The WoW dev team took some more time out of their busy schedules to answer some questins from the community.
Q: Are there any specifics you can share with us about the rework of the Jade Forest?
A: The purpose of the zone rework is to focus on the introduction of the zone. We felt it was not epic enough and introduced the pandaren much later than what we felt was appropriate. The plan With the rework was to make the first series of quests much more appealing, introduce the pandaren straight away and start to hint at the Sha.
Q: It has previously been mentioned that Challenge modes might include additional pulls and even additional mechanics not seen in the heroic versions. Are there anything new on this you can share with us?
A: Challenge modes will certainly include additional pulls and mechanics, but it will not be level/rank based. Your first attempt will likely take some time and you should expect to finish bronze. From there, you’ll be able to utilize the pulls/mechanics available to try and speed up your runs and get the higher ranks.
Q: Are you happy with the current completion rate of heroic raid content (including Deathwing, which seems to be higher than previous end-of-expansion raids)? Are you taking any measures to make it even higher throughout Mists of Pandaria?
A: Yes, we’re happy with the current completion rate of heroic raid content, although it’s tough to truly rate Dragon Soul since more time was spent on this tier, and more nerfs were applied to its difficulty over time, etc. But we’re happy with all previous ones. There are no planned changes for Mists of Pandaria beyond adding the Raid Finder difficulty to each new raid tier going forward.
Q: Do you plan to implement more new functions in the BG UI, like tag as team button, categorize BGs by type (CTF, Payload, Murder Ball, etc.) to make BGs even easier to get into for MoP?
A: Although this is something we would like to do, there are no immediate plans to adjust any of the Battleground UI features.
Q: Do you plan to decrease the length of Arena seasons in the future? Many players see it as normal and fine to just sit on their ratings for the season and only play until they reach a high rating. This leads to inconsistent Arena participation which saddens some PvPers.
A: We don't have any plans to do this. It's pretty important, both logistically and in terms of game progression, that the Arena seasons line up with new tiers of PvE content. The only way to cut them short would be to add in significant gaps of time between each season, and we believe that would feel worse.
Q: Will you add new raid items to the Black Market Auction House as new content is released throughout the Mists development cycle, basically keeping pace with the tiered progression?
A: This hasn't been entirely determined yet. The BMAH is really just a big, new experiment and we'll have to see how it goes before planning to update it with the release of each new tier.
Q: Would you ever consider making gold Account-wide like in D3, like for an example through a shared bank?
A: We love the idea. It sucks to have to be constantly mailing heirlooms, gold, and other items between characters. We’re looking into ways of solving this someday, though it may not be shared banks (i.e. maybe just shared gold and account-wide heirlooms).
Q: GW2 does some interesting things with guild benefits, namely that you gain points as a guild and can then spend them on ‘building’ upgrades and options, including gear crafters. Any thoughts on a similar system for WoW guilds? (i.e. “spending” some kind of guild currency on benefits instead of just unlocking them as the guild levels.)
A: We came close to doing something similar in the past, but then moved away from the idea so we wouldn’t have to consistently create sets of rewards to spend guild currency on. With how our currency system works in WoW, this just didn’t seem to fit very well. We will, however, continue to give flavor rewards for reputation.
Q: Cross-realm zones are not fully addressing the issues of low population realms, since these realms do not have the same benefits as the fuller realms, such as healthier economies and easier guild recruitment. Do you foresee game-wide auction houses or easy/free transfers (or other solutions) that will help address these concerns in the near future?
A: Not at this time, no. We want to preserve realm communities while giving questing areas more population. That said, we could see the potential for joining auction houses in some fashion down the road.
Q: Has any of the recent cross-realm zone feedback or issues you’ve seen so far made you look into into changes or fixes to the system?
A: There seems to be a lot of confusion right now in the community about this system, but we’re still sifting through feedback to see what is and is not a legitimate bugs and concerns.
Q: There are some people who fear that people will begin selling accounts with all their mounts/achieves as all it takes is a transfer of one character to an account to give it everything. You can essentially copy achieves/mounts/pets to a new account completely. Obviously not cool, but anything we can do to prevent this and alleviate player concerns?
Q: Have you ever thought of implementing a Karma point system similar to the one they have in GW2?
A: It is an interesting system for sure, but We feel that the only good thing to do with Karma is to hoard it for endgame stuff, which makes it ultimately much like our Justice/Valor system now, except it’s less transparent and leads to a lot of people spending it “incorrectly.
Q: Realm vs Realm stuff is pretty cool, and it seems like something that would transition well to WoW with some tweaks. Any reason why you never provided that as a PvP option?
A: We love the realm vs. realm concept and potential for fun PvP content so we are most surely considering options. Fortunately, we now have a dedicated PvP content designer who is currently exploring various design ideas like this for PvP in the future.
Q: Shaman players have been pretty vocal about the changes to totems and complexity of situational options they have depending on encounter. Why were their changes so complex and do you feel another pass on their abilities is needed?
A: Totems have been completely revamped and are no longer what gets used before a fight. The intent was to make them situational while not being a part of their rotation. If players do miss having a “totem bar,” they can still place totems on an action bar and recreate the fly-out UI. They just really shouldn’t want to drop them in rapid succession anymore.
Q: Now that transmogrification has kind of bent the philosophy on wanting distinct silhouettes to define the quality of gear a player is wearing, wil you now consider allowing for invisible shoulders? Many players tend to go and find the smallest, cheesiest low-level shoulders to get around the bulky look of most high quality shoulders.
A: It still feels too early to give players this option especially considering the amount of tech and people it would involve, ultimately taking away from the time that would otherwise be given to more important updates/projects. We also believe the best time to add cool new features to Transmog is during mid-expansion patches, when we can draw more attention to them — as opposed to adding something during an expansion launch that’ll get buried under all the core features.