Friday, September 2, 2011

Ghostcrawler on Tanking

Regardless of what you think of WoW, the regular game design blogs by Ghostcrawler are generally worth reading. The latest one is very worth reading. Not for the topic itself, which might go a bit too much into specifics if you don't play WoW (anymore). But for the general approach.

You can watch live how the class designers try to keep the players' minds busy without asking them to do something frustrating.


Don't read the comments unless you already lost your faith in humanity.


  1. I agree. I think WOW wasn't really designed with the long term in mind and that Ghostcrawler and his team are performing miracles to keep it going.

    It's also rare to be invited into the thought processes of a senior developer with such honesty.

  2. I wouldn't go so far Stabs. In fact, I think that Ghostcrawler and his team excel at the small things (like class design), but fail at the big things like raiding or the open world in WotLK and Cata.

    Especially GC has a tendency to get lost in the details. It's always a good read, but I think they are at least partly responsible for the sudden stagnation of sub numbers with the start of WotLK.

  3. I remember reading somewhere that they really only plan 9-10 months in advance, or one expansion at best. Given the nature of the industry, that probably is all you CAN plan for.

    Aside from that, Nils, how do you figure that WotLK's (or Cata's) open world failed in ways that TBC did not?

    The raiding philosophy certainly changed, but the old linear progression model was terrible game design leading to outrageous wasting of design resources for sub-1% of subscribers. Everything we have seen since TBC is natural iteration on an episodic design.

    Simply put, I reject the notion that the raiding endgame has anything at all to do with sub loss. Raiding is literally less than 20% of US/EU subs. The true root cause (IMO) would be the over-reliance on heroics to provide endgame content, but I could equally accept simple market saturation, game fatigue, or increased competition from F2P games, indie titles, and even simple game apps. It is honestly not about price anymore, it is about time.