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Filed under: Interviews

Ion Hazzikostas: "Without a question" WoW will last another ten years

PC Gamer has an interview up with Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas, and it didn't hold back - and neither did he, really. Asked if he thought World of Warcraft could last another ten years, Ion's yes was unequivocal.

I can't tell you exactly what our 20th anniversary celebration event is going to bemaybe new content which hasn't been createdbut I can tell you there's going to be one.

So now that I'm sitting here desperately curious about what that 20th anniversary celebration is going to be, let's look over some other interesting points from the interview.
  • Baking all previous expansion into the Battle Chest is all about removing obstacles to play - they like the depth of having ten years worth of content, but not the feeling that in order to check out the newest content you have to run all the old stuff first.
  • Visual updates being discussed include various forms like moonkin and cosmetic additions to armor, things like quivers for hunters and updated geometry on the armor itself.
  • It's unlikely we'll get another Cataclysm style visual update anytime soon - resources are more likely to be allocated to new content.
So head on over to PC Gamer and read Ion's interview.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Interviews, Warlords of Draenor

Rob Kazinsky says Azeroth sets "exceed every expectation"

Warcraft move actor Rob Kazinsky talked a bit with website zap2it about his impressions of the movie's set, at it's all positive. He gave a glowing review of the interiors, saying that they "were some of the most amazing grandiose things I've ever seen in my entire life." Kazinsky asserted that it was clear the Warcraft team "spared no expense on quality, on building things to be representative of the game and of the highest realism." He explains that there were plenty of green-screens in filming as well, and that plenty of the creatures involved absolutely needed to be digitally rendered, and couldn't be done with makeup. That probably comes as no surprise to those of us who play the game--it would be pretty tough to create a flying dragon outside of a computer!

It's good news to hear about how excited Kazinsky is about the Warcraft movie project. He was once an avid WoW player himself, and I'm sure it was a real thrill to be part of the project. Many of us are eagerly awaiting the film's release, so it's good to know that the people involved share our enthusiasm.

Filed under: News items, Interviews

Tom Chilton: Blizzard had hoped to have Warlords out a couple of months ago

In a recent interview with Icy Veins, Tom Chilton talked about Warlords of Draenor and one of the things he mentioned that struck me immediately was that Blizzard was hoping to have Warlords out by now. Specifically, a few months ago.
We did a good job earlier in Mists of Pandaria, having the content come at a more frequent intervals, and certainly we had hoped to have Warlords of Draenor out a couple of months ago. The reality is that scaling up the number of people that we have, to work on multiple projects at once has slowed us down. Honestly, it should have not come as a surprise to us. We increased the size of the team by 50% and the majority of those people had never worked on World of Warcraft before or any other MMO, so it is really difficult for them to create content right away, without getting up to speed.
This echoes what other developers have said in interviews and it interests me because one of the things we've bemoaned is the huge drought in content between the end of Siege of Orgrimmar and now - if they'd intended to have Warlords out in June, that would have been a fairly reasonable amount of time for a new expansion, really. (September to June is 10 months, long, but much more reasonable) and the idea that just throwing people at development doesn't immediately bring more content because they have to learn what they're doing makes sense.

I still feel like it's been a heck of a dry spell, all things considered. I really would like to see the alternate timeline where Warlords released in June.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Interviews, Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard highlights Crimson's cosplay

Crimson Cosplay
The Heroes of the Storm official site has posted an extensive interview with Singapore-based cosplayer Crimson about his incredible costumes for two iconic heroes from the Diablo series: the demon hunter and Tyrael, master of justice. Crimson and his girlfriend, Angelus, are the organizers behind International Cosplay Day, Singapore, and it's easy to see why. Their costumes are gorgeous, expertly crafted homages to the characters and franchises they love.

The interview covers many of the aspects of cosplay you'd expect--how the costumes are designed, the kind of materials used in production, what are the major challenges of bringing a costume to life, as well as advice for aspiring cosplayers. There are some wonderful photos of Crimson's costumes, including a 6-step visual tutorial on the making of El'druin, Tyrael's sword. If you're interested in cosplay and costume construction, check out Crimson's interview.

