Panel Q&A

Moderator: We have got a microphone right over there. If you guys want to line up. If you guys have any questions, fire away!

Fan # 1: Legion just came out, but the artifact weapon system is really great, and I really like that we can upgrade it a little bit with the relics. Looking forward, how would you keep the lore and the mechanical strength of those weapons? I feel like in future expansions — maybe we have a legendary weapon, and then we get a green item weapon that is better than what we got now. I would feel sad if I had to drop Doomhammer to pick up a random weapon.

Barriga: That’s a great question. One of the things we are approaching differently is our philosophy with key features during an expansion, and starting with Garrisons we said: “Hey, what if we just design this feature so that it could live in Warlords, and we didn’t have to keep taking it forward? What that let us do is that we were really really ambitious with the design, because there is not that maintenance cost. We’d have to make garrisons forever in every expansion.

So we applied the same philosophy with Artifacts in Legion. What this means is we can keep any part of the artifacts that we like, and just keep it moving forward, build it into the baseline way that the class plays (for example), without signing up for: “Hey, we have to keep updating, keep making new skins for the current artifact,” and it would really tie us from making new features.

Maloof: In addition, with the new transmog system, you should be able to keep that look too.

Moderator: I think in one of the Q&As we did a few weeks ago, I think it was Craig Amai, he was talking about how we would be able to find some way for you to keep the appearance of your artifacts going forward.

Fan# 2: I know you are still very focused on Legion, but for future expansions — have you considered Ogres as a playable race? Specifically, the two-headed mages would be awesome.

Barriga: They are definitely one of the favorites that we have always kick around anytime, and we are still talking about new races for sure.

Stockton: That idea has came up in many many meetings for sure.

Fan# 2: So why haven’t you done it yet? Come on, guys!

(Everyone laughs)

Maloof: Thank you.

Fan# 3: Will there be treasure hunting on raids?

Moderator: Sorry, treasure hunting in raids?

Fan# 3: Just like in dungeons, right now.

Barriga: Ohhhh… That’s an interesting question. I don’t think there is right now.

Stockton: I don’t think there is, either.

Barriga: So… doesn’t mean we can’t add it. Hmm. Thank you! (long silence) Note to self! (he actually wrote it down in his notebook)

Fan# 4: We have gone really far with phasing over the years with World of Warcraft, and now I feel like in Legion you have kinda hit your final form where the whole content is a phase. Everything scales — like where do you guys go from here? What other things your advancements with how everything is phased allow you to do?

Barriga: That’s interesting. I think one of the things that the team has evolved their philosophy is that we actually try to use phasing really judiciously. In the end, we are an MMO, so we can use phasing as a tool to tell really powerful narrative moments, but that is a single-player experience; and at the end of the day, what we bring to the table as an MMO is being able to play with your friends.

Be able to see other people, and that feeling of community, and get that feeling of: “Yup!” there is a thousand people playing this game in the server right now. It feels great. So I think that you are saying “this is kinda the final form”… no, it is something that I would like to keep evolving. So hopefully, going forward we fine tune it even more.

Moderator: It is possibly worth mentioning (as well) that there is a lot of different features in different ways that the world works that tends to kinda be lumped in as “Phasing,” but a lot of times in the world you will see what we call “Sharding” — which is where there are several copies of the same zone so you don’t have five thousand people trying to kill the same over and over again. Stuff like that. I think like — the game launched, and it worked, so I think that was good.

Stockton: That’s a good point!

Barriga: Ohh, one of the things he mentioned, the world scaling, we are definitely looking to expanding that. We just didn’t apply that to all the areas, because we wanted to see how that plays out down in Legion; but you should expect that to be expanded.

Fan# 5: So everything has been set in fire since Cataclysm, and will we be able to go back to the Old Zones from the old world and with the whole new level scaling — like if we were level 80, we could go back to the Barrens and do leveling there?

Barriga: Yea, like I mentioned, we are looking at how it works, because it is new and we had to restrain ourselves really not to say: “Hey, everything scales!” Then, if we didn’t like it we would be stuck with that idea. So we are still kinda in waiting-and-see-mode where we are liking what we see, but you know, you guys let us know.

Stockton: We certainly have the technology. Right? It is just the idea of where we want to play it. Where does it feel like it fits? Practically, with the gameplay that we are looking for, but it is also a matter of trying to find out issues that we might have not seen; and obviously when the game is in millions of players’ hands, they always find ways to do stuff that we didn’t think it would actually happen. So we have just have to take a little bit of time and let it play out.

Barriga: If you played invasions, we did scaling in those zones. You saw level 12 dudes helping you kill some gigantic demons. They didn’t immediately explode… I mean, sometimes… you know.

(Everyone laughs)

Maloof: Especially with the Pitlords were fighting. (chuckles)

Barriga: So we are still checking it out to see what parts we like about it.

Fan# 6: Have we really seen the last of Vol’jin?

Barriga: (looking away) UmmmmMMMmmmmmm-hhh…. (long silence)

(Maloof looks down toward the table)



Barriga: SPOILERS!!!

Stockton: I don’t even want to comment on that one today.

Barriga: Bluh–ummm. Yah, no comment. AGHH-hhh! (long silence) No comment. No comment.

Stockton: Yeah!

(Maloof laughs histerically)

Stockton: Good question, though.

Maloof: It’s a great question.

