Taliesin & Evitel Patch 8.2 Interview with Jeremy Feasel - Rise of Azshara, Island Quest Speculation, Mechagon
Taliesin & Evitel conducted an interview with Senior Game Designer Jeremy Feasel, patch supervisor for Battle for Azeroth. They discussed Rise of Azshara, Mechagon, and how the Island Expedition quests from "Tell Me A Tale" could set up stories for future patches in the expansion.
This interview appears to be part of an EU community round of interviews focusing on future patch content. Previously,
Vanion released a systems-focused interview
with Ion Hazzikostas.
Jeremy Feasel has worked on many things in World of Warcraft, from pug hats to Island Expeditions in Battle for Azeroth. He currently oversees the patch content in Battle for Azeroth.
Island Expeditions (2:45)
Crestfall is an Island Expedition coming in Patch 8.2. It will include many elements from the Warcraft II map, showing details of the aftermath like dragon and gryphon skeletons. Blizzard aims to tell micro-stories on Crestfall, such as "this is where humans built their barracks, and now it's a run-down castle."
Blizzard started a lot of stories on Islands from one-time turn-in quests, such as the Mantid and Wrathion in
. Some of these are setting up threads for future patches in this expansion, going in very interesting places.
At the end of the article, we've highlighted what Island Quests seem the most interesting for future stories.
Similar to what was stated at BlizzCon interviews, Blizzard may experiment with an exploration mode in Islands on Normal Mode, without time pressure. They'll be playing around with the Island rules in Rise of Azshara.
Mini-stories are built into all Islands, which will continue in Crestfall and Snowblossom.
NPC AI (7:11)
The AI system is relatively complicated and the first time you'll see it in action in the new Arathi Basin Brawl. They'll learn a ton about the system and figure out the next big step for AI technology. It can be used for a ton of things, such as bodyguards that can jump around you, climb up on rocks, looking into the distance.
The AI team for WoW met with the AI StarCraft/Heroes team when starting out, but since WoW is so different, the team built it in a very different way.
Rise of Azshara (10:15)
Rise of Azshara is the official Patch 8.2 name.
Wowhead conducted a
BlizzCon interview with Ion
, in which he discussed the name of the patch a bit more.
Whenever Blizzard develops a story, they keep the path of the expansion in mind throughout, one of which is Sylvanas's rise to power and how everyone reacts to it. That is a key to how we get to Nazjatar and what happens there. The storylines will intertwine--at some points you'll leave Nazjatar, return, 'things will happen.' You'll start to see more links between the overall story of BFA and the actions of certain individuals through the Nazjatar questing.
You will impact the surrounding areas, and like was mentioned at BlizzCon, you'll meet some groups that are indigenous to the area and help them fight the Naga. The actions which impact the greater story may not take place there, but in other places around the world.
Allied Races (13:08)
There are plans for more Allied Races beyond the Kul Tiran and Zandalari. Nothing to announce yet.
They want to add the races where it makes sense.
8.2 vs 7.2 (14:10)
was criticized for lacking content at launch. 8.2 improves on 7.2. Blizzard is pulling away from gating quests like "gather X shards" and instead focusing on big, bombastic story quests that feel awesome. They also have a significant amount of people working on sandbox and open-world systems, including new World Quest systems. You won't be seeing the same type of quests on Kul Tiras and Zandalari. In Nazjatar you'll have some epic introductory cinematic moments, unlock your hub, and work on a new bodyguard system that unlock abilities and stories.
In addition to the evolved World Quest system, there are new public events building upon the system of Legion Assaults, where an event pops up and you join an assault and finish it.
They like some of the sandbox systems of the
, such as the shrines that periodically pop up for fun buffs and mini events. Nazjatar should feel like an exploratory sandbox.
Mechagon is going in a separate direction from Nazjatar as far as unlocking content.