Filed under: Interviews

About the Bloggers: Sarah Pine

Sarah at Blizz HQ 2009
About the Bloggers introduces you to the people behind WoW Insider. You can find articles on more of our staffers in earlier About the Bloggers profiles.

What do you do for WoW Insider?

My official title is "Content Editor," which as far as I can tell is a fancy way of saying "writer." I was hired last year to provide general assistance in keeping track of and writing up news from around the WoW community, with the occasional editorial or Well Fed Buff thrown in, when I remember to photograph something I've cooked.

What's your main?

I have played the same night elf druid since I picked up WoW, much to the chagrin of the Horde-playing friend who introduced me to the game. Her name is currently Ilanielle, because one of the seven other toons in the entirely of the North American servers with the preferred spelling (Ilaniel) just happens to be a level five rogue on my current server. I shake my fist at thee, sir or madam!

I generally raid and run group content as restoration, but my guild has been known to ask me to go feral from time to time. I do my best to maintain workable gear and skill in both specs, but let's be honest: I'm a far better healer than DPS'er. In feral spec, what I'm most proud of is my transmog.

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Filed under: Interviews, About the Bloggers

Christie Golden, Micky Neilson discuss newest novel, War Crimes

War Crimes, Christie Golden's latest Warcraft novel, officially hit the shelves today. The novel details the trial of Garrosh Hellscream for his crimes against Alliance, Horde, and Pandaria alike. We were lucky enough to get a chance to sit down and chat with Christie Golden, as well as Lead Story Developer Micky Neilson, about the novel, the feedback, and even some upcoming projects that are on the way.

War Crimes is a different kind of book -- it features a gigantic cast. Can you tell us a little about the challenges involved in writing and keeping track of so many familiar faces?

Christie: It definitely is. I had kind of done a run at something like this with The Shattering, that was my first experiencing writing for both Horde and Alliance, trying to weave in various characters and their story lines and still make it fast paced and entertaining. This really was a chance for me to, with the Vision of Time at my disposal, to kind of go through and not just address Garrosh, but sneak in some of the history of Azeroth. What made these factions who they are, how they thought of each other, and a lot of old hurts, as well as new things. I actually just posted on Twitter a picture of the colorful index cards that I laid out on my dining room table at work at one point just to keep track of it!

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Filed under: Lore, Interviews, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Wowhead interviews Lead Game Designer Ion Hazzikostas

Warlords of Draenor is bringing some big changes to the table -- and Wowhead recently interviewed Lead Game Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas about many of the changes we'll be seeing in regards to raiding, valor, and more. Item upgrades will be going away entirely, and with them, the valor point system seems to be attracting a shift in purpose, although that shift hasn't quite been decided just yet. However, the incentive mentioned during last year's BlizzCon that rewarded players with extra valor for grouping is undergoing a revamp, as valor currently isn't as useful as it has been in the past.

Also interesting to note are the design changes for gear rewards. For the past several expansions, gear obtained from varying levels of difficulty in raids has always been the same model, simply different colors. In Warlords, this will be changed to be similar to what we saw in Burning Crusade -- PvP and PvE gear will share similar models, and the color shift will denote whether the armor was obtained in PvE, or PvP. Raid gear will go back to having different artwork, depending on the difficulty of the content completed -- so players that have defeated the most difficult content will have the snazzy gear to show for it.

While Garrisons are going to be a huge piece of playable content, Hazzikostas pointed out that the feature is in no way mandatory -- the feature is not meant to feel like dailies in any way, and there won't be any sense of obligation to work on them on a daily basis. For those that have waded their way through the daily system introduced in Mists, that should be a relief to hear. Check out the full interview above for more from Hazzikostas -- and keep an eye on Wowhead for a full transcript of the interview soon.

Filed under: Interviews, Warlords of Draenor

Meet the teams behind Azeroth Choppers

You're probably already familiar with the two main faces of Azeroth Choppers -- Alliance-side captain Chris Metzen and Horde-side captain Samwise Didier are both well-known faces of Blizzard Entertainment. However, you may not be so well acquainted with the other two members of each team: Terran Justice Gregory and Monte Krol of the Alliance, and Gary Platner and Jason Hutchins of the Horde. To help rectify this situation, Blizzard recently put up an official blog post about the teams, including mini-interviews with the team members about the show itself.

