May 052011

Principal Lead Combat Designer Georg Zoeller sat down with us to discuss the design philosophy behind the Advanced Class System, skill trees, and how one spec should at least get you through the entire leveling process.  We end with our Yes/No/Pass game, which Georg later calls some kind of Jedi Mind Trick.  Here are the main points from the interview:

  • When will we be seeing all the skill trees and Advanced Class roles? “I think you’ll see us becoming more detailed about these things pretty soon.”
  • Skill Trees: players must assign a certain amount of points in a lower tier in order to move up to the next tier.  Certain skills have prerequisite skills in order to assign points.  There is no dependency between trees, so a player will never have to assign point in one tree in order to use them in another tree.
  • Advanced Classes are more than a simple specialization; they are more like completely separate classes.  Developers are looking at the idea of changing specs outside chosen AC, but if that is allowed “it won’t come lightly.”
  • Developers have kept in mind the different needs players have during their gameplay experience – leveling, PvP, raids, etc.  Different builds should be viable in more than one context.  Companions will help offset some of the disparities players feel taking their characters into different situations with different requirements (although companions are still not allowed in warzones).
  • Players should be able to use the same spec for both PvE and PvP.  The game is designed so that the emphasis gives greater weight to actual skill than to the distribution of skill points.
  • Georg observes that WoW’s dungeon finder system hurts community because it tries to subvert the natural process of finding people you like to play with.
  • As the game matures and players’ needs evolve, Georg is not opposed to adding features such as dual spec.
  • Crowd control: In PvE cc abilities work repeatedly.  Bosses tend to be resistant or immune.  In PvP resistance against crowd control effects builds up as a player is subjected to them.

Quickfire Round: guilds, combat logs, playable species, third-party addons, and more.

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