-STORMING / SHADOW-STEPPING YOUR NOOB ASS INTO OBLIVION IN BATTLEGROUNDS WILL KEEP ME AMUSED AS I CREATE THE NEXT TIER OF ARENA GEAR WHILE BENCHING DOUBLE YOUR BODY WEIGHT WITH ONE ARM.

LOVE,

FROM YOUR PVP OVERLORD AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF,

KALGAN

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Tom Chilton and his righteous game design

When I first read about this issue I misunderstood it and thought was related to arenas items requiring a certain rating to be used and not just to be earned, which was discussed months ago. Then the second time I got it right: they were putting arena rating requirements EVEN on battlegrounds/honor items.

It was so utterly stupid that I thought right away that it was some unintended beta transition. No way it could make into release.

Instead it’s deliberate.

What a fucking rambling idiot. He was always, but he’s now surpassing every record and even PRETENSE of plausibility. Who the fuck runs Blizzard to allow that this jerk is still around AND a senior designer who continues to fuck and ruin the PvP in every way possible? How it’s possible that most of the rest of the design is so brilliant while this guy can still do as he pleases? Where is the rest of the team? Why no one says anything?

The reason behind the retarded change is summarized this way:

However for now, we don’t have a way to measure “skill” in a battleground in a way that getting the “best” items in the game through battlegrounds would feel equitable when compared to what is required as far as co-ordination and success in pve to get items of equivalent power.

it’s more of a natural consequence of the fact that because we have a way to measure success that feels reasonably balanced against pve, we’re able to put high-end items there, which on its own creates the focus of importance.

They want a “morally right” game where rewards come for “skill” and not for sinking time.

Since in PvE endgame the rewards only come if you “win” the l33t raid game, and if you keep failing you get nothing, they wanted this even on PvP and thought that rewards should only come from “winning” and not for trying, or participating. They don’t want to reward persistence, they want to reward success. You have to be worthy.

Now, as a principle, the idea is even plausible even if unacceptable for a *game*, since players are supposed to have fun no matter of their limits. You know, the best game is the one that makes you think you are very good, not the game that slaps you in the face and laughs every time you fail and makes you feel like you are the very bottom of the food chain.

But let’s put this concern aside for a second. Rewarding “skill” as opposed to time sinks and grinds. Sounds palatable. And maybe it is, if it wasn’t for the fact that the principle of rewarding “skill” through “power-ups” is one HUGE CONTRADICTION. It’s just plain stupid. Unmotivated.

What if for next Olympiads Usain Bolt starts 20m ahead of everyone else since he won this past edition? But, oh, Kalgan replied to that argument:

Of course, I realize that the subject of “skill” is another topic of debate on its own, with many players citing gear quality and team comps as factors in determining the outcome (some seem to go as far as to imply that it’s all that matters). Clearly, those factors do influence the outcome, but not in a way that makes skill irrelevant. If that were the case, it wouldn’t be very hard to step onto the stage with some of the pro-gamers in the tournament and take them down in a match of even gear and comps. However, I can assure you that while I consider myself (for example) a pretty respectable player when it comes to arenas, I and a pair of similarly skilled teammates probably wouldn’t win more than 1 in every 100 games against the top players despite using identical gear and comps. Like it or not, that’s skill.

First. The case of competing with identical gear is not a playable case. It doesn’t happen. And what happens isn’t that players who wear crap are “bolstered” to the item quality of “top-players”. What happens is that those top-players HAVE A FUCKING ADVANTAGE OVER PLAYERS WITH LESS SKILL *AND* LESS POWERFUL.

It’s not equal footing and it’s not even weaker players brought to the level of stronger ones. It’s just giving advantages to who is already ahead, so that this relative situation is preserved.

Second. The implication that there’s skill in the game doesn’t justify in ANY way that those who have the skill must have artificial advantages added on top of that skill. QUITE THE CONTRARY.

Sure there’s skill. Usain Bolt may as well win even if *I* start 20m ahead of him. But this doesn’t fucking justify the fact that HE has the right start 20m ahead *of me* simply because he has that skill. QUITE THE OPPOSITE.

So it’s really a matter of plausibility, not game design. We are far away from any possible game consideration. This is plain obvious: you just CAN’T justify an irritating change in the game as a moral principle. Because the premises of that principle are, as demonstrated, completely wrong and unacceptable. So that justification doesn’t work.

The true reasons why this is happening are twofold. The first well explained on Q23:

A lot of players have simply given up on the arena due to the fact that they don’t find it fun getting pounded 10 times for a meager amount of points. Unfortunately, those lower-tier players are needed to keep the arena ladder functioning properly, since somebody has to have a shitty rating in an ELO system. Instead of finding a creative or rewarding way of luring players back into the arena, Blizzard is simply requiring them to come back in because they can’t get battleground PvP gear otherwise.

The other reason is Tom Chilton and his e-peen.

It’s all about the rewards, and these rules are made SOLELY so that these rewards stay “secured” in the hands of a selected few.

And then I thought it was genius.

