Blizzard is readying patch 4.2 for World of Warcraft, and apparently it’s a “pretty good patch,” size-wise for the developer, according to lead game systems designer Greg Street, also know affectionately as Ghostcrawler.
Speaking in an interview regarding the upcoming Firelands patch with games.on.net, Street said the main purpose of the patch’s content was to provide content for players of all levels, despite where they are pertaining to endgame, as well introducing the Encounter Journal.
“The story is that the players are working with the druids of Mount Hyjal trying to invade the Firelands and get a toehold there,” said Street, “and since they’re druids the way they do that is by planting a tree. And as you complete quests the tree grows larger and larger until eventually it’s just this gigantic tree in the center of all of your base there.
“Every player has their own version of the tree, and they can be in different stages along the progression path there. And as your tree grows, different rewards open up for you, ultimately you can get a new flying mount
“One of the reasons the Firelands raid feels so new and unusual is because you’re not going into a big dungeon or a big cavern like Molten Core. Even though you’re surrounded by fire and volcanoes it feels like you’re outside, and players can mount up and try to decide which boss they want to travel to and in which order. It feels like you’re crossing a continent rather than a very linear dungeon. It’s a very unusual feeling for it.”
The Encounter Journal will help players who tend to go online and read about different encounters or watch videos for some sort of explanation.
“[It] will show you a particular dungeon and you can look at all the bosses in that dungeon and we explain what their abilities are, and kind of give you a sense of whether the ability is interruptible, whether it targets the ground and you should run out of it, or whether it’s the kind of thing you just need to heal through,” said Street.
“We’re trying not to give you strategies like, “Oh, Phase 1, stand here, and then the hunter goes in the back”. We don’t want to get to that detail. But we want to provide enough information to players that they can say ‘Oh! Okay, this is the dragon breath that we read about.’ And in addition we’ll show things like the loot list of items that the bosses drops, and players have access to that information anyway, so we thought we’d just make it more convenient to see. And otherwise we’re just trying to give players a lot of information they can go through as they’re preparing to go into a dungeon or raid.
“We definitely try to explain, like ‘Take Throngus the Forgemaster in Grim Batol’, it’s not always clear to players what this guy is, he’s just an ettin, it’s not clear that he’s supposed to be making armour and weapons for the Twilight Hammer or anything. The Encounter Journal gives us a little bit of the ability to present that information to players who are interested. The abilities we try to keep just in terms of what you would learn if you’d gone to the fight once or twice before. We don’t really get down to the level of ‘the ranged should stand over here, and then the tank should rotate the boss’, I mean we think that’s still up to players to puzzle their way through.
“We don’t want to solve the puzzle for them, we just want to present them with information to that they can make intelligent decisions.”
Blizzard hasn’t set a release for the patch yet, but you can check out the preview videos posted for it earlier.