World of Warcraft will be celebrating 17 years in release this month and update 9.1.5 will be out tomorrow. In a new interview with WoW Director Ion Hazzikostas, he talks about the efforts to update the game to better reflect tolerance and diversity, what to expect in 9.1.5, community response, and looking forward to better community to dev team feedback.
The interview is a long one (and you can read it here on VentureBeat). When it comes to what to expect from the next major update, 9.1.5 had some definite planned changes, but some of the final product came out of the team getting to let loose for a bit and put a sort of wishlist together. Legion Timewalking was planned, but other things that find ways to address pain points in the community or are just creative additions, were added in later. So some of the parts of the update, like helping raids be a little easier to get in and farm solo, or other community requests are going in now because the team decided to do this.
Because of some of the positive reactions to changes coming in 9.1.5, they are considering how to improve on being able to listen to the community. With all the legal issues Activision Blizzard has been experiencing these past few months, Hazzikostas mentions also efforts to diversify the teams as something ongoing.
When it comes to the changes being made to the game to make it more inclusive, Hazzikostas says that the reaction has been mixed, with some thinking they’re going to just go and change everything or not liking the reasoning. While there have been some name changes, tweaks to emotes, and other changed voiced lines, they’re cutting or changing things that truly make people feel unwelcome, he says. The team isn’t done yet, and he reflects that in the long term, whatever changes they make will reflect on the game and the team as a whole, so they’re working carefully.