By now you have seen the video interviews with J. Allen Brack and Frank Pearce, if you have not, check them out in our video section. However, that wasn’t all we spoke about with the two Blizzard heavyweights.
When interviewing and talking with Production Director J. Allen Brack about the upcoming additions to World of Warcraft there were a lot of ideas that look great for the game. The MMO market is changing and WoW is set to change with it. Their system of the five man, 10 man, and 25 man advancement dungeons are tiered so that players with all kinds of time can enjoy the game. If you do not have the time to raid every night, you have the chance to do instances and still gain the epic gear in the game. Brack was definitely excited about Patch 3.3 were players will get the chance to square off against the Lich King himself and hope to add some epic storylines into the dungeons they are creating. The idea of a two handed legendary axe named Shadowmourne has Death Knights, Hunters, and Warriors eager with excitement. Patch 3.3 will have normal and heroic five-man, normal and heroic ten and twenty five man instances. You can except some heavy lore added in this patch about Northrend and the Lich King himself. The patch will close out the Lich King story line and lead into the new ear that we all know as Cataclysm.
In talking about Cataclysm, Brack explained a lot of the reasons behind the choices they made. The Goblins are there to give the Horde a small race, complimentary to the Gnomes, while the Worgen are seen as the sinister side of the Alliance being compared to the Undead of the Horde. Both classes offer something new to players who want to create a new character. The other area we did not talk as much about is giving the new class break down to the different races. There are charts out there, and if you play WoW you have likely already decided which class you will play.
This led to Brack explaining the changes in the level twenty through sixty zones of the game. There are many areas that the Blizzard team felt needed improvement in these zones so Cataclysm was a great story method for them to restructure the old world. Players will get a new, more streamlined experience with Cataclysm similar to the quest design in Lich King. Blizzard VP Frank Pearce also explained in his interview that he is not one to re-roll new characters through old content. Cataclysm gives him a reason to do that. As far as the facts about Cataclysm many have been revealed. When Blizzard does talk, especially about WoW, they are pretty clear about what they are doing. The real cause behind the interviews was why are they making those choices.
It is great to know that Blizzard recognizes the game needs a face lift. The world can be set anew and many elements from the expansions can be brought back into the fold. Having flying mounts in the old world has always been a big point for players. Now everyone will get around easier. If you think Blizzard is going soft with WoW by making it more casual friendly, there are still hard modes out there for every instance and the PvP zones continue to give players better areas to fight over. It seems that while early MMOs were much more hardcore, companies are starting to see that the game has to fit your lifestyle, not having your lifestyle revolve around the game. Blizzards changes seem to be for the better so everyone can enjoy the content.
Frank Pearce explained the hard work that goes into a day at Blizzard. For those who have ever run a company it is definitely a lot of work. Pearce and Mike Morheim co-founded Blizzard a long time ago and the company continues to thrive in the game industry. It takes work as Frank pointed out and his days are very busy. Pearce described his trips for the launch of Wrath of the Lich King and the travel schedule was overwhelming. In the end he reminded everyone that they are making games and most importantly Blizzard makes sure the teams like and play the games they are working on. It is one thing gamers have a lot of its passion for games. Blizzard continues to hire people with that passion.
I wish we got more information from Pearce on Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2. Still he said game development for both projects is going well. Even though they are not MMOs the action RPG style of Diablo 3 will call a lot of players to the world. Diablo 2 was out in the early days of MMOs and allowed players to join up via the Battle.net. We can only wait and see what is coming with both titles.
In speaking to Blizzard there is one important thing I took away: they are gamers at heart. Many companies who get big investments are looking at ways to make money in games; perhaps this is why there have been so many failures in our industry lately. Blizzard at the forefront is a game company. It seems like the reason for their success is that they are not cranking out quick products under a deadline to cash in, they are making games pure and simple. Their games sell well, no one can argue with that.