With just a few days separating us from the launch of World of Warcraft latest expansion we revisit the presentation and Q&A session we had last week with Blizzard’s Luis Barriga – Lead Game Designer on World of Warcraft game, at this years Gamescom.
So you’re saying that mythic dungeons are going to scale, can you go into little bit more detail about that?
Blizzard: Yeah previously we had various difficulties for dungeons and raids normal, heroic, mythic etc. One thing that’s new is we have mythic+which use challenge keystones that give modifiers to the creatures in that dungeon and those will have a lot. So further down you make it if you beat a certain time you will receive a new more challenging keystone to try your luck at that dungeon. Some of the modifiers might make it harder for the groups tank to keep aggro on the mobs keep them away from healers for example, or a different dungeon modifier might mean when a creature dies it bolsters other allies, so depending on what combinations you get, you get a different experience also more challenging each time, and also more rewarding.
Will there be like competitive dungeon raiding? We do have PvP in tournaments, can we have PvE in tournaments like challenge dungeons for example?
Blizzard: So we had done exhibition matches like that, we’re doing one just like that at Gamescom actually, but tournament wise we have no structure for that. But it is interesting, so we already did it as an exhibition, that is a very interesting possibility.
Since the beta was out some of the major lore characters got hurt or killed really early on, are you happy with the resonance of those moments? I think some of them don’t feel epic as they should be.
Blizzard: So in the beta, some movies weren’t present.
Yeah, I know but the act itself is sometimes not as heroic … I don’t want do go into spoilers, just wanna ask will there be some reverberations further down the line as the story of the expansion progresses, of those sacrifices that had to be made.
Blizzard: We already are seeing really good reception to some of the major moments especially not what the movies like after broken shore and also it is funny that each side thinks they are right. So we were really pleased with it, like in real life there are two sides of every story, so when you see what happens after the events of the broken shore, yeah without spoilers but… if you are horde you are like ok we did what we had to do, and if you’re alliance you are like we have to take it to the horde…
Also, some characters are more explored through the class quests so will let’s say Priest be able to get enough info on Tirion down the line.
Blizzard: For some characters, yes stories are places in specific classes so if you say like a Warlock and you want to know what happened with Tirion you might wanna check it out with a Paladin alt. So absolutely that’s something that we did differently this time. Every class got their own campaign so previously if you played say four characters there was a little monotonous experience, the gameplay was different but the story was the same so this time we are giving each class their own ark so they get to interact with different characters, different really big characters for their class. Like we mentioned Paladins will be able to interact with Tirion, Warlock will get to interact with the dark council, so yeah every class will get their own story. So if you play your main and you’re like this is great but I wanna see more of the story you will have other characters and their stories to check out.
My question is about raids, so previously you said that there will be 3 tiers for Legion?
Blizzard: So I don’t want to get into the specifics for tiers, for one specific reason and that is we’re trying some new stuff for the Legion and some things fans might get the wrong way like “half tiers”… you know what I mean.
Features are planed just like in Warlords of Draenor and Emerald Nightmare and Night Held are already accepted as raids and as first two raids, so the question is – is there maybe gonna be the fourth tier or are you gonna consider filling in gaps so there is no point where it’s going to be like oh ok I got all the gear – what am I going to do now.
Blizzard: So I can’t answer that specific but we saw at the announcement at the Legion Cafe the future patch content that we will be very aggressively putting out when we feel there is not enough content. So there might or might not be a full tier depending on how we do it. So I’m saying we’re not necessarily changing the plan but keeping an eye on where content is filled.
So we’re not gonna be having another Warlords of Draenor in terms of content?
Blizzard: Absolutely. I always remind everyone that all of us are the fans of the game, we play the game we are in the guilds, we raid, so when players run out of stuff to do – we run out of stuff to do too, we are like man that really sucks that there wasn’t enough stuff to do in Warlords of Draenor for a long period of time, and we’re absolutely going to remedy that with Legion, with the really aggressive patch schedule. There is a train of content coming down the road and it’s not just group content, all sorts of other stuff, I promise you guys will be very happy!
For the people that might have been out of the World of Warcraft for awhile, what about Legion will get them back?
