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Posts with tag J-Allen-Brack

No Free-to-Play World of Warcraft

Speaking to Eurogamer last night at BlizzCon, Production Director J. Allen Brack stated that Blizzard has no plans to make World of Warcraft free to play. "We didn't make the game to be free to play," he said. "We would have to rework the game pretty significantly in order to make it free-to-play. It's not something we're currently considering."

This echos what Mike Morhaime said in an interview on the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket. He also said that WoW was not designed to be free to play.

Many had thought that with subscriber losses and the introduction of an in-game Blizzard store on the PTR that WoW might be heading toward a free to play model, like many subscription MMOs are doing. But these statements by Blizzard developers allays those fears.

Filed under: News items, BlizzCon

Mists of Pandaria: Press tour interviews from around the web

Not only is there a ton of information about the next expansion's features floating around, there are plenty of interviews with the minds behind the expansion as well. All of the fan sites got their own chance to ask developers questions about Mists, so each interview has different information. Check out these links to other developer interviews from around the web.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria: Yes, you get another character slot

You people are strange. The #1 question we've seen regarding Mists of Pandaria is: Will we get an 11th character slot for our monk? How will I have every single class on one server? Do I need to delete my bank alt?

As initially stated by Bashiok and confirmed by J. Allen Brack, production director of World of Warcraft, you will be getting an 11th character slot for your monk. Players without the Mists of Pandaria expansion attached to their account will be restricted to only 10 characters. You must upgrade to Mists for #11.

Rejoice, fellow nerds. Rejoice.
It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Monk, Mists of Pandaria

J. Allen Brack talks to Wired about Pandaren and Pet Battles

J. Allen Brack, the production director for World of Warcraft, was interviewed by Wired.com about the upcoming expansion Mists of Pandaria, why Blizzard's introducing the Pandaren now, and what the future holds for the increasing number of expansions needed to be purchased in order to play an up-to-date version of the game.

Brack says that the idea for the first neutral race actually was rooted in the Goblins for Cataclysm, since the Goblins would have made an excellent neutral race, but the team was adamant about giving the Alliance a more sinister race to play. The Goblins for the Horde filled the whimsical role nicely.

The Pet Battle system coming with Mists of Pandaria is going to require a lot of tuning, according to Brack. The feel of the system is going to be much more "rock, papers, scissors" than "all-powerful rare pet wins the fight," giving a lot of hope to collectors out there who want to use some of the more esoteric companions in battle without having to always pull out the best pet.

Finally, Brack made an important point about the "expansions every year" comment and goal of the development team. Brack explains that the concept is nice but not something feasible in the present time and that Blizzard has not been successful with rapidly turning out content. Cataclysm, it turns out, took longer to develop than any other expansion.

You can read the full interview on Wired.com.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria is the next expansion, raising the level cap to 90, introducing a brand new talent system, and bringing forth the long-lost Pandaren race to both Horde and Alliance. Check out the trailer and follow us for all the latest MoP news!

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 4.1 will not contain Firelands raid content

According to a statement from Blizzard on Eurogamer, patch 4.1 will not contain Firelands and the associated raid content. Lead producer J. Allen Brack cited the fact that players hadn't sufficiently progressed through the current tier of raid content as the reason for this decision. Eurogamer provides the quote: "We feel like the player base isn't really ready for the next raid yet," [Brack] said. "And that led to some changes where Firelands is now actually going to be in 4.2."

This is a step toward much smaller (and faster) content patches, much as we had back in vanilla WoW. Blizzard could release a small set of features far more rapidly than the current "monolithic" patches. Firelands and its associated raid content will now be included in patch 4.2. Patch 4.1 will entirely focus on the return of Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub.

[via Eurogamer]

Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

Cataclysm dev chat on Best Buy forums this Thursday

Want to ask Tom Chilton and J. Allen Brack questions about Cataclysm? Well, you can, this Thursday on the Best Buy gaming forums. Straight from Best Buy:
This Thursday, Nov 18 at 4pm Pacific (12am GMT) Best Buy is hosting a live chatroom Q&A with Blizzard's Tom Chilton (Game Director) and J. Allen Brack (Production Director) about World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. The event is open to the public but is limited to 500 participants.

