BlizzCon 2016 World of Warcraft Q&A Panel Transcript
Panser: We will see … Our next question is from the magic of the Internet and they want to know: Do you plan to add more content similar to like the withered army training world quest? I have a follow up.
Alex: Do you want more?
Alex: Oh. No.
Panser: So you know. Have you guys considered how awful it is to be a healer? Like if you play a tank you just go in there and taunt everything, and they all hit you and you run out, and you are: “I’m done now.” And if you play a healer, you are like: “Ohh, I am dead. I have 4 points, and I am dead now.”
Ion: It is not how awful it is to be a healer, it is how great it is to be tank when you just go in there, and when it comes to whether I’m in training. Like it is a whole different experience; and if anything that was the one tuning short fault of the withering army scenario. It was designed as a progressive thing you build up your army of what we call it internally withered pickment, and from week to week you are a bit stronger, you have a bit more upgrades, you can make it farther in, and they are the ones that are carrying you to victory as you marshal their forces and you are helping out.
Obviously, the tank just walks in and says hey wait here I’m gonna go solo everything. That was perhaps not ideal, but that sort of solo gameplay, this sort of solo scenario that you can work towards and improve upon, that aspect of it was cool. Are there versions of that that could express themselves in other forms? Is there a piece of that that could work its way into something like unlocking new artifact appearances in 7.2? Perhaps. Probably not as involved as the full scenario, but solo gameplay is cool. Group gameplay is cool, but it is nice to have fun challenging things to do in groups of all sizes and that includes: one.
Panser: I just want to note that I really really really hate it (laughs). Our next question is from Andrew here in our audience.
Hi, I am Zensunim (the author of the GTFO addon), and hopefully you have used it. Well, you already answered my question about the hidden frosty Knight appearance, but I am going to ask, are there still any secrets in the live game that still haven’t been discovered by anyone? Can you tell us more about hidden stuff in the game?
Matt: I am pretty sure there are secrets of the game that I don’t know about. I think there is a couple, nothing huge nothing Kosumoth-level, but if you asked that question again in a couple months the answer may be different. I think it has been really cool to see the excitement around searching and discovering great mysteries like that, and things like that make the world feel larger, feel more mysterious let players be part of a community effort, a community search. We don’t want to overdo it. We don’t want it to feel like the world is suddenly full of Easter eggs and everyone is just looking around every corner, turning up every rock. But when done right, there is a lot of coolness there. When done poorly, as with a couple of the end-appearance unlocks, or more than a couple as the case maybe, there can be some frustration there; but we are learning lessons, that is not something we are going to stop trying to do and I look forward to the community’s efforts to uncover the secrets in the future.
Panser: So our next question is from the internet, and it is: Do you have any plans to make this expansion a little more alt-friendly? … because I feel like we were told this is a must-have stuff in the expansion, and we don’t believe you.
Matt: I think we talked about this a little bit before too, I think we look at every patch that comes out we actually asked the question of, I mean two questions, one is if you want to switch characters and you want to try something else, how hard is it till you catch up; and then also, if you are coming into the game for the first time and you hit it in the middle of 7.2, how hard is it to catch up?
Sometimes those answers are the same thing, like we have to do the same solve in the case of knowledge I think that is we have kind of gone for one solved; but I think each time we look at both questions as different. As I said before too, I think alt gameplay is really really powerful, players like playing different characters, they like trying different things, and seeing how a different role or a different class has a different — basically lets you see content in different ways. So we are always looking for that, but I don’t think we have anything that we haven’t talked about to announce.
Panser: Our next question is here in the audience.
Hi, my question is about Ysera. Why did you guys pull a Game of Thrones kill on Ysera? Doesn’t that contradict established lore?
(someone in the audience yells: SPOILERS!)
Spoilers, right? Yeah. Sorry. Whoever hasn’t seen that one yet, she dies. So heroes make grand sacrifices in our game, and it has happened a lot in Legion as we see. Ysera (who is now mortal by the way after twilight of the aspects) is dead. Her spirit lives on. So what that means going forward, I don’t actually know, but it could be cool. It could be something cool that happens, but I wouldn’t hold on to too long to her being gone for good.
