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Greg 'Ghostcrawler' Street, Lead Systems Designer For World of Warcraft 175

As World of Warcraft prepares for the launch of its third expansion, Cataclysm, on December 7th, the design team is busily trying to finish all the new high level content, the destruction and rebuilding of Azeroth, and major changes to many of the game's systems and classes. At Blizzcon we spoke with Greg Street (a.k.a. Ghostcrawler), Lead Systems Designer for WoW, about Blizzard's goals for this expansion, the problems they're trying to solve, reasoning for the creation of a few new features, and why they aren't willing to simply throw more people at complicated projects. Read on for our discussion about World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.

Slashdot: With the previous expansions, it seems like one of the goals has been to make things more inclusive for raiders. Do think you've reached the end of the road in that regard? Are there still goals for the future?

Greg Street: We've got a lot of players into raiding now. I don't encounter too many players these days who say, "I want to raid but I'm not sure how," or "It's too hard." Particularly, the raids underneath Wintergrasp and soon Tol'Barad are super-easy for any group to just pick up and go do quickly. So I think we're doing a good job of being inclusive there. I think we need to, perhaps, pay a little more attention to the super-hardcore guys who felt a little neglected at times in Wrath of the Lich King.

Slashdot: These days the design team is working on solving social and psychological problems perhaps more than technical problems. What types of those are you working on now?

Greg Street: Something that has come up a lot is that cross-server battlegrounds and then the dungeon finder going cross server has eroded the sense of community within a server. It used to be, "I knew these guys," or "He was the best mage on the server," or things like that. It's much harder to identify that now. And another thing is the ability to hop from server to server so easily now. One of the things we're doing to work against that, a little bit — Tol'Barad will be like Wintergrasp, in that it's just your server, so hopefully you can get to know people a little better there. And then the big push we're making for guilds in Cataclysm. You're going to have achievements, and [you'll be able to] level your guild. It's something you can work together with your closest friends to try to accomplish.

Slashdot: Do you think that will supplement the permanence of guilds, making it easier for people to keep their guilds going?

Greg Street: I think the guild itself will mean something, and people will be reluctant to give up a guild they worked really hard on. I mean, it won't be impossible — we're not trying to fetter people too much.

Slashdot: For Cataclysm you're increasing health pools significantly, not to mention all the other numbers. Is mudflation becoming an issue for you?

Greg Street: We're pretty confident that the curve we have overall can keep going almost indefinitely. The numbers are solid in most cases. We used to have a problem where, say, critical strike rating can't go up any higher, because it's at 60 or 70 percent. The way combat ratings work now, I don't think we're in danger of the combat systems collapsing on themselves because of the numbers. I think we are at risk for them becoming hard to manage. Once players are saying, "I have 17,000,000 health," and everything just has so many zeroes on it, at that point we'll have to do something. I don't know if it's just lopping three zeroes off of everything, or what. I think the human brain loses the ability to parse numbers once they get beyond a certain size.

Slashdot: For heroic dungeons, are you trying to copy what you did in Wrath of the Lich King? How are those evolving?

Greg Street: I think the heroic dungeons will feel a little more like Burning Crusade. Hopefully it will be the best of Lich King and Burning Crusade. Part of what people remember about the Burning Crusade heroic dungeons was the "17 pulls of trash in between bosses," or something like that. Hopefully we can get through that a little quicker, but still have the bosses as a challenge, something players have to learn. We think that the encounters are a failure if players can go through a boss fight, and then when we ask them, "What was that boss doing? What was special that you had to do in that fight," and they say, "Well I didn't notice anything." Then we know that they're just overpowering it instead of having to learn the encounter.

Slashdot: You mentioned in the panel on Friday that a lot of that information — boss abilities, loot lists — are going to be integrated into the game. Where do you draw the line at what's OK to have in the game and what players can be expected to go on a website and look up?

Greg Street: I think the game needs to provide players the information they need to play the game. It's fine if they are trying to improve their damage-per-second (DPS) by one extra percent by visiting a fan site or a news site. It's very frustrating with boss abilities, to use that particular example... we've all been in dungeons where the leader says something like, "He's going to do some kind of fire thing, I think it's called.. Flame..something? I don't remember, but you'll recognize it when you see it." And everybody else asks, "What?"