In Mechagon, you gather different types of crafting materials and turn them into a crafter NPC for interesting mechanical rewards. For example, if you bring the crafter a battery, spare parts, and scraps, you can get a spider bot!
Blizzard is trying to push new ways to deliver cool stories to players. It should feel like a breath of fresh air as far as how you being delivered content.
Jeremy Feasel could neither confirm nor deny there are
on the way. There's no specific team working on them, it's a passion project.
At the end of the interview, they held up a few images and asked Jeremy Feasel to react to them, stating the first word he thought of. Some reactions were straightforward, while others were unexpected. Do his reactions reflect hints at story direction, or is Jeremy trolling? You be the judge!
Azshara = Fire
Does this reflect the orange color of the picture, or is there something deeper to Azshara representing fire, although water is her element?
Black Empire = ::pause:: Uncertainty
Does the pause mean there's some juicy info he won't spill, or that he was figuring out what the picture displayed, since there was a glare? Or does he know there's tons of Old God speculation, so he's pausing for dramatic effect? Uncertainty does reflect all the hints of Old God involvement, and how that will tie into the faction war.
Saurfang = Sad Ohhh
Does this mean Saurfang won't last the expansion, or a reflection that he's had a pretty sad story in BFA, estranged from the Horde? The picture does show him during
, looking forlorn as he prepares to abandon the Horde.
Let's look at the achievements in
and see which out of the twenty stories sounds likely to lead to further stories. It is also worth noting that in an earlier interview with
Azeroth Round Table
, Jeremy Feasel revealed that Islands may be related to the story of Magni and healing the world in the Rise of Azshara patch, and future quest drops could be coming in the future related to other storylines.
Which Island Expedition quests do you think will impact the story moving forward?
, we call upon Duke Hydraxis from Molten Core days. They view Battle for Azeroth as a time of elemental rebirth. The Elemental Lords previously fought the Black Empire, ultimately unsuccessful, which allowed the influence of the Old Gods to spread over primordial Azeroth.
<A burned-out core from the elementals you encountered. When you concentrate, you can sense that some elemental energy still exists, deep within the core. They were clearly after the Azerite, but why? It might be time to call in an old favor.>
Yes? I am no longer in the business of fire prevention.
Oh, you have questions about the elemental planes? They are in quite a state at the moment. Though the elements are always tumultuous, things have gotten quite out of hand.
The presence of this Azerite has ignited the lesser lords, and each seeks to overthrow the current lords and take the plane for themselves.
They see this new element as a sign of elemental rebirth.
I do not see this. Here, I do not want even the gems I have, take them.
we learn that the Twilight Dragons, thought to be extinct with the defeat of Sinestra in the Bastion of Twilight, have continued their bloodline. The Twilight dragons were created by Sintharia, the prime-consort of Deathwing, who sought to create a powerful race of dragons to rule Azeroth. However, this was not her idea, but one planted by Deathwing who was also under the influence of N'Zoth.
<The worn scale of a twilight dragon, it has seen many years of fighting. The twilight dragons were thought to have been defeated with the fall of Sinestra, how were there so many on the island? And who is leading the flight?>
Shh! Step back! We can't let them see us!
What are you doing here? Who sent you?
<Eryna listens as you explain the twilight attack.>
Yes, we know. It's those damn stone troggs, nothing stops their digging! They dug far deeper and further than we thought possible.
What's more, when I really concentrate, I can feel the heartbeat of thousands of tiny creatures in there. We have no idea how many more eggs remain...
Since you're out here, one of them had these gems on them, take them.
, you solve a riddle to learn that ominous things are happening to the murlocs! There's one area where the boiling water bubbles ferociously. Could this be close by to N'Zoth's prison or Azshara's palace?
<The murloc eye appears to have no magical properties of its own, but is still quite damp to the touch. You have seen naga sorcerers use similar objects in their casting rituals, but rarely do they dismember their murloc slaves for this purpose. This is unsettling, even for the naga.>
Oh, hello, are you here about the terrible things happening to the murlocs?