Terran, Monte, Gary, and Jason all answer questions about their connection to the factions they're representing in the bike build-off, and their answers may surprise and delight you! They also detail the artistic process behind consolidating designs for the bikes. There's encouragement for fans of both factions, and an interesting discussion about how the winning bike will be implemented into the game. There is also, of course, some tongue-in-cheek trash talking on both sides. The whole interview is a neat behind-the-scenes glimpse into the folks behind Azeroth Choppers, and a good bit of fun.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Interviews

Warlords of Draenor: New info from PAX East

Elekks on Draenor
PAX East 2014 has come and gone, but we at WoW Insider have come away from the weekend with juicy new information to share with you about Warlords of Draenor. During the expo, I sat down for a chat with senior game designers Steve Burke and Brian Holinka, lead class designer Kris Zierhut, and other developers.

In our brief time together, they told me some exciting info about garrisons, raiding, transmog, and the expansion's starting experience. They also provided insight into what a boosted level 90 will experience after the expansion launches.

Please note that mild spoilers about the early story of Warlords of Draenor will follow. Join me after the break for all the new info!

Read more →

Filed under: News items, Raiding, Interviews, Transmogrification, Warlords of Draenor

Wowhead interviews Warlords developers at PAX East

Our friends over at Wowhead are attending PAX East this weekend, and Perculia had a chance to sit down and interview Lead Class Designer Kris Zierhut and Game Designer Steve Burke about Warlords of Draenor. A variety of topics were discussed -- Garrisons were discussed in detail, as well as raid cooldowns, the strengths and weaknesses of the Timeless Isle, professions and the removal of damage bonuses, and much more.

One of the more exciting discussions addressed the issue of storage space. Mentioned in the interview was the new toy box tab that will rid your bags of all the interesting gadgets and toys you find while questing. But that's not all -- most profession materials will stack to 100 in the new expansion, and gathered quest items from kill and carry quests will be tracked, but not actually take up space in your bags. And perhaps the most exciting news from the interview (for me, anyway) is that at long last, transmogrification fanatics will be getting a second tab of Void Storage in which to squirrel away their favorite fashions. You can listen to the full audio from the interview above -- it's well worth checking out.


Filed under: Interviews, Warlords of Draenor

Interview: Technical Game Designer Chadd "Celestalon" Nervig talks Warlords of Draenor

I was lucky enough to head over to Blizzard Campus this week to talk to Technical Game Designer Chadd "Celestalon" Nervig. Chadd is a huge part of the class design team, key to a lot of the changes we saw in the recent Warlords of Draenor patch notes, which is just what we discussed. We were also joined by Senior Community Representatives Zarhym and Lore. You can also find a much-abbreviated summary on Wowhead.

Olivia: First up, is there anything you really wanted to clarify and get out there?

Celestalon: I've tweeted about pretty much everything. This was the first version of the patch notes, there have been more changes since then, those patch notes are about a week old or so?

Zarhym: Yeah it's like, tons of changes. [Rygarius] said he had a huge list of changes.

Celestalon: There's another five thousand words that aren't up there yet, which [Rygarius] is working on now.

There have been different amounts of patch notes released for different classes. Paladins have been complaining that they haven't got enough, rogues have been really happy that not much has changed. Is it safe to assume there's more to come? This is just step one?

There's definitely more coming. Like, for example, paladins had relatively few patch notes, and a lot of that is we were relatively happy with how things played out, at least for ret and prot, with the exception of a few things we can solve with tuning – changing numbers. So a lot of what you see in the patch notes now is what we call design changes, so the mechanics that we want to change so we can get to some design that we like.

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Filed under: Interviews, Warlords of Draenor

Hearthstone's Trump talks Twitch with Mashable

Hearthstone logo
For a long time, if you wanted to watch someone else play Blizzard games live, Starcraft II was your only real option, with some WoW arena gaming popping up here and there. With the addition of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, and now the technical alpha of Heroes of the Storm, though, Blizzard has quickly grown their number of streamer-friendly titles.

