2016 Legion Summit Interview: Blizzplanet Talks with Cory Stockton & Julian Morris
Read our 2016 Legion Summit Interview: Blizzard Entertainment invited Blizzplanet to the 2016 World of Warcraft: Legion Press Summit event to learn more about their plans leading up to the world event prior to the expansion. Reporter Dperschonok had the opportunity to interview both lead game designers: Cory Stockton (@Mumper) and Julian Morris.
NOTE: Available in 720HD.
Blizzplanet: Was Dalaran always the main choice for the main city for Legion?
Stockton: Yea. The opportunity to do Dalaran again was like yes, we’d totally do that; and then once we talked about the story options, and how it fits into the story, and how much of a key part it plays, and being able to prepare for Legion I think it was like–
Morris: … and the characters and cultures that it brings with it too, and those characters that are kinda intrinsic to Dalaran play major roles throughout Legion as well.
Stockton: It’s got that great way of unifying. It feels great to say that it unifies the different people that we have met in the Broken Isles, and it makes sense. As soon as we thought that we could use it: “Ahh, that would make so much sense.”
Morris: There is a secondary facet there too that Dalaran is sort of its own character, or becoming that way. Dalaran has its own story to tell.
Stockton: We will leave it at that.
Blizzplanet: How did you like seeing Dalaran last night in the movie brought to life?
Stockton: Oh, it was awesome! Supercool. I mean, that’s actually one of the craziest parts about the movie is realizing the spaces that we have been building for years and years and years; and then seeing those onscreen… it’s nuts. So seeing Elwynn Forest, seeing Redridge– there is a scene you can (a 100%) indentify that it’s Redridge. So the orc warband coming across, there is the bridge, there is a dock on the left, and it’s just… seeing the care that Duncan put into… he’s a huge WoW gamer, he is (obvious) since the beginning. So I think just seeing the world stuff is huge.
Blizzplanet: Same thing with Westfall. You see the mechanical–
Stockton: The Harvesters?
Blizzplanet: You see the harvesters, and you are: “That’s Westfall.”
Stockton: Oh yea. A 100%.
Blizzplanet: Obviously, we have been seeing changes in Dalaran since Northrend. What was the thought process for retrofitting Dalaran to fit your Legion goals?
Stockton: Oh man, tons of stuff. A huge part of Dalaran is where you interact with the Artifact. Stuff there, in the city’s core there is a new area that we built. That tower that is in the center– that’s probably the biggest structural change; but then we had an opportunity to do neat stuff with the sewers.
Stockton: There is a huge PvP kinda event that happens in the sewers. The sewer can turn to PvP, and you can actually buy off the guards to protect you in PvP, which flips your PvP so that you can go down there.
Originally, the sewers (back in Northrend) we were going to do an Arena, but it was actually going to be there, and we built the Dalaran sewers separate; but there was this huge idea back in the day that like the whole sewer of Dalaran would be like the city underground Fight Club-kinda thing. So we were able to kinda execute on that idea here to go along with some of our other stuff where we have got our artifacts built into it. The Rogue area is built down into the Underbelly as well, and that just felt fitting. He’s got these backdoors where he can go into different shops throughtout Dalaran. It just felt super Rogue.
We are trying to embrace I think sort of the things that felt like the most sense, and not jam stuff into it that felt out of place.
Blizzplanet: In Warlords, every zone has bonus quests. In Legion, you have World Quests instead. How similar or different are World Quests from what we are used to in Warlords?
Stockton: They are completely different. The concept of World Quests is totally different right there. They are max level like Bonus Quests were, but Bonus Quests, you did them and then you were done. You go and complete all the bonus quests. It was great to level up a character, and stuff like that; but World Quests are designed to last for a really long time, and to be randomized in a way that the content is not repeated. So we have hundreds, and hundreds of World Quests scattered across the game, and tons of different types of content: solo, 3-player, 5-player, we have PvP, we have Battle Pets, Professions, and then we have even raid stuff as well with the World Bosses. All of that falls kinda under the umbrella of World Quests; and then they are associated by factions in each individual zone.
Stockton: If you are doing World Quests in Val’sharah, you are earning faction with the Dreamweavers and they have their own reward system. So over time, you can earn faction with each of the five zones and get rewards from those guys. So it’s a very long system. Starts at level 110, and we really see that going for months for players. Pretty easy, and without you even seeing the same piece of content. Our hope is that we can continue to add content to that system over the course of the expansion.
Blizzplanet: Is there any concept for rare World Quests?
Stockton: 100%. There’s totally rare World Quests, and you will know when you see them that they are going to offer a unique piece of loot. You can see the loot that drops for World Quests before you do it.
Blizzplanet: Can you talk anything about the pre-expansion event yet?