I've been hearing tales of terrifying magical experiments happening in the depths, entire murloc tribes being wiped out.
There is one area that they won't even go near anymore, the water bubbles ferociously and the heat is unbearable. The fish have all fled, everything has fled, what could be going on there?
Oh! They've been bringing me some of this Azerite, I'm not sure why. Do you want it?
Thanks for visiting!
, we learn that not all creatures who serve Life and Nature view the player races as a positive force. The life spirit seeks to preserve the balance of all things...which could mean the death of the player. Keeper Remulos, a friendly quest giver, says he has no power to stop these forces from attacking us.
In Battle for Azeroth, we are learning more about the dark sides to powerful forces. For example, in the
Mag'har Orc Recruitment Scenario
, we learn more about the Tyranny of the Light.
<The root twists and struggles in your grip, attempting to wrap itself around your arm. The keepers you encountered must be powerfully attuned to nature to imbue their creations with such longetivity. Remembering the ferocity with which they fought against you makes you suddenly uneasy. Why would these guardians of nature behave this way? Surely, someone must have the answers.>
This root tells me all that I need to know of your voyage: an island, teeming with the life spirit, and you met keepers there.
I sense you are surprised at their actions.
Not all of us that guard the natural world see your kind as allies. There are many of my kind that seek to preserve the balance above all things. Even if that means your death.
I will not fault you for defending yourself, but I am powerless to subdue them as well.
However, my fawns have gathered some Azerite for you.
we learn that there may be new keepers, created by the Amathet Tol'vir after the Wound in the World awakened their tombs. The creation of keepers also means that the Amathet have access to a forge similar to the Forge of Origination in Uldum or Forge of Wills in Halls of Stone. This is potentially very bad news if they have a device similar to the Forge of Origination, as that device will destroy all life on Azeroth should the world-soul grow corrupted.
<A magical trinket found on a tol'vir spellcaster, it appears to augment their casting abilities. It seems to be very old, but is nearly pristine in form. The tol'vir of Uldum may know more about the sudden appearance of the Amathet.>
<The scarab catches Kamses' eye.>
I see you have met the Amathet.
The wound in the world has unearthed new tombs, and from one they emerged.
They speak little to us, believing us betrayers of our sacred duties. They believe that they, stewards of the titans, should control the Azerite.
Worse, when they realized that Rajh and the others were slain, they constructed their own, new keepers.
They must have an active forge.
I will give you what Azerite we have, be careful, they are dangerous.
, we turn a Wriggling Mass into the
in Silithus. Holding onto the Wriggling Mass invades your mind with all sorts of dark thoughts, echoing the whispers of the Old Gods. For example, we see a many-eyed goat in a pool of black water reminds us of: "Have you had the dream again? A black goat with seven eyes that watches from the outside." The drowning into a darkness also reminds us of "The drowned god's heart is black ice." The Hermit unhelpfully tells us that this vision means the end of the world is coming, which could be related to all the references of the Circle of Stars nearing completion.
<The tendril writhes and pulsates in your hand as your mind is assailed by all manner of vicious thoughts. One vision in particular surfaces in your mind again and again. In your mind's eye, you picture a many-eyed goat laying in a pool of black water. As you approach, its eyes burst open, and in an instant you find yourself looking upward at the goat from deep within the puddle. As you sink into the icy darkness, everything goes black. You pocket the mass and shake the thoughts from your head.
Please, lower your weapon, I mean you no harm. The whispers ceased speaking to me on the day that the wound opened.
I wish to spend my days atoning for what I have done in my life, perhaps I can help you.
You... I can see it in your eyes, you have seen the vision.
The goat, the pool, drowning in the icy blackness, does this sound familiar?
I can tell you its meaning. It means we are fast closing in on the end of this world, friend.
Take my Azerite, I have no need of it any longer.
