Tips Out Interview - Layering Over Sharding in Classic
Tips Out sat down with John Hight and Omar Gonzalez on Classic.
- The beta will only have a small number of players, but there will also be the stress test weekend in which larger pools of players can log in.
- A new technology called Layering will be used to smooth the launch. It allows them to have multiple versions of each of the two continents running as needed. They are not cross realm and are only used so that an entire realm population isn't competing in one area at a time and to lessen login ques. The only way you can shift into a different layer is through party invites from others on your server who are in a different layer.
- The technology tries to sticky you to a layer so that you see familiar names often. It also only exists to control population at launch and will not continue once numbers are stable.
- The Classic servers will have new names to avoid confusion.
- They don't have an exact server number yet, but are flexible.
- In-game items from the Collector's Edition will be for retail only. They want to preserve Classic as it was.
- If you have the original Collector's Edition of Vanilla WoW on your account, you can re-access the pet rewards, but they are not re-releasing them to those who don't.
- There will not be tokens in classic WoW, but they will support realm transfer in Classic through the current in game service structure.
- They are going to take community feedback and how the community is progressing to figure out when to proceed with the content phases.
- Cross-realm PvP battlegrounds are included when they launch in Phase 3.
- You cannot add a person of the opposing faction to your B.Net friend's list by right clicking them in-game in Classic.
- If Classic is successful and the community wants it, other classic expansions could be on the table.
Forbes Interview with J. Allen Brack
Forbes sat down with J. Allen Brack to discuss Blizzard as a company and what is coming.
- Blizzard Changes and Leadership
- J. Allen Brack wants fans to know that the company has more in development than at any point in its history and their commitment to quality remains.
- Mike Morhaime stayed on in an advisory role to Brack and told him all the things he was doing wrong.
- They want the company to outlive all of them, and so it is only natural that at some point other people have to take over.
- Mike Morhaime continues to be very supportive of J. Allen Brack and the company.
- J. Allen Brack says the fact that two veteran Blizzard developers are now leading Blizzard should ease concerns that development has been overwhelmed by financial concerns in recent years.
- Their core mission of creating amazing games for players with a commitment to quality has not changed with leadership.
- Future Projects and Mobile
- There are core games in development for PC and console in addition to mobile initiatives.
- Skepticism of releasing games outside of PC has also occurred for titles such as Diablo III. It stems from people having pride in what their gaming platform is because they feel like the best games are on that particular platform.
- The desire to have a Blizzard-quality mobile experience has continued to increase in both Blizzard and fan's minds depending on age and how long you've had a mobile phone.
- Hearthstone on mobile was step one and this is step two. There will be other steps because they believe in mobile as a platform for gaming in the future.
- This does not mean that they don't believe in console gaming and PC gaming as a platform for the future. They do.
- Blizzard has been partnered with NetEase in China for almost 10 years, starting with World of Warcraft. They picked NetEase because the company is passionate for Blizzard IPs and shares the development-type culture. Diablo Immortal will be a Blizzard game and will use Blizzard values in monetization.
- There is a team of developers helping NetEase with the game. It's a partnership. They are not just having NetEase develop it in China and slapping the Blizzard name on it.
- Out-of-house outsourcing is not a strategic priority for Blizzard, but they have utilized it for other games such as StarCraft: Remastered.
- Blizzard's goal is to creature something great, whether it's with a current IP or an entirely new one.
- Something to work on is figuring out the challenges of having many different kinds of games in development to make intelligent decisions on the next steps for each project.
DenofGeek Impressions - No Unarmored Mounts in Classic
DenofGeek also got to attend the Classic Event and shared their impressions along with some information from Brian Birmingham, Lead Software Engineer, and Patrick Dawson, Production Director.
- The Blood Plague bug from Zul'Gurub has been brought up by the team and it would be interesting and funny to bring it back when Zul'Gurub launches in Phase 4.
- The original unarmored mounts from Classic were discussed, but ultimately it was decided not to bring them back in Classic because they didn't want to give players the incentive to rush through the leveling experience.
- In game reporting will be in the game, but there will be a human element to it and not just automatic bans based on an algorithm.
- The team felt it was important to make it easy to report abusive players, but understand the drawbacks of this system. If you feel you have been actioned inappropriately, you can reach out to customer service.
- When asked if new level 60 content after Naxxramas could be developed, such as new 40 man raids, the team said anything is on the table and this is a love letter to fans. If the fans desire it, it will be considered. There are no plans as of now, but that bridge will be crossed when they get there. (*Note that in the GameReactor Interview, Ion says new content is out of the question for Classic)
USGamer also interviewed Brian Birmingham and Patrick Dawson. They had a small amount of new information.
- They start from Patch 1.12 because it was the most complete version of the game. Bugs that are not gameplay affecting exploits are back in the game. There's no reason to take UI conveniences out and make things inconvenient just for the sake of inconvenience as long as they're capturing those core gameplay features: spells and abilities, old quests, and that aesthetic feel of the game.
- The developers also stated that there are no plans for a content loop, with the Classic reverting to the first content phase after some time at the sixth phase. What happens after Naxxramas is unknown.
GameReactor WoW Classic Interview
GameReactor also got to ask a few questions while at the WoW Summit.
- Ion Hazzikostas and Calia Shie both explained how changes to the overall concept and the addition of new content were out of the question since once altered that would make a Classic server something else entirely. (*Note that the DenofGeek interview says new content could be possible if the fans want it.)