I arrived to the New York Comic Con in Manhattan about 10:45am before the scheduled book signing at the Insight Editions booth (#1564). The place was packed with thousands of fans and I wasn’t even inside the Javits Center yet. I bypassed most of the horde of people outside the building by walking along the street to the farthest entry point (which is closer to the Exhibition Hall). Still took me about 15 minutes to get inside just to enter into yet another traffic jam of people walking the aisles. Not so easy with a Rollator Walker.
Insight Editions Booth # 1564
I got to meet Joseph Lacroix (DC Comics Diablo: Sword of Justice artist) and Doug Alexander (Senior Art Editor in Creative Development at Blizzard Entertainment) at the Insight Editions booth and both signed my copy of Diablo III: Book of Tyrael. I was delighted. It was so cool when I wrote Blizzplanet.com on the book and showed it to Joseph. He went like: “Ohh! Blizzplanet!” He explained Doug about the fansite.
I informed him that Arthur “Handclaw” Lorenz recently interviewed him at GamesCom 2013 on behalf of Blizzplanet, and he remembered him. It was awesome to meet these guys and handshake.
The Simon & Schuster booth had Blizzard lead publishing and New York Times best selling author Micky Neilson as a guest to sign books for Blizzard Entertainment fans. Simon & Schuster gave away 50 copies of World of Warcraft: Vol’jin: Shadows of the Horde and 50 copies of Diablo III: The Order for free to those who came to the book signing event.
There was a long line of fans waiting to get their books signed. The line went all around the corner.
I talked briefly with Micky Neilson at the end of the book signing. I asked him whether someone would step forward to take the role of the avatar of Justice now that Tyrael answered the call of the Crystal Arch to take the mantle of Wisdom.
Whether someone would answer the call to fill the shoes of the avatar of Justice in the future or not is unknown. It is something that has been discussed internally, but they haven’t yet come to a decision. I argued there is still Justice to be met with Adria betraying Tyrael, Leah and all of mankind. Of course, what Malthael is orchestrating demands justice too.
On another note, there is a Diablo short story or novella in progress to be released somewhere around 2014. It is based on a character mentioned in the “Figures of Interest” section of Diablo III: Book of Tyrael.
The character is named Morbed (a former thief) who roams the lands of Sanctuary helping adventurers. The description in the book is open to interpretation. Maybe players might find him in the Reaper of Souls expansion. Don’t take my word on that.
The video below shows the book signing by Micky Neilson — HD1080 available. Let the playlist run to load both videos. The sound is a bit chaotic. I cleaned a bit of it, but you can still hear it. There was a nearby booth with really amped-up music in the background on top of the thousands of people talking in the distance.
Blizzplanet and several fansites had the opportunity to interview the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria developers. In our case, I interviewed lead content designer Cory Stockton to talk about the Siege of Orgrimmar, and the Timeless Isle.
Some of the questions came from members of the Scrolls of Lore forums, including The RedShirtGuy (known as Insane Guy of Doom).
Note: Uploading video # 1 of 2 in about an hour from now.
Interview – Part 1
I added subtitle captions directly into the YouTube video. Click the (cc) icon in the embeded video to enable it. Transcript can be found below after the video. There are potential spoilers in the video (gameplay and a couple quests in the Timeless Isle), thus watch at your own discretion. Otherwise, the transcript is available.
Hi everyone! I am Tomas Hernandez also known as Medievaldragon from Blizzplanet.com
Today I have the honor to interview Cory Stockton, the lead content designer for World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria
Hi Cory, welcome to Blizzplanet!
Cory: Hi, How are you doing?
Fine. My first question will likely make you sweat a little bit.
I’m beginning with two questions submited by the Red Shirt Guy. Uh-oh! (laughs)
So here we go. In Patch 5.2 there was a ton of build up for the Throne of Thunder outside the raid dungeon itself. There was a server effort going from Stage 1 to Stage 5. What was the reason behind this direction of not building up toward the Siege of Orgrimmar in Patch 5.4?
Cory: We’ve been planning Throne of Thunder and Lie Shen and that concept for a long time and we really felt like there was a ton of value in explaining the background story behind the mogu.
The mogu were one of the key enemies that we’ve created for Pandaria. We just felt like there is a ton to exploit there a lot of great opportunity to do unique boss fights that really fit with the kit that we were shooting for.
