BlizzCon 2010: Cataclysm and the Future of WoW

BlizzCon 2010: Cataclysm and the Future of WoW

World of Warcraft lead systems designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street talks Cataclysm, the future of WoW, and whether any other new MMORPG stands a chance.

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The amount of work and changes in the amount of time they did it in is incredible and it definitely helps the game. They had to rechange everything. even the stats were screwed up so much they had to add the debuff dodge in ICC because the bosses were either a miss or instant-death.

Things are going to broke for a couple weeks, overall it'll be better more balanced game when they finish polishing things.

2500 new or improved old world quests.
1000 new 78-85 quests.

Extremely excited for this, thanks for the info Mr. Funk.

I must say that World of Warcraft players really do not seem to require much in the ways of variation to keep their interest up...

Ayjona:
I must say that World of Warcraft players really do not seem to require much in the ways of variation to keep their interest up...

Nope. Just the good ol' social experience will keep our interest.

I'm on a break now, but I will defiantly start playing again when Cata hits.

Damn those starting zones sounds so bloody awesome!

redmarine:
Nope. Just the good ol' social experience will keep our interest.

I wish that was the case for the majority of WoW players ;) Definitively the best reason to play any MMO.

Aw man. Ghostcrawler just had mentioned the same damn worry that I've been stressing out over the last week when making my own game (run time between points). I feel so fucking professional now.

Ranorak:
I'm on a break now, but I will defiantly start playing again when Cata hits.

Damn those starting zones sounds so bloody awesome!

Come back now. This goes for the lot of ye. The end of the world is beginning and the world event is pretty freaking cool, it ending with you getting a glimpse of Cho'Gall's hideously deformed self (he has 8 eyes, not all on his head!) And soon Deatwhing himself will be coming around and killing players across the whole world.

Plus, if you're gonna want to join an endgame guild or something, there's very little competition right now. That won't be the case after Cata comes out.

for all of the hate ghostcrawler receives, I think he's great.

I also liked the part where he said that even if WoW lost 80% of its subscribers it'd still be a huge success in the industry, a statement I've been plugging for some time. It would be devastating, but not enough to actually kill WoW.. WoW's unkillable.

great interview! We should have more of those :D
oh man i cant wait for cata !

I consider myself a WoW old-timer, though I haven't really played for a long time.

One thing that comes to mind when reading about cataclysm is that it's cool that they make changes to existing areas. Another thing that comes to mind is that it's awful that they make changes to existing areas. There's something to be said for experiencing new things, and something for going down memory lane (like, for example, I can still play Monkey Island in this day and age, in just about the same way as when I was younger. And I will, from time to time.).

I wish they'd use the phasing tech they're using more now to let players choose which version to play through, or something along those lines.

In regards to new MMOs...

I think the only viable strategy is to come out with something really, really well and then, if you can keep the players, expand upon it.

Aye. Don't pull a FFXIV, and come out with something terrible and promise to fix it later while giving people free months to keep them playing your incomplete pile of dung.

I love Ghostcrawler. People blame him for a lot of shit, but really, most of his decisions pan out. Those that didn't at least deserved to be tried.

Articles like this make it very hard to focus on HW instead of eating up all the new stuff in Azeroth.

"... the Future of WoW..." <--When they shut it down, I'm gonna have a party, invite everyone and NINJA LOOT THE BEER, and kick everyone out. /whoo-hoo!

darkdots:
"... the Future of WoW..." <--When they shut it down, I'm gonna have a party, invite everyone and NINJA LOOT THE BEER, and kick everyone out. /whoo-hoo!

Well, you're going to be waiting a long time for that dream. I don't think WoW is going anywhere soon. LoL I actually like GC. He's a decent guy and the changes in Beta are sweet. I walked through Orgrimmar just drooling... The new start zone are amazing and the list goes on. The only problem I see is like GC said, "What do we do now?"

I'm really temped to return to WoW, I only have vanilla WoW and I left right after The Burning Crusade went live. I never bought any of the expansions and I hope Blizz doesn't make us buy the old expansions, only Cataclysm to enjoy the new level cap and the new races.

TE: Not just "You no take candle, smash."

GS: Yeah, I don't think there are any kobolds left around Northshire.

Nooooooooooo!!!!!

