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Patch 5.4 Interview with Lead Systems Designer Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street

by - 6 years ago

Earlier this afternoon we had an opportunity to sit down with World of Warcraft’s Lead Systems Designer Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street regarding the upcoming Patch 5.4. We did this interview LIVE on Twitch at 2 PM earlier today but in case you missed it we have the video for you and have the interview completely transcribed for those who want to read it below. The audio version of the episode will be available later this week.

Some interesting tidbits from the interview and some brand new things that had not been announced prior include:

  • The first 3 or 4 bosses in Siege of Orgrimmar shouldn’t be too difficult for most raiding guilds, certainly not the wall that Horidon was in Throne of Thunder.
  • Proving Grounds could be used in the future to determine LFR eligibility instead of iLevel.
  • We could see flexible raids go higher than 25 man in the future (but probably not all the way to 40)
  • The heirloom items that will drop from Garrosh are personal loot in Flex, Normal, and Heroic and the first one that drops will be for your current loot spec for that fight. All drops afterwards will be random.
  • Valor points will not be converted to justice points for Patch 5.4 (so get to saving!)

Audio

Video

Transcribed Interview

Twizz: Today we’re going to talk about all things 5.4 including flex raiding, the Timeless Isle, the Siege of Orgrimmar raid, professions, and hopefully get a peek of what’s to come in the future.  Welcome to TwizzCast everyone, the official podcast of BlizzPro.com

Twizz: Welcome to a very special episode of TwizzCast, ladies and gentleman, I am your host Twizz and I’m joined today by some pretty amazing people. I would like to start off with introducing my cohost Hota, hello sir

Hota: Hey what’s up man?

Twizz: Not much, good to have you brother.  Also with me on the line is a man who really needs no introduction at all, would you please help me welcome back to the show, direct from Irvine CA, Lead Systems Designer, Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street.  Welcome back to the show sir!

Greg: Hey, Hey! How you guys doing?

Twizz: Very good, it’s great to have you as always.  Well we only have a limited amount of time so I would definitely like to make the most of it.  Greg, one of the things that I found extremely funny during our 5.2 interview; I asked you about the possibility of training dummies being used to help train new tanks and healers.  Your response at the time was “We’re working on things, but it’s going to be pretty awesome.”  Well lo and behold 5.4 is coming down the pipe and you guys are introducing the Proving Grounds to us so I’d like to take a few minutes to just kind of talk about them. Just so we have an idea of time involved with something like this,  how long ago did the proving grounds start becoming a reality?

Greg: Oh gosh, this was actually a 5.0 launch feature for us originally.  I think I might have even talked about it in a couple of interviews.  It’s an idea we, you know, it probably even went back to cataclysm when we first had the idea, and started working on it.  But it’s one of those things, you know, other features kind of got in the way and we had to reprioritize things. And we finally said, I think we have the bandwidth in this patch to actually make Proving Grounds happen.

Twizz: Okay, that’s great

Hota: Are you guys looking for proving grounds to be like an introduction to say tanking or healing; which are kind of the harder to do roles when you’re looking for groups? Or are you looking in the future to make it a way to better yourself by making it more difficult?

Greg: I think ultimately the answer is both.  For 5.4 they’re really targeted at max level characters. So, if you say are shadow priest and you’ve always kind of been interesting in healing but always nervous to do it in front of a live audience. Then proving grounds are a safe environment to try it out, to see how healing feels and kind of learn the different spells and the situations where you’d use them.  Assuming the feature works out well, and we’re optimistic it’s going to, we would like to use it in the future more as a training environment. We’ve even talked about maybe there’s a way that Proving Grounds can replace item level as the gating mechanism to get you into say raid finder or similar match making content.

 

Twizz: Wow. I think that would be pretty huge to be honest with you. Now, as the developers have stated in the past the raid encounters are obviously much more difficult than they used to be.  As the difficulty scales in the future would you likely consider altering proving grounds to make them more intense? I know we’re in the infancy stage right now but ultimately where would you like to see them go?

