WoW: Ein Interview mit Alex Afrasiabi und Patrick Dawson
Auch wenn die zu Beginn des Monats in Anaheim veranstaltete Blizzcon 2018 mittlerweile bereits einige Wochen zurückliegt, so gibt es aktuell aber trotzdem noch immer auf dieser Spielemesse geführte Interviews mit den Entwicklern, die erst jetzt ihren Weg auf ihre jeweiligen Fanseiten gefunden haben. Dazu gehört unter anderem ein Interview des russischen Content Creators xDlate, der sich im Verlauf der Blizzcon 2018 ein wenig mit Creative Director Alex Afrasiabi und Technical Director Patrick Dawson über World of Warcraft unterhalten konnte. Dieses Gespräch dreht sich dabei dann hauptsächlich um die Hintergrundgeschichte des Spiels und die von den verschiedenen Teams von Blizzard Entertainment geleistete Arbeit. Folgend findet ihr sowohl eine in die deutsche Sprache übersetzte Zusammenfassung dieses Interviews als auch eine netterweise vonWoWhead ins Englische übersetzte Version des kompletten Interviews.
Zusammenfassung des Interviews:
- Bereits bekämpfte Alte Götter sollten von den Spielern als „tot“ angesehen werden. Sie werden vermutlich nicht erneut im Spiel auftauchen, sofern es keinen wirklich guten Grund dafür gibt sie zurückzubringen.
- Spieler sollten Xal’atath nicht vertrauen, auch wenn ihre Lügen gewisse Wahrheiten beinhalten.
- Die WoW-Chroniken wurden sehr positiv von der Community aufgenommen. Trotzdem wird es erst einmal keine weitere Fortsetzung geben.
- Das Team arbeitet aktuell an einer Neuerung, die die Spieler in World of Warcraft direkter mit der Hintergrundgeschichte des Spiels konfrontieren soll. Dabei könnte es sich um eine Art von Kodex oder ein Notizbuch handeln, welches durch das Erforschen der Spielwelt und das Besiegen von Feinden gefüllt wird.
- Alle älteren Bosse sollen in der Zukunft kurze Lore-Beiträge im Dungeonkompendium erhalten. Dieser Vorgang benötigt allerdings noch etwas Zeit.
- Das Cinematics-Team gehört im Moment zu den stärksten Teams von Blizzard Entertainment. Jeder Mitarbeiter ist stolz auf die Leistung dieser Gruppe.
- Die Entwickler sprechen mögliche Easter Eggs nicht untereinander ab. Künstler, Designer oder Entwickler fügen diese Inhalte einfach zum Spiel hinzu und für gewöhnlich werden sie nicht entfernt,
- Das Transmogrifizieren der Artefakt-Waffen von Druiden ist eine komplexe Problematik. Die Entwickler schauen sich dieses System aktuell etwas genauer an.
- Die Flammenkugeln von Felo’melorn werden vorerst nicht zu dem Transmog der Waffe hinzugefügt.
- Sargeras hat den Sargeritschlüsselstein aus einem bestimmten Grund nicht verwendet. Auch wenn sie sich im Moment nicht an den Grund erinnern, so hatten sie in Legion aber auf jeden Fall einen.
Third Chronicles have information about Old Gods. Every Old God, except N’Zoth, have been beaten, but not „killed“. It is true? Are Old Gods like C’Thun or Yogg-Saron still alive?
AA: I would say we should consider them dead. However as with all things in World of Warcraft and the Warcraft’s universe dead isn’t always dead. If there was a coming of forth of the Old Gods or herald of the Old Gods come down from the great dark– I can see that easily happening. Not saying that happening, I’m just saying death isn’t the end of the line in World of Warcraft, and it really never has been. I think that’s kind of been from your character to the world around you. There is a cycle.
What about Blade of the Black Empire? She often says that she is almost sister of the Old Gods. Is she one of them?
AA: You are talking about Xal’atath? I think she is lying – it’s her game. She lies a lot and you don’t really know what exactly she is lying about. There are some truths with lies and some lies with truths. However, I don’t know if you’ve played Tides of Vengeance.
AA:It’s good because there’s actually a lot more to explain and Tides of Vengeance along the lines of Xal’atath and her intentions. She is pretty cool.