Blizzard: I’m super happy that you asked that question, so two things – one is demon hunter class. Many players even after they stopped playing WoW they come to Blizzcon and we see lines at the Illidan statue people are getting their picture with Illidan, he is a very very popular core lore characters, and the fantasy of wanting to play a demon hunter is one of the reasons. There was a promise there when you’re playing the burning crusade and you’re watching Illidan train all of these blood elves it’s like oh it, not just night elves its spreading and this is now a discipline that is a part of the world so if you were a character that played back then and you know you said during Lich King we allowed players to go like I wanna be like Arthas I wanna be Death Knight, but we never let players be Demon Hunters until now, so that’s a really good way to get them back into the game. And also we specifically designed them as a very easy to learn class, but hard to master, so what that means is if you roll a demon hunter and you previously played WoW you will have no problem at adapting to demon hunter they won’t be a very complicated basic rotation for you to quest and do small group content, but at the same time it’s a little bit deceiving that simplicity so once you get to raiding, once you get to PvP there’s a lot of depth to that class. We have already seen that in the beta, that some of the more masterful players are doing more damage than some of the players that maybe assumed that it is a simple class but haven’t figured out all the tricks with it.
Another this that I think will appeal to a lot of players coming back is the artifact weapons. So if you fell in love with a character back in the day that warlock that paladin that mage we now give you a weapon that’s basically your version of Ashbringer, your version of … if you’re not familiar with WoW, like your version of Excalibur. So like the weapon that is the extension of your class, that will grow in power as you grow in power… and that’s a super strong hook there that I think will appeal to a lot of people.
And then finally something that I think is very good especially for the people, as we get older we have less time to raid and less time to do a lot of PvP, so previously WoW didn’t have a lot of end game content for solo play, but now as the world scales with you at max level all of the Broken Isles are a venture content for you the world wise. So as the beta came out I have been playing and haven’t run out of content, there is a lot of stuff to do there, and those rewards scale in power with you so now not only is reading and PVP a viable progress path you can also do world quests for viable rewards that can potentially be as good as the raiding ones as well dungeon content that can be as good as raiding rewards. So we have many paths to progress we have many activities for you to do.
The launch of the Warlords of Draenor was a little bit chaotic, a lot of people noticed lag and disconnections and stuff, and in Legion we will have one starting place, I am considering that we have different place we can go to the Broken Isles but we have only one starting place and do you have any plans or do you want to tell the community that this won’t happen again, and it is worth taking vacation, taking time off work, going to your friends, making a launch party you know.
Blizzard: One of the things its like little bit behind the scenes technology, but with the demon invasion we actually have super high density of players in the same zones, but what we do now is dynamic sharding, so if there is like you know 1000 people in the zone that only supports 100, we’ll spin up 10 versions of that zone and dynamically allocate them to the correct portion of it. So if you are a little bit skeptical about it I encourage players to go check out demon invasions that are in the game right now.
So you’re using the technology for the launch already?
So you’re also aware of BSOD attacks?
That is something that is out of our control, so unfortunately, we have a lot of BSOD attacks and the best thing we can do is… You know our security teams are working, and the best thing we can do is safeguard against them. But you know its an arms race, and that is something that is our of developers control.
What happened with the island of Thal’dranath and another island south of Dalaran?
Whenever we do a plan for a zone we always make a more to the continent that we are actually going to develop. So we pick something like we like those the best and the other things we’ll leave for the patch later, so with the Broken Isles we had the flexibility to say well this is a landmass that was affected by a lot of catastrophic events and its ancient so we had to decide will it be there for players to explore or not.
So with the Legion pre-patch I noticed that a lot of classes have received some form of simplifications to their abilities, which I think in most cases are positive changes. It basically got me curious about something which is considering that Blizzard is entering the console market with Diablo III and Overwatch and other stuff if you are thinking about putting World of Warcraft to the consoles.
The simplifications of the classes for shorthand we called it pruning, takes off some of the skills that don’t feel core to the class. So you will have that simplicity at the beginning of the expansion but the time you have achieved all of the gold ranks in your artifact there will be actually a lot of new complexities to get into… and you will only have room to grow a class like that if your kind trims the axes, to begin with. Also, we have set pieces that have more interactions between talents those are the Legion legendaries. So legendary items, if you guys are familiar with Diablo, have a unique interactions in class abilities, and starting on with Legion you can wear only one of them at the time, so when you’re done enough gameplay in the game you can get them two at the time, and were trying to gauge how complex interactions get, so we might expand them to more than two in the future. But again we couldn’t do any of that if the classes were already saturated with buttons and interactions between abilities and such.
Will Gilneas ever become Alliance city?
I love that question… So, will Gilneas ever become Alliance city, so I personally worked a lot on Gilneas prior so it is near and dear to me I love the Gilneas. So if you play the Legion you will be very happy to see the Gilneas and Worgen play a really crucial role in basically the war against the Horde. So as they become more and more important I think… I don’t want to say one way or another because we can always change our minds I think if you play through Legion and you see this growing animosity between Genn and Sylvanas… I wouldn’t be surprised if Genn eventually has to go to war against Sylvanas… We have a very telling scene when they go one on one, and have a confrontation, and without spoiling it Sylvana thinks that she won but Genn actually got what he wants. Tensions will escalate.