TE: I know you probably hate this sort of question. Of all the zones that have changed, which zone do you think has gone through the most improvement? What zone is "I hated going there, but it's actually pretty awesome now"?
GS: Silverpine is a big one. Hillsbrad. Ashenvale. Darkshore. I think those are all really good. Stranglethorn is now more than just killing panthers and gathering pages for a book. There's a really epic moment where the Bloodsail Pirates attack Booty Bay. And when I say attack, I mean there's the ships sailing in now. That kind of stuff we just never did before.
Western Plaguelands we're really worried about because it's basically been reclaimed from the Scourge, they're kind of in retreat a little bit. OK, so now we have this zone where all the bad guys have been driven away. What on Earth are we going to do with it? What are the quests going to be? Kill bears? But they got it. Now that the Scourge is gone, there's a power vacuum, and now here come the Alliance and the Horde trying to reclaim it. The Horde says "[It's] close to Undercity, so it should be ours," and the Alliance says "[It's] close to Undercity... it should be ours!" The undead have moved out, and the Alliance and Horde moved right into places like Andorhal and now they're fighting over it.
TE: In Cataclysm, there's this renewed tension and fighting between the two factions. Do you feel that they were getting too buddy-buddy?
GS: Absolutely they were getting too buddy-buddy. We said a few times that we want to get the war back into Warcraft. The two factions was always a huge point of the game. Sometimes yeah, they do need to cooperate to deal with the Old Gods or something like that, but they were getting a little too friendly. It seemed like the fighting was gone and they were in a Cold War, and we always wanted to get back to open armed conflict.
TE: They were just playing capture the flag.
GS: Yeah, in a zone like Ashenvale, you see - actually, Ashenvale's cool because you end up doing some pretty horrible things as Horde to Alliance players.
TE: Players or NPCs?
GS: NPCs. I mean, there are players too, but they're mostly for NPCs. And Hellscream just shows up and he's like "This isn't how we do things in the Horde. I know you think you're doing the right thing here, but this isn't how we do it. You're becoming a butcher. At the end of the day, we're about honor and this isn't it." That's a pretty pro-Garrosh moment.
TE: So, you're going to have these moments woven into the storyline, like "Pet the Dog" moments?
TE: Like you say, Ashenvale is very changed - the Alliance is on the run. Have you updated the old battlegrounds like Arathi Basin or Warsong Gulch to account for this, or are they living off in time?
GS: They're living off in time. We did not give the graphical updates to those battlegrounds that we did to the rest of the world, so it would be a good thing for us to do. Battlegrounds are very, very sensitive to geography changes and you have to be extra careful that there's not a bump or tree stump that's going to block movement or create any unnecessary imbalance.
TE: You've been running Alterac Valley, haven't you?
GS: The new battlegrounds - you have no idea! - we measure every little thing so often. "OK, what's the run time from this graveyard to this exact point?" If we don't, it's a huge headache down the line.
TE: Thanks for your time.
The Escapist last caught up with Mr. Street back in August to talk about how he and the WoW team are destroying the world they've spent a decade building. Deathwing's catastrophic rebirth is imminent, WoW fans - are you prepared for the end of the world?
John Funk is totally rerolling a Worgen.