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Blizzard Entertainment
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World of Warcraft
September 5, 2001 | IMG Staff

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So far three “races” have been implemented. Firstly there are the Humans, the stalwart defenders of Azeroth -- this is a character class we are all familiar with! Secondly there are the Tauren, a class developed for Warcraft III as supporting units for the Orcs. Finally, the Orcs themselves make a welcome return. Other races will be implemented as development continues, but the emphasis is not on having hundreds, but more on having a few solid, well-developed choices. Blizzard is working from the direction of a few unique races, which each provide the player with a compelling reason to make the choice to follow with that race and feel that they embody the character and is attributes. Other races have been discussed, although none have yet been fleshed-out and developed to a level which the team are happy with and would want to discuss. This is a process which is on-going, and it will certainly helps to add to the suspense surrounding this game’s development if these character races are revealed later, rather than sooner.

We Need Swords. Lots of Swords.
The item system will likely not follow the random-property generation ability found in Diablo II, as this is extremely difficult to implement and balance for all players. Of course the team does like that model's use within Diablo II, because it gives players a sense of discovery, of possessing a unique object – so some elements of this item creation method will remain. The team wants to include items that have a unique feeling and individual properties, enabling characters to look and act in very different ways. This diversity has been something that has helped the success of previous titles and inspired countless hours of questing for new items, and we are sure it will be a part of the game – but there was clearly an emphasis on character role playing and development over the sometimes tedious quest for material objects that Diablo and other online games can become. The WoW team seemed to want game items to be a bonus, but never the focus of gameplay.

As far as character death goes, Blizzard don't want players to become so dejected when their character is killed that they turn off the computer and never come back to the world. Death will not be benign -- there will be penalties, such as reappearing at a point far from where you once were. Yet they don’t want this to be too severe of a penalty; players need a route to return to the point in the game that they were just exploring, without losing too much of the thread they've developed for themselves and without it taking them another five hours! To help with the vast distances involved, there will be the ability to fly between certain areas in the world in a way similar to the waypoint mechanism previously used in the Diablo II series.


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