The chatroom will be hosted on the Best Buy Forums here: http://bbyurl.us/CataclysmCHAT. A forum account is required to participate. If you don't make it in under the 500-user limit, check out the overflow broadcast on Ustream: http://ustream.tv/channel/wowdevchat
Might be a good time to ask about your pet issue, like worgen females, ret paladin DPS, or cosmetic slots.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it; nothing will be the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion (available Dec. 7, 2010), from brand new races to revamped quests and zones. Visit our Cataclysm news category for the most recent posts having to do with the Cataclysm expansion.

Blizzard: "How would we bring WoW to the console?"

Sadly, the ultimate answer appears to be "very reluctantly" but it's an interesting read anyway. J. Allen Brack talks to G4 about WoW, consoles, and the barriers to entry for an MMO. The usual suspects apply, of course. WoW was designed for keyboards, consoles tend to have a short lifespan compared to the development time of a MMO, and WoW currently takes up about 15gb worth of memory while consoles like an XBox 360 have at most 20gb worth of hard drive space without buying any additions. This is no surprise, of course... they've said all this before.

What I really found interesting was that this is supposedly something they think about a lot. "In the case of WoW, we talk about it all the time." I'm the curious sort, so I find myself wondering why, given all the reasons Brack himself lists. Personally, I'd love to see a single player Warcraft property of some sort for consoles, perhaps a God of War style action game or even a Dragon Age/Mass Effect hybrid RPG. And who knows, perhaps Blizzard will come up with a way to do it despite their laundry list of reasons why they won't, they've surprised me before.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Second Twitter developer chat on January 15th

Bornakk hit the forums this evening to announce the second Twitter Developer Chat. It will take place Friday, January 15th at 5:00 PM PST. Like last time, questions will be taken via Twitter and answered on the forums. Senior game producer J. Allen Brack and lead systems designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street will be the ones answering your questions. Instructions on how to submit questions and all of that sort of thing can be found over in the forum thread.

The focus of this Q&A will be patch 3.3, Fall of the Lich King, so don't expect to hear any grand Cataclysm news in this chat. I'm actually very curious if we'll learn anything at all, considering the focus on current content rather than future content. It might be a good chance to get some insight into the development process, rather than trying to squeeze strategy tips out of the devs.

Filed under: Events, Blizzard, Wrath of the Lich King

New anniversary interviews in Blizzcast 12 and on the minisite

Blizzard continues to update their minisite -- the latest newness is the posting of a new Blizzcast, in two parts. In part one, Karune of the Starcraft community team interviews Chris Metzen, Rob Pardo, and Samwise Didier about the history of Warcraft as a whole (it's celebrating the 15th anniversary as well this year), and part two has our friend Nethaera talking to J. Allen Brack, Tom Chilton, and Jeff Kaplan about the game itself. As is usual with the official podcast, there's not much new information here (especially if you've already read through some retrospective press), but both interviews are worth a listen (and/or a read through the transcript) if only to hear these guys all in a room together, joking around about old times.

Elsewhere on the site, they've started posting written interviews as well. The first one is with Shane Dabiri, former lead producer on the game, and there are faded-out spots for J. Allen Brack, Tom Chilton, and Jeff Kaplan as well. The other spots aren't revealed yet, but they're supposed to be interviews from the "community," so it'll be interesting to see who those turn out to be. Blizzard, anytime you want to chat with me about the history of World of Warcraft, just drop an email!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King

Potential character model revisions in Cataclysm

WoW's fifth anniversary and the interviews surrounding it have ended up providing us with some previously-unknown tidbits of information -- which is a good thing, especially when it comes to stuff we've been wanting to hear about for a long time.

This particular tidbit comes from the Warcry network interview with J. Allen Brack and Samwise Didier about the game's anniversary, and it's about a subject near and dear to our constantly-complaining hearts: new character models. They might even be coming in Cataclysm.

Says Brack:
"Even though things would be better with new (character) models, we'd probably spark a lot of player outrage. So we've talked about giving players a choice between the classic models or the new ones, but it might not be something we want to take on at the same time as we remake Azeroth."
That's pretty big news.

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Filed under: News items, Expansions, Interviews, Cataclysm

Ghostcrawler cleans up two dev chat questions

As you probably noticed if you watched along with us, yesterday's developer chat (with Blizzard's J. Allen Brack and Tom Chilton taking questions from Twitter and answering them on the forums) was a little light to say the least. Rather than answer questions about game balance seriously, the devs chose to make fun of hunters taming druids and do a lot of hinting and winking. Fortunately, we have Ghostcrawler -- he's responded to concerns about two of the questions yesterday over on the forums.

