Behind the Design of WoW: Mists of Pandaria

Greg Tito | 14 Sep 2012 18:00
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The Escapist: That seems like a very typical number that people throw out now when they're talking about fantasy games: "We have ten thousand years of history!"

Greg Street: Yeah, everything in Blizzard games is like that. Nothing is two hundred years old, it's ten thousand years old. Dragons aren't twenty five feet long, they're four hundred feet long.

The Escapist: Let's talk about the big change in the talent system. How do you expect old players will receive it? People that had played WoW and then perhaps had stopped their subscription, if they come back for Mists of Pandaria and find that all the things that they had programmed are different, how will they react?

Greg Street: We're finding two responses. On the one hand are the players who come in and they're like, "Oh my gosh, all my talents are gone and I miss them, this is terrible." Then, after playing with it for a little bit, they reach the second plateau of "Oh, there's a lot of depth here, all the mindless talents I would look up on a website are gone but there's really a hard choice. At level 60 which of these abilities do I want? and what are the best scenarios to use them?" and things like that. It was funny because the same thing happened in Beta when initially players didn't get this then said "Oh, now I see." Now that it's gone live [with patch 5.0.4] we're seeing that happen all over again to the players that weren't paying close attention to Beta.

The Escapist: Have you guys thought about any ways to ease that transition?

Greg Street: We did some smart things to make the transition easier, for example with specializations, say you're a Holy Paladin before the patch came out, you're still a Holy Paladin with all of your abilities. We even tried to preserve the buttons on your action bar so that previously, when we came out with a big patch, players would have this pretty horrible moment of, "Oh my gosh I've got to go do all this research, I've got to pick out my talents, I've got to rebuild my action bars." I knew we were on the right track, when the patch first went out, and I got a bunch of friends together and we were running a dungeon within ten minutes and it didn't take any time to get up and go. Some people didn't have all of their talents chosen but that was okay, they could chose them on the go, they weren't missing a very critical ability they needed to function.

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