Politically it’s the metaphor of capitalism. The concentrated power and wealth in the hands of some limited few and wasted mindlessly, while the rest of humanity has nothing and is treated like garbage. And the “righteousness” of it all.

The game is the celebration of that. The self-preservation of power through rules made by those who exercise that power and self-made morals to justify it. Selfish and blind.

You can’t learn anything more useful than that.

P.S.
Feedback starts from here.

Barry Allen SCREAMS while playing WotLK

Now Blizzard risks a Crisis on Infinite Earths.

From an interview:

It’s actually not instances. What we do is we have different world states, and depending on what quests you’ve completed, it changes what world state you’re seeing.

what we call the phasing technology. There’s quests that you do when you arrive at a town that’s overrun by Scourge, it’s like a “Choplifter” quest, you have to fly in and rescue villagers. As you bring them back to your quest hub, those villagers are there permanently for you, whereas if somebody who hasn’t done the quest shows up, they don’t see them.

There goes the last pretense of creating a world.

That kind of feature is extremely easy to implement. If it didn’t exist till now it was simply due to scruples. Wasn’t there any other better way?

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Game blog posts come in pair (zone editor black magic)

When I wrote on the forums that I believed Blizzard had an advantage building WoW’s zones because of some black magic in their editor, everyone went against me.

Well, I’m still absolutely convinced that there’s some secret sauce right there. Call it how you want, the gist of what I meant is that for each zone Blizzard makes a terrain “palette” that guarantees:

1- A consistent and unique look throughout the whole game, and distinctive for the each zone.
2- That even if the zone designer sucks, things still look pretty and WoW-y.

Or: everyone can take that black magic editor and make a WoW-y quality zone in no time and with no experience. Even I.

“Evidence”.

See the ridge in the background? Compare it to what we are used to see.

A “new feature” in WotLK is that they built a new palette/preset for the terrain, and the rounded hills now look more sharply cut.

The simple thing I wanted to underline is that what you see there is not the result of an awesome zone designer who spent his life modeling EACH of those tiny hills and bumps, but of a tool in the editor that allows even a monkey to quickly use it and get a consistent look that makes every screenshot recognizable. That consistent look that everyone praises.

Then I don’t know if the zone designer person is ALSO responsible for the preset making. My point is that the “genius” is in the editor and preset. And that the making of a zone is much, much more trivial and easy than how people expect. And more concerned instead with the “flow” and structure of a zone.

But the “look” and prettiness are for the greater part merit of the editor and presets. And that if WoW still looks prettier than other games out there it’s because the designers can use standardized tools that guarantee consistency and quality.

And it is not new (Warcraft 3).

P.S.
The controversy is that my theory is that other MMOs companies don’t seem to have the same pre-planning and strong automated tools, so more vulnerable to the fickleness of their zone designers. Lack of consistence and all the rest.

Or: it’s about the gears, not just about the people.

Blizzard has better gears, or spends more time making better gears. No matter who they hire, they guarantee already that the quality is high and up to their standards (at least for zone design).

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Who wants the Arenas

Taking a cue from D-One who pointed to a counter-rant of a moderator against those who hate the Arenas in WoW.

The truth is that anyone saying “arenas suck!” doesn’t actually think they suck, they’re either just trolling, or they have a specific and related issue/problem. I think we’re able to break those reasons out though, filter everything down and get to what the issues actually are, see what may need to change or be fixed, and get down to it. If they’re not the right kind of PvP for you, fine, hopefully we can address that by giving you more PvP in other places, if you don’t like PvP at all and are afraid they’re taking time away from the content you do enjoy – don’t worry, they aren’t, if you want to like the arenas but feel there are inherent issues with them, we hope to address those as well.

Well, the truth is in that my own case I DO think Arenas suck and SHOULD be entirely removed from the game.

Not because every aspect of the game I don’t like shouldn’t be liked by anyone else, but because the gameplay concept behind the Arenas is inappropriate for WoW. A mmorpg based on some degree of persistence and, in particular, on character progression, doesn’t fit with a *good* arena game that is more aimed at competitive, and balanced gameplay and no real “RPG”.

My suggestion:
– Strip the Arenas part from WoW. Make it an entirely different game. Make it accessible through the same client, Make it even playable as standalone paying a 1-2 dollars subscription for those who just want these arenas. Then add a tiered system where each tier gives you the choice between same-value armor sets, so that you can combine the pieces freely while also keeping the players in the same tier balanced. And then keep a sense of progression by putting better equipment in higher tiers, but without letting players in different tier compete between each other. Make it that you can even export your WoW-normal character, getting evaluated by a system and then put in the proper tier to compete fairly.

That would please everyone. Those who don’t like the arenas, and those who like them and would like a more fair environment in which to compete.

It wouldn’t work, though. Because what I think is when the players bought the game, they wanted to play a MMORPG. Not eSport.

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Kalgan has sense of humor

Player: Please, please, please release a Season 4 Arena and don’t introduce ANY new gear.

Then I think you will have a VERY good indication how popular the Arena is on its own merits.

Kalgan: About as popular as a Sunwell without any loot in it?

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