Many of you are probably familiar with Jeffrey Shih, aka Trump, a Hearthstone streamer who currently makes his living doing just that--playing Hearthstone on Twitch.tv. He's one of a several streamers featured in a recent article on Mashable that discusses the state of gameplay streaming as both entertainment and work. Twitch currently partners with about 5100 streamers who make income from their gaming, and some, such as Trump, make enough to do it as a full-time job. If you're interested in gaming as a profession this is a neat article that discusses some of the realities of the work itself, as well as the factors that have made such work possible in the last few years.

Filed under: Interviews, Hearthstone Insider

Creative Director Alex Afrasiabi's weekly look into Warcraft's past

Twitter Throwback Thursdays are one idea that World of Warcraft Creative Director Alex Afrasiabi has grabbed onto with both hands, and today was no exception. We saw the very first Naaru in the game, before they had a naming convention, and apparently before they stopped being boxing champions.

Alex followed this with an image showing his design for the DK starting area, a colorful but almost illegible flow chart that split the starting experience into chapters, and, from what I can read at least, had several recognizable quests and characters spelled out.

Next up was a screenshot of a very orderly queue in the DK start area on beta, apparently a bug was causing a bottleneck, which the beta players decided to overcome with an orderly queue, and stern admonishment for anyone who tried to skip their place in line.

Lastly, an image of the testing of the Battle for Undercity. While not much detail was provided on this now-removed feature, the image shows an Alliance group, with a couple of Horde flags, and a whole lot of deep freezes. It's great fun seeing old shots and remembering the days when that was a totally normal screen resolution!

Filed under: News items, Interviews

Warlords of Draenor: Gameplanet interviews Alex Afrasiabi

Gaming news website Gameplanet has posted an interview with Creative Director Alex Afrasiabi featuring a detailed discussion about the next expansion for World of Warcraft. Along with discussing the development of Garrosh Hellscream, Afrasiabi dropped some interesting new tidbits we hadn't heard before. Ner'zhul will be allied with the Iron Horde, but only for, as stated in the interview, a short time. In addition, garrisons are shaping up to be a massive, interactive experience -- and sound much more expansive and interesting than the farms introduced in Mists of Pandaria.

And if that weren't enough, there's some new details on the introduction to the expansion itself. The Iron Horde is trying to push through the Dark Portal into Azeroth, and players are immediately thrown into a frenetic 45-minute gameplay experience in which they are immediately confronted by thousands of Iron Horde. Afrasiabi states that players will, in that moment, realize where the orcs that have been streaming through the Dark Portal in the weeks leading up to the expansion's release have been coming from. It looks like we'll have our return of pre-expansion events -- something that was sorely missed leading into Mists of Pandaria.

But the most interesting part of the interview involves the discussion of flight on Draenor.

Read more →

Filed under: News items, Interviews, Warlords of Draenor

15 Minutes of Fame: Actor Jake Stormoen lives the fantasy life on set and in Azeroth

Photo: Arrowstorm Entertainment
I actually made myself practice saying the first name of actor Jake Stormoen before our recent phone interview: "Jayyyyyyyke," I intoned over and over, trying to banish the memory of the chewy Irish "Jehk" I'd heard so many times in tale after tale of Azerothian camaraderie from long-time gaming buddy Kristian Nairn ("Hodor" in HBO's Game of Thrones). It's impossible to get very far talking with either actor without running into a reference to the other; the two have formed one of those crazy gaming bonds that -- well, you know how it is with a bromance forged in the ice and fire of Azeroth.

I caught up with the smaller half of the inseparable WoW-playing duo by phone during a break from the frigid set of multi-part fantasy epic Mythica, now filming on location in Utah in temperatures as low as 10 below zero. Young actor with a cool fantasy role? This guy's most definitely got it going on. We explored WoW friendships, mused over the pressures of tanking, laughed about blowing off steam in Azeroth after a long day on the set -- oh, and paused the whole interview mid-stream to deadpan and snort our way through a phone call from the Hodor-sized half of the Nairn/Stormoen duo.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

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