Fan# 7: I was wondering, what the conversation internally looked like when you were designing Demon Hunters double-jump? If you saw that limiting design space in any way; and if you consider applying that to other classes like really empowering to be able to jump twice.

Stockton: Certainly, QA wasn’t a giant fan of double-jump. That’s for sure.

Barriga: We were reading the description and lore, and everything, and there was this dark and brooding elven outcast with supernatural agility and control of the fel. We were like: check, check, check ✓ … How do you do supernatural agility? Right? … and one of the things that came up was double-jump and glide; and we went: “Can we do these things?” Our engineer said: “Probably not!”

And … then we said: “Well, what if you try really hard?”

(Everyone laughs)

Stockton: We are being in charge of the cookies for the engineers. It’s just slowly over a period of days.

Barriga: But it is funny, like the Demon Hunter’s mobility basically tripped every movement enforcement protection that our game has to catch cheating. So during those first months of us developing, we kept getting disconnected: “Nope, you are cheating. Nope, you are teleporting! Nope, you are–” and it is definitely something that we had to put a lot of tech into. We feel that it really makes the class feel really really special. So I think that we were really judicious about kinda diluting that fantasy to other classes.

Stockton: Thank you.

Moderator: There is the side issue with double-jump which is that every time that I play anything that isn’t a Demon Hunter now, I am desperately trying to double-jump on that character.

Stockton: I think at one point we had double-jump working with a mount. You were actually jumping on the mount, it would double-jump with you. We were doing a couple reviews internally, and we were like: “I mean, obviously we can’t keep this, but… MAYBE?!

(Everyone laughs)

Stockton: It’s kinda awesome.

Barriga: You could glide with a mount. The wings would pop out–

Stockton: It was the best.

Fan# 8: I have been playing Warcraft games basically since “Orcs and Humans” and I feel like Legion is the end of that core story. So lorewise, where do we go from here?

Stockton: Ohh, I don’t think the story is ever over. I mean, on our end– we are winning the Warlords, with the idea that we weren’t going to come up with a story in the wrapper for a single expansion. We were going to try and come up with at least a minimum of thinking further out. What’s the next one? What’s the next one after that? Maybe not all the features, maybe not exactly where it takes place, but at least the core storyline could have a continuation that makes sense. We didn’t want to put ourselves in a place where we were trying to jam into something new and then we kinda had to backpedal.

We wanted to setup characters, and really let these characters — like Gul’dan, that is really a good example, and Khadgar, let them carry forward to multiple expansions so that it just feels like it flows, and it makes sense; and then we can fill in the features, and locations — some of that stuff that happens; but I think that makes the game feel like so much better overall, right? We don’t see really any end in sight to be honest. As long as we have fans that want to play the game, we certainly are working on it, and we are going to keep making it really for as long as we can.

Fan# 9: After having seamlessly leveled an exact opposite direction of my friend in the Broken Isles… he went from Azsuna all the way to Stormheim. I did the exact opposite. I was wondering, how long the scaling mechanic can actually been in development, because having gone through that experience, in a completely different way than my buddie was amazing. So I was wondering how long it’s been on the idea-board for you guys?

Barriga: With our game, we basically develop tech for one thing, and we end up with a lot of really cool ferrari-parts laying around, and we are like: “Oh, what if we take this part from Timewalking, and this part from experimental artifact token,” and we do this, and then we go: “Oh yea, and that’s kinda cool, but let’s save that for the next expansion;”
and then we all come together the next expansion and then: “Let’s do it. Let’s try it.

It came in pretty late. I think we have said this before, but maybe not, maybe this is new, but we actually had an intended flow of Azsuna — Val’sharah — Stormheim — clockwise like that; but it works really well to do it in any order now. Yeah, we are really glad that it panned up.

Stockton: We always talked about Northrend, and not having that option of going to Borean Tundra or Howling Fjord, and how Alliance and Horde there were stories for both; and we kinda always bring that up. That’s kinda what let us here to the Broken Isles that we should let players really pick. That experience like you said, when you are talking to a friend, it is not like you went through the same POI (Points of Interest). You had a whole different experience. Different characters, and stuff. It makes it feel different, very fresh from anything we had before.

Moderator: How are we doing on time, by the way? Ok, one more question? One more question.

Fan# 10: You said that MMO cooperative play throughout the thing, I was wondering about Order Halls quest giving? You are a warrior, but you are grouped up with a Hunter and a Priest. Are they going to come along on the Order Hall quest with you?

Barriga: So a lot of those are designed as solo scenarios. That’s a counter-point to what we said our mission is earlier. Overall, we do want to have that experience as multiplayer, and MMO-based, but for very narrative-focused moments where some (4:23:07?) campaigns involved really benign characters talking to you specifically as the leader of the paladins. That’s where we usually got the other direction with: “Hey, here is a solo scenario. Just for you,” and we tend to like that balance; and we definitely going forward we want to explore the opposite as well, once we have a different fantasy to it chasing an expansion.

Moderator: That’s all the time we have, so thank you so much everybody for coming out. Don’t forget stopping by our booth. We do have some exclusive pins that we are handing out at the booth. So definitely check those out. Thanks again.

Panel PagesIntroStoryDemon HunterArtifactsClass Halls
World QuestsMobile AppKarazhanNew RaidSuramar Update

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BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts