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Posts with tag eurogamer

Chris Metzen talks about heroes

Chris Metzen
Eurogamer.net recently sat down with Blizzard Senior Vice President of Creative Development Chris Metzen. They talked about the story for all three of Blizzard's big franchises and the ins and outs of creating stories and heroes for each one.

On Warcraft, Metzen waxed philosophical on creating a meaningful story for 11 million fans who are each carving out their own individual stories on their own characters, and on translating that story culturally as well linguistically between all the different cultures of the people who play WoW. As Metzen observed, a story that goes over well in North America may fall flat in China. He also talked about making lore decisions and balancing the needs and wants of the players and the writers. Sometimes the players want you to go right when you want to go left, and it is a challenge, he says, to decide which way to go.

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Filed under: Lore, Interviews

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

The World of Warcraft in numbers

Business Management has a really interesting graphic up (that they say came partly from Eurogamer.net, but I didn't see it over there) that breaks down WoW "by the numbers." It features an interesting series of stats about the game, in what I call an Oatmeal-style format, everything from number of players and items (30,000) to number of locations (1400) and the most commonly looted item every day (Frostweave). I think these stats all came from a few different places -- from a talk given at Austin GDC last year, to the toplist over on the official WoW site (of course, that chart is constantly updated, so Onyxia wasn't always the deadliest mob, and Frostweave wasn't always the most looted.

But it is cool to see all of the numbers stacked up in a row in such a stylish way. And 3.6 million pieces of Saronite Ore turned into 3 million Saronite bars? If that's true, why am I paying so much for it at the AH? 192 quests completed per second is pretty wild, too. That's like three entire Oracles reputation grinds (give or take a few dailies), all completed in this second. And this one. And this one.

Filed under: Items, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Quests, Bosses

The making of the World of Warcraft

Eurogamer has a nice long look at the early days of World of Warcraft, way before Northrend and Outland and even Molten Core, back when the question wasn't just how big the game would get, but whether Blizzard, a company known for their polish rather than their size, could pull off an entry in this new MMO genre. They've interviewed some of Blizzard's luminaries, and the piece offers a really good look at what it was like at Blizzard even before WoW's release, when they were hashing out some of the ideas and mechanics that have now set the bar with World of Warcraft: the stylistic Warcraft look, and questing as storytelling (originally, they thought they'd only do quests through the starting levels, and then have the game move to a grinding, monster-killing stage towards the end, but players said the game was boring without quests).

There are all kinds of great little tidbits in here: originally, Warcraft III was planned with the over-the-shoulder look that WoW now has, and that's one of the reasons they wanted to create a more straightforward RPG game. Tom Chilton showed up on the team about a year before WoW's release, and to his surprise, the game was almost completely unfinished -- the level cap was only 15, the talent system wasn't implemented, the AH or mail systems weren't in, PvP wasn't in at all (of course, even at release it was pretty barebones), and endgame raiding was nonexistent. Most of the things we think of as intrinsic to the World of Warcraft -- even things like the Horde and Alliance not speaking to each other -- were debated and almost not in at all as they moved towards release.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Instances, Raiding, Interviews

Waiting on StarCraft II? Blame WoW

Like many other Blizzard fans, you're probably super excited about the upcoming release of StarCraft II -- it was "about time" when we first heard about the game, and now, this close to actually having the game out, anticipation is higher than ever. So why have you been waiting so long? According to Eurogamer's latest interview with Rob Pardo, you can blame none other than World of Warcraft for the delay. He and StarCraft II's lead designer both confirm that quite a bit of the RTS team were called back in to working on Blizzard's MMO. Artists and class and map balance guys alike were put back on WoW, resulting in the StarCraft title's delay for more than a year. Taken at face value, they're saying you could have started playing the new RTS last November if it wasn't for the whole Azeroth thing.

It's worth noting, though, that when they say "working on WoW," they don't mean developing the Crusaders' Coliseum or even Outland -- they're talking about the original design of World of Warcraft for the release way back in 2004. Even though Blizzard didn't announce the next StarCraft until a few years ago in 2007, production actually started seriously (with multiplayer first, strangely enough) right after the launch of WoW, in 2005. Which makes the choice all the more intriguing: they decided to delay the RTS even before they knew WoW would be the runaway success that it is today.

Guess the choice paid off. The beta of StarCraft II should be kicking off any day now (you all got keys at last year's BlizzCon, remember?), so even though that year delay was caused by WoW way back at launch, we'll see if they've had the time since to make a game that'll meet players' expectations.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions

Brack: Will Blizzard consider a graphical overhaul? "Yep, probably."

Chilton and Brack are just all kinds of talkative at the Leipzig Games Convention this year -- in addition to chatting with the buffed.de folks, they also sat down with Jeff Kaplan and Eurogamer, and the results of that conversation are now up on their site.

