Gameinformer interviewed Tom Chilton to talk about Blizzard’s plans for the wrap up of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion and the future with the upcoming Cataclysm expansion.
The big reveal in this interview is that Chilton briefly hinted at some of the content that will serve as part of the pre-Cataclysm world event. A bit odd, but what happens there might tie-in somehow with the earthquake that shakes the whole world.
Blizzard plans to open the Ruby Sanctum located in the Wyrmrest Temple.
Chilton is happy with the Lich King fight which he considers more epic than the one against Illidan or Naxxramas in the previous expansions.
While they have plans for possible new hero classes, there is no definite when. It all depends on the context of the expansion’s storyline, and they don’t wish to introduce a new one too often. The Death Knight, the Necromancer and the Runemaster were among the hero class candidates for Wrath of the Lich King, but the Death Knight was the most fitting along the context of the Lich King storyline for this expansion.
The graphics of the game will improve a lot in Cataclysm with the revamping of the old world, but Chilton feels positive it won’t impact much the old computer systems. Nowadays, a lot of people have upgraded to newer computer technologies, and video cards. No one better than Blizzard to know when to up the graphics, because truly a lot of players voluntarily submit their system specs through the beta opt-in, and after each patch installation. That way they know which percent of computers are fairly new and advanced, and which are still old enough to have a heartstroke if they pushed the graphics a notch higher.
The Water graphics is one thing the developers didn’t like from day one, and it’s getting a nice overhaul in the next expansion. If you haven’t watched the Cataclysm trailer shown at BlizzCon 2009, you should check it out at the official WoW site (under Media).
When I saw this trailer at BlizzCon in that huge screen, and played the Cataclysm Demo at the press room — one game came to mind when I saw that awesome water around the Goblin’s Lost Isles: Farcry 2 baby! That water in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm looks very realistic.
There are plans to introduce a 10-players option to the Dungeon Finder.
Chilton also discusses the pros and cons, victories and failures behind the design of Wintergrasp. The amount of people playing there initially was brutal, and everyone can agree to that with how much the zone lagged. However, there were other areas that he considers were a success like the Archavon PvE event (after the World PvP) and the rewards system.
He admits PvP in Wintergrasp after one side wins didn’t turn out the way they intended. In Burning Crusade, people would sometimes go into PvP while farming for elemental motes. The Burning Crusade economy spun a lot around Primals as a base-material for many profession recipes. That’s not much the case in Wrath of the Lich King. So the materials dropped by the elementals in Wintergrasp aren’t exactly a motivation to trigger random and often PvP encounters.
Tol Barad will be like Wintergrasp, but in between battles after one side has won, Tol Barad will become a Daily Quest Hub like Quel’Danas Isle. In PvP servers however it will be fun mayhem.
While there are no promises, Chilton says it’s in their todo list to polish the phase technology in such a way that it could allow players to group up and share quests where phasing is involved.
There’s a part in this interview that intrigued me, and itched and tickled at-the-same-time that geeky lore side that I enjoy about World of Warcraft’s in-game storyline and the novels/manga.
Is Deathwing going to be ever-present from level 80-85 like Arthas was in Wrath of the Lich King? We saw Arthas many times throughout our leveling experience. To name a few: Drak’Tharon Keep with Drakuru. The conclusion later on fighting Drakuru spawned Arthas to appear again. We find Arthas once more at the Utgarde Pinnacle in Howling Fjord, and also in Icecrown Glacier by the vrykul fortress on the western coast.
Deathwing is an exquisite character with his megalomaniac cynicism, his agendas, and dark humor. It will be really nice if Deathwing shows up every now and then to mock us while disguised in his human form; testing our mettle, planting diversions, or manipulating us into doing his job by eliminating his enemies; and who knows — maybe we might be doing quests for a disguised Deathwing taking the form of several races, to slowly fulfill his agenda as consequence of our gullible disposition to fill our pockets, or being deceived into thinking we were doing rightful justice with his missions. Deathwing is pure evil, and madness. A master of manipulation and a long-range strategist.
A clear example of that is that in the original World of Warcraft’s end-game we found out some of those people we did quests for in the low-end game were cultist agents of the Cult of the Damned; and in Wrath of the Lich King we were puppets of Loken who was disguised as the female named Lok’lira the Crone.
We played a role through deception in the fate of Thorim, luring him right where Loken needed him to be to capture him in order to turn him into his lord Yogg-Saron’s lackey.
We have seen the red dragon Korialstrasz disguise into different forms: as a high elf under the name Krasus, and as a dwarf named Borel (in Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy). So next time you do a Cataclysm quest for that cute female Night Elf, or that poor old Tauren shaman, beware it won’t later on turn out to be Deathwing playing your strings to fulfill his agenda. Read the full interview here.
|The main plot arcs for Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King have involved wrapping up plot threads left over from Warcraft III. Of course, you’ve introduced some unique stories as well, but the focus of those expansions have been very much on these Warcraft III characters and stories. Do you feel like you’ve delivered properly developed final acts to these stories for fans of Warcraft who wanted to see how they played out?
I think so. Like I mentioned earlier in the interview, we did a better job of it with the Lich King than we did with Illidan. When it comes to the Lich King, we’ve done a really good job of closing that story while making it feel like players are a part of it and get to experience it first-hand. We gave him a fitting end. There are other characters from Warcraft lore that we continue to take advantage of.
Obviously, we’re digging up Deathwing for Cataclysm, so that should be big. Deathwing’s interesting in that he’s not a character that a lot of World of Warcraft players have prior experience with because he was in the earlier Warcraft games and not really the more recent ones. He’s a very central figure to Warcraft lore, but he’s not one that’s as well-known as the Lich King or Illidan, since they were Warcraft III main characters. But players will learn a lot more about Deathwing. They’re going to see that Deathwing is cool and different in his own ways and certainly super-duper epic.