Morris: We did something similar to when we launched Wrath of the Lich King. We did some invasion of ziggurats showing up in different places in small invasions, and over a period of time that ramped up to assaulting cities and things.
So similarly, all throughout Azeroth we are going to start seeing Burning Legion presence popping in, and players will be drawn to them as they appear on your in-game map, and you will be drawn to where there is an invasion happening, and they can happen at different scales, and over a period of weeks they will ramp up in intensity; and this will ultimately conclude with the launch event where you lead the attack on the Broken Shore.
By week 4, we will see entire zones being consumed by Burning Legion invasions. So it’s a huge fight. It should be a lucrative event. So you will be going to want to be getting into this action. There will be whole areas in Azeroth that are going to be under siege.
Blizzplanet: Can you talk a little bit about why it is lucrative? Why would people want to go and do this in multiple zones and see it all? Aside from it being cool, is there reasons to do it more than once, and keep doing it over the course of 4-6 weeks?
Stockton: Do you mean the reward structure? Obviously we are going to offer good rewards throughout all that stuff, and we generally always do unique things that you can only get if you did participate in the actual event.
Ensemble: Fel Infused Cloth Armor (1850)
Ensemble: fel-Chain Mail Armor (1850)
Demon Commander’s Drape (500)
Legionnaire’s Fel Pendant (500)
Legion Bound Ring (500)
Ensemble: Felshroud Leather Armor (1850)
Ensemble: Felforged Plate Armor (1850)
Infernal Cord (500)
Nether Twisted Band (500)
Felstalker Spine (500)
Stockton: We have done armor, we have done tabards, we have done all kinds of different stuff. We are still trying to figure out what sort of items are going to be.
Morris: It is a little hard to be specific, but here is an opportunity to do what we did in Wrath of the Lich King where there is a window to catch up boost, so this kinda event allow us to have everyone to be up to a similar level of item level.
Stockton: Yea, because at that point it doesn’t really matter. We can drop super high item level stuff because in the expansion it is going to reset everything anyway.
Morris: So the ramp up event, the whole process of this is meant to be super fun, super engaging escalating crisis to the point where we all drawn to this singular crisis.
Blizzplanet: Is it more comparable to Wrath of the Lich King or is it comparable to AQ and how that event came out?
Stockton: No. AQ was a completely different thing, where you did some turn ins. This is using ideas where those events are going to show up randomly in the zones. So you can think of them as sort of like World Quests with different stuff. We have lots of different places where it can happen, and then it escalates. It’s like the whole deal. The sky changes. We have Legion invading with buildings, and like you said– Westfall is not Westfall anymore. It’s literally like an invasion zone.
Morris: We have Legion forces raining out of the sky, planting buildings that come out of the ground, and ultimately you are tearing down the structures and trying to stop this Legion.
Stockton: And it works like a scenario event– stage 1, stage 2, stage 3.
Blizzplanet: Is it happening just in Azeroth?
Stockton: We are doing Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor.
Blizzplanet: Nothing in Warlords of Draenor at all.
Blizzplanet: The story of Legion drives us into searching for the Pillars of Creation. It took us a while to do the Legendary Ring Questline. What’s the next step once we acquire the Pillars?
Stockton: Oh man, there are all kinds of stuff. Our overarching goal is to shutdown the Tomb of Sargeras, which is the portal from where the Burning Legion is pouring into the Broken Isles, and collecting those is a way for us to do that. It is going to lead into tons of other content moving forward, but I think that’s still to come. This is your first step in unifying all the zones, and the people that are in the Broken Isles that we need to achieve our goals, comes with these as being our first steps; and all that plays out long-term. Tomb of Sargeras will be a big overarching piece of the world that is going to play into the future of what is going on here. These are just like the keystones to get that started.
Blizzplanet: In Alpha, Wrathion was part of the Hightotem questline, but in Beta he was replaced by a new Black dragon. Will we see Wrathion later in end-game considering he has been preparing us for the Legion conflict since Mists of Pandaria?
Stockton: I don’t think there is currently another place with Wrathion showing up, but that could be true. He could be in. I’m not overseeing every single quest in the content, but I think we really took him out because we felt it didn’t feel appropriate for what was going on there, the way he was being used didn’t fit in with the questline that we were running in. It just didn’t feel right. It’s why we pulled that. It just didn’t feel like it was the right place. It felt out of place. It wasn’t necessarily like we had to jam in somewhere else because if it felt right then we use it. Yea, currently I don’t think he is in another place in the game.
NOTE: Interviews with Luis Barriga & John Hight, and Tom Chilton & Chris Robinson will be posted soon. Follow us on Twitter at @blizzplanetcom for update alerts.