There’s so much on the horizon for World of Warcraft players it’s almost daunting. With the 8.1 Tides of Vengance set to go live December 11-13 it’s time to start looking ahead to what’s next for WoW. After the What’s Next in World of Warcraft panel I had the opportunity to chat with Jimmy Lo, Visual Design Producer, and Ray Cobo, Lead Producer Art & Design, about some of the things we have to look forward to after 8.1.
One of the things I am most excited about in 8.1.5 is we’ll finally get Kul’Tirans and Zandalari Trolls because I have been excited about both races ever since they were announced, and we realized they could be druids. However, one of my guildmates quickly pointed out something I hadn’t realized when I watched the panel. Kul’tirans can’t be mages. This seems like such a weird choice because Jaina exists and at this point she’s one of the strongest mages we know about. So, what’s going on here?
I asked both Jimmy Lo and Ray Cobo about this and if Jaina was just some sort of anomaly in Kul’tiran society, and their initial reaction was surprise. Sadly, since their focus is mostly on art and overall design, they couldn’t really give any insight into how this choice was made, but they agreed it did seem weird. They also said it was something they’d mention so it might be addressed. The only reasoning, I can think of is their magic users we have met seem mostly nature focused. Even the priests have a strong connection to nature through the water. Nonetheless, Jaina exists so they sort of need to address this.
One of the cool things coming in 8.2 is Mechagon which is a megadungeon located in a vault. I made sure to talk to them about this specifically because during the panel it was difficult to tell if this would be a new zone which contained the dungeon or if it was just the dungeon, but it had a variety of areas which sort of looked like it was a whole zone. The answer is Mechagon is a megadungeon not a zone. There are various areas which look distinct from each other and because it’s so large it might feel like an actual zone. There’s even an area that looks like it is outside, which when you consider the fact you are entering a vault is impressive.
Additionally, I asked about how at the panel it was mentioned the dungeon would be a Gnome and Goblin adventure but all we saw were Gnome things. While there are a lot of Gnome things there is also a lot for Goblins as well. They just chose to focus on the Gnome aspects during the panel.
One of the most interesting topics we talked about during the interview was the upcoming choice players will have to make between Sylvanas and Saurfang, which wasn’t part of the original plan. To start off they had the story they wanted to tell and had been busy setting everything for that. Then after Saurfang’s Old Soldier short and the whole shoulders for Saurfang movement sprang up it really moved the whole dev team. They hadn’t expected anything on that scale to happen and they started almost immediately exploring how they can incorporate player choice into the storyline more. They weren’t ready to talk about exactly how all of this will playout just yet but it’s good to know the reaction in the community has already changed their plans a bit.
This is particularly interesting for me because I was always disappointed with how everything played out with Garrosh. It felt like we reached a point in the expansion and suddenly everyone was against him, which just didn’t feel organic in the world at all. Even the worst leaders will still have some support when everything falls apart but since the players all were against him there was never a real feeling of division within the horde. There are a ton of potential problems with storytelling in a MMO where the playerbase gets split or makes different choices, but I really do hope they find a way to do this so everything feels satisfying after such a long slow burn with both Sylvanas and Saurfang. Regardless of how things playout it’s always good to feel like you have an actual hand in how the events in the world unfold.
Going into Blizzcon I wasn’t expecting much in the way of WoW news since we all obviously knew there would be no expansion announcement this time around. However, with the look ahead to 8.1.5 and 8.2 and even beyond I am excited to see how everything will play out and I’m curious about what’s waiting for us beyond Queen Azshara.