BlizzCon 2017 - Method's Interview with Steve Burke and Chris Robinson
Method was able to interview Senior Game Designer Steve Burke and Senior Art Director Chris Robinson at BlizzCon 2017.
For more BlizzCon 2017 interviews, check out our
BlizzCon 2017 Interview Roundup
Here is a brief summary of each question, but you should watch the video for the full context.
Q: Does the team track popular weapon appearances and use that to plan future art elements?
Chris: Track is a difficult word. Pay attention to the community is probably how I would phrase that. Anything from forums to reading comments and even events like BlizzCon where the developers can talk to the community.
There's no one skin that people overwhelming like. A lot of people like the Shadow version of Doomhammer.
Q: In terms of Legion, what are you guys most proud of in terms of quality of life changes?
Steve: My favorite one is World Quests. The team creates all these places in the World and you don't spend much time there and you never go back. With World Quests, you go back everywhere.
Q: Will we see any improvements or additions to world quests in Battle for Azeroth? And do addons such as QuestHelper and Group Finder hurt the player experience for this type of content?
Steve: We're always trying to improve. I don't know that the addons hurt, but we recognize that it could be smoother. World Quests we're very happy with and are being carried forward. In Legion, World Quests gradually took shape over the course of the expansion.
Chris: In BFA, there are two faction specific continents and it allows us to introduce World Quests at max level on places that you haven't seen yet.
Q: Will we see any revamps to cities such as Thunder Bluff and Silvermoon in Battle for Azeroth? And will we ever see Gadgetzan ever resemble the Hearthstone version?
Chris: I don't think that we'll ever create the Hearthstone version of Gadgetzan. For the first question, if it lines up with a story that we're telling then it's a great opportunity. Revamping cities is a huge can of worms.
Steve: We learned a lot of lessons from all the visual updates in the past and applying it to the new hubs.
Q: Why were class buffs added back in Battle for Azeroth after they were taken away and are there concerns that classes might be more popular due to this for content such as Mythic+?
Steve: We're always looking at classes and class abilities and that's a process that's always undergoing and this is the step that we're currently on.
Q: Legion emphasized class fantasy, will this be the case in Battle for Azeroth?
Chris: I think BFA has more in the sense that there can be unexpected depth to a class in an allied race.
Q: Can Allied races be classes that already have a strong visual identity like Demon Hunters and Death Knights?
Chris: If it fits, absolutely. We don't want to start off and say Nightborne have to be rogues or there has to be another rogue class but they want it to develop naturally.
Q: Should we expect adjustments with scaling to timewalking dungeons and raids that are themed after a particular expansion?
Chris: We haven't exactly even started figuring that out yet.
Q: Do you see potential for Warfronts to have a PvP mode?
Steve: Right now we're playtesting PvE and once we get that right and I can't make any promises but it's something that we're talking about.
Q: Is there a feature that was in development for Legion that we will now see in Battle for Azeroth instead?
Steve: Nothing jumps to mind.
Chris: There was low-line fog that is now going to be in 8.0.
Q: When you guys plan content, how do you design encounters around the large gap between casual players, hardcore players, and professional players?
Steve: We want to serve our entire playerbase so we're always looking there's enough questlines, world quests for casual players as well as all the raids and dungeons. We're trying to make it easier to migrate from player who feel that they're casual and Islands in BFA is one of those features. There's a lot less pressure, it doesn't matter what class you are.
Q: What are some of the lessons learned between the artifact power system and Azerite?
Steve: We're very happy with how Artifact Power played out. We learned a lot of lessons, we're still learning lessons and still iterating on the systems but it is a new setup.
Q: Will there be any transmog progession with the Azerite system similar to how it was with the artifact weapons?
Chris: Right now there are 3 pieces that can be infused through the Heart of Azeroth system and as you power it up there will be visual differences. You'll also be able to have two of the same helm in your bags and pick different traits in both and swap between them.
Q: What challenges did Allied races present in terms of taking a model we've seen before and giving it personality and customization?
Chris: We love every NPC that we put in the game and there isn't a time when someone doesn't want to play it. The hardest thing was cutting it down. The challenging part is things you don't think about; NPCs have less animations that player characters since they didn't need the full suite - the developers were only reacting to what the model needed at the time.
Q: Is Antorus (the raid) coming soon?
Q: Any plans to differentiate role choices in Group Finder? For example, queuing as a melee DPS as opposed to ranged DPS
Steve: There's another one of the systems where we're always iterating but that's another one of the systems we're iterating on. Yes, we'd love to make it better but I can't specify.e systems we're iterating on. Yes, we'd love to make it better but I can't specify.
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