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Monday, April 21, 2008

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WoW: Sunwell And Beyond
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The WoW Insider is offering a new interview with World of Warcraft lead producer J. Allen Brack and art director Chris Robinson. The developers discuss some of the ideas that influenced the development of Fury of the Sunwell, the most recent content update for The Burning Crusade. They also discuss some of the content coming up in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion.

Insider: What sort of challenges are there in this artistic transition from The Burning Crusade to Wrath of the Lich King?

Chris Robinson: There have been several areas where we’ve run into issues that are new and unique to Wrath of the Lich King. Take Lake Wintergrasp for example, which is an outdoor PvP zone with all-new gameplay features. This is the first time we’ve had to deal with destructible buildings, which is uncharted territory from a graphical and gameplay perspective. We usually try to give environments an aesthetic look that’s almost like a painting or an illustration; but how do we create that with an environment that can change radically? Along those lines, how do we keep making things look increasingly better within the technical boundaries of our intended system requirements? It’s a constant challenge that we need to always be aware of.

J. Allen Brack: Another challenge was how to balance Northrend’s cold northern climate with the need for diverse environments. We can’t just cover everything in snow and ice, because players would get bored of that quickly. But if we approach the snow and the ice as environmental clues for the player, we can actually use it as a powerful storytelling tool. There’s a story arc that ties all the zones of the expansion together, and the snow becomes a visual component of this common theme. The relatively green and “temperate” starting areas will be fairly densely populated, but as the story progresses we expect players to get more spread out. By slowly adding more and more snow, we can enhance that growing sense of isolation and dread. It’s very much what Arthas must have experienced when he wandered the wastes of Northrend after destroying Mal’Ganis.
The full Q&A is available at the page link provided below.

WoW Insider: Fury Of The Sunwell And Beyond
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
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