Greg: Sure so, the way they’ll work for patch 5.4 is there are 4 levels of proving grounds.  If you set it to the bronze difficulty that might be the equivalent of someone just stepping into a dungeon for the first time. So we would expect any experienced tank to have no trouble with bronze proving ground. Silver’s a little harder, gold’s a little harder after that.  Then by the time you’re in gold it’s throwing a lot of different situations at you like target switching, interrupting, bombs, things like that, that are pretty common raid mechanics that we use over and over again.  And then endless mode is just throwing you wave after wave of ramping difficulty with the intent that eventually we’ll break you. There will be some point at which you just can’t do it anymore so that we know, you know, cause if everyone can finish endless then there’s no way to compare yourself and no kind of additional ring to try to go after.

Twizz: Okay, do you have, I don’t know, gear tiers I would say, like, you shouldn’t even try this gold level if you don’t at least have an equipped ilevel of this because you’ll just get stomped?

Greg: Not really, in fact the Proving Grounds scale all your gear down, I think it’s to 463 at the moment. Because we wanted it to be a test of skill and not gear; which is one of the reasons it’s appealing to use that eventually as a match making criteria.  It’s like, ‘No I don’t have good gear. But dude, I have gold proving grounds, obviously I know how to tank.  So as long as I don’t get one shot by the boss you’re probably safe in this dungeon with me.’

Twizz: that’s awesome, it kind of makes like a fool proof system as it were.

Greg: Hopefully, now you know this is the first time we’ve done that, we’re going to find issues; we’re going to find situations.  Like one off the top of my head is, when you scale a healers gear down to 463, say a raid healer who might have ilevel 500, 530 or something like that; You really feel it, and the mana is very hard to come by. So it’s almost a relearning for a raid level healer to have to go in and heal something with such a small amount of regen. There will probably be other situations like that where we over emphasize target switching so specs that can’t target switch can’t get as high a score as other specs.  We hope that players don’t misuse Proving Grounds as some type of ranking of the effectiveness of each spec in the game

Twizz: They wouldn’t do that would they?

Greg: Oh yes, in a heartbeat

Twizz: oh yes, absolutely.

Hota: Now on the other side of that, you were talking scaling people down. If a new max level character wanted to get into the proving grounds would they have to get that item level? For example your 463 would they be scaled up or is it always scaling down?

Greg: I think at the moment we’re just going to scale down. We’re not 100% sure on this yet but the idea is that you can get 460ish item level pretty easily, particularly with patch 5.4 and the Timeless Isle coming out. That gear shouldn’t be that hard to come by.  Now in the future who knows, we’d love to be able to let lower level characters into there. I don’t know if we could go as low as level 15 when the dungeons kind of start. But that would be a really kind of stretch goal for us in the future.

Twizz: Yeah, it’s kind of like every man for himself at that point, at level 15. But I would tend to think that you want to learn how to tank as you’re going up as opposed to ‘Now I’m at max level, now I’m going to try tanking.’  Because, I think when the leveling process is actually you tanking through dungeons that’s where you’re going to get the meat and potatoes of what it’s like to be a tank. So I don’t know.  I’m very excited to see what you guys have cooking and just take it for a test spin.

Greg: Awesome

Twizz: Let’s see here, on the topic of raiding, let’s talk a little bit about the new 5.4 raid that is currently being tested.  You wanted to give the raids like an Ulduar feel as you guys stated in the past. When ToT launched.  Do you guys feel that you followed the same ideas with the new raid that’s coming out?

Greg: Wow, I mean the Ulduar could mean a lot of different things. It could mean it had a great story, it had great visuals, it had interesting boss encounters.  I’ll just say that with Siege of Orgrimmar we wanted to have a lot of bosses, and we do, it’s a very very large raid.  We have a little bit of branching, one of the criticisms that we called out ourselves on Throne of Thunder is that it was very linear once you go in it’s a straight shot to the end.  We have a choice or two in Siege. I think in future raids we would like to do even more of that.  We really like that Razorscale in Ulduar was a boss you could eventually skip over. Or you could decide which of the four keepers you wanted to do first. I think they don’t translate super well to raid finder but I think at the higher difficulty levels that’s a really fun decision for groups to make.