And I think in general it all played in to the concept that of what Garrosh was trying to do with the Horde, with him trying to gain control — essentially he was trying to gain control of the mogu as well, to use them. He didn’t succeed, obviously, but I think — be able to explain these concepts behind that was all valuable stuff to us. We really feel like it was one of the greatest raids that we’ve made along with — you know — the island and everything that went along with it.
We learned a ton … from the questing and the style of stuff that we did there — but we really felt like that was, at that time, that was the direction we really thought like that was the right way to go.
I don’t think we have any regrets about choosing to focus on the Thunder King.
Why aren’t the worgen nor the draenei involved in the Siege of Orgrimmar? Both have involved in the Siege of Orgrimmar? Both have their own reasons to drop the hammer on Garrosh.
Cory: I mean, in theory, everyone have their own reasons why they want to take out Garrosh. If he’s able to complete the plans that he is, as you has seen, what he is building up to do … Basically, Garrosh could destroy all of Azeroth if he’s got the power that he’s trying to get.
So I think that’s generally what we’re trying to get across. Obviously, some people have more personal vendettas against him (what he is doing), but in general all the races of Azeroth really should feel like he’s a giant threat that they need to take him out.
And, hopefully, we made that clear through the patch cycle leading up to this.
Is the Mogu Rune of Fate going to work on Siege of Orgrimmar, or will players use a new type of token for free loot roll? Actually, I found Mogu Runes of Fate in the Timeless Isle in the PTR.
Cory: I believe the current plan is to keep Mogu Runes of Fate. I don’t think that’s changing. We can confirm that, but I’m pretty sure that’s not changing them that’s why you are seeing them drop on the Timeless Isle.
Last minute changes: Mogu Runes of Fate can be found on the Timeless Isle, but Warforged Seals will be the new currency for bonus rolls in Siege of Orgrimmar. As with previous tiers, Lesser Charms of Good Fortune will be used to obtain Warforged Seals from the weekly quest NPC. For players still running Throne of Thunder for loot in patch 5.4, we’ve added several new ways to obtain Mogu Runes of Fate for bonus rolls, including throughout the Timeless Isle.
Are we going to see new recipe loot for professions in Siege of Orgrimmar? Like a new shield from Blacksmiths, new inscriptions — or something like that?
Cory: Yea, there is new recipes all across the patch and lots of different areas. There are stuff that drops from the raid.
There’s stuff that you can find as outdoor world drops. There’s things that you can buy. There’s a pretty massive selection of new stuff that is coming in 5.4; and spread across a lot of places, but yea, you’ll definitely get some out of the raid.
Currently in the PTR, Vereesa and Aethas Sunreaver seem to have placeholder armor. Are they getting a new model or new armor for the Siege of Orgrimmar?
Cory: At this point, I do not think, most of the art that is in for patch 5.4 is in at this point. I don’t think we’ll be seeing any — there might be some late updates that are coming but mostly what you see now should be what the final art is going to be.
What’s the reasoning for the developers to go with Gamon as part of Siege of Orgrimmar, and not have Alliance NPCs for Alliance players, specificly like Admiral Taylor vs Nazgrim, or Varian and players versus Garrosh.
Cory: I mean, I don’t think we’ve a specific reason necessarily other than the fact that we thought that character really fit as far as like what we were trying to get across for players for what they are doing.
I don’t think we have any sort of agenda that we’re trying to say, we are trying to say, you know, we’re building something specificly for Horde, or specificly for Alliance. We try to make sure that our content is appealing
to both factions.
Obviously, we’re raiding Orgrimmar here so there’s going to be some stuff that’s more unique to that, but in general — you know — we try to take these things into account to make sure that we’ve things that players from both factions can enjoy and feel that they fit into the game for them.
Each raid usually has a brand-new boss mechanics. Something new that you consider exciting in this patch?
Cory: There’s way too many brand-new raid mechanics to even pick. One unique fight – I mean there are a massive amount of bosses in this raid and a ton of new artwork.
Gameplay-wise, we are doing a lot of new stuff here but that’s going to be for players to figure out when they get in there and actually fight the fights.
Are there any drastic permanent changes to happen to Orgrimmar after the Siege — considering Theramore is a crater? Or even a new Horde capital to replace Orgrimmar?