Panser: Interesting. Our next question is from some of our online players. This is like one that we got a lot and that was: Will we ever have a chance to join multiple guilds, say one for PvE and one for PVP? … and we know that you can do Order Halls, we know that you can do class housing. It is weird how people have been saying guild housing for such a long time, but we are getting everything but guild housing.
Matt: So I think a couple things like we recognize that we actually have different social groups that we interact with, so not just our guild, but we may have our raid with maybe co-workers, or friends, or past friends. So I think supporting multiple social groups in WoW is something we are looking at actively. We actually have something that we are looking at how that could work. I love the idea of Guild Halls, I love the idea of like all those great ideas that we should be looking at and I think we have so many ideas it is a matter of which ones we do first and which ones we do later; but who knows, I keep saying who knows, but what I mean is–
Panser: Is that the same, is that the guild housing? Who knows?
Ion: I think it when it comes to guild housing the two main obstacles there are (first of) a bit of what we saw in the garrison and the danger of isolation. If it is a place that you never visit, then what is the point? If it is a place that you visit all the time, then even if you have a large active guild most people in your guild are probably out questing or doing dungeons, or doing whatever a given point in time. So if you are hanging out there, how much time are you spending in a private instance and what harm does that cost to the overall fabric of the world?
Second, the fun of the guild house or whatever form it takes, as I have seen it described, as I have seen in other games, is in customization, it is in decorating the place, it is in mounting trophies, whatever you’d have… Who gets that fun? Who is the one who is making the choices? Is it your officers and the guild leader who are deciding what you want to purchase and unlock and put where? Or is it actually a system that is benefiting the entirety of the guild?
Those are the two big questions and challenges that I think stand in the way every time that comes up. It is not to say (as Matt said) they could never happen, but that tends to lead us to pursue other things before we return to re-exploring that idea.
Panser: Alright, our next question is from Natasha here at BlizzCon.
Hi, my question is now that Vol’jin is dead, and the Darkspear have no prominent lore characters, what do you have planned for the Darkspear next, and who will succeed Vol’jin?
Panser: Yea, mon!
Alex: Vol’jin. Tragic. Good question with Vol’jin. So there is absolutely plans, this is– how not to make this spoilery, just ruin it? — Alright.
(Someone in the audience yells: Just ruin it!)
Alex: Just ruin it? Well, listen here: NO.
Alex: Now there is more to Vol’jin’s story, and in time we will figure it out.
Panser: What does that even mean?
Alex: Let’s just… That is really as far as I can go, guys; and that is probably too much. That’s it.
Panser: I for one am disappointed with that answer. I am saying what everyone here is thinking.
Alex: That was a no win question.
Panser: ARGH! ARGH! Our next question is from a member of our online audience, and they say: Legion brought big improvements to melee combat animation and spell effects for a lot of casters, but are we going to see any of the ranged weapon animations, get the same effects, and the same treatment any time soon?
Chris: We are still working on that system, and you are probably going to see more and more of that as we move forward. So nothing that I can really give much detail about, but we are still definitely plugging away at it.
Panser: Soon… Our next question is from here in the audience.
Hi, my name is Zillions, I’m from Alpha on Whisperwind. We are recruiting, by the way. I have a very serious question, could you please tell us about the future plans for pet battles?
Ion: Sure. So yeah I think since we introduced pet battles in Mists of Pandaria, it has been an exciting system, and it is not for everybody, but for those for whom it is, it is something that has a tremendous amount of depth. People have really doved into it, and we have continued to update the world with new trainers, new challenges, and new battles to tackle.
We do have some actually interesting plans in the works for an upcoming Legion patch. I will leave you with just these three words: Pet. Battle. Dungeon… and you can fill in the blanks. You can use your imagination. We will see.
Panser: Our next question comes from an online viewer, and they say: The current talent swapping system feels like a nuisance. Why do we have to take extra steps just to change our talents?
Matt: Oh boy, (chuckles). Okay, so when Legion was in Beta, I think we actually had a couple different talent mechanisms for changing talents and how talents felt, what you could change and what you could do. The one thing that we were looking at was we wanted talents to still feel like a meaningful choice, we wanted players to feel like they were actually making a decision. So it wasn’t just: “I have all of the talents at all times, and I can swap between them at will whenever I want,” so we wanted a little bit of… (I hate to use the words of a game designer word but) we wanted a little bit of friction between the system, so again you could make an argument for: “I want talent A even though A isn’t always the best talent in every situation, I like it, so therefore I want to keep it and not have an excuse to always change it around.”
So I think with all of these things we look at them again, we keep looking at the talents that we have made, the talent system, and how it evolves, and it is something we will keep an eye on.
Ion: There are some concessions and conveniences such as when a random queue pops, or if entering arena battleground, or if a dungeon queue pops, you have a grace period during which you can change your talents, because of course, if you are out questing you don’t have control over when that queue is going to pop; and you might want a different build for solo questing than you would with a dungeon that is starting; and so we want to make sure that feels reasonable, but beyond that, yeah I think (as Matt said) we moved in Beta from a period of time where there was a gold cost associated with changing your spec, to removing that, and shifting over to the talent side; because there are situational talents, there are talents that are better at AOE versus single target, there are things that are better at crowd control versus movement; and all too often it felt like the extreme degenerate version was specing into your sprint talent because it was trivial to do so when you were in town, or in a peaceful area just to move around quickly, but in more practical context switching between trash, and trash clearing, and boss talents back and forth as part of a set of macros, and functionally having all things when they were best was kind of branching and bloating classes more than the talent system was intended to do, and removing the idea of a choice. We are consciously a bit better at A and a bit worse at B, and striking a balance.
Panser: Our next question is from the Internet, and they want to know if there are any plans to add a third tier of level bonuses to items like Warforged, Titanforged, and Metzen-forged? I don’t know.
Matt: Right now, I don’t think there’s a need for it. I think the whole point of Titanforged is it is really really really rare, and should feel rare to you, and anything beyond that is like … I don’t even… we need the word…. which I looked at Alex for
Alex: We will find one.
Matt: Yea, we will find one, but I think if the need shows up will come up with it, but as of right now, I don’t think there is a need for it.
Panser: Our next question is here in the audience.
So I love the battlecry “For Azeroth!” so I am wondering are we going to be able to play with our friends who belong to the other faction without losing progression or faction identity?
Allen: So I think we think about your faction identity as being really central to World of Warcraft, or central to the game, and this is a question that comes up on a regular basis. I am an Alliance guy, and I want to play with my Horde friend. I feel like we have to be really careful to keep what it means to be a member of the Horde, what it means to be a member of the Alliance, keep those identities very controlled, different expansions kind of focus on different aspects of that conflict, and it is really important to us that that choice continue to be meaningful; and so we don’t want to blur the lines of those too much.
Ion: I think ultimately–
(Audience guy yells: FOR THE HORDE!)
Ion: Exactly, right? If Horde and Alliance could co-exist in harmony, would you have the For the Horde and the For the Alliance to the same extent? Now obviously, we are not happy ever about two friends being unable to play with each other, or discovering that your coworker is actually a secret super WoW fan, and you never realized, and: “Oh, wow! We can play … oh wait, no… you are the wrong faction, sorry.”
We would that it was otherwise, but the fact that we continue to hold this line is a reflection of how fundamental we see it as a part of Warcraft, or the Warcraft universe, and the identity of this game as opposed to others.
Panser: Alright, we are starting to get a little bit low on time, so I will take a few more questions from people here in the audience. Next person up is Catherine.
Khadgar has being part of the lore for quite a while, kind of back in the Thrall days, but yet unlike other characters that have been around that long, we still don’t know Khadgar’s last name, or who his family is. I mean, come on, he is like an enigma, wrapped in an Apexis shard, wrapped in like Azerothian silkweave. come on.
Alex: Khadgar might be his last name. So then you don’t know his first name.
Ion: It is archmage, obviously.
Alex: Yes, it is archmage Khadgar.
(Audience laughs hard)
Allen: He picked the right job!
Alex: That sounds like a fun series of quests for somebody, not me, to do. So we will look into something, get him a little bit more history on.
Panser: Oh, great! I believe the next person we have in line is Kevin, hopefully.
Hi, this is #### from Argent Dawn server and before I get to my question … “For the Horde!!!!” Today, engineers can craft a motorcycle, a chopper, a rocket. Will they ever get the ability to craft a submersible like a submarine or underwater craft?
Matt: I think that would be a great idea. We don’t have any plans for it right now; but I think it is an awesome idea. I mean, I could totally see a gnome submarine, or a goblin submarine.