Hota: A lot of the raid teams in the Throne of Thunder, they kind of got hung up on the second boss, which was Horidon, and I mean by like semi hard core teams, like normal teams, that got hung up on this.  Where do we expect to see the new kind of road block in the new Siege of Orgrimmar or is there one?

Greg: Hopefully there isn’t one the same way. We agree in retrospect Horidon was too much of a step up from Jin’rokh.  Ideally we could deliver on a smoother scaling experience from boss to boss. We’re hoping that say the first three or four bosses in Siege of Orgimmar, which is basically the first wing, is something that most guild that consider themselves raiding guilds are going to be able to tackle without feeling like they hit a brick wall.  And if they then get stuck on a boss for several weeks after that, they know at least they can gear up on those first four bosses, they’ll be making progress.

 

Twizz: Right, awesome. That’s ideal because it’s happened, it happens, I don’t know, it’s happened several times on our raid team, Hota. We hit Horidon, believe it or not it got kind of crazy.

Hota: That’s kind of someone’s fault.

Twizz: Hey, now he’s picking on me in front of GC for my raiding. So I know that this was a subject that you wanted to cover and I’m very anxious to hear more about this. So, I know that weapon heirlooms were recently found on the PTR, falling off of Garrosh Hellscream.  Believe it or not, I’m not going to ask you about the level 90-100 level range.  What I would like to know though is a little bit about why you chose to use them as boss drops.  Was it for farming and replayability? Was it just to do something different?  What would you like to say about the heirlooms?

Greg: I’d say our motivation was all of those things. We wanted to make Garrosh a really memorable boss and have a really interesting loot table.  Something we haven’t done before.  We also had, players have had, I think, fairly valid complaints that Mists of Pandaria was not as alt friendly as our previous expansions.  We knew that patch 5.4 would be a great chance to let players kind of bring back the characters they hadn’t been able to play as much.  And the heirlooms are a great way to do that.  So I think, the way it works, that isn’t clear from just data mining the items themselves;  Is that they’re personal loot in flex, normal, and heroic raiding.  And the first weapons that drops, if you’re lucky enough to get one, will be for your current loot spec.  So if you’re a ret paladin, 100% guarantee, the first time you get a Garrosh weapon, Garrosh heirloom weapon, it’s going to be a two hander, two handed strength weapon. After that you can keep getting weapons and it will be random beyond that first point.  So going back to the ret paladin example, you may then get a healing mace that you could use when your paladin swaps to holy or you could give it to a priest alt. And then maybe you’ll get a bow for your hunter. And very dedicated players can try to get, catch them all! And then they’ll have these awesome heirlooms for every possible character they might want to have in patch 5.4.  And then even on into the future.

Hota: That is crazy cool!

Twizz: Yeah absolutely! Do you plan on basically, using the same system where it tracks, I’m thinking of the current raid, the other raid tier, where it tracked how many times you killed the boss and if you didn’t get a drop it increased your chances.  Are you going to implement that kind of a thing too, like well he’s killed this boss four times and he’s yet to have the agility polearm drop?

Greg: We’ll at least do it for the first one. We don’t want anyone to kill Garrosh 20-30 times and never get their main spec weapon.  Not sure yet if we’re going to do it for the additional ones beyond that first one.

Twizz: Okay, well let’s see here.  I’m trying to go through my show notes, like that just kind of blew my mind a little bit so.

 

Greg: It’s a really exciting feature and we just wanted to, I know some players were anxious about the guild loot dynamics and how they were going to decide who gets the heirlooms. Which is why we wanted to point out it’s, it will feel a lot like bonus roll, you’ll get one or you won’t and it won’t necessarily matter what other players in the group have gotten.

Twizz: Okay, cool.  Well along the same lines as raiding let’s talk about something that I’m very excited about and that would be the flex raiding.  You guys battled back and forth a little bit in setting the ilevel rewards. It started out as I think 536 and currently set to 540. I’m kind of surprised that it’s not a little higher for 10 man ilevels since the raid itself scales dynamically with the number of people in your party.  What were the challenges in creating flex raiding and how did you come to the conclusion of the appropriate ilevel rewards.