Cory: You are not going to see anything dramaticly right away. We might end up doing some changes to Orgrimmar over time.
As things move forward and the story develops. There’s still a lot of things to be figured out when 5.4 comes out, and the story plays out for players.
I think then we’ll have a better sense of what we want to do; but there isn’t going to be any dramatic changes to Orgrimmar right away.
There is no particular daily quest hubs in the Timeless Isle. Some are found through exploration. What purpose the development team has for the Timeless Isle from its early concept to its current state?
Cory: The reason why you’re seeing that is because our big concept there is “discovery.” And allowing players to discover and find things on their own on the Timeless Isle that’s why there’s so many rares, there’s unique treasure chests, there’s tons of stuff all over the island for players to find and we very intentionally did not direct players to these things by daily quests and stuff like that, because we wanted to really explore the option of doing things that are much more exploration for the players.
It feels like a sense of discovery we do have a few simple quests there to kinda introduce people to the island, and guide them around and encourage them to check out the new places. But those are just single one time quests. We don’t have a daily quest chain. That’s very much specificly on purpose to try this new kind of style out.
Should fans bother exploring under the water?
Cory: There is some stuff … I mean, the majority of the content is on the island proper, but there are definitely things to be found off the shore around the island.
I found some stuff underneath the water, near boats. So it was cool.
Cory: Yea, I know. There are definitely some stuff in the water; but we know that water doesn’t always provides the best gameplay experience for WoW.
But in some cases, we just love the fact that it changes the environment up a little bit, and it let us ### that we can’t do elsewhere like for example the sunken ships
Is the Timeless Isle content aimed as an intro to patch 5.5? Or even the next expansion?
Cory: No. I mean, the Timeless Isle is really its own unique piece of content. Obviously, we’re offering the raid for our raiding players while in the Timeless Isle is single-player all the way up to raid content.
There’s tons of things you can solo in the island; but there’s also things that require a group, that require all the way up to like huge world bosses that require tons and tons of people. So really that’s kind of like we see it as the plate of content. We’ve got stuff for our raiding more hardcore of players, and then we’ve got stuff for solo players as well.
I really like what I have seen so far. There’s an exciting, and random way to gear up alt level 90 characters in the Timeless Isle. What motivated you to include these gear in randomly spawned chests rather than using Justice Points or other currency?
Cory: I think it just goes on with our idea where we are trying to try new things on the island and really get a vibe for something that doesn’t feel so grindy, necessarily and can feel like — “oh man, I just found this, this is a super-exciting moment. I found a chest, I don’t know what’s in it. I’m going to open it. It could have something awesome.”
Versus the idea of kind of like looong … sloooww … slug — that you know will end, and it’s a great item for you to get, but the process of going to do that might not be as fun.
It was kinda fun, because I was killing some frogs; and suddenly, I saw this chest and I clicked it and “Wow! I have an account-bound gear to send to my alt.” I was like: “Oh, my gah!”
Cory: Yea. It’s a cool feeling. We want to make sure that people get a chance to find — I think WoW over the years has developed to place that is not as much of that sense of awesome discovery, and I know I keep repeating that, but It’s like we’ve lost some of that. There’s always something in the map that tells you where to go.
There’s always a quest that tells you what to do.
It’s not really a cave anymore that you can go and actually think that you are gonna find something cool in there, that is hidden. And I think that’s really the key; and the point of the Timeless Isle is for people to get out there and just explore it. Find out what’s there.
Check it out, and you never know what you are going to find.
Interview – Part 2
The second part of the interview deals with Flexible Raid, Connected Realms, PvP and Pet Battles Tournament. Nice description of Pet Battles. Every week random rotation of bosses.
Blizzard Entertainment hosted a live phone call interview between Richard A. Knaak and Blizzplanet member Eldorian. Questions were hand picked by Medievaldragon from the Scrolls of Lore community. Thanks a bunch, folks. Many thanks to Blizzard Entertainment, its Public Relations staff and to the Creative Team.
Eldorian: “The sound quality is decent enough. I’d just remind people that this was done over a cell phone and the sound quality is a little distorted due to that.”
Transcript in english and spanish will come at a later time. Stay tuned. Listen to the phone call interview below: