Moderator: Nice. So Demon Hunters aren’t the only tool that we are using against the Legion, because now we also have artifact weapons. It’s not quite as obvious a connection to the Legion storyline. You have got the Burning Legion, there is a whole bunch of demons, some have been hunted by Demon Hunters, that makes sense. What about the artifacts? How do they tie in to the storyline?
Barriga: Some of them tie very directly to the theme of killing demons. Just like regular heroes weren’t quite enough to fight off the Burning Legion, and we turned to Demon Hunters, our regular weapons aren’t quite enough to deal with the threat of the Legion. So we turned to weapons from lore. Weapons that trace their roots to the War of the Ancients in some cases.
One of the weapons — the Demon Hunter Vengeance artifact — was basically wielded by this leader of this now extinct race that just Killed so many demons that Sargeras himself had to kill him. In other cases, a weapon that is a big part of our lore like say: the Ashbringer, or the Death Knight weapon that you make out of pieces from Frostmourne.
Moderator: You mentioned all these weapons, like the Ashbringer, there is the Doomhammer, there is sword that the Frost Death Knight gets, how do we make sure that the other artifacts feel just as impressive and just as cool as those?
Maloof: What we have done is for each class and spec — as you are going after your artifact — because you will quest for these, you will earn them, there is an epic storyline for each one of them and during that story (for the less known artifacts) you are going to definitely come to understand and appreciate the gravity that these weapons hold.
Stockton: Coming up with these new weapons, I think was actually one of the funnest things we got to do over the process of building the expansion. When someone comes to you and tell you: “Well, you really have to think about what kind of weapon it could be the greatest expression of that class, and we worked very closely with the Art Team, and our Art Team is incredible to begin with, but the stuff they did — I think you have seen some of them up here on the stage — the concept work for these weapons really drew us on the design side to kinda come up with these stories and figure out that weapon is so cool we have to build it, we have to figure out how it fits into the storyline. So it was an awesome mix of both art and design to get to where we are.
Barriga: It is really that trifecta of the gameplay, story and art. If some players really care about the quest, and the story behind a weapon, and for some players it resonates more the mechanics, so every artifact weapon has its own talent tree where you earn artifact power and then you can invest that artifact power into the talent tree to enhance your base abilities, and also earn some abilities that will really change the way you play.
Moderator: Just talking about that a little bit, the Artifact Trait System, that kinda really makes it feel like a lot more — I guess what I am trying to say here is — you have artifacts and you have legendaries, and there have been legendary weapons in the past: like Thunderfury, Shadowmourne, and so on; but the artifact trait system… how does that play into just making it feel like it is more than just another legendary?
Barriga: Yea, you are right. We have weapons that have a big chunk of lore behind them, and a big questline behind them; but we have never done anything like this before where there is a progression system, or even after you reach max level, we keep rewarding everything that you do: PvP, World Quests, Dungeons, Raids, and we give you artifact power; and what this does is it gives you continued progression that you care about. Some of those we call them gold medal talents. You really look forward to them.
If you are a tanking demon hunter, you will be like really looking forward to that trait that let’s you heal from your fire damage. Some of those, they feel way more powerful than dinging max level, in some cases.
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