Greg: Ilevel is challenging because there are so many forces kind of acting upon it to come up with the perfect item level. If you make the items too, to use flex for an example, if the item levels are too high then there’s strong motivation for every normal and maybe even heroic player to also run flex; which wasn’t really our intent. It also means that the encounters are probably harder since they’re rewarding higher item level which means it’s harder for players who’ve fallen behind, or who are just coming back to be able to get in there.  We really wanted flex to be like, if you consider your guild a casual raiding guild, flex is probably targeted at you. We don’t really expect too many groups that can’t even handle the flex difficulty.  We wanted to make sure the floor is pretty low which means the ceiling of the ilevel had to be low too.

Hota: Now that you’ve created this type of feature in game, this sort of flex, depending on how many people you have in your group, are you looking to adapt this technology to other parts of the game, maybe questing or even like five mans?

Greg: We’ve talked a lot about it. I mean, the answer is yes, there’s a lot of different ways we could use it. Scenarios is one that we’ve talked about recently.  Maybe a scenario could scale from three all the way up to five.  I’m not sure a five player dungeon works with fewer than five players.  And going much beyond five players sometimes the physical space in the dungeon and the encounters just assume that you’re not going to bring 10 players along or something like that. But, as long as we don’t have to balance the challenge of the encounter on a razors edge; which is why we’d probably never be able to offer the scaling size for heroic; we think there’s a lot of possibility for the feature in the future.  Really excited about it, just seems like it solves so many of the problems that groups have with the logistics of getting the right number of people together

Hota: Absolutely.

Twizz: Just the logistics of making sure you have all your buffs covered or the maximum amount of buffs that you could possibly.  It’s too bad that some players have to sit the bench, not really because they’re bad players, but just because they weren’t able to bring the right buffs to the raid team or something like that.

 

Greg: Well because any guild leader knows, let’s use the example of a 10 player raid right now.  It’s hard to have a roster of just 10 people.  Because that means that whenever someone is out, you just don’t raid.  So you really need a roster of say 11-12 people but that means some nights 12 people are going to show up and you’re going to have to break the bad news to someone. I really love the idea that whoever shows up, you know within reason, you’ll be able to go.  We’ve even, now this isn’t something we can do for 5.4,  but we’ve even entertained the idea that maybe more than 25 people show up, maybe 27 people show up, maybe you could even go with a 27 player raid that night.

Hota: Confirmed! 40 man raids are back, you heard it here first!

Greg: Up to some limit. I don’t know what the limit would be, probably not 40. Maybe 30 or something.

Twizz: All right, well I’d like to change gears up for the second time and kind of get away from raiding. We’ve recently been introduced to connected realms.  And again, during your previous interview you had said that the developers and yourself were in the middle of addressing realm population and faction imbalance problems.  This looks, at least on paper, like it’s going to solve a lot of the problems like dead auction houses on low pop realms and horde or alliance heavy servers. Is the current plan to merge three or four servers together at the time if they’re low pop? One or two at a time if they’re high pop, or will it just be situational to your server.

Greg: It’ll be situational. We really kind of have a target population in mind of how many people we think it feels good to have on a realm before you start running into queues to log on. In some cases two realms are probably sufficient to hit that population. In other cases, it may be a lot more and we’re just going to have to look at each realm on an individual basis and decide how many other realms it should be connected to to give players a good experience.

Twizz: All right

Greg: And that’s probably worth pointing out, that this is the kind of feature that we need to roll out slowly.  This is not going to be launch day for 5.4 – all of a sudden realms are all connected.  We’ll probably start with a small pool of realms, make sure that it’s stable, make sure that the technology and the game play works, and then slowly expand it over time with the lessons learned from that initial pool.

Twizz: Okay, I kind of have another question along those lines.  I’m the GM of Twisted Empire on Kul’Tiras. Let’s say that you merge Kul’Tiras with another realm that has a Twisted Empire on there.  How is that going to work with multiple toon names, multiple guild names, and stuff like that?

