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Tuesday, March 31, 2009
BlizzCast Eight Now Available
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment has released the eighth BlizzCast, a series of podcasts created by Blizzard's Community Team and focusing on the company's current and future game offerings. Number eight features Q&As with Julian Love, Mike Nicholson, Tom Chilton, Jay Wilson, and Dustin Browder about Diablo III, Starcraft 2, and World of Warcraft.

Bornakk: Before Wrath of the Lich King came out there was talk of aerial combat in Wintergrasp and in the game in general with some goblin anti-air shredder being put in the game. Howling Fjord showed some footage of this as well. What happened with aerial combat and do we still plan to put it into the game?
Tom Chilton: Well the aerial combat that we had in Wintergrasp we just ended up feeling wasn’t really polished enough for the final experience. We gave it a shot with the vehicle technology that we had but ultimately it was a little goofy that you could crash your airplane into the ground and nothing bad would really happen. Then also the kinda of sense of flying really wasn’t there enough.
If you look at a lot of games that have done flight simulation, there is a lot of care that goes into giving you that sensation of flying by having the world tilt and stuff like that so it feels a little less mechanical, feels a little bit more alive or more natural. So one of the things that we have kind of tasked ourselves with doing is figuring out how to polish that, how to improve on our vehicle physics, there’s still a lot of vehicle physics tech that we want to get in that didn’t make it into the first pass of Lich King.
So we have to make some tough decisions sometimes about what we are going to go forward with and what just isn’t working out well enough to meet our quality standards and that was one of them. So it’s still definitely on our list of things that we want to do, we have a lot of people here who are passionate about vehicle combat, passionate about making it more interesting, more fun, by increasing the number of things we can do with it – that would definitely include the possibility of doing aerial combat.

Bornakk: Will there be a diverse selection of items that are viable for the end-game or will it follow the WoW-type style where there is more like one end-all-be-all set for each class?
Jay Wilson: It’s definitely diverse and it’s diverse on a lot of different fronts. When you think about Diablo 2, all the different ways you can build your character, we really expanded all the ways you can customize your character by adding in the rune system. Not only can you completely customize your skill set, much more so than you can in game like most MMOs like World of Warcraft, because of that, the items you want are based upon the skill set that you’ve chosen or the type of build that you are trying to create.
And items, one of the things we are trying to do is focus on this even greater element of defining your build. So really it's up to the player on what kind of stats they want on their character, but we're definitely not shooting for a, "oh here's the barbarian armor", there is a set and when you get the full set you're done. That's just not very Diablo and it's not really the kind of gameplay we're going for. If anything we’d like the item set to be a lot more diverse than it was in Diablo 2.

Bornakk: . Can you give us some insight into the current air model, like what are the roles of the air unites, and what do you see working really well in-game?
Dustin Browder: Well obviously each of the races behaves differently with how they use their air units. The Zerg, obviously the mutalisk is still a powerful part of the Zerg air force and still used for a lot of fast raiding, a lot of sudden attacks from different directions to keep the enemy off balance and of course in mass in the end game you can obviously use mutalisks for mass air assaults.
The other races behave a little bit differently. The Terrans with their banshee, is very very powerful anti-ground unit. It can even sometimes just power right through base defenses which really the wraith couldn’t have handled in the original game. So you see a lot of need for all the races to have some very powerful anti-air weapons to deal with these kinds of threats.
A similar threat on the Protoss side is the void ray. It is a very powerful bream that can really do a lot of damage to enemy buildings. So you’ll see there are some very heavy hitters in the air in Starcraft 2 that really require you to get out there and use some of these more dedicated anti-air units like the corrupter, like the phoenix, to really fend off these powerful sort of air threats. Obviously there are some similarities players will see with the original game, at the same time there are these really powerful hitters really do make a pretty big difference.
You'll also seem some new authority for some of the bigger units in the game. Certainly the carriers have a much longer range than they’ve ever had before. It makes them a very powerful threat from the air in the end game. We should probably see more carriers used in higher level games but obviously will see how that goes in the beta. And of course the battlecruiser has three different options in terms of how he wants to sort of improve his battlecruiser, whether he wants to buy a yamato weapon for his battlecruiser, or the player wants to a buy a shield for his cruiser, sort of different choices for the player for the battlecruiser which again adds to the authority of these big end game units which makes them a little more practicle in different matchups. Where previously you would only see battlecruisers in certain matchups in Starcraft, now in Starcraft 2 you’ll probably see them in more matchups sort of across the board.
To listen to the BlizzCast or read the transcript head over to the link below.

BlizzCast Episode 8
Blizzard Entertainment

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Archives  News  BlizzCast Eight Now Available