I think in that example, the game is just hiding information from players that they need to function. Now, you can definitely take that too far. We could get to the point where there are mods that say, "Stand here! OK, now press this button. Now stand over here." And at some point, they're playing Dragon's Lair, or something, instead of having to do a real boss encounter.

Slashdot: Speaking of mods, Cataclysm is introducing some welcome changes to the UI. How do you decide what players need to look at and what you want to integrate with the base UI?

Greg Street: That's really tough, because we want World of Warcraft to be moddable, and we support the community — both the developers who make those mods and the players who use them. We try to look at when the players are saying something is essential. We made a system to manage gear because players were telling us, "I can't play without this mod, now. This mod is so important that you guys just need to offer this functionality." We did the same thing with the big raid frames. Too many players were telling us, "Your raid frames are just not at all functional. No reasonable person is going to do a World of Warcraft raid with the standard raid frames. We won't replace everything. The QuestHelper brand of mods are something else we looked at and said, "We just need to do more here. Clearly, players are asking for it."

Slashdot: Are there any UI elements that are on your radar right now, that you're thinking about revamping?

Greg Street: I think we could do a lot more with the Auction House UI. I think our mobile and cell phone Auction House is probably superior to our in-game version at this point. And there are some mods that have done a great job -- we don't want to automate that whole experience too much, but providing the information and storing it, I think we could do better at. We'd love, someday, to do a better version of Recount, or some of the damage meters. Now, when I say better — our version sucks, which is just the combat log you have to somehow have to keep track of. Players really like to know: "What was my DPS? What could I do better this time? What were my sources of damage?" We'd love to just build something like that into the game.

Slashdot: Yesterday's Live Raid was very cool. (Blizzard invited a well-known guild to participate in set of custom raid encounters. They spawned groups of bosses that were originally designed to be dealt with on their own and had the guild fight them in groups of four at a time. At the end, the main villain of the new expansion flew in, annihilated the raid, and then began nuking one of the game world's capital cities. Longer description, YouTube video.)

Greg Street: I'm glad it worked. That was scary.

Slashdot: Has there been any discussion on getting those events out to more players?

Greg Street: That would be very cool. They require a lot of overhead and testing. One of the things people in the audience couldn't appreciate was how our encounter designer up there was changing things on the fly. He was herding bosses, in some cases killing them, and respawning things, trying to keep it all working. Obviously we can't have a human running that stuff from behind the scenes. We'd have to make sure it's cool enough. But I love this idea that Orgrimmar is being attacked and you have to defend it.

Slashdot: Azeroth is getting a complete redesign. How long have you wanted to do that?

Greg Street: Oh, forever. A really big moment was when the programmers put in a way for the level designers to make cliffs that look like real cliffs. We did that in Howling Fjord, [a starting zone in Wrath of the Lich King]. And that was huge. Up until them, all the cliffs looked like — they would call it a scoop of mashed potatoes. It's kind of this rounded blob that doesn't exist in nature. So once they could make these very sheer cliffs, they said, "OK, we've got to go fix everything, now!" Because we couldn't do this before.

Enough things like that had piled up. Originally, for Cataclysm, we thought of hitting five or six zones that were either never very good — like, say, Hinterlands — or just hadn't stood the test of time well and needed some updating. But by the time we were done, it was hard to make Darkshore look awesome, but leave Felwood looking crappy. So we ended up just doing everything.

Slashdot: That seems like a lot of work.

Greg Street: It was a stupid amount of work.

Slashdot: Compared to the last two expansions, it seems like Cataclysm contains an expansion of similar size, plus all of that revamped content.

Greg Street: That's totally true. Probably, if we had more business sense, we'd have broken it into two expansions.

Slashdot: One of the Diablo 3 team's big reveals was the PvP Battle Arenas, which are clearly similar to World of Warcraft's PvP arenas. Are we going to see more integration for the WoW arenas with

Greg Street: We'll have to see. The big focus for Cataclysm, as far as PvP goes, is the rated battleground system. I think too much attention had turned to arenas, and it was defining PvP for a while. For a lot of people, Warcraft was about the war; it was about the Horde or the Alliance fighting over resources, not three gnomes chasing each other around an arena. We're still supporting arenas. We like them, and there's a lot of players that like them too. We'll just have to see how much rated battlegrounds take off. There are a lot of things we can do to improve the e-sports portion of World of Warcraft.

