BlizzCon 2016 World of Warcraft Q&A Panel Transcript

Part 2

So the roleplayers of Moonguard have a bit of a lot questions for you. So given that blood elf paladins get their power from the sunwell these days and the sunwell is on Azeroth, what is the effective range of it? How does it work on other planets, in other timelines? Is there a trans-dimensional cross? What is up with that?

Alex: So the sunwell, holy magic is woven throughout the entirety of the cosmos. So while the sunwell exists in a certain specific location, its magic will absolutely kind of travel through everything in the universe as light does. So effectively, there is no range.

 

Panser: That is how light works. That is how light works. We have another question from one of our players online, and they want to know: Are there any plans to turn the World of Warcraft token into a currency that can be used by other characters services like realm hops, or changes of your faction, or customization?

Allen: Yes. When we actually designed the system, we actually designed it to be useful across all the different kind of services that we have, and before we want a system in order to make sure it was a smooth system that works the way that we wanted it to do we backed off of that and changed it to be 30 days at a time only; but we do have plans to expand that in the very near future.

 

Panser: Would that be like a separate part of the auction house? Because right now the token is all by itself.

Allen: So the token will remain by itself, and you will have an option to redeem a token for 30 days of game time, or a certain amount of Battle.net balance.

 

Panser: Our next question is from Adam here at BlizzCon.

Hey guys. I am a brewmaster monk in Icecrown. Are you ever going to update old armor sets, or even older, or even other expansion’s, also why don’t you increase the main backpack?

Panser: Good God. Yes, why?

Chris: I will start with the armor set question, so we do from time to time try to go back and not necessarily just revamp older armor sets, but we try to take inspiration from them, and reintroduce them as sort of updated graphics and appearances. So probably, I don’t think there is going to be a case where we go back and specifically just change the existing art one-for-one as much as using it as inspiration, and I don’t have the bag answer for you.

 

Panser: Well, and that’s that.

Matt: Okay, so there is a little bit of intel about the backpack which I need to share which is for a long time there is been this almost a myth on the design team that changing a backpack is incredibly difficult, and it is going to cause a lot of problems; and I said that once in a meeting, and immediately after the meeting, our lead gameplay programmer Pat Magruder came over and he was like: “What are you talking about? It is not that hard. Why do you guys keep saying that?” … and I know it was like we have been saying that, and nobody knew that that was actually true. So it is not as easy as what he was saying like the gameplay side of it is easy, but the UI side maybe takes a little bit of work. So I will say: we are looking at it. I wish I could give you guys an exact patch, but it is something I actually think I am a little worried that if we do it, we don’t know what else people will ask for every time, because it is kind of like that thing that everyone talks about, now you guys know it is easy.

Ion: So I think we require quite a lot of inventory space. I mean, obviously, we have continued to increase bag sizes right up until Legion where we didn’t do that further because we instead with things like a transmog system, and otherwise, hold a lot out of your inventory. More things go into the inventory box, more things going to other places, we have the reagent bank that makes it more easier to store and file those away. And so at some point it raises the question of if you want more space, we can give you more space, and you’ll fill it, but then you start to need increasingly you need bag mods, and you are filtering through a 142 slots. We’d rather take a step back and ask the question why are you feeling that you need to carry 142 items around with you, and what are we doing that is making backspace such a contentious issue, and let’s fix it on that side of things.

Chris: So really quick, I just wanted to add one thing about the armor, we get a lot of questions about updating older content, and I think one of the things we are really sensitive to is the nostalgia that players have for the roots in the game; and so anytime we are talking about armor sets, mounts (anything like that), if we go in and we change them, chances are it is going to be split down the middle as to whether or not people feel like it was an improvement, or that we ruined what they felt like was a really important part of the game for them. So it is something we are always balancing and thinking about when we make decisions like that, and I think that is what we always err on the side of let’s use older content as inspiration for newer content, but not necessarily go back and change it whole.

Ion: One actual tidbit of info, so patch 7.2, so this wasn’t mentioned in the panel yesterday but the raid armor that you will be getting from the Tomb of Sargeras is in fact very very heavily inspired by the Tier 6: Black Temple sets. So if you want to imagine what World of Warcraft artists today with our engine, with the armor tech that we have today would do to let’s say the Lightbringer set for paladins, well you have to see that in 7.2.

