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World of Warcraft : AGDC '09: Exclusive Video Interview


Our very own Garret Fuller sits down with World of Warcraft Production Director J. Allen Brack for an exclusive video interview at this year's Austin Game Developer's Conference.

In the interview we learn some on how version 3.3 is coming along and what features and content we can expect with the new patch. Mr. Brack describes version 3.3 as concluding the Arthas storyline, and will do so with a new raid. The new raid will come in several flavors, 10 man heroic, 10 man regular, 25 man heroic, and 25 man regular. In addition, a new 8 boss dungeon will be included, and a new legendary two-handed axe, Shadowmourne, will be introduced to the game.

Mr. Brack also explained the process that went into coming up with the Cataclysm expansion, given that the expansion has defied some expectations of perhaps a new class, or even a new continent. The expansion will instead add another two races to the roster (Goblin, Worgen) and give a "face lift" to old Azeroth.

On the subject of why not a new class, Mr. Brack explains that they simply didn't want to do two new classes back to back, and instead went with two new races as The Burning Crusade did. The decision to do two new races played an important role in the old Azeroth revamp coming with Cataclysm, as well. While the developers were talking about doing the standard new 1-20 content for the new races, they came to the realization that the two new races would still be doing old 20-60 content following their newbie zones. It was this realization that was a catalyst for the major facelift old Azeroth will see come Cataclysm.

Brack admits that while the game's original content is more than adequate, the later content introduced to the game in The Burning Crusade, and especially Lich King, was "order of magnitudes" better, and so Cataclysm was a great opportunity to revisit and revamp older content with the lessons the team has learned over the years when continuing to develop the game.

They also want to allow players to uncover some of the old world's mysteries, things like venturing into Hyjal to see what it's like after Warcraft III, or finding out what is behind the Greymane Wall. This will all be possible once the great cataclysm comes to Azeroth. Cataclysm will also serve as an opportunity to update some of the game's most "hated" areas such as Darkshore or Azshara to be more appealing.

Brack also sheds some light on the Mastery System coming into the game with Cataclysm, where mastery points give a flat DPS increase in the form of whatever is relevant to your talent tree. For example, if you're an Assassination Rogue you would get an increase in Haste and Crit. The intention of this system is to ameliorate the issue of players feeling restrictive in their builds in order to maximize their DPS, and will instead allow them to pursue more utility based choices in their talent trees, instead of wasting points to simply eke out that extra 1% DPS increase.


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