Killing World Bosses Softly
Greg Tito: Did you also work on the world bosses that Blizzard is adding for Patch 5.2?
Ion Hazzikostas: Yes. We have Nalak and Oondasta, two outdoor raid bosses that are in the 5.2 patch.
Greg Tito: I saw the big changes that it's going to be faction tapping, in which everyone who helps to kill a boss from the same faction (Horde or Alliance) will be able to loot from the corpse once it's killed. How do you think that will change the psychology of how taking down these bosses goes?
Ion Hazzikostas: I think mainly, it's just going to hopefully remove some of the more obnoxious elements currently where, particularly early on in the patch when they're very competitive sought after kill targets you have people actively trying really hard to get the tap. I think the idea of tapping is something that makes a lot of sense when you have individual mobs in a quest area and there's a couple of people trying to kill mobs for their quest, "Oh okay I hit this one first, this is mine. You hit that one first, it's yours." That's how claiming it works. But when you have some of the situations we saw early in Mists of Pandaria this past October where you have sixty players standing on a spot on the ground spamming AOE spells hoping that if the boss bombs they'll be the one to tap it first. That's just clunky and cumbersome so we'd like to focus on combat against the boss itself and have it feel more co-operative. On PvP servers certainly you're not going to be co-operating with the opposite faction. If they have the tap and you wipe out the AllIonce group that has the tap, well now your Horde group has the tap because that's just how it works. We don't want you to feel like players of the same faction are your enemies.
Greg Tito: That makes sense. Do you think that that will lead to more calls to arms in the major cities to try and take down a boss once it's spawned?
Ion Hazzikostas: It's potentially. Nalak respawns fairly frequently so in that sense I think players who want to fight him and want to defeat him will be able to. I think you'll just generally see people want to fight him going to the area where he spawns and you won't necessarily have the case where you have people that aren't in the group but are kind of begging for an invite because they can't quite fit into the group, they'll just join in and participate in the encounter. The other world boss Oondasta is a bit more off the beaten path, he's on a new island off the North coast of Kun-Lai Summit and he's much more challenging. His surrounding are actually full of elite mobs in something that's more of a throwback to some of the vanilla days, like Lord Kazak and green dragons. So we don't expect quite as much player traffic in those areas. That's really intended to be more for the organized group, the first guild on the server that notices the boss is up and gets the raid group there and less for casuals.
Greg Tito: How will the cross-server mechanics work with the world bosses?
Ion Hazzikostas: In order to fight Nalak you have to have fully unlocked the outdoor progression on the Isle of Thunder. That's sort of a server wide progression. You can't loot Nalak if you're travelling to a different server. Specifically out of the concern that as soon as one server opens up this boss we don't want to see players from all the other servers congregating, flocking this one server and overwhelming it just to get the loot from the boss that isn't accessible on their home server. Once your home server's unlocked him fight him there, we don't expect him to be super competed over just because he respawns fairly frequently like Sha of Anger, if you missed him wait fifteen minutes, twenty minutes, it'll respawn you can fight him again.
Greg Tito: Oondasta is going to be something similar?
Ion Hazzikostas: Potentially, currently there isn't any cross server restriction there. You can only loot the boss once a week and we don't necessary foreclose the possibility of, you have a real ID or a Battletag friend on your friend's list and you're looking to fill out the last few spots in your raid you invite him in to come help you. That's good, that's fun gameplay. If we see it being abused at all in the sense of guilds intentionally going to other servers to snipe their Oondasta kills we may take some action there but hopefully we think that won't necessarily play out so we're going to keep an eye on it.