Help
Regional FlagPatch 5.4 Developer Interviews - Updated 8.26Source
avatar
Community Manager
Target Source
#1 - 2013/08/14 09:52:00 PM
Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar introduces a ton of exciting new content and features, including Flexible Raiding, a new solo Pet Battle Scenario, the Timeless Isle, Proving Grounds, a new Raid dungeon, and more.

To delve further into what this patch brings to the game, we’ve reached out to many influential fansites and players in the community for the biggest round of developer interviews to-date! As we're already well underway, you can use the list below to track the latest information straight from our developers.

"Audio" and "Video" designations below define the format in which the interview was conducted.

Ion Hazzikostas & Greg Street

Greg Street & Brian Holinka

Tom Chilton, Game Director

Dave Kosak, Lead Quest Designer

Cory Stockton, Lead Content Designer

Greg Street, Lead Systems Designer

Ion Hazzikostas, Lead Encounter Designer

Helen Cheng, Quest Designer

Marco Koegler, Technical Director

Making of "The Burdens of Shaohao"
  • The Instance with Chris Metzen, Doug Gregory & Laurel Austin (Audio)
  • WoW Insider with Micky Neilson & Doug Gregory (Transcript)

avatar
Community Manager
Target Source
#9 - 2013/08/15 03:12:00 AM
I wonder why Chris Metzen isn't up for these interviews?

He's not typically a part of the interview rounds for patches. We focus on the folks directly involved in designing and implementing the content.

However! I'm setting up an interview for The Instance with Chris Metzen and other members of our Creative Development team to discuss the making of "The Burdens of Shaohao" animated series. I'm doing the same with WoW Insider and lead story developer Micky Neilson. I'll add them to the list tomorrow once all the details are set. :)

avatar
Community Manager
Target Source
#22 - 2013/08/15 07:31:00 PM
08/14/2013 11:51 PMPosted by Kookshelper

He's not typically a part of the interview rounds for patches. We focus on the folks directly involved in designing and implementing the content.

However! I'm setting up an interview for The Instance with Chris Metzen and other members of our Creative Development team to discuss the making of "The Burdens of Shaohao" animated series. I'm doing the same with WoW Insider and lead story developer Micky Neilson. I'll add them to the list tomorrow once all the details are set. :)

It's a pity Blizzard doesn't publish this stuff directly, but sends us to a myriad of ad-infested 'fan sites' to get information about the game we play BLIZZARD to play: I hope they pay you a worthwhile fee for it.

That's generally how press/media rounds work. For everything.

avatar
Community Manager
Target Source
#31 - 2013/08/21 06:47:00 PM
when will patch 5.4 come out

September 10!

avatar
Community Manager
Target Source
#53 - 2013/08/22 09:01:00 PM
Coming up in an hour!

Greg Street & Brian Holinka, Senior PvP Designer

avatar
Community Manager
Target Source
#56 - 2013/08/23 07:51:00 PM
Love this new dev two way street we got going on here this would have never happend in BC heck not even in wraith big thumbs up /smileys

Thanks! I intend to keep the momentum going.

avatar
Community Manager
Target Source
#57 - 2013/08/23 07:54:00 PM
Does this mean that the arena season is not ending on August 27th now and ending September 10th? I can understand 5.4 not coming out till then since there is still a lot of testing and bugs to iron out, but I'm really hoping that the arena season ends before then.

Correct. PvP Season 13 is now scheduled to end as early as September 10. The previous announcement has been updated to reflect this.

avatar
Community Manager
Target Source
#58 - 2013/08/23 07:56:00 PM
Missed the pvp interviews. Any transcripts up?

I'm not sure if any transcripts were made, but VODs of the PvP interviews are up now.


avatar
Community Manager
Target Source
#59 - 2013/08/23 07:59:00 PM
To be brutally honest, the AJ stream felt like a miss due to a poor mic and volume issues, constant interruptions, and belligerent followups. They're certainly worth interviewing, being the biggest PVP site and all, but maybe in a different format next time. Then again this was their first stab at this kind of interview.