, we meet up with the Jinyu from Mists of Pandaria. In Patch 8.2 Rise of Azshara, we'll meet another subspecies of Jinyu on Nazjatar. For this quest, we learn that the Razorfin tribe constantly hunts a mythical great beast, called "Deep Shadow." With all the talk of darkness and the Void in BFA, could the tribe be hunting a messenger of an Old God?
<This spear is razor sharp, though it has clearly seen many years of hunting in the open sea. The shaft has been broken in several places and repaired with what materials were available at the time. From the variety of repair materials, you surmise that the jinyu tribe you recently faced must travel extensively. The friendly jinyu of Pandaria might know more about this strange tribe.>
Ah, yes, I do recognize this spear. You have encountered the Razorfin, then?
They are unique amongst Jinyu. Long ago the elder of the tribe was granted a vision of a great beast. So terrified was he that he named it "Onoho," or "Deep Shadow."
He dedicated his tribe to slaying the beast. They travel from island to island, never staying for long, in their endless quest. It is fascinating.
I thank you for your visit. Some Azerite has washed ashore here, please take it, we have little use for it.
, you travel to Blackrock Mountain hoping to find Wrathion, but he's not there! You want to show him
, a sign of life in the Black Dragonflight. Instead, you talk to a Blacktalon Agent, who off-handedly mentions the Dragon Isles to us, a place players have wanted to visit for years. The agent encourages us to return, with the promise they will pay us in information and Azerite.
<An utterly pristine black dragon scale taken from the dragons you recently encountered. The black dragonflight was completely decimated following Deathwing's demise and Wrathion's rise to power. Yet the size indicates a younger dragon. There is one person, one dragon, that you know will want to hear of this, but where IS Wrathion? You surmise he may be some place familiar, fortified, and abandoned.>
Hello, I was told to expect you. Kindly hand over the scale.
We will, of course, compensate you.
First in information. Have you heard of the Dragon Isles? Few have, and fewer have been there.
We have not found others of the master's kin... forthcoming in information.
Should you uncover anything further in your travels, we will be awaiting a visit, with payment in kind.
And second, in this Azerite you are seeking. Here, a hefty sum for your troubles.
Until we meet again.
, we learn that the Mantid, who worship Y'Shaarj, are unusually active and have crowned a new empress. Previously, we defeated Grand Empress Shek'zeer in the Heart of Fear raid, and in Legion, Death Knights complete
to harvest the Essence of Fear from her soul in the Shadowlands.
<The stone vibrates to your touch. The frequency resonates throughout your body, and you feel refreshed. The mantid likely use these stones to allow them to fly great distances across the sea. To see them on the island was strange, the mantid took a heavy blow when Shek'zeer was destroyed, they should not be swarming now. The denizens of Pandaria may have more information.>
Yes? We are quite busy here, as you can see, what is it?
Ah, I see you have also encountered the mantid swarm.
Our fears are realized, the new empress has hatched. Princess Zara, no, now Grand Empress Shek'zara, is here.
She is as hotheaded and impulsive as mantid queens usually are, and has mobilized most of her forces to search for Azerite.
We know not why.
<Qipan squishes a nearby bug between his fingers.>
But we do not like it.
Here, Azerite taken from their corpses, take it.
, we learn Helya, the ruler of Helheim whom we defeat in the Trial of Valor raid, is still around and growing in power. Back in Legion, Sylvanas entered into a pact with Helya.
<A light mist twists and curls around this ring as if caressing it. Holding this object makes you uneasy, deep within your soul. It feels as if invisible, icy hands from the lands of the dead are pulling at you. There is no mistaking Helya's power. The Valarjar will want to hear about this.>
Another ring? Hmph. Yes, we have been seeing them more frequently.
Helya is growing in power.
What, small one, are you surprised? Did you think she was defeated?
<Valdemar laughs heartily.>
You cannot kill death!
I thank you for making me laugh today, little friend.
Odyn has heard about your search for Azerite, we have gathered what we could.
Here, it is yours.
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