As BlizzCon prepares to wrap up its second day we come to what has become one of the more informative, if also controversial, panels for the World of Warcraft team: the community Q&A.
This year’s panel consists of Ely Cannon – Art Director, Ion Hazzikostas – Game Director, John Hight – Exec Producer, Morgan Day – Lead Game Designer, and Steve Danuser – Lead Narrative Designer.
Heritage Armor: Will we see a difference in how it is obtained after the leveling changes in Shadowlands?
You will still need to get to max level, but with the changes it will be a lot easier.
Did the Jailer in The Maw see the Legion as a threat, explaining why she worked with Varian?
We’ll see more about Sylvanas’ motivations as we get into Shadowlands and when she “teamed up” with the Jailer and will learn more about her motivations since then.
How will the new Covenants and progression systems interact with PvP?
WoW is an RPG. We want all the items and choices to be impactful. There should be a lot of viable options and choices through all the different options so you’re not forced down one path. If we find that it’s not working we’ll make adjustments to continue to keep PvP as balanced as possible. Warmode will still be enabled in the Shadowlands.
Flying. How will it work in Shadowlands?
The same way it has the last several expansions. Pathfinder. We’ve come to the compromise that annoys everyone a little bit but it is the middle ground we’ve settled on.
We don’t have an answer for changes for past expansions with the new leveling experience yet.
In Classic will we get a toggle for the HD models?
With Classic we want to keep the aesthetic that matches the world around your characters, so probably not.
Will Legendaries ever be transmoggable?
Short answer: YES.
When transmog was first implemented we had a lot of limitations. Years later we’ve reconsidered and may be making changes soon.
What is the creative process for selecting an expansion theme?
We begin the process of brainstorming two expansions ahead. Shadowlands started during Legion so we were able to start adding ties even then. As a group we get together and have sessions where we brainstorm ideas. We look at the world the players will explore, and where we want to go next.
We look for interesting themes among references we pull together and use those to drive the narrative through the expansion.
The identity of the Jailer is unknown. Is there a possibility there will be a character we know who is connected to the Jailer?
When we were talking about the Jailer we created a great backstory. We never thought he might be someone we’ve met before. He is important to the Warcraft universe and is surrounded by a lot of people we know but he isn’t one we know.
What will become of the Heart of Azeroth moving as we move into the Shadowlands?
As we move into the Shadowlands our Heart will become weaker. It won’t be like Artifact Weapons where they become unpowered.
What other customization can we look forward to with our characters?
One race we’re looking at heavily right now is Blood Elves. They’re getting more than 40 additional options moving forward. Humans are another group we’re looking for. We want a lot of diversity like you see in the real world so you can find the character that speaks to you.
I play on a small/medium pop server. There aren’t a lot of people to play with sometimes. Will realm connections continue to help improve the experience?
Yes. We have added cross-realm grouping but it’s not an adequate answer in some cases like Mythic raiding or economies. We don’t have a specific timetable but it is something we’re going to look into.
Regarding the soundtrack, the initial soundtrack includes music from the expansion but as it progresses we get additional music that isn’t on the first disc. How can we get the additional music?
We’re finding a way to make that music available but yes, we will find a way to make it happen.
Lorewise, who won in Stromgarde and Darkshore?
The battle is still going on but canonically the Alliance won in both of these scenarios. These are key Alliance locations and we want them to stay that way.
With the faction war settling down would you consider loosening grouping restrictions to allow raiding cross-factionally?
I understand the desire. You want to play with your friends and it would make things easier. However, the separation of Alliance and Horde is what makes this universe what it is. That division is part of why we have what we have. We want you to have those options but that’s not something we have planned moving forward.
With the release of Classic my friends and I are all having a great time. Are there any plans for Burning Crusade or Wrath of the Lich King servers?
Obviously we can do this. We’ve done it before. We do have to be really careful how we proceed though. The reception has been incredible and we want to be super thoughtful about how we handle that and moving forward. We’re not opposed to moving forward, but we want to do it the right way.
Whatever happened after Warlords of Draenor and Alternate Draenor after the Mag’har Orc unlock questline?
Alternate Draenor is still out there and the light still has a presence on it. It’s something we’ll keep in our back pocket and find a place where the flavor really fits we could revisit it at the right time.
Life and death are the focus now but Light and Void could come up in the future.
If Shadowlands is where the dead go, where do we go if we die there?
Death in the Shadowlands is different than death in Azeroth. Your spirit doesn’t travel away from you to someplace else. Because of this we’ve created a different death experience for within the Shadowlands. Spirit healers are part of the Kurian Covenant who have traveled to Azeroth to find souls who are ready to cross over. Our heroes attachment to Azeroth keeps us from completely crossing over, and will continue to do so even within the Shadowlands.
How much will the Tower be a part of our gameplay at max-level?
It will vary from player to player. For some players it will be significant, for others it will not. Since it is a solo experience a lot of players will be drawn to it where others may not. We’re excited to see the possibilities. We don’t know if there will be a way to “win” the tower. Theoretically there should be a “maximum” point but it should be nigh impossible to reach without cheating, and if you hit that point you’ll probably be banned *laughs*
With mechagnomes wearing armor over prosthetics, could we see future playable races with more or less than two legs?
It’s not something we’ve ruled out. We have new tech that allows us to do different things with different characters so we’ll see where we go.
You said in another interview Tier Sets would not be back in Shadowlands. Is that accurate?
We might bring back class sets in some way, shape or form, but as of right now we’re focused on the Covenants and making things aesthetically look good for them. There will be a lot of sets for players to choose from even outside of what would previously have been class sets.
We’ve had other sets in a smaller form that provide bonuses and it’s something we’ll probably continue doing moving forward, and will continue to evaluate how it’s working.