Gamasutra has an amazing interview with WoW lead world designer Alex Afrasiabi (aka Furor, of Everquest’s Fires of Heaven Guild fame) discussing details on how exactly phase technology was born.  Could you believe it started as a … bug fix?

They were trying to fix something in Blade’s Edge Mountain—I have a feeling it was the Rexxar vs. Gronn event.  The bug fix got the job done, but the developers were curious how that worked. There was some latent potential with the discovery.  While they were developing Howling Fjord, someone said: “I can’t believe this. I go into [capital city] Valgarde, and I keep getting trained by these [native enemies] Vrykul. I killed them, and I did the quest. Why do I keep running into them?”

That’s when they remembered that odd bug fix in Blade’s Edge, and experimented with it.  Phase technology was born. They started adding some of it through Borean Tundra, then Dragonblight, and finally honed it with the Death Knight starting location.  Then they created the Wrathgate event, the Orgrimmar under Martial law getting Forsaken refugees, and the Battle for Undercity. The technology has been gradually evolving afterwards, and it will be fully integrated in the Cataclysm expansion.

The siege vehicles have also given the developers the opportunity to experiment and enchance their tools technology.  Kologarn is an example. He’s not just a boss, he is a vehicle with two passengers (both arms).

The few bits of Cataclysm knowledge mentioned in this interview:

  • Azhara and Darkshore got a complete redo
  • Moderate quest changes in Feralas
  • Loch Modan has minor terrain modifications
  • Every zone is hit by this cataclysm to some degree.