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Gameplanet: How exactly has the glyph system been upgraded?
Street: First of all, we’re going to change it to have three types of glyphs. Before, we had the minor glyphs, which were not really player power, and then the major glyphs, which were player power. Since they only got three choices for major glyphs, most players chose their three most powerful abilities. It’s really hard to make a situational ability compete with a main ability when you only have three choices.
So we thought that by adding more glyphs we’d give players more opportunities to make decisions. The new medium glyphs are some of the most interesting because they’ll affect abilities that you don’t use constantly but you do use, and they can be DPS or healing increases, but not necessarily straight-forward ones.
That was the first step, to break them up a little more. The second step was that glyphs are in a weird place where they’re not consumables like potions but they’re not as permanent as say, talents, either. And we know that some players walk around with stacks of glyphs that they’ll swap in and out depending on the situation. Then there was the added problem that there wasn’t really anywhere that would tell players what glyphs actually exist. So if you’ve just got your Druid to level 80 and you’re looking for some Druid glyphs, really your only options are to go to the auction house, the guild bank or a third party site and read them all.
So the new glyph UI is designed more about collecting all the glyphs for your character and storing them there. Any time you want to switch glyphs you can just use that. Glyphs are now permanent.
Gameplanet: What does that mean for the inscription profession?
Street: We’re going to focus inscription on more of the non-glyph aspect of the trade skill. So, Darkmoon Faire cards, trinkets, offhand items, things like that. We also want to tie the ability to change glyphs into inscription. We’re not sure of the name yet but the idea is that scribes would basically sell a kind of eraser and the eraser is what allows you to blank out your glyphs and write in new ones.
Gameplanet: What changes are planned for the other professions?
Street: Quite a few! We’re getting rid of some of the specialisations, like those in blacksmithing and leatherworking. We’re keeping them for alchemy and engineering.
We’re introducing the multi-skill concept, so particularly at low levels, if you make a hard to craft blue item, it might give you say three, four or five points rather than one.
A lot of the new trade skill recipes are going to have random stats on them – not completely random, but there’ll be a slight variable range, so that you can surprise yourself by discovering you’ve made a really good item on this particular occasion instead of cranking out fifty identical items.
Those professions will now provide the starter level PvP gear, so that players can get in on PvP by crafting sets for themselves or finding a crafter to purchase it from, and that will kind of feed into the system. We’ll then support that in future [PvP] Seasons, that [craftable] gear will keep getting better and better for the professions.
Gameplanet: With 10 player raids now dropping the same loot as 25 player raids, where’s the impetus for players to make that extra organisational effort?
Street: Our philosophy is to reward the 25 player raiders with more items, just not better ones. So for example, a 25 will get more badges per player than a 10, and at the heroic level, they’ll get more token pieces that can be turned in for tier items.
So players who are really focused on efficiency and that race to the being the “server first” should still gravitate towards the 25s, but now you don’t have to feel like you’re being stupid for playing a 10.
Gameplanet: Can you talk us through Rated Battlegrounds and the implementation of conquest points?
Street: Conquest points are really arena points, except that now you can earn them in both arenas and rated battlegrounds, so we just needed a new name for them.
Rated battlegrounds are designed to give you the exact same type of gear that you can earn through doing arenas but through a battleground environment. The idea is that you don’t need a permanent team as you do in arenas, but you do need a premade team.
We really want to put the onus on players to organise it so that they know the resilience level of the people involved, or the history of the players, or ensuring they have enough healers on their team. We don’t want them to feel like they lost the match because Blizzard match-made them with a bad group, for example.
We also wanted to have some type of authority figure, the organiser or leader, to be able to say, ‘Hey you’re AFK, we’re going to kick you and get someone else,’ that kind of thing. So we really wanted players to have to organise it.
After that it’s pretty much just a battleground, if you win, you increase your conquest points, if you lose, you don’t. There’s a cap on the number of conquest points you can earn in a week, so that if you really like battlegrounds you can do a lot of battlegrounds, if you really like arenas, you can do that instead, if you want to mix and match you can do that too. But there’s no impetus to do rated battlegrounds every waking moment of every day to maximize your efficiency.
Gameplanet: And your battleground rating can’t go down?
Street: It wont go down except at the very highest levels where we feel that we have a pretty good estimation of the player’s own contribution and whether or not you just had a bad game or not. But for most players it will go up when they win, and stay where it is when they lose.
Gameplanet: You’ve talked about the reforging system in the past, where’s that at?