Imprisonment of Sargeras
What you can say about Sargeras? In the previous expansion, he has been jailed within Throne of Pantheon. Do you have plans to bring him back or some other ideas or he is dead for good?
AA: What do you think about it?
I think that he will come back in the future at some point.
AA: What would you say?
PD: I agree with what you said before about death being a state. I think also imprisonment as a state where he is right now. If the story takes us in a way where he comes back then I’d love to see where that goes in.
AA: In certain skies across Azeroth you can see a constellation now after the Legion is defeated and there is a red star– make sure you keep looking at that red star. If it’s ever gone– that’s a problem.
Reception of Chronicles
How do you think people responded to Chronicles? What are your future plans? Do you have plans to publish similar books?
AA: I can’t speak to whether we have plans to make more of them because to be perfectly honest I’m not sure. Chronicle’s purpose was to kind of catch us up on more to get us to where we are today– that makes sense. All of the past events that kind of got us here and in that regard, I think it’s served its purpose really well. It’s a great written reference piece that has great stories inside it. I wouldn’t say it’s out of the question. I think it’s totally possible that we’ll see another one, but I just don’t know.
Did you have plans to add in the game something related with storylines to collect various data ranging from quest completion, boss kills to achievement completion– some kind of codex?
PD: It is not bad idea. We are always seeking opportunities to not the only present story, but help you revisit some of it. If you can imagine even a new player who comes into play WoW, there’s this rich, vast lore behind it and getting them caught up and a lot of that can be intimidating for them.
AA: Even impossible.
PD: Exactly. I mean that would be a tool that would help us. I think to have that as well as chronicling the journey of your character too.
AA: I like it.
PD: I like the idea and it sounds really cool. I know that is an important thing for us to solve the problem of helping players like to get caught up to today.
AA: You come in a while now. There is a lot of Warcraft’s history if you care if you want to know who are those people, what are they, why does this exist, or why that like that– good luck. That’s a lot of time spent on in the game and probably on the Internet. Codex idea or some type of journal, we’ve talked about things like that in the past. I like the idea of your own player journey– it’s really interesting to me as well as your own chronicle. We’re looking to do, at least in this point of Warcraft’s life, is to make the delivery of story faster, easier and more portable to the players. So it isn’t so hard, or you don’t have to really dig deep to get anything. We want to make sure we’re surfacing really important moments in the world and the history of Warcraft and especially as you’re playing through the game to remind you of what’s happening. We’re looking at that stuff.
PD: I also think like historically the only real avenue we’ve had since the beginning of the World of Warcraft was questing and over time we’ve found different ways to tell the story– whether it be through like the scenario, for example, Battle for Lordaeron or something simple like talking heads when you do world quest– it really just pull you into the story a little bit more. We are always trying to find ways to tell the stories to you, even with a future player chronicle perhaps.
Could it be some kind of bestiary? For example, you’ve killed a mob and the information about killed mob would be stored in your codex or you’ve completed the quests in a zone and tool shows you a brief history of this zone?
AA: Absolutely. That’s a fun– like collection minigame in its own right. We could easily make it into something– nothing is really off the table. The story in the World of Warcraft, as well as Warcraft’s, consists of things that lead us further– they’re the heart of Blizzard and this is what drives us forward. It’s really important to us to stay on top of these things and make sure that our player base, our fans, are able to get that, get that information, get that story, get that sense of wonderment for the cool things that are happening around them and why they happen. So definitely.
Improvement of Dungeon Journal
We had a lack of information about some bosses in the legacy raids and you have added information about Ulduar’s ones when Ulduar became the part of Timewalking event. Do you have plans to add information about bosses of Icecrown Citadel, for example? Right now the dungeon journal doesn’t have any information about them.
AA: Yes. Tentative yes. I have to look at it. It certainly sounds like we should and there’s quite a bit of lore. Obviously in Icecrown, all of these raid zones, dungeons, whatever you wanna call them. When we have a dungeon journal entry for something. I feel like it should have something to explain it.
You have released three awesome cinematics for Battle for Azeroth. Previously we saw only one cinematic of such quality for each expansion. How much effort do you put in the development of single cinematic? Do they attract the attention of players? Do you have plans to release more cinematics during Battle for Azeroth?
