After the big Thursday reveal of World of Warcraft: Legion we got to sit down and interview the two wonderfully charming and hard working Blizzard sacrificial vic….interview subjects. They were Ion Hazzikostas, Lead Game Designer, and Tom Chilton, Game Director & Vice President.
MMOGames: You made hints to a Pre-Expansion ‘Event’: is this the case? Is the Broken Shore beginning the process of introducing this Expansion in episodic stages’?
Tom Chilton: The Broken Shore is part of the pre-expansion content patch that will kick off that entire process of the Legion Invasions and all the other happenings.
MMOGames: What lessons have you learned from Draenor in managing player expectations in terms of lore and storyline?
Tom Chilton: I’m not sure that I agree [with the question] on a fundamental level. It’s the assumption of a statement of fact that there is less story in Draenor than there is previous expansions. When we made the announcement, and right before the announcement we ran the story that has happened so far trailer.
If you take that and combine it with the Lords of War series that we did, you know things that led up to the expansion and all that kind of stuff… and you compare it against any other expansion, except maybe Mists of Pandaria, it comes out overwhelmingly favorable. So I don’t know that it’s something I agree with.
Ion Hazzikostas: One thing I will say in general about lessons learned from Warlords of Draenor in terms of the storytelling, the level of an experience is not in question. We had a very clear compelling powerful story. In our raids and dungeons we kind of touched on where that story ended up. In terms of bridging the gap between those while we were telling that story, it was often in a way that felt disconnected from the world itself. Kind of fragmented. We’re really trying to much better integrate that storytelling in game so there’s a clear plotline that players can follow from start to finish.
Tom Chilton: We definitely want express it more through the max level content than we did in Warlords.
MMOGames: There is an awful lot of Lore being referenced in Legion: Is this you realizing that you might have skimped too much on general lore concepts in Draenor?
Tom Chilton: Story is the core of the world we create. I think all of our expansions I would say are lore heavy and they meaningfully advance the story. I would even make the argument that this one may be more than most, just in terms of heavy hitting major characters and figures that are involved and some that we haven’t heard from in a while. We are of course getting back to the Burning Legion which is the great antagonist of the World of Warcraft universe. We’re actually leaving most of the events of Draenor behind. The only thing that sort of escaped, we went and solved the timeline that threatened to engulf our own and destroy us, is this one wrinkle Gul’Dan who got tossed into the Twisting Nether and found his way into our time.
MMOGames: There an awful lot of nods to old Warcraft expansion zones in Legion’s trailer: Is this deliberate?
Tom Chilton: Um yes in that we’re dealing with Azeroth and it’s very deliberate that the Broken Isles feels like a part of Azeroth. There are definitely inspirations from different parts of the world and each zone definitely has its own unique look and take that is distinct from anywhere else.
MMOGames: What’s your favorite part of Legion and why?
Tom Chilton: The reality for me is that it’s the entire package. You know specific things that I am looking forward to… I’m really happy that we’re updating the honor system for the first time in eight years or so. That’s exciting for me as somebody who worked on a lot of PvP stuff back in the day.
Ion Hazzikostas: I’ll say Artifacts. Artifact weapons give players a chance to wield some of the greatest weapons in the Warcraft universe. Some of these are things that they’ve heard about for years and always wanted to get their hands on, now that can actually happen. Also there’s the additional layer of progression and customization it brings. It’s a true parallel advancement system outside of the standard experience and character levels.
MMOGames: Demon Hunters have only two specs, and your presentation points to Hunters having one of their specs evolving into a role similar to Amazons in Diablo: is this going to play out across all Class Specs?
Tom Chilton: Almost right but not quite. Just because the survival hunters weapon is a spear, it’s a melee weapon not a bow, that’s because we’re evolving that particular spec to be a melee hunter. It will be the hunter in melee with their pet. The marksmanship hunter will be a ranged hunter with no pet and the beastmaster hunter will be a ranged hunter with a pet. That’s how we’re evolving the distinction between those and that’s why the survival hunters artifact is a spear. that’s different from the Amazon in Diablo III, she was a ranged javelin thrower.
MMOGames: Can you reveal where the Hunter’s Class hall will be located?
Ion Hazzikostas: I believe it is in the peaks of the zone High Mountain. It’s because they have a hunters lodge up there.
MMOGames: Here’s an easy one. Will there be a 12th Character slot?
MMOGames: When do you think you’ll go to Alpha and/or Beta?
Tom Chilton: Well we’re already in internal alpha and we expect the beta this year. That’s about all we know at this point.
Tom Chilton: It’s very likely that the first playable tour of the world will be at Blizzcon. Certainly we’ll have some new stuff to show and new stuff to talk about.
MMOGames: Is the launch of Legion co-ordinated with the launch of the Warcraft movie?
Tom Chilton: We don’t know. They’ve changed the date of the movie a couple of times on us. Assuming that it is when they currently have it planned, it could be anywhere in that neighborhood, it could be before or after.
Ion Hazzikostas: Ultimately we’re excited about the movie ourselves. We’re fans when it comes to that and Universal are going to an awesome job with it but the release date of our game is when the time is right.
So there you have it from World of Warcraft Legion. Our thanks to Ion Hazzikostas and Tom Chilton for taking the time on a busy schedule to talk to us.Related: Developer, Gamescom 2015, Interview, Legion, World of Warcraft