In regards to Swifty's stream, I think you might have found the 'Gamebreaker' for PVP interviews. High production and entertainment value, and a mix of serious/constructive and for fun questions. Was a shame the chat went into sub-only mode, as I enjoy the chat the most in these, however they had no choice when it became super trollish.

Thanks for the feedback! I love to read it and definitely keep this kind of stuff in mind when playing future interview rounds. :)

avatar
Community Manager
Target Source
#62 - 2013/08/28 02:29:00 AM
I listend to the Dave Kosak interview, and its just disappointing to see that a leading dev does not understand the Alliance playerbase,

and more disappointing that he expects us Alliance playerbase to fist-pump because he said they gave fist-pumping moments (WHICH WERE NOT) to Alliance players.

Do they even read the forums at all?

Read the forums? Sure. We also send them reports of the hot topics on the forums, which oftentimes include Alliance concerns about story development.

Take feedback from the forums as design gospel and an appropriate summation of all player opinions? No.

avatar
Community Manager
Target Source
#124 - 2013/08/28 08:57:00 PM
08/27/2013 07:52 PMPosted by Cadenbrie
Take feedback from the forums as design gospel and an appropriate summation of all player opinions? No.


Then just where do you take your player opinions from?

Because the fan sites and the forums have been saying the same thing about the Alliance for two expansions now.

The interview was very depressing to watch since it is very clear that the people in charge don't get it in the slightest.

But that will just be brushed off as standard forum whining I guess.

We get feedback in countless ways: fansites, podcasts, streams, Twitter, Facebook, direct through email, and including (but not limited to!) the forums, etc.

The intent of my post was to address the age-old, potentially rhetorical question, "Do you even read your own forums?" Not to be confused with, "Do you even play your own game?"

The debate over faction story development continues internally here at Blizzard, as it does on the forums and elsewhere.

avatar
Community Manager
Target Source
#130 - 2013/08/28 09:14:00 PM

Read the forums? Sure. We also send them reports of the hot topics on the forums, which oftentimes include Alliance concerns about story development.

Take feedback from the forums as design gospel and an appropriate summation of all player opinions? No.


And why exactly is the concerns and opinions of forum goers implied to be less valuable?

They're not less valuable. I didn't imply that.

Glad we could clear that up together. :)

avatar
Community Manager
Target Source
#144 - 2013/08/29 01:44:00 AM

The debate over faction story development continues internally here at Blizzard, as it does on the forums and elsewhere.


Any chance we can get more updates on that debate? We get constant updates on gameplay mechanics from Ghostcrawler and other CMs about their thoughts and feelings, but we only rarely hear things from Kosak and friends.

It'd be very helpful if they started talking to us and telling us what they're hearing, because right now it seems like there's a really big communication gap.

It's something we're working on. I'd love to set up more story-centric interviews and conversations with the community. But, while Dave and Greg are both design leads, it's very difficult to compare their tasks, workloads, and roles within the community.

Systems design is extremely complicated, but it revolves primarily around math. It's easier to have a conversation over class balance concerns and walk away with some objective, actionable feedback. We also try not to change classes too dramatically from patch to patch -- we don't want people logging in and suddenly not knowing how to play their class every time they download a new patch. Greg can talk about general changes early on in a patch's development cycle, and then he can take feedback and look at an array of statistical data we collect in order to finetune numbers closer to the patch's release.

Story development works very differently. Concerns are much more subjective. This isn't to say they're inherently less valuable, as we're always taking careful note of what the popular opinion is on a given topic. But, there's often a degree of complexity to story development concerns that certainly can't be addressed by changing a couple values somewhere in the game code. And the story we want to tell, combined with the gameplay we want to introduce, is determined much earlier on in development than what class balance will look like in patch X.

For example, there are several people in this thread asserting that the entire concept of the Siege of Orgrimmar is flawed from a story perspective, particularly for the Alliance. Well, we knew Siege of Orgrimmar would be the final raid of Mists of Pandaria before the expansion was revealed at BlizzCon 2011, and the story framework for how we'd get there was already more or less in place. So, even when we do react directly to feedback about story concerns, we're looking much more at the big picture here, and what stories we want to tell and how they should unfold over the course of several patches (or even expansions).