The first is in response to some feedback about what the devs yesterday called "binary" hard modes -- they said that instead of providing multiple levels of difficulty (as in Sarth and his drakes), they'd prefer to have a hard mode either on or off (you'll be able to toggle between the two in Icecrown). This relates to what we just said recently, with different types of guilds looking for different types of content to play. GC replies that the "in-betweens" in terms of difficulty will come with later bosses in normal mode -- if you want to play a challenge without stepping into the hard modes, Blizzard will do their best to make sure that the last bosses on normal give you that challenge. Which makes sense -- bosses should ramp up in difficulty as the instance goes along, and no one would suggest, for instance, that Yogg was nearly as easy as Flame Leviathan.

And GC also talked about one of my favorite (and missed) game mechanics: crowd control.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Instances, Bosses, Classes, Buffs

WoW Developer chat on Twitter this Thursday


Community Manager Nethaera announced a short time ago that there will be a developer chat on Warcraft's twitter account this Thursday October 22nd at 3:00 p.m. PDT / 6:00 p.m. EDT. The chat will include WoW's Director of Production and Game Director, J. Allen Brack and Tom Chilton.

We should note the announcement isn't exactly clear that it's these two people exactly, but from what we can tell they're the ones who'll be involved. We're seeking clarification and will update the post when we have it.

This should be quite interesting. Follow @warcraft and @ them your questions. Answers will be provided via twitter and the official forums, and we'll be sure to break down and analyze everything right here on WoW.com as well.

Don't use Twitter? Sign up now and follow @warcraft and @wowinsider for everything WoW.

Filed under: News items

Alex Afrasiabi on Cataclysm and the origin of phasing


Gamasutra has a nice interview with someone on Blizzard's team that we haven't heard from very much before -- Alex "Furor" Afrasiabi is currently a lead world designer for Cataclysm, and while we have definitely seen him at BlizzCon a few times, he hasn't done as much press as, say, Tom Chilton or J. Allen Brack. But here he is on Gamasutra, talking about what Blizzard is doing to the World of Warcraft in the next expansion.

And boy are they doing it. As we knew, Desolace and Azshara are getting revamped completely, while Feralas is in for some questing changes and zones like Loch Modan are seeing some "light" modification. Blizzard apparently looked at each zone and determined where it lay on the list of todos: Azshara is becoming the 10-20 Horde zone and so will get reworked extensively, but Silithus, while it may need work, probably won't get more than a few tweaks.

Afrasiabi also talks about the surprising origin of phasing and Blizzard's philosophy. More after the break.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, Cataclysm

AGDC09: Blizzard talks about world behind Warcraft


Thursday's keynote at the Austin Game Developers Conference was given by Frank Pearce and J. Allen Brack. Pearce is the Executive Vice President of Blizzard, and Brack is the Production Director. Both are heavily involved in WoW and are part of the team responsible for its success.

Unlike the keynote/opening ceremony delivered at BlizzCon, the Austin GDC keynote is geared more towards game developers and industry people than the general game public. For us WoW folks this means a little more details and numbers than you'd see from panels elsewhere.

In fact, one of the most interesting numbers that came out of the keynote today are the sizes of the teams that are working on various parts of WoW. After the break we'll look at those and other highlights from the keynote, as well as provide you with an audio recording of the entire thing for your perusal if you wish. Download the audio or stream it after the break.


Read more →

Filed under: Events, Bugs, Blizzard, News items

Blizzard is tracking 180,000 bugs in WoW


During the keynote today at the Austin Game Developers Conference, Executive Vice President Frank Pearce and Production Director J. Allen Brack spoke at length about the internal workings of the WoW team and how they get their jobs done.

One of the more stunning things to come out of the keynote, which we'll have fully written up for you later today, is the fact that there are just under 180k bugs Blizzard is tracking in WoW. That means their bug database has 180,000 entries which are in some stage of being fixed (have been fixed, have not been fixed, or being worked on).

To me this number seems very large for a video game. I can understand an operating system like Windows 7 having an unreasonably large number of bugs in it like this, but for a video game -- even one as complex as WoW -- that number is quite astounding.

It does raise the inevitable question: what is Blizzard doing to fix all these? And how does this relate to the extremely long wait times for GM contact in game? We also learned that Blizzard only employs 2500 worldwide in Customer Service. That includes things like phone bank operators, GMs, forum mods, etc...

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Bugs, Blizzard, News items

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