AA: I can’t say you that. I would say stay tuned– we have a story to tell, and we are telling that story through the cinematics, through the in-game movies, stories, through all manner– books, comics, things like that and we feel pretty excited about it. We love the cinematics, but I couldn’t tell you if we’re gonna have another one. They’re very complicated to make. Definitely complicated.
Is the development of cinematics worth it?
AA: You tell me.
AA: So there we go. There’s an answer: it’s hard to us to put the values of these things because they’re born of passion, they’re born from our hearts and so it’s hard to say is it worth these many dollars. I’m sure someone can make it, make that unit, but it’s not me. We want to do the coolest thing possible for our fans and when we’re giving the opportunity we jump in.
PD: We have, in my opinion, the best cinematic department in the games industry. It’s one of the things I liked when I first started playing Blizzard’s game 20 years ago. I admired about the company. I like they put a lot of care and crafting into these– they look fantastic and amazing. They really drew into the story. Getting to work here now, and see how it works behind the scenes and how that works it’s amazing. They haven’t taken the foot off the gas pedal yet, they are just knocking it out of the park. I remember even the last year when we got Battle for Azeroth– we showed that at BlizzCon and Sylvanas does her banshee scream– Oh my God. I don’t think I’ve ever sat through the opening ceremony with a dry eye. I’ve just always been emotional watching these things. It’s great to witness.
You have added into WoW a lot of easter eggs referencing other video games and pop culture. For example, you can find an easter egg to Darkest Dungeon in the Stormsong Valley. How do you decide what to add? Do you have discussions with the team?
AA: No. Generally not. I think those things are born of passion. If someone really likes this thing– whatever that thing. Might be someone who played a lot of Darkest Dungeon wanted to bring some aspect of that into the game world. Just kinda of this nod, wink and a thank you. It’s usually an individual contribution when it comes to that level of easter eggs. We don’t do kind of crowdsourcing stories or have group discussions, it’s more someone’s just passionate about something and they’re like „you know it’s funny if we did this“ or „be really cool if we did that“ and they just kinda do it and I’ll look at it and say „What are you doing?!?“ No, usually I laugh and it’s pretty funny. We’re always trying to keep up with all the fun pop culture, things from it and put a little spin on them.
PD: I think it’s great for the game and not even just that, but to extend it to things like holiday system or micro holidays. Warcraft can be a pretty intense game. You sit down, you raid, you do dungeons, you always have something to do. Just like any good piece of entertainment if you’re always on it doesn’t always feel the best. You always want those moments of levity, of just happiness, just like frolicking. It doesn’t always have to be war. I love that we do things like that.
Transmogrification for Druids
People applauded really loud when Blizzard announced the release of transmogrification system. It’s a wonderful feature and people spend a lot of time collecting appearances. Your latest addition was artifacts– we can use them for transmogrification. For example, I’m playing a Feral Druid and use daggers and I can’t change the appearance of these daggers. I may use only one form and that form is tied to the visual appearance of these daggers, but it doesn’t match my transmog set. May I change the appearance of this item along with my cat form?
PD: Druids are very unique. No other class has that issue when the weapon is associated with the form that they take, so, that’s tricky to solve. With the other classes if you look at it holistically a mage wielding Felo’melorn, an iconic look of a weapon, if they were able to transmog it into a staff it wouldn’t exactly look right. You kind of need that pairing of the main hand and off hand. In general, it’s not something that would be wise for us to pursue like for most of the classes. Druids are a special situation. It’s an interesting problem you brought up– it’s not one that I personally have thought about too much. I know there are people on the team who are like you, probably experiencing the same thing. I’m sure it’s something that we’ll talk about.
Speaking of Felo’melorn. Fire mages, who transmogged Felo’melorn, lost fire orbs that were floating over the head.
PD: Spheres, I think we’re meant to be like an in-game display of how many charges of Immolation you had. So the transmog item doesn’t have the same mechanic of like the weapon provided you.
I would like to ask the last question– question about the Sargerite Keystone. It’s been complicated to Sargeras to travel with it? Why he didn’t come to Azeroth early by using it for travel? Is it a plot hole?
AA: I think he may have lost it at some point, but I know we had a reason. We did talk about the same thing– if you can go anywhere with the Sargerite Keystone why don’t you go? Honestly, it’s been a while for me so my memory is a little bit hazy, but it was almost a whole lot more and then we came up with something and I’m not sure exactly.