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Developer Interview for World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

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I had the chance to take part in an interview with Brian Birmingham and Ana Resendez in advance of the official release of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Classic. They both work as lead software engineers on the classic WoW expansion for the Lich King. Here are some of the interview’s highlights from the wide range of subjects that were covered.

Features: Should They Be Added?

One of the features in Retail WoW that makes finding parties to complete dungeons exceedingly quick and simple is the dungeon finder. However, it is frequently highlighted as something that contributed to weakening the sense of community among players because we weren’t naturally joining groups on our own and kept running into the same faces, which strengthens community bonds and new friendships. Birmingham brought up the fact that they promised not to add Dungeon Finder back in if they ever returned to Wrath from the very beginning of Classic.

The team had to reconsider their position because the community has voiced a strong demand for it. He continued, saying  “the biggest argument we hear against it is ‘if you don’t like it, don’t use it,’ but it doesn’t really work that way. Once it’s available in an ecosystem, it tends to leach players away because it’s so convenient.” This is accurate; the first time around, we saw that play out with WoW. The number of gamers wanting to form groups in various ways crashed as soon as we were able to automatically queue for items. It’s simpler to add your group to the queue than it is to use other techniques to recruit people, even if you were just attempting to find one extra person. So either you have to implement an automatic dungeon finder and understand how it will affect the community, or you can’t include it in the game. With it, there is no genuine room for compromise.

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The developers had also considered merging the raid lockouts for raids with between 10 and 25 participants. Many guilds felt under pressure in Wrath to undertake weekly 10 man and 25 man raids in order to increase their chances of obtaining gear. This was troublesome mostly because it lengthened the time required for raiding, and playing the same content twice as often can result in players becoming fatigued twice as quickly. A further stressor on raid groups in Wrath was the inability to easily divide a 25 man raid into two 10 man raids. This specifically became a problem with Trial of the Crusader because there were suddenly four versions of every raid instead of only two after Heroic difficulty was enabled.

Birmingham said they had gotten a lot of feedback from players who preferred to play one version of the raid with their buddies and the other with pick-up groups and didn’t want the lockouts shared. He gave this explanation of their solution: “So what we decided is actually, it wasn’t really a problem until Trial of the crusader, so we’d really like to try the Ulduar model where the lockout is split between 25 man and 10 man so you can do each of those in a week. But still, the Heroic versions are something you can do optionally inside the normal version, so we are going to try and see if we can do that for Trial of the Crusader.” Sincerely, this is a great answer. I’ve always been disappointed that they switched away from having the difficulty of the fight alter as a result of people acting differently during the fight. Each solution has trade-offs, but if they can successfully implement it in ToC, it would be nice to see that applied to ICC as well.

The new user interface (UI) that will be included with the Dragonflight expansion was also brought up, along with the chance that some of it might make its way into the Classic branch as well. Birmingham stated that it is something they may be able to incorporate in portions, highlighting in particular the capacity to rearrange additional elements on the UI. He added, “One of the things that we were really happy about with the initial Classic release, I know I’m one of them I really enjoyed the way it looked, was bringing the original UI for folks who were nostalgic for it. We put a lot of effort into making sure that when you first start the game, you think, “Oh, yeah, I remember this; this is how it looked.” In light of this, it’s probably doubtful that Classic will receive the same comprehensive UI revamp that DF is receiving, but players could see some aspect appear if the community wants it.

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Tougher heroic dungeons

According to a recent interview, phase two of Wrath Classic will also include harsher Heroic Dungeons. Although there has been a significant departure from how Wrath operated in the past, ultimately, this should be a good thing. It will definitely serve as a bit of a catch-up mechanic for players, which will make it simpler for raids to backfill their teams when the first tier is complete. This raises several issues, one of which is whether the Heroic+ dungeons will stop rewarding rare gear and start solely dropping epics.

Birmingham quickly clarified that he was unaware of the precise strategy being used to deal with treasure in Heroic+ because it was still being developed. He did, however, state that he thinks it is currently intended for the additional stuff that drops to be genuine additional loot. You will receive both the new epic loot and the rare gear that typically drops in Heroic. The player will still be able to go back and complete the ordinary Heroic version of the dungeons to obtain those rare items and be able to obtain the enchanting mats that way, he added, if that isn’t how they decide to go about it.

This entire interview was a fantastic opportunity to go over some of the information we already knew and to get a glimpse of what is coming up for Wrath Classic. When phase two is released, some people could be disappointed by the concept of changing some aspects of raiding and the addition of Heroic+, but these modifications could make Wrath Classic even greater than it was. Although Wrath had many positive reviews, there were also several significant drawbacks. It is amazing to watch the development team address these problems by coming up with fresh approaches.