Greg: One of our goals with the feature was not to stomp on anyone’s names.  We think it’s a really bad experience for someone who logs in and it says ‘well we had to change the name of your character or change the name of your guild, sorry’. Not only do you lose that identity, but then your friends can’t find you anymore. Someone who hasn’t played decides to come back for a future expansion and they’re like ‘Where’s the guild?’ ‘Where are my friends?’  We don’t think that’s a good experience, so we want to make sure that everyone can keep their name, whether their player name or their guild name.  And we’ll just designate the difference between two players. In the really unlikely event that someone has the exact same player name and the exact same guild name as yours, there will be a symbol next to their name indicating that it’s this other dude, guild master #2 and not you. And then we’re trying to do clever things with like autocomplete; So that you’re on someone’s friends list your name pops up first, not the other guy’s name popping up when they’re like doing the chat or a /inspect or something.

Twizz: I see, okay. Well yeah, so we’re kind of looking at you’re going to have to /ginvite twizz#kultiras that’s kind of what we’re looking at, is essentially what you’re saying?

Greg: Like if you started to type Twizz, it would autocomplete with what it thought was the right one. Then it would probably offer a confirmation to say like ‘Are you sure this is the dude you wanted to invite?’ and things like that.  We don’t want to make this a big imposition to players.  The whole point is just to give them more potential candidates for their guild; to give them players they can raid with or quest with; make the auction house economy a little more robust and so on.

Twizz: Right on! Well, shifting gears for the last time I promise.  I’d like to talk about the Timeless Isle a little bit. I saw the different tiers of chests that increased rewards as the chests become more difficult to access. You have the ability to take 496’s and upgrade them to a much higher ilevel via these chests. I suppose what I’d like to ask you is, do you feel that you’re offering too much at times in the way of ilevels and making it hard to keep up with for casual players?

Greg: It’s definitely a complicated system when you look at all the different… you know there’s scenarios and heroic scenarios and four tiers of raiding; and oh by the way, there’s thunder forge and you can upgrade these items twice and valor.. If you look at it as a complete package there’s a lot of component parts there. Fortunately, for the most part, players just need to worry about ‘Is that item an upgrade or not?’, ‘Is it a higher item level then what I currently have?’. If so, it’s probably an upgrade for most players. Unless they’re super sophisticated theory crafters. As that’s what we really want players to focus on, is what are the different systems out there that increase the quality of their gear; and where it is, and how do they access it, and is it approachable to them.

One of the challenges for an area like the timeless isle is that it’s targeted at a wide variety of players. So we needed to make sure that someone in 460 blues can go out there and make progress while still offering… it may be hard to entice the heroic raider out there, but at least for the larger raiding population that has some really powerful gear… that there’s still reasons to go to the timeless isle and spend some time there when it’s their off raid night

Hota: Do you think it would be easier to have fewer item levels with a harder path to attain them? Or the more item levels with easier paths to get rewards?  And you kind of mentioned this earlier as the proving grounds being a way to introduce those item levels as well.

Greg: It’s just attention between how many different types of ways we want to offer to play the game.  For example if there are heroic scenarios and they don’t offer very powerful item level rewards, well no one’s going to run them. If there are heroic scenarios that offer the same item level as raiding will, then everyone’s going to run them and raiding may drop off. So we end up just slicing these item level distinctions very thin sometimes to make sure there’s always an upgrade path. When players can’t get better gear, that’s opportunity for them to get bored of playing the game, when they feel like there’s no opportunity for advancement.

Twizz: Oh yeah, that’s exactly how I felt as a casual player, I could log on and maybe try and make a little bit of head way towards getting my next big ilevel upgrade or that I had three or four different options to at least upgrade it a little bit and make my time in game feel like I really actually did accomplish something. Cause everybody like a little bit of purpose

Greg: One of the things I really like about the way that Timeless Isle is shaping up is that it has both the deterministic and non-deterministic rewards. And what I mean by that is – as you just go through and kill snakes or turtles or animals like that, you’ll accrue timeless coins and eventually you can spend those on some pretty decent gear.  You also have a chance at just randomly getting these epics drops. So if you only have 20 minutes to play, well maybe there’s a chance you’ll get an epic drop, if not you’re going to slowly work on your timeless coin stockpile and eventually have a reward waiting at the end.

Twizz: One of the last things that I’d like to talk about is professions. I know that I for one am very happy with what you’ve been doing to help boost the ease of profession leveling.  Cooking and mining are pretty much the first things that come to mind. But the addition to getting bonus skill points for items that are harder to craft was also a huge help. So in the future, is there any plans to put professions on the express lane to a point; with all the heirlooms and possible potions of xp that might be coming out. It’s easier to focus on leveling your character and professions go to the wayside. Professions shouldn’t be a cake walk – but it does kind of suck having to spend gold and time crafting unusable and unsellable items of max level.

Greg: Yeah, totally. There’s a couple problems you’ve identified. One is that because we’ve added so many ways to boost your leveling – whether it’s the guild perks or heirlooms, things like that. It’s easy for your character level to outstrip the corresponding profession level.  And that’s just a problem that we need to fix. Unfortunately it’s a very time consuming problem to fix; because we have to go through and decide what to do with every one of those recipes.  And do we pull them which then might make players mad that before they could get this particular cloak that’s now unavailable.  And then the other half of it is just the pain of a player makes the very legitimate decision, ‘I don’t want to be a jewel crafter anymore, I want to be an enchanter’.  What is the expense, both in terms of player time and relearning and gold, that they’re going to have to do to make that profession jump?  We don’t want it to be as trivial as say swapping specs for your characters; But it shouldn’t be such a pain that someone would never even really consider it.  So I think the, like you said, the cooking and some of the work we’ve done on blacksmithing and mining are kind of the direction we’d like to go in the future.  It’s very designer intensive work to update each one of those professions, but we’re really happy with the way they’ve gone so far and we have plans to do more of that in future expansions.

Twizz: Nice, and you know you kind of struck a chord there, I never really even thought about the recipes involved and stuff like that. I mean, you start taking stuff like that way and whatever; you’re striking at the transmog lovers out there. Know what I mean?

Greg: Totally

Twizz: Because there’s some older stuff that’s pretty awesome and so I never even thought about that kind of a line that you have to walk, do we pull them, do we change them, what do we have to do to make this happen?

Greg: Even if it’s not a transmog concern, and I agree that it totally is, someone might have 700 leatherworking recipes and they just wake up one day and now they only have 200. I mean that kind of sucks, they worked hard to earn all those and they… We’re taking away something they worked hard to get which never feels really good.

Twizz: Right, and content that developers in the past spent time making and everything that’s just work that just gets erased.

Greg: That’s true, but we’re kind of used to that, we redid Westfall and you know… We lose our hard work all the time, it’s part of the job.

Twizz: Well, hats off!  Let’s see here, I did want to cover one thing very quickly. Today you released a blog about class balancing in 5.4 and some of your reasons behind it.  It’s a very lengthy post and covering it would take every second that we had available. Can you tell us what the post contains and what you’re trying to convey to the player base?

Greg: Yeah, so we have a lot of players who are very engaged with the community. They read the forums, they read prominent websites, and they listen to podcasts, like you guys.  They follow me on twitter.  Then we have a huge majority of players who don’t do any of that.  And for them they just see a patch and they’re like ‘This makes no sense to me, I don’t understand what problem the developers are trying to fix.’  The water cooler articles are pretty widely read particularly in other regions that don’t necessarily have all the English access to the developers as folks in the United States do.  So it’s a way of just communicating large trends that we’re trying to solve, or things that might be head scratching. The blog wasn’t really focused at all on DPS tuning because that’s something that’s still ongoing.  And ultimately a class is either performing where we want it to perform or it’s not.  And we can kind of tune those numbers up and down. But it’s more the philosophical changes that players may not understand like, ‘Why is my mitigation going away?’ or ‘Why did they change this talent that I thought was a perfectly fun talent?’  I think players aren’t always going to agree with us; in fact they’re often not going to agree with us… but when we can provide the context they can at least say well I see what they are trying to do, I still disagree with the change but it makes more sense to me what they thought they were solving.

