Blizzard Interview with Game World Navigator - Warfronts, Followers, Disabling LFG Addons
Ion Hazzikostas gave an
Game World Navigator
, a large Russian news outlet.
EDIT: Game World Navigator has provided us with the original English text, revealing more details.
Click here to read full Game World Navigator's interview (in Russian)
Battle for Azeroth is the first expansion where war between Alliance and Horde has become the main plot. What does the great war bring to those, who used to fight against dragons, demons and garden pests? Game Director Ion Hazzikostas answers.
Among topics covered:
Difference between Warfronts and Battlegrounds
How different will the Warfronts be compared to Battlegrounds, in terms of difficulty and time investments? Will the rewards reflect this?
The core difference between Warfronts and Battlegrounds is that Warfronts are a cooperative PvE experience, and Battlegrounds are a PvP experience. Warfronts are more of along the lines of a raid, where you're working together with 19 other players against NPC opposition. But instead of fighting a single mighty dragon or raid boss, you're fighting an army of the opposite faction. And this is playing out across a sprawling map.
The biggest parallels for players looking to draw analogies to Battlegrounds might be old school Alterac Valley, where you needed to go off and kill wolves and bring their pelts back, or secure resources to fuel attack waves that help your faction push forward against significant NPC opposition. Obviously, again, Alterac Valley was a true PvP experience; Warfronts are crafted to be epic, large-scale raids that tell the story of war.
And the rewards reflect this. You're heavily rewarded for doing a Warfront once each time it’s active—it's set up more like a raid, where you do it once in a given period of time, then wait for it to come back around again. Battlegrounds are faster, and they're an activity that we know players are going to play repeatedly in succession because it's a PvP activity.
For more information about Warfronts, check out
Development of Followers
What is the direction you're taking follower missions to, compared to WoD and Legion? What about QoL improvements such as portable mission tables?
We're continuing to evolve our approach. In Warlords of Draenor, there were so many followers and the rewards were so varied and lucrative that they often overshadowed a lot of the other content. In Legion, we pared down the number of champions that you had, and rather than just sending them off on a mission and getting raid loot, the missions were often about unlocking quests and other content for you to do—things that enabled you as a player, or things that added a bonus on top of activities you were already performing rather than replacing them.
In Battle for Azeroth, we're continuing a lot of that same philosophy in terms of pacing and rewards. Rather than being class-based, this is faction-based, and we're using the mission system to complement the narrative of war against the other faction. A lot of your missions are more espionage-themed. You have your elite strike force that you've assembled, special operatives that you’re sending on reconnaissance missions, sabotage missions, or engaging in outright combat. They’ll bring back rewards and open up new quests and content for you that way.
We have somewhat fewer champions this time around than last because we wanted to get away from a world where players had to disable some of their champions. This way, all the ones that you have, you can use on missions actively. And we are planning a mobile experience for it, just like we did in Legion.
For more information about Followers, check out
Mission Table and Followers
We had our Garrison in WoD but now are essentially homeless again, any plans for player housing of any sort (perhaps an instanced area)
Your Garrison is still waiting for you there in Draenor, if you want to use your Garrison Hearthstone to visit. But there are no current plans for player housing. Part of this expansion's theme is exploration— getting out, venturing to uncharted lands, making new allies, encounter new enemies, scouring islands for resources. It's very much the opposite of holing up somewhere and cloistering yourself away from the world and staying in one spot, planting roots. We're constantly on the move in this expansion.
Player housing is something that we might do at some point in the future. It's something we talk about. But doing it and doing it right are two very different things. If we ever decided to do it, it's not something we'd take lightly because we know the expectations and the quality demands will be very high.
We also feel WoW is at its best when it's in a multiplayer space—when people are out and about in the world interacting with each other—and it’s hard to reconcile that with a compelling player housing system that encourages players to hang out in their personal clubhouse rather than shared spaces, like we saw in class order halls, or like we're setting up in our capital cities around the war hubs in Battle for Azeroth.
That's not to say that we’ll never do player housing. We understand there's something intriguing and exciting about being able to customize your own piece of the world, both as a means of self-expression and as a potential vector for progression as you collect, craft, and hang a raid boss's head over your mantle . . . but we're not quite there yet.
Fate of Thas'dorah
Why do we give Thal'dorah, Legacy of the Windrunners, to an NPC other than Alleria or Sylvanas? It's their family legacy after all.
In the game, player champions now have that weapon, and it's theirs. If you're a Marksmanship Hunter, you have that weapon, and it's yours. If you’re alluding to the Silithus cutscene where you're empowering your Artifact and stabilizing the wound from Sargeras, you might see another character in the background holding the Artifact bow—if that's the case, that reflects another powerful champion, a Marksmanship Hunter hero other than yourself who has that Artifact. And Doomhammer is in the hands of Enhancement Shaman champions, for example, just as this bow is in a Hunter's hands. The thing we were trying to convey is, “Here are the champions of Azeroth, the champions of the class orders, coming together to try to mend the festering wound Sargeras left in the world.”