 

Panser: Alright, the next question is from an online player and they want to know if you have ever considered removing like gathering professions as a thing that counts against your professions. So that you can have like two professions and the gathering profession, or you can have all of the gathering professions and then only one crafting profession.

Matt: Actually, this comes up, I think every expansion. We have talked about this and it comes up internally a lot too; and the one thing that we always look at is how core professions are to the overall character that you have. So if you have the Druid who is an herbalist — that is a meaningful connection to that character. So what happens if you are an herbalist and you know you get another thing on top of that? So we like how professions diversify our characters beyond just classes, class and profession being a big part of who your character is; but again it comes up all the time, so who knows? We could do it.

 

Panser: What is your question, Carol?

Hi, I am also known as Lena, from the bearers of light of Moonguard. Please, don’t judge me. First of all, I want to say thank you for Legion. I absolutely love this expansion. I guess they do too. And I love the artifact weapons. So my question is: What is in store for our weapon in future expansions, and if they are not going forward, what are you replacing them with?

Ion: So great question. We said from the outset, when we introduced artifact weapons, that these were going to be a feature confined to Legion. The same way that the Garrison was confined to Warlords. Part of what that means for us is that actually frees us to do crazier, bolder, more exciting things with the feature that we could never really do if we were putting it out there and committing to update it for years and years and years to come.

We wouldn’t really be comfortable committing to the idea that you are never again going to get a weapon upgrade, and we probably wouldn’t want to be in a place six years from now where we are making your 133th trait for your Ashbringer, because you feel like you need continued reasons to progress your artifact. Now all that said, obviously there is a tremendous amount of attachment to this weapon, and we know that it is not going to suffice in any way, shape, or form, to just replace it with a really high level green weapon that has high DPS. That is not what we are going to do.

A couple of things. I think one thing that we have talked about that we hope to do is at the end of Legion (when all is said and done), players who have played through the Legion storyline during the Legion time-frame will be able to unlock the artifact appearances as permanent transmog appearances, and carry it forward.

So if you have earned that Shattered Ashbringer, or you spent 30 hours of your life fishing with a lot of other paladins for that Corrupted Ashbringer, you can show that off you know going on and carry that with you as a memory of the pain that you have suffered. Whereas someone who joins the game 4-5 years from now won’t have that option. They can go back, they can get the Ashbringer, they can customize it, but they can’t take the appearance off it.

Separately, the progression of the artifact represents, and the max level gameplay, and the desire to almost always keep leveling it is like you never run out of what to experience, you always want something to look forward to. We are really happy with the way that is played out, and that type of gameplay, that type of design is likely to manifest itself in other ways that just aren’t a specific weapon this time around.

 

Panser: Will that be kind of a Feat of Strength? When the expansion is over, you will no longer be able to earn those anymore? Kind of the way mounts work?

Ion: Exactly, very much like that.

 

Panser: Cool, so our next question is about legendaries — which I for one am very salty about, because I still haven’t caught one. Someone out there knows my pain I am sure. Is there any chance that in the future we may see like a set legendary loot option so that people can gear their Off-specs and not worry about getting a Main-spec artifact, because right now it is sort of random, and like what is going on with the RNG on those?

Matt: So the first question, It is interesting with legendaries we have actually talked a lot before we launched about whether we would need a separate loot spec like a legendary loot spec, or something that would let you target specific legendaries; and it just became really complicated (it is a little too complicated right now) to keep loots back in line, or remember what it was set to when you last left your raid; and we thought that a second one we will do this weird second ability to choose between them.

So I think that specific thing we probably won’t do, but I do know one of the things that a lot of people worry about is: “Okay, well, I can’t play as a Prot, if I want to get my Arms legendary,” and that is something we are looking towards, I think we have some cool ideas that we can help with, and so that you don’t feel as bad, and don’t feel like you can’t do the things you want to do because of it.

Ion: Alsom in the long term we are planning on adding more legendaries to the game over the course of the expansion, and right now there is a total of 8 for a given spec, but once maybe there is 10 or there is 12, it gets to a point where it feels like you really can’t with any degree of certainty or hope chase after a specific one. And so that is a problem for us to solve more broadly, the ability to focus your efforts in some way or another; and the solution that we came up with for that is likely to also address the legendary spec concern.

Hi Colby. You got a question for the devs?

Matt: I mean also the legendary that go across your specs are also very cool that you can play with.

 

Now that Blizzard has a cookbook, would it be possible to lend one to Nomi? I mean, he’s killing me.

Panser: I mean he is got a point.

Matt: He’s getting better right? He is Rank 2 now.

Ion: Yeah, I mean he is making steady progress. Yes, just imagine where he is going to be. Just imagine.

Matt: Sky’s the limit, really for that guy. He can’t go down anymore.

 

Panser: Our next question is from one of our online viewers and they want to know artifacts and their appearances are great, but we have now thoroughly raided the armories of Azeroth’s past. So how do you intend to extend, or even surpass such a popular system in the future? Like you can’t just go get more. No one would believe you, if we found these better Azeroth weapons guys.

Ion: I mean, I think that is probably pretty much covered by the question that we had a little while ago. We know that it is going to be a painful parting, but we will make it make sense when we get there, and you will feel good about what does come next.

 

Panser: Our next question is from here at BlizzCon.

Hi Panser.

Panser: Hi Gary.

Nice to see you again.

Panser: Nice to see you too.

I played an alliance Paladin on the Blizzard Watch of the Queue guild. So shout out to them. My question for you guys is: How far in advance do you guys plan your character arcs? For example, with Garrosh, he was introduced in Burning Crusade. Did you guys know his ultimate fate right then, or did it modify over time as the story evolved.

Alex: That’s a really good question. So how far in advance do we plan out character arcs for our big characters, or little ones. Garrosh, is an interesting example, very far. Garrosh was one of those ones where Metzen and I actually sat down, we are like we need Grommash’s kid. He is going to be in Nagrand, and he has a destiny that we need to fulfill; and we didn’t quite know where that destiny would go, and initially we wanted to go much more heroic with Garrosh.

It didn’t quite turn out that way, but I am satisfied with where he went; but other times you have things like Wrathion, who we had no idea where his arc would go; and it is just about who gets geeked up about the character, or whatever it might be, or the story, and where they want to take it. So that started out Badlands, and the next thing you know, it is all over the place and it is awesome; and it is something that we want to do more of. So a little bit of both. We do plan for a lot, and for much we… do not.

 

Panser: So our next question is from the Internet, and they said: Back in 2014, cosmetic class accessories were mentioned in an artcraft post. Now is this something that was scrapped in favor of artifacts or is it in the works for future expansions? I think maybe they are talking about like maybe quivers and stuff like that?

Chris: Yes. So that wasn’t scrapped in favor of artifacts. What ended up happening was we started talking about that system and coming out of building that slew of class accessories that we showed concepts for. How to design for it. Thought about how we were going to implement it, and then right after that is when we decided we were going to build artifact weapons for this expansion.

So it is not that it killed it, we just put a pause on class accessories as it existed to kind of see and feel at what was going to happen as we started working on the artifact system. I’d use examples of like you say you have now a quiver to go with your bow and kind of matches the two so we can make sure that as we build these artifacts we could really play up that class fantasy as much as possible. So now I think we are at a point where we are going to go back and take a look at what did we accomplish and get through with artifact system. And if there were more things that we want to do with class accessories in that class fantasy we will continue to explore that.

 

Panser: Alright. Oh!!! Look who it is, hi. Hi, Ian.

RedShirtGuy: In Azsuna, the Naga are kind of weird in that we don’t know why they are there, or who they are serving. Khadgar just says: “Oh no, some naga have showed up and want the pillar.” Why? … and then Prince Farondis says they are working with the Legion, but then we never see them working with the Legion; and now in 7.2 they are in the Tomb of Sargeras, but they are in a different part than the Legion. Whose side are the Naga on?

Alex: Hi, Ian. How are you doing? Good question. Nagas, like humans for example, do not all have the same allegiance to the same matriarch for example. So it is quite possible that some Naga will work with the Legion like they may in 7.2, although that is actually not a certainty because we don’t know what is happening in the Tomb yet. Well, you guys don’t. We do. And beyond, as far as Azsuna, that is setting something up, hopefully. We will see where it goes, but Azshara certainly is interested in the Tidestone of Golganneth. Why? I don’t know. I mean, I do know, but we will see; but so that is a story that will hopefully will blow out and expand in future content. Just wait and see.

 

Next: Legion Q&A (Part 3)

BLIZZCON 2016 WORLD OF WARCRAFT: LEGION Q&A PANEL TRANSCRIPT
Part 1Part 2Part 3

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