Not even one?

John Funk:

GS: They're living off in time. We did not give the graphical updates to those battlegrounds that we did to the rest of the world, so it would be a good thing for us to do. Battlegrounds are very, very sensitive to geography changes and you have to be extra careful that there's not a bump or tree stump that's going to block movement or create any unnecessary imbalance.

TE: You've been running Alterac Valley, haven't you?

GS: The new battlegrounds - you have no idea! - we measure every little thing so often. "OK, what's the run time from this graveyard to this exact point?" If we don't, it's a huge headache down the line.

if they measure everything so accurately, why the hell is the alliance able to take stables several seconds before we can attack the farm? :q

Thanks for posting the full interview, it was a really interesting read. I'm looking forward to seeing where Cataclysm takes Garrosh, since in my opinion (and the opinion of most people I know) Garrosh went from an annoying emo in BC to an annoying psychopath in WotLK. I'm still not sure if I'll be able to forgive him for making Trolls second class citizens though... I hope Vol'jin kicks his arse good and proper.

"GS: I think the quest designers have gotten really, really clever in doing that. In the new Undead leveling experience in Silverpine, you're still really low level but Sylvanas has selected you - you're obviously someone that's going to do a lot in life (or death, or whatever). She takes you under her wing, and you're running missions for her and fighting alongside her at points and it's a pretty epic experience."

This is my problem with the concept revamp, their stealing Age of Conan's concept of YOU are the ONE chosen one. Yet so is the guy next to you. And the next guy and ad infinum. This isnt an 'epic' experience its a bad one because I cant feel like any of it is areally happening to my character. So its just making me act out someone elses story and try to come up with what my character has been doing all along.

The new Worgen and Goblin areas are awful with this sort of thing. I dont need Thrall to be my character's bestest buddy to like him. because it really hurts flow when later he cant remember who I am because it wasnt scripted that way.

Wow is sinking into a dark age of storytelling where their telling their story and we are being forced to go along instead of being able to tell ours in their world.

"TE: In Cataclysm, there's this renewed tension and fighting between the two factions. Do you feel that they were getting too buddy-buddy?

GS: Absolutely" [snip]

if they gave people options for betrayal, faction changes, being neutral, and so on I might be for this but Im not that enthused about them trying to force conflict and hatred into the game.

When they were talking about aldor and Scryer and joining sides in the outlands away from azeroth in the BG I loved the whole concept .. it was a way to grow away from the 'I hate you just cause' line. Theres too much of that in the real world. Id like to escape endless armed conflicts fueled by generations of hatred - not be pushed face down into it.

oathblade:
"GS: I think the quest designers have gotten really, really clever in doing that. In the new Undead leveling experience in Silverpine, you're still really low level but Sylvanas has selected you - you're obviously someone that's going to do a lot in life (or death, or whatever). She takes you under her wing, and you're running missions for her and fighting alongside her at points and it's a pretty epic experience."

This is my problem with the concept revamp, their stealing Age of Conan's concept of YOU are the ONE chosen one. Yet so is the guy next to you. And the next guy and ad infinum. This isnt an 'epic' experience its a bad one because I cant feel like any of it is areally happening to my character. So its just making me act out someone elses story and try to come up with what my character has been doing all along.

The new Worgen and Goblin areas are awful with this sort of thing. I dont need Thrall to be my character's bestest buddy to like him. because it really hurts flow when later he cant remember who I am because it wasnt scripted that way.

Wow is sinking into a dark age of storytelling where their telling their story and we are being forced to go along instead of being able to tell ours in their world.

To be fair, there is at least one example in WoW where Blizzard handled your acquaintance with a famous person rather well. In the Northrend zone Dragonblight, there is a quest called "An End and A Beginning", where you fight alongside Highlord Bolvar Fordragon. For newer players, this quest did not include anything special. But for certain older players, Fordragon had an additional line or two:

Highlord Bolvar Fordragon:
Good to see you still alive and kicking, <name>. Don't think that I'd forgotten what you did for me in Stormwind, oh so long ago.

Now, be free and join the battle! Let us end this together!

