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Monday, July 6, 2009

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Blizzard's Tom Chilton Discusses WoW's Future
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story has posted a new interview with Blizzard Entertainment's Tom Chilton, lead designer for World of Warcraft. In the two part interview the game designer discusses content in the upcoming 3.2 Call of the Crusade patch and other plans for the future of the popular MMO. With patch 3.2 there's a new 80 player battleground called Isle of Conquest. Tell me about it.
TC: What we're trying to do is create another epic-feeling battleground. We haven't done that since Alterac Valley, other than Wintergrass, which of course isn't instanced, so it's sort of in its own category. Alterac Valley is one of our most popular battlegrounds. We hadn't done another one like it because they tend to be harder to build and test, especially harder to test. With a battleground like Warsong Gultch, for example to take the other extreme - much easier for us to test. Even within the design team we can get together a 10 versus 10 fight, test it out, quickly iterate on it and then feel pretty confident that it's going to be good when it gets released. It's much more difficult for us to do that. We do have the QA manpower but it's a lot harder to organise. At the same time there's a strong desire among a lot of players to see more things like Alterac Valley. So we're trying to take a lot of the best ideas from some of the different battlegrounds, like Alterac Valley and Arathi Basin, and even Wintergrass with the siege vehicles, and create a new battleground that feels epic and different than the other ones. You're doing things you don't always do in any other battleground. There's getting into a Zeppelin and flying the gunship and shooting the cannons from there and parachuting off into their base and all kinds of mayhem. What's your personal philosophy on the implementation of new classes and races? Is implementing a new race easier than a class because a new class can create so many problems for balance?
TC: I would say that's very true. It's easier from a game design perspective. It's generally harder from a production perspective. From the art, animations and that sort of thing, it's a lot more taxing on that side of it. We have to take that into consideration when we make that decision. With classes, it's a very design driven approach as to whether or not we do a new class, because we don't feel that we can support the pace of adding a new class with every single expansion. We feel like we will dilute the classes too much if we do that. It will only be a couple of expansions before, I would say three, four expansions down the road, I would worry that our classes would become less distinct and interesting, and the new stuff may not feel as cool. Regarding new races, what possible new races are there left in the Warcraft universe that are suitable for being playable?
TC: There are a lot of them that we already know about that are creatures that are out there. I don't want to give away too many of the things that we have going on in our minds for different possibilities. But there are certainly possibilities that don't necessarily limit us to coming with completely new things that players will never have seen before. In fact one of the things that we learned from doing the draenei is that it's important to seed the race in the world. It was harder for players to ‘get’ the draenei thing because they kind of came out of nowhere. They'd been referred to in previous Warcraft games but nobody had really ever seen or dealt with them. So it was a little harder to do, whereas with Blood Elves it was a lot easier. What we learned from that is we do wherever possible want to seed that potential, even if it's in a small way. An example I could throw out there would be, in Blackwing Lair we had the drakonid race. We always looked at those and said, oh that would be a pretty cool player race - it would be cool to play as one of those guys. There's not a lot there as far as, where did they come from and what are they? But they are in the world and it wouldn't be completely inconceivable that a player would end up being able to play that, and we could continue to expand on the depth of that race and that sort of race.
Read the full Q&A at the page listed below. WoW Patch 3.2 Interview Tom Chilton On WoW's Future
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Archives  News  Blizzard's Tom Chilton Discusses WoW's Future