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VentureBeat’s Interview with Ion Hazzikostas on Shadowlands and Changing Philosophies
01/11/2021 à 13:22
VentureBeat had an interview with Ion Hazzikostas, discussing Shadowlands Patch 9.1.5, cross faction raiding, a change in philosophies when designing WoW and more.
VentureBeat’s Full Interview
Cross Faction Raiding
Cross faction raiding was briefly brought up and Ion had this to say about it:
I’d say that is a bit more on the radar, yes. That’s one of those areas where, a lot of things to solve, a lot of things to figure out to make it happen, but at the end of the day, if Jaina and Thrall are working alongside each other in the raid, why can’t Alliance and Horde players also work alongside each other in that raid, especially when we know it’s going to solve a lot of the social problems people are grappling with? Particularly trying to keep a high-end Alliance guild together in North America or a Horde one in Oceania.
Covenant Swapping and Evolving Dev Philosophies
The next section is about Covenant swapping. They were watching the evolution of the player base evolve. They hear feedback from more than just high-end players with a specific playstyle and have to try to balance all the different playstyles in WoW. They knew that the high-end players were going to be frustrated because they would want to min-max but the goal was a core RPG choice. However, the feedback they got was even those who initially appreciated the choice, once they had played through the content and especially on alts, just wanted ease of change.
But a lot of what goes into 9.1.5 isn’t a one-off. It’s a reflection of us changing a lot of the underlying philosophies that have motivated our approach to designing WoW. A lot of these things, like I mentioned regarding conduit energy, are outgrowths of lessons that were taught to us by our predecessors, by the founders and the leaders of the team, about the importance of meaningful choice, the importance of preserving character investment, that may have led to us not being friendly to alt gameplay and people’s ability to get caught up on their alts. The reality is, the way people play the game has evolved. What was the right answer for the WoW player base and for the game 15 years ago may not be today. There’s some stubbornness, but clinging to those old lessons, some things are hard to let go of when your training and your education as a designer and a developer on the team led to having these things instilled in you.
9.1.5 takes a look at what activities were fun once or twice but less interesting when you do them more than that compared to activities like PvP and Mythic+ which people want to get to with as few hurdles in the way.
Patch 9.2 and the Future of Shadowlands
When asked if there was a 9.2.5 or 9.3 in the future, Ion wouldn't confirm what is beyond Patch 9.2 to avoid spoilers. However, he did say that Blizzard has "more planned after that" - what do you think this content entails?
We’ll be talking a bit more about the conclusion to Shadowlands in more detail in the future. Yes, 9.2 is coming, you’ll be hearing about that more soon. We do have more planned after that. But it’s hard to say too much more without almost spoiling some of the story that’s going to come. We’ll have a lot of details on that soon, but we want to be able to explain it in the full context of what 9.2 is going to be.
Below we’ve highlighted some other important points but make sure to read the full interview
by clicking here
Over the history of the game, there are things in WoW that aren’t necessarily a product of a diverse of inclusive set of voices and don’t represent the perspective of the current team and players — things that the team isn’t proud to have in the game. While they’re improving their own processes on evaluating managers and hiring a more diverse team, they’re also taking a look at the same itself.
Diversity is important because it helps make a better game. This game is played by millions of diverse players and to understand that perspective you need to have a diverse team as well, and that’s something they have been working on for years and have many people of color and women leaders across the team
Blizzard is working hard to combat toxicity such as in party or general chat. They’ve consulted with the Overwatch team and are using machine learning to catch these in real time rather than manual reports. It’s a number one priority for the social side of the game. They want to be able to identify these players, and hopefully reform them, but if not, remove them from the game and the community will be better off without them.
A lot of Patch 9.1.5 came from a little hackathon. The team just took some time and did whatever they thought would make the game more fun, finding areas that have been a long pain points for the community.
Blizzard admits that they should have listen to the community on conduit energy earlier.
VentureBeat’s Full Interview
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