Alex: Or a water strider.
Matt: Or a goblin water strider.
Ion: Step one, make a huge underwater zones with massive amounts of underwater gameplay, and obviously, then step two submarine.
Allen: Please, don’t do that.
You have the Vash’jir, and you missed it.
Panser: So our next question is: If undead can be priests, why can’t undead be Paladins?
Alex: Aww, let me… try to handle this one. (relaxes shoulders) So the way the holy light is used between priests and paladins is slightly different. So priests use it for the preservation of life, for the most part as a shadow priest (which don’t use holy light). Paladins use it offensively and for the preservation, but mostly offensively. So in that world, we have got their biggest enemies: undead and demons. I am making a terrible argument for this–
Alex: …actually, I don’t know why they can’t be Paladins. No, I’m kidding, because it is just … it just leaves kind of a sour taste in your gut, doesn’t it? No? Anyone? 50/50? We will talk about that. How about that? Good?
Ion: I think the real answer here is that undead shouldn’t be able to be holy priests. Maybe the real answer here is that undead shouldn’t be able to be holy priests.
Panser: Our next question is from an audience here at BlizzCon.
My question is: will hunters ever be able to tame the unicorns that we see in Legion?
Ion: There are no unicorns in Azeroth.
Allen: What’s a unicorn?
Alex: Unicorns? Do we have unicorns in the game?
Ion: No. There are no unicorns in Azeroth. I know what you mean.
But there are some in Val’sharah.
Ion: Oh, you mean those horses with the horns. Oh, Ok. Yeah, maybe we periodically create new pet families the same way when 7.0 came around we added, you could go back and tame hippos, and that type of aquatic beast, and Draenor, and that may be something that comes in the future, but no immediate plans.
Allen: … and no unicorns.
Panser: So unfortunately, we only have time for one more question, and I am kinda feeling I haven’t gotten to ask a question, so I am making the executive decision here, not me. I am going to ask a question. Now we know after the Legion invasion that you can do things where a level 7 can play with a level 70, and somehow that works. Is there any plans to expand world quests, or holiday events stuff like that so that we can play with our low level friends, or maybe they are leveling alts? We know you can do it, are you going to do it?
Ion: Yeah, I think that is a great idea. I think certainly things like queuing for the Headless Horseman. There is no reason why that couldn’t be a level agnostic process. Definitely, in plans for the future, and the holidays are something that shouldn’t just be max level only experiences. They are Azeroth-wide celebrations, and shouldn’t matter whether you are level 81 or 110.
Panser: Alright, guys. We are getting really really really close to– Do you we have time for one more? No? I don’t know. Alright, we have time for one more. We have one more member of the audience here: Cody.
Hi, I am from Stormreaver, and I have a great group of friends that I raid with cross-realm. We are able to achieve AOTC very quickly, is there any way we can open up mythic cross-realm to groups like mine?
Ion: So definitely, it is something we hear a lot. The mythic not being cross-realm when the raids are new is one of the few remaining bastions of server specific identity and pride in the concept of realm first achievements anchored to guilds. Almost everything else is cross-realm-able. For guilds that are looking for a new challenge (at least in the short run), I think the Trial of Valor raid which is coming out next week actually is meant in a lot of ways to pick up where Emerald Nightmare left off.
It is meant for guilds that are done with Emerald Nightmare on their current difficulty. Obviously, if it is mythic then mythic, but even for a skilled heroic guild, I think progressing through and defeating Helya, you should be a reasonable challenge. Going forward, of course, as 7.2 approaches we will be opening up cross-realm mythic raiding for the launch raids. But I realize that is probably not the satisfactory answer you are looking for, I think the concern is that removing that last barrier would further significantly weaken the server identity, and Guilds as entities that are anchored to servers, and the whole concept of the big raiding guilds on your server (that even being a thing that you think of in that way).
Panser: Alright! Well, that is all the time that we have today. Thank you guys all so much for coming out here, hanging out in the main stage, watching our panel, everybody at home who is tuning in to watch us from all over the world, and most of all thank you to our wonderful panelists for being here. It was a great time. I hope you guys have a wonderful BlizzCon, and remember to be good to each other.
Panelists: Thank you.
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