During Gamescom this week, our own Gareth Harmer had the opportunity to interview Executive Producer and World of Warcraft Vice President J. Allen Brack to talk more about the Legion expansion. We've got some terrific new information to share.
MMORPG: On the mini-site, it said there were improvements to transmogification. What does that mean.
- We want to make it a better, more robust, more easy to use system.
- It's kind of a complicated system right now.
- We haven't actually finished all the work but we want to make it a much more flexible system, a much easier way for you to browse each slot and the various things you've unlocked, a way for you to browse the things you could potentially unlock and have it be a lot more like a dressing room style than it is right now.
MMORPG: The site also mentions social improvements. Can you explain what that means?
- We haven't really exactly figured out what we're going to do. We have a couple of ideas.
- We've been criticized, and legitimately so, for the garrison system and the much more single-player way it was handled.
- We have ideas on how to bring different servers together, different ways to connect to your friends, have ideas on how to match-make friends better. These are ideas, not things we've actually done yet.
MMORPG: There's a bit of a fear that Sylvanas might end up a raid boss. Some say "please don't let that happen".
- That's interesting.
- I've heard the pleas.
MMORPG: One of the things that has cropped up since Pandaria, is the change from "hero" to "leader". Is that a conscious thing?
- What we've done is look at different features and to let players be heroic. In the case of garrisons, we wanted players to own a piece of land and customize it as you want to. You graduate to be a leader.
- We're extending that in Legion. You are going to be the leader of your champions.
- It's not something we set down to say. It's been more organic than that. We're extending that in Legion.
MMORPG: We noticed that the Artifact for at least one Hunter spec was a spear. Does this mean that Hunters, or even one spec in the class, will gain access to melee weapons or is the Artifact a ranged attack with a different type of weapon?
- Yes, melee hunters.
- One of the things we wanted to do was really differentiate the specs. One will be a ranged hunter with a pet. Another a ranged hunter without a pet. One melee with a pet.
- Hunter represents the most significant class change. Another spec getting attention is the Demonology Warlock to give them more summoning and controlling demons.
MMORPG: This expansion seems to be something similar to "throwing everything into a pot" and tying up almost all loose ends (i.e. Burning Legion, Gul'dan, Illidan, the Emerald Dream/Nightmare, Azshara, naga and the Highborne, the Titans, the Old Gods via Azshara's connection to them, and on and on). This has lead many to believe that this may be the final major expansion in the WoW lifecycle. What is your reaction to that?
- I've heard this every expansion.
- I'm confident in the team and in the leadership that we'll have plenty of ideas of things we want to do.
MMORPG: Do you feel that the announcement and release fits within Blizzard's promise, though I hate to use that word, to release expansions in a more timely fashion? While one per year seems a tall order, it was what was promised. Since this will go over that one year mark from the release of WoD, what can the community expect in the future?
- It's an intention, definitely never a promise.
- That's something we've talked about for coming up to ten years now.
- Every time a new expansion, a reason to group together, to kind of start the track again. More expansions are good for the game. We haven't actually done it yet. It's an intention but we haven't gotten there yet.
MMORPG: Will Artifacts be transmoggable? Otherwise, every 3rd or 4th person in a given spec will be seen with the same visual effect.
- Artifact weapons can be transmogged into an old weapon, but not the other way around. We feel that transmogrify has been a long time. Some people's character identity is wrapped up in their weapon. We don't want to take that away from them.
MMORPG: Many PvP players seem to have some anxiety about the new perk unlock system. What can you tell them to relieve their fears?
- We've never had anxiety around PvP before. (chuckles)
- One of the things we've tried for the last ten years is to have PvE and PvP kind of stand side-by-side where you have abilities. They're not PvP or PvE. They're just abilities that work. This is now a radical departure from that. We are actually going to make this thing that only works in PvP and is a way to buff your PvP experience. It's going to make things more flexible and a more robust and strategic PvP game. We just haven't had a lot of flexibility since every talent and every skill works for both.
- It's bold. It's risky. It's daring.
- It gives us an opportunity to make the game even better, to make it even more competitive, to make it even more fun.