Why is this, you ask? Well, the lines only appeared for players who completed the quest "The Great Masquerade", which was part of the Onyxia quest chain, a requirement for Onyxia's Lair back when it was still a level 60 raid. Essentially, you escorted Marhsall Windsor through Stormwind and to the throne room, where you unmasked Katrana Prestor and revealed her to be Onyxia, thus breaking hold of the spell she had over Fordragon.

While I am sure a lot of people will say "so what? It's just a few lines of dialogue". But for me, it was a really nice touch, since it reminded me of when I completed that quest. It also made me feel like my character was an important hero rather than just a random nameless person.

This isn't to say that I disagree that making the player an aquaintance of a famous person can go horribly wrong, when not properly handled. That said, as Ghostcrawler noted in this interview, it is important to make players feel like they are heroes. And generally, it's kind of hard being a hero if you are not acknowledged as such by famous characters and if you never work alongside them. Afterall, story-wise, if you are doing important things, chances are that you will cross paths with notable people sooner or later.

War between the Old Gods and the Inhabitants for the fate of the planet isn't enough of a conflict for you?

Come on, it's obvious that this war has been going on for far too long. And now you are just going to throw away all interesting prospects of peace?

If nothing else, you can always allow civil war to erupt among the Alliance and Horde factions that this has been building up to.

Of course WoW won't die, there are 7 billion people on the planet, and it's impossible that they all have an IQ over 120 (smart enough to know that WoW is worse now than it was before). BW must be doing a good job on their latest project, for it to be compared to WoW. Like I said in the forum there. The game will not Replace WoW no matter how they try and that's not their plan. Their plan is to give people that love Star Wars an epic game to play, thats all. I'm actually one of those people that liked classic WoW the best. Alliance had Paladin & Horde had Shaman. You could really see the difference between the 2 factions. With the introduction of Burning Crusade, they destroyed that part completely and utterly, there was no difference in rolling horde or alliance and now, in cata, there won't be any difference in what race you pick either, every race will have every class (almost), look up the word oversimplify in the dictionary. So the only thing you pick (90% of the time), is what race you wanna play, as in, which starting area do I wanna play, how boring is that?

every Alliance race has priest & warrior class now, I don't know how it is with the horde & every race thats not 10 feet tall (Tauren & Draenei excluded that is) can play rogue.

it seems to me, that every other expansion is gonna be a let down. Here's to hoping the next one will be better, hopefully introducing something like the demon hunter or something. I'm thinking: Elf only class and not every race and their mother like it is now (in Cata), and like the Death knight, they should start at 55 of course. I'll leave the rest to you.

Quote from oathblade: "When they were talking about aldor and Scryer and joining sides in the outlands away from azeroth in the BG I loved the whole concept .. it was a way to grow away from the 'I hate you just cause' line. Theres too much of that in the real world. Id like to escape endless armed conflicts fueled by generations of hatred - not be pushed face down into it."

AMEN! Your choices should matter, hell, you should have choices, as it is, you don't. What race you pick decides what faction you are and you are stuck with that. You can be a complete bastard and they would love you anyway, if you had choices, you could choose to be evil and they would dislike you, but since you don't, you cannot choose to be a nice orc or a mean nightelf, it's all planned out for you beforehand, how boring!!

Oh gawd, they redid almost everything,
I'm going to be playing this fucking game till the end of time

Tom Phoenix:
While I am sure a lot of people will say "so what? It's just a few lines of dialogue". But for me, it was a really nice touch, since it reminded me of when I completed that quest. It also made me feel like my character was an important hero rather than just a random nameless person.

This isn't to say that I disagree that making the player an aquaintance of a famous person can go horribly wrong, when not properly handled. That said, as Ghostcrawler noted in this interview, it is important to make players feel like they are heroes. And generally, it's kind of hard being a hero if you are not acknowledged as such by famous characters and if you never work alongside them. Afterall, story-wise, if you are doing important things, chances are that you will cross paths with notable people sooner or later.

I liked that line, i also loved what they had Garrosh say if you had helped him in Nagrand. not many people even noticed it, and it showed depth to his character that their revealing now.

"Do not think that I have forgotten what you did for my people in Nagrand, <name>. Hellscream never forgets.
For that I am indebted to you and it is why I give you this chance now: run. Leave this place and never look back.
Return to your home and say a prayer for the dying."

Its small but potent and also gives a good roleplay reason for why hes treating you like any scrub, he doesn't want you here.