At 3 p.m. PDT on September 26, Wrath of the Lich King Classic will be live worldwide. To find out what time zone you are in, go to the Wrath Classic launch page.

As Editor here at GeekReply, I'm a big fan of all things Geeky. Most of my contributions to the site are technology related, but I'm also a big fan of video games. My genres of choice include RPGs, MMOs, Grand Strategy, and Simulation. If I'm not chasing after the latest gear on my MMO of choice, I'm here at GeekReply reporting on the latest in Geek culture.

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The director of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is making a final plea to content creators regarding spoilers

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Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is on the horizon, with our review already available. There’s just one week left until the game’s official release on February 29th, exclusively on PS5. This highly anticipated sequel to Remake, based on one of the most beloved video game stories, is best experienced without any spoilers, according to creative director Tetsuya Nomura.

On Twitter, Nomura made a final request for players and content creators to avoid spoiling the game for others, especially on social media and video-sharing platforms, where spoilers can spread rapidly. Naturally, there’s a specific moment that everyone is eagerly anticipating to see how it will compare to the 1997 original, and it’s bound to be quite chaotic on launch day. Nevertheless, Nomura still holds onto a glimmer of hope for humanity and has made a seemingly impossible request for content creators to exercise a degree of restraint.

It’s important to remember to include spoiler warnings when sharing content related to the game’s story on social media and video-sharing sites to avoid spoiling the experience for others. I would greatly appreciate it if you could avoid using scenes from important parts of the story in your video thumbnails.

https://x.com/finalfantasyvii/status/1760605439698591859?s=20

Nomura points out that the developers intentionally did not limit the recording and sharing features of the PS5 for any aspect of the game. They believe players should have the freedom to share and discuss their favorite gameplay moments. It remains to be seen if that trust was justified.

Do you think players and content creators will follow Nomura’s request and minimize spoilers? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Xbox may want to become more acquainted with the Platinum Trophies on PS5 and PS4

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Obsidian’s first Xbox game, Pentiment, a historical adventure, is now available on the PS5 and PS4. From what we’ve seen, this port of a highly popular game seems to be solid, and we aim to provide you with a review soon. Meanwhile, one aspect caught our attention regarding the conversion that Microsoft may need to address in the future.

Pentiment’s list of Trophies perfectly mirrors its Xbox Achievements, featuring identical descriptions, titles, and icons. There is a slight variation between the two versions: PlayStation offers 42 trophies to unlock, whereas Xbox provides 41 achievements to earn. The distinction lies in the Platinum Trophy, which is awarded once you have collected all the other trinkets in the set.

Since it’s not included in the original game, the developer has not named the trophy, so it appears as ‘PlatinumTrophy’ in the list. This has already generated amusement among Trophy enthusiast communities. “They chose such a basic name for the Platinum Trophy and somehow still messed it up,” a fan expressed.

This issue is quite insignificant in the bigger picture and could likely be fixed with a quick update or patch. As Microsoft gains more experience with PlayStation development, we hope their command of the Trophy system will improve. After all, those platinums are difficult to earn and deserve a more memorable name.

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Brock Lesnar and Vince McMahon have been excluded from the final roster of WWE 22K24

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2K Sports unveiled the complete roster for the upcoming WWE 2K24, featuring more than 204 playable superstars, including 70 Legends who are no longer part of the main rosters, along with eight managers. However, fans were quick to point out the absence of some notable names from the list: 7-time WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and former WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon. Lesnar was previously excluded from the Forty Years of WrestleMania edition.

Following accusations of sex trafficking against McMahon by a former WWE employee, a report from the Wall Street Journal brought the issue to light. Although Lesnar’s name was not directly mentioned in the proceedings, insiders informed the WSJ that he was the unidentified WWE champion in question. McMahon refuted the allegations but stepped down as WWE CEO the day following the federal lawsuit.

Nonetheless, Lesnar and McMahon will still be present in the game. GameSpot has reported that the Lesnar vs. Undertaker match from WrestleMania 30 may be included in Showcase mode. It is speculated that another match already confirmed for Showcase mode (Stone Cold vs. The Rock, WrestleMania 17) will probably include an appearance from McMahon as well.

WWE 2K24 will be available for purchase on March 8th for PS5 and PS4, or March 5th for those interested in the Deluxe or WrestleMania editions.

 

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