Battle for Azeroth Media Day interview roundup
Blizzard recently had a WoW Media Day for fansites, and they went all out to make this a press release worth remembering. There was a general Q&A with Ion Hazzikostas and then smaller, specific interviews with fansites and developers. Not only did we get a chance to talk to Senior Producer Travis Day and Senior Concept Artist Jimmy Lo, but other outlets also spoke with Jeremy Feasel (Senior Game Designer), Frank Kowalkowski (Assistant Technical Director), Steve Burke (Senior Designer), Matt Goss (Game Designer), and Patrick Dawson (Technical Director).
Q&A with Ion Hazzikostas
Wowhead detailed all the questions that came up in the general Q&A for Battle for Azeroth. Check out their post for the nitty gritty details and full transcript. Here are some of the more interesting tidbits about the upcoming expansion.
- The 8.0 pre-patch will come along the same timetable as previous pre-patches, though no date is set in stone yet. This makes it likely to be around a month before the expansion release and roughly three months from now. It will feature the Burning of Teldrassil and Battle of Lordaeron to play through, as well as story-driven quest content for the Night Elves and Forsaken.
- Mag’har Orcs and Dark Iron Dwarves are coming in the 8.0 pre-patch, while Kul Tirans and Zandalari will be introduced as we play through the story and recruit new allies.
- World PVP will be done through War Mode, which is now what toggling PVP on does. All players who turn on PVP/War Mode will be placed together on a server shard to attack each other to their heart’s content. Those who have it turned off will be on a PVE shard.
- The current alpha is still alpha instead of beta because it’s a work in progress. Normally alpha was very early iterations and beta was closed testing, but now beta is associated with more finished content that only needs polishing.
- More realm connections will be added to ease low population realms. War Mode will also help with that in pooling players together.
Dev Interviews with Jeremy Feasel and Frank Kowalkowski
Both Panser from TradeChat and Hazel from Hazelnuttygames sat down with WoW’s Senior Game Designer and Assistant Technical Director in video interviews to talk game design. Notable cool things from their talks:
- New weather! A brand new Weather 2.0 system was included with the latest alpha build. I’ve admittedly missed the periodic rain we used to have in Pandaria.
- Since Warfronts and Island expeditions are fluid and don’t rely on roles, solo players will have an easier time finding something to do and faster queue times.
- They’re keeping Paragon reputation boxes, but doing away with the frustrating mounts and low drop chances.
Dev Interviews with Travis Day and Jimmy Lo
We had the chance to interview the Senior Producer and Senior Concept Artist for WoW with Chaud from MMO Champion. Some of the more interesting details from the interview:
- Some Artifact Weapon appearances won’t necessarily be strictly tied to each spec. Blizzard originally stated otherwise, but took another look at thematic appearances that were given to some specs just because of the weapon type. Mitch has forever been pining after the void-looking Holy appearance and he may just get lucky in Battle for Azeroth.
- Thin Humans aren’t intended to become another Allied Race. “Thin Man” and “Fat Man” (as Blizzard refers to them internally) are just to give Kul Tiras variety as NPCs.
- “Old” races could get more customization options as they go through and see what fits or needs updating, like golden Light eyes for Blood Elves from the re-ignited Sunwell to replace the Fel corruption.
- Zone design starts with a premise or direction they want to go, and they flesh it out with visuals. This moves to story and quests, going though dozens of iterations. Art and design tend to influence each other, back and forth, until the final version.
Dev Interviews with Travis Day, Jimmy Lo, and Steve Burke
Invenglobal also spoke with Travis and Jimmy, as well as Senior Designer Steve Burke. They asked a lot of questions about design and these were some of the noteworthy answers:
- With bringing back raid buffs and utility, it’s a delicate balance. They want classes to be desired for unique utility, but they’ll also fix it if a class is just plain being excluded from raids.
- There are no plans to do another world-wide makeover like Cataclysm. For now they’re sticking with updating models one at a time, like the new bear animations.
- Adding a new class for new expansions is always possible and one of the things they look at when starting design, but there’s “nothing certain.”
Dev Interviews with Matt Goss and Patrick Dawson
Vanion and Tonton from the German site Vanion.eu spoke with WoW’s Game Designer and Technical Director. It’s in German and they really got into detail. Here are a few interesting parts:
- Ships would have been cool to have in Battle for Azeroth, along the lines of Garrisons and Class Halls, but the devs decided to focus on other systems.
- They’re aware of raiding guilds leaning heavily Horde for racials and have ideas to combat the issue, though nothing to announce yet.
- Zandalari and Kul Tirans got new Druid forms because it adds a lot of flavor to the class and race. Druid forms also get visual attention because they tend to hide any cool gear that other classes can display.
- Battle for Azeroth will have more fun secrets to decode.
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