I dont mind being 'A' hero its just right now your 'THE ONE' hero dealing with all the problems of the world. I cant roleplay that, and such a game wont hold my interest nearly as long as the old wow did...why I didnt play AoC long and came back to WoW.

Ingolf Olsen:
AMEN! Your choices should matter, hell, you should have choices, as it is, you don't. What race you pick decides what faction you are and you are stuck with that. You can be a complete bastard and they would love you anyway, if you had choices, you could choose to be evil and they would dislike you, but since you don't, you cannot choose to be a nice orc or a mean nightelf, it's all planned out for you beforehand, how boring!!

EQ2 had this wonderful little betrayal quest chain that took dedication and luck and was pretty cool. You could only do it once so you swapped sides and were now a 'good' blueberry, etc, and it was great you could chose. They didnt need to balance races because if you wanted to be a sneaky rat they could expect you to go and get one.

A while back I read a post I loved it was (roughly) a quest 15 rep a turn in (on par with the wintersabers at the time) to grind enemy faction (and imagine how you would fry if you turned in a quest and got 500 faction rep), at exalted you wouldnt be hostile unless flagged to the opposing guards (meant for rp servers not pvp) and if you completed a quest you would lose your other faction language and learn the common for the other.

There were little fun things in there like a night elf of the horde coudl still tak to other night elves and the like. Overall I loved the rough concept, though I dont think the Bliz guys read it.

Ingolf Olsen:
Snip

I'm a failure of reading comprehension.

"We used to say change for the sake of change is a bad thing, but I think for an expansion - to an extent - that's what the players are looking for. The players want to see something different that they have to understand and learn and master."

I know I can't speak for everyone, but for me, this is a big mistake. My biggest frustration with every major patch is taking a finely-crafted character that I have spent a lot of time getting to work the way I like, and then having to completely redo the talent tree, and having to relearn how to play. I don't want to log into a level 80 and feel like I'm back at level 5 trying to figure out what everything does! Change the world, change the quests, whatever, but stop messing with the characters that we put so much effort into!

I suppose though it doesn't really matter, as I haven't played WoW in some time, and I won't be returning as long as RealID and battlenet are requirements. Since that's never going to be rolled back, I guess that means "never."

Blackbird71:
"We used to say change for the sake of change is a bad thing, but I think for an expansion - to an extent - that's what the players are looking for. The players want to see something different that they have to understand and learn and master."

I know I can't speak for everyone, but for me, this is a big mistake. My biggest frustration with every major patch is taking a finely-crafted character that I have spent a lot of time getting to work the way I like, and then having to completely redo the talent tree, and having to relearn how to play. I don't want to log into a level 80 and feel like I'm back at level 5 trying to figure out what everything does! Change the world, change the quests, whatever, but stop messing with the characters that we put so much effort into!

I suppose though it doesn't really matter, as I haven't played WoW in some time, and I won't be returning as long as RealID and battlenet are requirements. Since that's never going to be rolled back, I guess that means "never."

Um, you know that RealID and Battlenet AREN'T requirements, right? Other than the creation of a Bnet account (which is pretty convenient, like creating a Steam account) you never have to add a single person to RealID if you don't want.

Your comment is just the sort of difficulty they face. They have 12 million people playing their game. A lot of them want change for the sake of change. A lot don't. Who do they go with?

Am I the only one applauding Blizzard for pulling a "World of Warcraft 2" card over our asses without abandoning the old game and it's fanbase.
We don't have to start over, and we still get a entirely new enviroment that i guess would have been the same if they made a 2nd. Everything we have worked for is still there, but i am curious about alot of the achevements now that they remove the old world to replace it with "tadaa" the same world ripped apart.

Extremely innovative and cunning. They gave us a new game and we love them for it while reminissing about the obvious nostalgic values that we suddenly care about, although we couldn't get a new expansion fast enough back then.

Where was I going with this...?

Oh yeah, nice job. I sincerely mean it!

cat·a·clysm   
[kat-uh-kliz-uhm]
-noun
1.
any violent upheaval, esp. one of a social or political nature.
2.
Physical Geography . a sudden and violent physical action producing changes in the earth's surface.

I will not be surprised of the outcome.

 

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