Hota: Absolutely, there’s been a lot of people lately just saying, ‘Oh you always change my class how am I supposed to learn it over and over?’ Especially in Mists of Pandaria, the warlock as you mentioned in your post has had a lot of changes as well.  But like you said – it’s kind of like that balancing act where you want to get it where it’s supposed to be but how do you make everybody happy at the same time?

 

Greg: Man, this is the stuff that legitimately keeps me up at night.  What is the right amount of change to inflict on existing classes? Because we know there are players that are angry, they’re desperate for change because they’re so frustrated with a particular mechanic. And then we have other players, I mean, I meet them all the time, who say ‘I really liked my fire mage, but you changed it so much that I felt like I had to relearn it and I’m sure it’s a better design but I just, you know, I can’t stick with it anymore.’ ‘I don’t have that bandwidth to learn it again, it’s too exhausting or I don’t have the time or whatever’, so we know that there’s a huge cost to changing classes and it could be a very real cost if players unsubscribe because the degree of change is so much they feel they can’t keep up. So we really have to balance that with people who, you know, they see a flaw in their spec, they understand we could make some little tweak and that would fix it or we could do a radical overhaul like we did the warlock. I guess I want impress to the community there are pros and cons to all of those decisions and we agonize about them all the time.

Twizz: Yeah we’re creature of habit we hate change but at the same time we love it

Greg: I mean it’s all so exciting; it’s fun to see a new talent.  Or it’s fun to see like ‘oh there’s this new mechanic I didn’t have before’, you know again it has a cost, but we recognize there’s some of that that’s helping to keep it fresh for someone who’s played a rogue or a hunter for eight or nine years now and hasn’t seen a huge degree of change.

Twizz: All right, well speaking of the community – and that’s what this is all about, that’s why we do podcasts, that’s why I’m here. Our friend Rho over at Realm Maintenance he does a podcast, it covers all of the podcasts in the community and stuff. And Rho submitted a question for me and for all the hard work that he does I definitely wanted to at least read it to you.  He says “I don’t believe you’ve confirmed this anywhere yet, but with most of the current valor gear becoming purchasable with justice in 5.4 will we see our current valor points converted to justice?

Greg: Our plan right now is not to touch valor points, so players who want to stockpile their 3000 valor and have it ready to go when patch 5.4 hits, you should be able to do that and probably want to start thinking about that.  We are still going to do the normal PvP conversion of converting conquest down like we did. So PvE will stay the same but PvP will get converted the way it typically does.

Twizz: Excellent.  Well I’ll tell you what, that eats up our thirty minutes, believe it or not that was the fastest thirty minutes of my life.  Greg we cannot thank you enough for taking time out of your ridiculously crazy schedule to come out on this show and talk to us

Hota: Yes, Thank you

Greg: It’s totally my pleasure! I really do love the chance to do stuff like this, don’t think of it as an imposition think of it as an opportunity for us.

Twizz: Awesome, well you are welcome back anytime.

Twizz: For all of you listening this interview will be available on iTunes and stitcher radio and the mp3 will be available at twizzcast.com I’d like to take a second and just thank the shows sponsors DogHouse Systems, SteelSeries SlashLoot and our affiliates AskMrRobot and OpenRaid. Ladies and gentlemen, from the crew here at BlizzPro and TwizzCast we encourage you to game safe, love one another and please everyone within the sound of my voice, take care.


JR Cook

JR has been writing for fan sites since 2000 and has been doing Blizzard Exclusive fansites since 2003. He helped co-found BlizzPro in 2013. You can hear JR every week talk about Hearthstone on the Well Met Podcast published on iTunes.


3 responses to “Patch 5.4 Interview with Lead Systems Designer Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street”

  1. Sad I missed it while I was at work. Tanks Twizz and BP for posting this…and the transcription!

  2. Vincent Taliercio says:

    Thank you very much for transcribing and posting this! Great work!

  3. Higysterjoe says:

    Thanks missed it myself was in game trying to gear up took time off wow to play an other game. Like the part about the PTR drop of the Alt gear.