We can make some tweaks and refine some story arcs along the way, but regardless of the discussions taking place right now, the 5.4 story is set. It has been for quite some time. That's in big contrast to the aspects of systems design that draw the most discussion (i.e. mainly class balance).

So, tying this back to the varying capacities in which Dave and Greg engage the community, I couldn't be very liberal with Dave's time when it came to booking interviews. I found about an hour of his time (hour and a half if you count that I stole part of his lunch break) and sat him down for back-to-back interviews -- in, out, and done in one swoop. The reason being that his role in the development of a patch happens at a very different stage of the cycle. At this point he's not actively reading PTR feedback and tweaking how the Horde and Alliance are responding to the threat of Garrosh, or deciding to rework the conclusion of the siege. It's way too late for that, and he's already very busy working on the stories yet to unfold in World of Warcraft. And, yes, in that space he takes popular feedback to heart.

Dave Kosak... I just don't know anyone more passionate about this game's narrative, or more burdened with the responsibility of making sure that the story is fun to play through regardless of the faction, race, or class a player chooses. He cares deeply about you feeling personally invested in what you're doing, and whether you're red or blue certainly doesn't change that.

All this being stated, I want to add more words to this post. :p

Part of my role on the WoW Community Team is fansite/influencer relations, which includes booking developer interviews. I've been on the team for six years, but I took on the role of fansite relations shortly before Mists of Pandaria was released. Not counting things like PAX or other press events, I've been responsible for booking developer interviews for five press rounds (5.0-5.4). Each time I experiment with the formula by trying to cover different formats, give different sites or people a chance to talk to the devs, etc.

Looking back on the last five rounds to determine how we can improve the process and results going forward, I'll tell you right now that I'm most interested in bringing story discussion more to the forefront of interviews -- including WoW devs like Dave Kosak, as well as folks from Creative Dev like Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson -- and getting our artists involved more regularly, 'cause you don't hear from them enough. And finally, while I understand the importance of having a mix of text, audio, and video formats, I want the developers on camera more. I believe strongly that the more you get to see and hear the individual behind the name, the better!

avatar
Community Manager
Target Source
#146 - 2013/08/29 02:15:00 AM

Dave Kosak... I just don't know anyone more passionate about this game's narrative, or more burdened with the responsibility of making sure that the story is fun to play through regardless of the faction, race, or class a player chooses. He cares deeply about you feeling personally invested in what you're doing


My friends and I have a running joke. If you're a Monk leveling through Pandaria (or a Pandaren for that matter) it's a bizarre experience, because no one recognizes you. They treat you like as much as a freak as everyone else. Now, obviously its unreasonable to ask to have different quests. But it's the bare-bones minimum to ask to see different text when chatting with NPCs.

Anyway, the joke: "We don't see many of your kind around here, Monk," says the Pandaren surrounded by Monks. We use it as slang for when something small catapults you out of immersion in a game.

So, I have read and understand your words, but...eh. No one's perfect and WoW is huge, but c'mon.

Hah! I know what you mean. And I bet if you sat down with Dave to talk about that over a spot of tea, you'd find that those types of things bother him as well.

In all, Mists of Pandaria has a plethora of good examples where we implemented content in new ways to avoid immersion-breaking moments like that. But we're definitely not perfect, and we have to weigh the time/resources it takes to address an issue like the one you recounted, versus working on other things. I know some people hate seeing such an excuse, but the truth is it's a very real challenge we face everyday. Game development on World of Warcraft virtually never stops. In general, every task has to be looked at from all angles so an accurate estimate of time and resources can be made, before the task is green-lit and prioritized among all others.

Using the issue you noted as an example, we have to ask ourselves questions like, "Do we want to make sure Pandaren questing in Pandaria have a lot of unique VO and quest text, or do we want to design a rich gameplay experience on the Isle of Thunder in patch 5.2?" That's not literally what it came down to, but sometimes the choices are that stark.