Slashdot: With Wrath of the Lich King, you tended to schedule major content patches several months apart. Do you have a similar plan for Cataclysm?

Greg Street: Yeah. We would like to get patches out as soon as we can, because players are just voracious for content. I think there's a sense that we finished Ulduar too soon. The 3.1 patch, we could have left on a little longer — 3.2 came out a little too quickly. Whereas the final patch, 3.3, has been going on almost a year. That's too long for players to have to deal with the same content over and over. Ideally, we could get patches out every four to six months. Or, eventually we may scale them down to make them smaller but come out more often. It's definitely something we're looking at. We'd love to be able to get faster at doing that.

Slashdot: Some of the quests and dialog in the beta contain content that's a bit edgier than what we normally see in WoW. Will those things make it to live servers. Are you trying to broaden the age groups the game is designed for?

Greg Street: That's one of the fun things — we do it a lot in quest design and then item naming, too — pop culture references here and there. That's something where the Warcraft world doesn't take itself too seriously. There are some really dark, epic moments too, but then there are places we can cut loose a bit. We know players appreciate it, because the remember it and they mention that kind of stuff. You can take it too far, I think. We've had people playing the game for six years, and it's hard to offer them things they haven't seen before. So, in that sense, we do try to be a little edgier.

Slashdot: Are there any systems in Cataclysm that you'd say have improved greatly over Wrath of the Lich King?

Greg Street: Many things. I really like the new end-game point system, both for PvE and PvP. I has the advantages of the Lich King system without being so confusing and having all these vendors, and down-converting badges, and all that. I think we're really happy with the way Glyphs have ended up in Cataclysm. The original promise of Glyphs is closer to what we're able to deliver now. Seeing that awesome new UI, with the list of glyphs that you can just apply whenever you want, we're really happy with that.

Slashdot: One of your goals seems to be separating the fun choices from the math choices in building your character. Are you where you want to be with that, right now?

Greg Street: I would give us a B+ on that. I think we can still do a lot better. We're at the early stages, still, of that revamp. There are some talent decisions in trees that I think are awesome, and there are some other places where it still doesn't feel great. It feels like the obvious choice is to get this one, and this one's the trap. "Don't take this dumb talent over here." There are fewer of those, for sure, but there are still some, and we eventually need to polish all of those, too.

Slashdot: What's the solution to that? Is it adding more talents? Swapping out the bad ones you have?

Greg Street: It's more of the latter, but sometimes a new talent is the answer, too. We just have to really ask: "We thought this was going to be a compelling choice; did it end up as a compelling choice?" "If it didn't, was it because the numbers were wrong, or was it because the encounters we put players into [made it wrong]?" To use a very contrived example: if there's a talent that makes you take less magic damage, and there's not a lot of magic damage being thrown around, that talent's not going to be exciting.

A lot of our survivability talents are based around the premise that healer mana is going to matter a little bit more, so you're going to care a little bit more about trying to keep yourself alive. If everything works out well at the end of a fight, people might post the damage-taken meter, and say, "Dude, this rogue, he took a lot of damage. He was a mana hog for us." If that doesn't happen, then all those utility talents look dumb, because you don't need them, and you could have gotten something else.

Slashdot: Can you talk a bit about why the Path of the Titans system was scrapped?

Greg Street: There are two parts to that. One is that Cataclysm was an unbelievably ambitious project, and we kept adding more and more to it. I mentioned the original glyph version, and at a panel earlier I mentioned the barbershop as feature that were cool, but we could have done a lot more with them. We want to try to limit that in the future. We didn't want to release Paths and then in 5.0 be like, "OK, now we're going to fix the Path system!" We'd rather just do it right the first time.

At the same time, it was tied into a lot of other features, like Archaeology and Glyphs. Those grew a lot on their own. We realized that we were using the promise of Paths to fix up the Glyph system, when what we wanted to do was just make that system actually cool. But we love the idea of some type of end-game progression that isn't item-focused, and I think we'll return to that in the future, sometime when we can get it right.

Slashdot: We're seeing some interesting new mechanics in Cataclysm — for example, the blind dragon, which relies on hearing and makes you moderate the noise your character makes. How much of that is thinking of a fun concept and going from there, versus trying to think of a brand new, innovative concept and trying to make it fun?