For more information about Thas'dorah, check out the
Disabling LFG Addons
Why did you remove auto group finder support? It breaks World Quests for many people, making them prefer playing solo than searching manually and wasting time.
This is something we've been grappling with throughout Legion. With World Quests, we definitely want to encourage partying up and grouping with your friends and guildmates. WoW is a social game, and that's not something we're looking to restrict. In fact, we took steps midway through Legion to support grouping up with the little green eye icon that appears right next to World Quests. You can click it and it will automatically add you to a group or form a group for that World Quest. That way you can quickly find others to play with if you're trying to take down an elite, do a group quest in a dangerous area on Argus, or fight a world boss. We want to make that as simple as possible.
The challenge with mods like World Quest Group Finder is that by automating this process for quests that were designed for single players, that's not actually a social experience—there's no actual interaction going on. Oftentimes, in fact, it’s just leeching—players can be on their mount, flying in midair, and that quest autocompletes for them. Those quests were designed for solo players; they're paced for solo players.
We've made changes to the way tapping works in the outdoor world to allow for freeform cooperation. If you have a quest that is "Kill 12 Satyrs and the Satyr Leader, and burn these four things," you can walk into that area, see two other players there, and just help them. You can fight the same things they're fighting, and you'll help each other out, and things will naturally go faster doing that. But the experience is paced around—just as any level-up quest is—your experience as a solo player. Being able to autojoin groups of five that can complete these quests in a matter of seconds skewed a lot of the pacing and rewards associated with the experience. Players would spend most of their time traveling around and not actually engaging in the questing.
If you want to group to do World Quests, you're highly encouraged to do that the regular way, whether it's using the Group Finder, talking to your guildmates, talking to people in the community that you're in in Battle for Azeroth, and saying, "Hey, I'm going to go do Tortollan Emissary. Anyone want to come join me?" That's the kind of social experience we’re looking to foster with World Quests.
For more information about the removal of Group Finder Auto-Accept and disabling Group Finder Addons, check out
Draenei vs Mag'har
Yrel's Draenei vs. Mag'har story is something we didn't expect, that was awesome to have WoD plot continue. Any chances for this story to expand beyond Mag'har starting quests?
We think it's cool to be able to revisit characters you’re fond of, and the setting of Draenor, a place we haven't been in some years. And the Mag’har orc quest line provides a glimpse into how things don't always turn out as expected. In this case, we explore the complexities of the relationship between the Light and other powers in Azeroth. In traditional fantasy, we often hear "The Light," and immediately think, "Oh, that's pure goodness, right? There's nothing bad about the Light! Light is good and shadow is evil." But not always. Things are a bit more complicated than that, and this was a glimpse into how tyranny can take multiple shapes and multiple forms.
It's a story and a setting that we certainly could revisit in the future, but for now, this was just something we were excited to do because it made sense for the Mag'har in particular.
For more information about the Mag'har, check out
Mag'Har Orc Allied Race Guide
Free World PvP
Any plans for a free-for-all PvP mode?
If by free-for-all PvP you mean a way in which players can openly attack each other irrespective of faction, we have some places where that's possible. Like entering the Dalaran sewers today on the live servers or going to the Stranglethorn arena and fighting over the chest there. Those are more one-off environments, because at its core, World of Warcraft is about Alliance versus Horde; when you’re playing a human, you look around you at these dwarves and elves and gnomes and worgen and others, and you know these are your allies, and you shouldn't be suspicious of them. You should be able to trust them, and you should be leaning on them in opposition to the Horde, who are your true enemies.
When we talk about PvP in WoW, that's really what we mean. And of course, we have some modes like Arenas or Rated Battlegrounds where you can fight whoever you need to fight for matchmaking and competitive reasons. But when we're trying to do true, open-world worldbuilding and storytelling, it's going to come down to Alliance versus Horde.
For more information about the Underbelly, check out
Getting into Legion PVP
Heritage Armor for non-Allied Races
Will new racial armor (such as distinctive Night Elf archer wear based on old WoW artwork) be available to players at some point, perhaps as Heritage Armor for old races? Also, what of Kul'Tiran awesome greatcoats and navy hats?
It's been really awesome for our artists to explore custom-building armor sets for a particular race—to really express that race's identity. There are also things we can do when building an armor set knowing it's only ever going to be worn by a specific race, versus having to think about fitting it and adapting it to everything from a tauren to a goblin. We’ve heard feedback from players who don't play the new Allied Races, who just play orcs or trolls or humans, that they'd love to have something like this for their own race. We don't have anything to announce right now, but it's something we’re considering for the future.
For more information about Allied Races, check out
Allied Races Overview
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