Greg Street: We honestly spend a lot of time on innovation. Players are kind of merciless — "Yeah, that was a fun fight, but we've done it before," or, "This is just like that other guy." So we really try to push the envelope there on things players haven't seen before, new systems. We'll have encounter designers say, "I was playing Final Fantasy last night, and it had a boss that did this, and I think we could make that work for a boss in World of Warcraft with these tweaks."

Slashdot: A lot of players, when they hear you talk about how you didn't have time to make a feature good, their question is, "Well, why can't you just go out and hire more people?"

Greg Street: Yeah. The mythical man-month.

Slashdot: Can you explain why you don't find that to be a viable solution?

Greg Street: The other example that gets used a lot is: if it takes a woman nine months to have a baby, then if you have two women, it'd only take four and a half! Our development process is hugely based on iteration and communication. It's more important — for, say, class design and item design — it's more important for me to have a small team that's totally in sync than to have a large team and have no idea what anyone else is working on. We would end up with Hunter talents working one way, the Priest would work a different way, and it wouldn't feel polished. It wouldn't feel good to players. Often, when we say, "We didn't have time," players say, "You shipped it before it was ready." That's not the way we look at it.

The way we look at it is: we are extremely critical of our own designs. We have very long lists of things we want to fix in the game. Some of these things have been around forever, and some of the things are new that we just added recently. If we waited until we addressed every single one of those things, we would never ship anything. It would be years and years before games came out, and that's just not realistic. That's not what players want; they're not going to wait six years for a new expansion. So, instead, we do what we can and we keep other things on the back burner. We've got Paths — this great idea. A dance studio — we're going to do it some day. Just not yet. We're saving it for the right time.

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Greg 'Ghostcrawler' Street, Lead Systems Designer For World of Warcraft

Comments Filter:
  • I don't understand why something like Recount isn't built into clients during development. How do they debug to ensure every client is getting the same combat messages? Yes you can do it server side, but you need to do it client side as well to ensure all clients are synced.
    • They're not built in yet due to time management priorities (feature creep prevention).
      I thought GhostCrawler made that pretty clear?
      • I think the GP meant that it should already be in the client as a debugging / diagnostic tool.

        And I wouldn't be surprised if it was. But having something in the client and having it polished to the point where it is end-user friendly, are two different things. The latter is probably the feature creep part.

    • by KevMar ( 471257 )

      Verifying that every client received the same message is fairly easy. You can just collect the logs and compare. A good damage meter does more than that.

      With that said, if they would have built a damage meter then the logs would be more accurate and the resulting damage meter would be more accurate.

      The early damage mods parsed the combat log as text. So every mob that had the same name was the same mob. single pulls were fine, but double pulls of the same mob was confusing. Then pets were an issue. If

    • by Graff ( 532189 )

      I don't understand why something like Recount isn't built into clients during development.

      Building so much into the client is doing it wrong. WoW has a great API for building 3rd party addons and there's a lot of stuff that should just be left to a 3rd party. The problem is that they don't have a particularly STABLE API so most addons break with every patch. That's what creates the pressure for Blizzard to simply bundle the addons into the default client.

      If Blizzard would work on a stable API and a better system for finding and managing addons then there would be a lot less clamor for more featu

      • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

        Yeah. The Blizzard guy mentioned QuestHelper, but QH has been discontinued for a few main reasons:

        1) Developer didn't quest any more
        2) Blizzard changed rules on addon financials a few patches ago. Addons are apparently not even allowed to *suggest donations* ingame. They did this mainly in reaction to an "always-for-pay" addon, but a lot of the well known addons have either discontinued or slowed development pace WAY down since those rule changes.
        3) Blizzard duplicated 50% or so of QH functionality in

      • This, if you follow Ghostcrawlers posts on the WOW forums its clear that combat data from dungeons/raids is saved and mined for tuning/balance purposes. Especially the really hard stuff that not many groups attempt. Client side damage meters get pretty much the same data from the combat log sent to the game.

      • i don't like the idea that you actually need addons to be successful. Devs have to account for all these addons so the difficulty of the game is artificially inflated, leaving 'casuals' behind. You simply can't raid instances with vanilla client. Addons are not convenience - they are a must have thing or you are just a nub nobody would ever want to team up with.

        • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

          You can. It was comprehensively proven when 4.0 came out breaking all major unit/raid frame addons for almost a week.
          Additional proof can be found on beta, where people raided some really hard stuff with no addons allowed at the beginning.

          It's not that it's impossible. It's just that it's harder.

          • by snuf23 ( 182335 )

            Uh, at least on the healing side patches for stuff like Vuhdo and Healbot were available on patch day. You might have had to look for the cataclysm alpha/beta versions (which you would have used on the PTR) but they were there.

            • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

              Notably in early beta, no addons were allowed. At all.

              And personally I found that with some minor tweaking, default blizzard raid frames were superior, and vastly more stable then both addons you mentioned.

        • by Graff ( 532189 )

          i don't like the idea that you actually need addons to be successful. Devs have to account for all these addons so the difficulty of the game is artificially inflated, leaving 'casuals' behind. You simply can't raid instances with vanilla client.

          You can raid just fine with the "vanilla" client. Some aspects of it might be a little tougher, such as keeping track of debuffs that need to be cleansed, but I've done it without much problem.

          I agree that addons are nice to have but I'd rather have a thin client and then add-in the functionality I need rather than a fat client with a lot of features that get in the way. The only two things missing are the ones I've mentioned: stable API and a in-client way of finding, installing, and managing addons. With

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by meta-monkey ( 321000 )
          It depends on your role.

          I've got a Kingslayer hunter, priest (disc healer) and paladin (tank). I use very few addons. Really just a damage meter and DBM (mod that tells you stuff like "5 seconds until boss casts {some spell}). But with the priest...I just don't understand how it would be possible to heal with the default raid frames. I use Healbot (others like Grid) which allows you to map spells to certain mouse clicks. So instead of clicking on a player's name in the raid frame and then hitting 1
          • by snuf23 ( 182335 )

            Healing addons make for a much more streamlined experience but the in game raid frames can be used with mouseover macros as well. Yes, this requires something beyond the default ui, but it's not a full addon. Clique essentially makes this even easier to implement so there isn't really any reason to roll your own macros.

            Instead of using key modifiers you mouseover the persons raid frame and press one of your ability keys. I prefer Healbot myself but I know healers that solely use mouseover macros and the def

            • As a main tank (retired), my life would have been absolute hell without at least a decent aggro meter. DPS is a fine thing to measure, but in the actual boss fights threat is the more important aspect. Especially for fights where tanks have to be rotated in and out, not knowing how much threat individual players were generating would have lead to the (stronger) DPS holding back most of the time, and occasionally getting one-shotted other times.

              Sure, as a warrior I could always intercept then challenge when

          • by stripes ( 3681 )

            So instead of clicking on a player's name in the raid frame and then hitting 1 for a flash heal or 2 for a shield

            I use to use grid+clique for that, but with a minor change you don't need addons:

            Macro: /cast [@mouseover] flash heal

            Macro: /cast [@mouseover] shield

            Put flash on the 1, the shield on 2. Mouse over whoever needs that flash and press 1. No "click then press". It works nicely (you can also even set it up to use target or self if there is no mouseover).

            I've discarded clique. I still us

      • Building so much into the client is doing it wrong.

        Keep in mind that there are people who do not use addons, for a myriad of reasons. Some of those may be because they think it's "cheating", or they're worried about viruses, or they just don't know how to get the mods/don't want to deal with the hassle, etc... When Blizzard sees that a certain addon or type of addon is providing an advantage to the point that guilds are demanding it to raid or that people without it are severely disadvantaged they will often either break it (AVR) or add the basic function

    • Combat logs man combat logs. You save them off and parse to you hearts content. I would suspect that they can do nice things like add fine grained timing to them as client to server and UI lag have HUGE impacts on DPS.

    • Combat logs. The damage meters evolved from the idea of parsing the combat log information and presenting it in a more helpful way.
    • I'm not sure why they want to make a game where they'd feel like they SHOULD have recount. I

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gknoy ( 899301 )

        Any game that has measurable performance will have SOME people who want to know how to Do it Better. Whether that's figuring out how to max their levels in a crafting skill, or do it for the least cost, or whether it's how to kill bad guys faster or heal people more efficiently or minimize the damage they take, someone will ALWAYS be making spreadsheets, simulations, or looking at (or making) logs of combat or experience gain.

        On a side note, Recount has more utility than merely being an e-peen measuring to

  • Pony? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Conchobair ( 1648793 ) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @12:30PM (#34038864)
    Ctrl+F, "pony"... nothing. I'm not reading this until he makes with the goods
  • No (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RzUpAnmsCwrds ( 262647 ) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @01:21PM (#34039600)

    I can't read anything that GC says.

    This is the person that, as far as I can tell, single-handedly ruined WoW. I am not alone in this sentiment.

    He's the person who brought us the hungry-hungry-hippos style button-mashing PvP in 3.0.
    He's the person who brought us massive cleave teams.
    He's the person who made mana to a large extent irrelevant.
    He's the person who brought us Naxxramas (revisited) as "serious" raiding content.
    He's the person who basically eliminated threat as a mechanic.
    He's the person who wanted to make the game "less like Chess" and "more like Poker".

    The problem with GC is that he likes to fuck with things. In major ways.

    In PvP, this leads to 'flavor-of-the-month' classes/combos - who knows which one is going to be imba and at what time. In PvE, this leads to entire mechanics getting deprecated.

    The problem is, many of us liked how the game played prior to GC. No, it wasn't perfect. Yes, there have been some improvements (like the queuing system for daily heroics).

    You can't just go and upend everything whenever you feel like it. After a while players get tired of the change and decide, "screw it, I'm going to play something else".

    That's what I did. After 5+ years of WoW, GC convinced me that it's not worth it anymore.

    • by js3 ( 319268 )

      I don't like him either. He's more lawyer than marine biologist, he does anything he wants and justifies it (I know it's funny when I say it too) but frankly there's nothing I hate more than running around in circles and WoW is doing exactly that.

      Ruler of a game that has no idea what it wants to be.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        I don't like him either. He's more lawyer than marine biologist, he does anything he wants and justifies it (I know it's funny when I say it too) but frankly there's nothing I hate more than running around in circles and WoW is doing exactly that.

        I think the big news would be a lead game designer that can't justify the design even to himself. No matter what they decided there'd be flak coming because you can't please everyone, and part of his job is to sit there and take it saying "This is what we went with because we thought it was best."

        Does it really matter that you're running in the same circles if you're doing them well? Lately I've been playing a lot of Civilization, and in many ways it hasn't changed since Civilization <voice="Scotty">N

    • by BobMcD ( 601576 )

      In PvP, this leads to 'flavor-of-the-month' classes/combos - who knows which one is going to be imba and at what time......After a while players get tired of the change and decide, "screw it, I'm going to play something else".

      I'm decently convinced that this is the design. You're supposed to reroll, but if you quit they expect you to return eventually, so you're just 'taking a break' to them. Either way, we as players are supposed to see that the other guy has it better and react. Of this I'm certain.

      • by snuf23 ( 182335 )

        Except that every class gets hit with the nerf or buff bat over time. So rerolling to be the uber flavor of the week ends up being a waste of time when the inevitable nerf comes along. I'm not talking about huge nerfs, oftentimes a single talent or ability that is overpowered can have a huge effect.

        • by BobMcD ( 601576 )

          Actually, I'm almost finished with a 'set' of one of each tank and healer class. Mostly as an educational experience, but also so I can 'easily' switch between them should the need arise.

    • by Ruzty ( 46204 )

      That's what I did. After 5+ years of WoW, GC convinced me that it's not worth it anymore.

      Hear, hear! I quit and started playing more balanced and fun PvP games like League of Legends. Haven't looked back...

    • by brkello ( 642429 )

      After 5+ years, everything become too much of the same or too many changes.

  • Seriously, how much of a hardcore WoW fan do you need to be to read the whole thing?

    • I'm a hardcore fan, and even I skipped this entire post and went to the comments.

      So pretty fucking hardcore. :\

      I don't know -- I just don't want want to know anything that goes on behind the scenes with WoW. Kinda takes the fun out of it.

    • Never played, never will, and I read the whole thing.

      It's like Starship Troopers or South Park - remove all the brain bug and/or poop talk and you've got serious political and social commentary. Ignore the crap about glyphs and other jargon and you've got an interesting interview about the way games are continuously developed, how feedback is assessed, and what kind of statements are meaningful and noticed by designers. I learned a bit about WoW, but I learned a bit more about a hugely successful company.

  • Raiding (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mybrid ( 410232 ) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @03:16PM (#34041138)

    "Greg Street: We've got a lot of players into raiding now. I don't encounter too many players these days who say, "I want to raid but I'm not sure how," or "It's too hard." "

    Seriously? You can't even get into an Ice Crown raid unless your gear score is 5K and most people are going to want you to already know the fights.

    If by "raiding" he means the Dungeon Tool, he's probably right there, but other than that forget it.

    It is nigh impossible to reasonably PUG a raid.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by compro01 ( 777531 )

      5K isn't out of line IMO and it's fairly attainable, especially now that you can get full t10 just by running heroic dungeons, though granted, that is a fair timesink. Average gearscore is about 5.3k.

      And of course you ought to know the fights. Not necessarily having done them, but at least read up on the fight for 10 minutes or watch a bloody video of it.

      The only issue I've had with PUGs on my realm (Sargeras) is getting deep into ICC. Most PUGs come apart at rotface. The new raid lock system seems to b

      • by Mybrid ( 410232 )

        ". Average gearscore is about 5.3k."

        I'm curious as to how you got this number?

        • Number is from Actual average is 5296.

          Look up any character and it will show if they are above or below the average ("win" or "fail") for their level and mousing over it will show by how much. Average is for all realms worldwide, except China.

          FWIW, the data may be skewed by the Korean realms, but it seems reasonable going by what I see in game.

    • With how heroics work now, getting 5k gear score can be done relatively quickly. And no, you can't level up to 80 and join an ICC raid on your first day. But you know what, ICC isn't the first tier of raid instances. It's the last tier. When the weekly raid is Patchwork, no one is checking your gear score. You CAN do VOA with crappy gear. He never claimed you can do ALL raid content while wearing all green sub-80 gear.

      Making it easier to get into raiding and trivializing the requirements for the fi
    • by Elshar ( 232380 )

      Not only that, but it's also impossible to PUG heroics in BC. I know, I've camped for hours (Admittedly, as DPS) with my aff lock waiting for someone - anyone - on any server - to also queue for them. It just ain't happening.

      So the only way you can reliably get into the BC heroics is via either a specialty guild, or attempting (ROFL) to convince your guild that BC stuff is going to be "fun" when they're grinding to get >5k GS to go do ICC (hahaha, sure..)

      Anyways, that's what really ticked me off right be

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Hamo ( 576438 )
      Seriously? Icecrown Citadel was introduced in patch 3.3 which came out on December 8, 2009, almost 11 months ago. I really don't think it is that unreasonable for raid leaders to expect raid members to know basic encounter mechanics which have been in the game for almost a year when all it takes to learn them is about 5 seconds of googling. Furthermore, with the current (up to last patch) badge system, you can get a 5K gearscore on a fresh 80 in a weekend by running heroic 5 man dungeons through the use
    • A 5k gear score is doable with 5-man dungeons. I mean, even before this last patch.

      You can "know the fights" by looking them up on or youtube. Or tankspot. Or bosskillers. Or a half dozen other sites.

      ICC pugs on my server routinely clear at least half of icecrown. I've known pugs attempt heroic bosses, and some even kill (normal) lich king.

      • by Mybrid ( 410232 )

        You all seem to be missing Greg's point. Greg was claiming that "We've got a lot of players into raiding now."

        Maybe what I should have countered with was "prove it".

        Link the RAID achievements vs. the number of level 80s and show us that level 80s who play on average 10 hours a week have lots of raid achievements.

        "You can "know the fights" by looking them up on or youtube. Or tankspot. Or bosskillers. Or a half dozen other sites."

        "I want to raid but I'm not sure how," or "It's too hard." "

        Your s

        • Look, maybe it's you. If you see a paladin in the video and you don't know what to do because you're a warrior, it's not the game. It's not the class. It's not the encounter. It's you.

          And no, tanking's not hard. You survive, you did a good job. You die, it was either your gear or your healers. Tanking involves very little skill nowadays. You've got a handful of cooldowns you use every couple minutes, and that's about it. DPS has to manage more at once, and healing is where the challenge really is.

          "I don't k

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