They start out by talking about the changes with 10 and 25 man raiding, and Kaplan says plainly that the Burning Crusade endgame was just too plain hard: "We just had: 'OK, welcome to level 70, here's a brick wall. Maybe you can climb it.'" There will still be a hardcore endgame in Wrath, but it'll be later on, near the very end of the raiding ladder. They also describe Wrath as a "coming home" moment -- after an "exploratory" period in Outland, Wrath will be a return to Warcraft's tradition and lore. And perhaps most surprising, Brack actually lends a lot of credence to a question about a graphical overhaul "from the ground up." He says that by the next expansion they'll "probably" have to look at updating the graphics system completely.

And finally, Blizzard believes that yes, even though it doesn't seem like it now, eventually there'll be something bigger than World of Warcraft. Brack's last word is an interesting look at the future: "Something will come along and WoW will be like EverQuest: a great game I played back in the day."

[via WorldofWar.net]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Instances, Expansions, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King

Funcom: WoW is McDonald's, AoC is steak

It's just in the nature of game developers to talk a little trash -- whenever you work on something for so long, you'll pretty much say whatever you can when someone asks you to compare your game to someone else's. So we'll forgive Funcom's Gaute Godager (game director of Age of Conan) for what he says about World of Warcraft in this Eurogamer interview.

WoW comes up first at the beginning of the interview, and Godager gracefully accepts props for AoC having the biggest launch since World of Warcraft. Which is true -- AoC has shipped over a million copies since launch (though Warcraft has gone on to sell nine million more, and AoC hasn't quite gotten there yet). But at the end of the interview, Godager really brings out the big guns -- he says that playing WoW is fun and all, but "if you've been to McDonald's for four or five years, and had your burger and your coke, sometimes it's great to just have a great steak and a glass of good wine."

Apparently Age of Conan is supposed to be that steak, and our little critically acclaimed and history-making game is supposed to be the culinary equivalent of McDonald's. Which isn't a bad comparison -- we can definitely see Age of Conan being called "steak." Especially since it was served so undercooked.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items, Humor, Wrath of the Lich King

Samwise Didier on Blizzard's art and games


Eurogamer has interviewed Samwise Didier, Warcraft artist and icon, and the man who's pretty much defined the look and feel of Blizzard since even the early days. There's a lot of great stuff for Blizzard fans in this one -- I had no idea that an early build of The Lost Vikings had about 20 Vikings in it instead of the three we know -- and Samwise talks about his influences, including the way that Blizzard makes twists on standard genre conventions.

But the guy still stays incredibly humble, and acknowledges that as great as Blizzard's art is, the thing that really brings people back to these games is the fun factor. It's the humor and the enjoyment that Blizzard fans love, and Samwise's (and all of the other Blizzard artists') art make it that much better.

[Via WorldofWar]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Interviews

Kaplan talks Wrath with Eurogamer


Recently Blizzard guru Jeff Kaplan sat down to talk with Eurogamer.fr about the upcoming expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. Now, I don't know about you, but I have been positively drooling for any information we can get from the Blizz devs ever since the announcement was made at BlizzCon.

The interview asks some pointed questions about the problems encountered with TBC and what Blizz might have learned from them. How about the daunting attunement and access difficulties that hardcore players encountered when they first loaded the expansion onto their computers? Kaplan points to how they realized that access to the instances needed to be tweaked and they did so with recent patches. Blizz would like to have world events that include the whole server again, much like Ahn'Qiraj (and I couldn't agree more, as long as the guild that opens the event doesn't do it on Monday morning like they did on Elune), and they are looking to avoid with Wrath what Kaplan "personally consider[s] a mistake in the Burning Crusade."

In addition to world events and the possibility of unlocking an attunement for all a player's characters once one of them has achieved it, Kaplan also says they are looking into improving the trade skills with Wrath. He points to leatherworking as an example of a trade skill that received little lovin' in TBC. Essentially leatherworking became obsolete as players entered Outland and received dropped items that were superior to anything they could make. "In the Wrath of the Lich King, we want everyone to be satisfied with the trade they choose and we want it to be rewarding. Therefore we're going to analyse[sic] everything we did with The Burning Crusade and previously to work out what was good and what was missed out."

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Filed under: Blizzard, Expansions, Interviews

Blizzard Europe on server problems and more

The folks over at Eurogamer have managed to sit down with Shane Dabiri and John Lagrave to talk about the technical side of things. There have been login issues with many European realms for some time now; I've experienced unexpected outages, sudden queues caused by a lower player cap, and thirty-minute delays between entering my password and seeing my characters.

According to Blizzard, it's a problem of concurrency -- with additional players signing up over the holidays, the servers are under more stress, but they're working on new, improved hardware and network infrastructure. These things don't happen overnight but as a player affected by these issues it is nice to know that something is being done.

Other tidbits from the interview include the unveiling of "some exciting stuff" at E3 and the fact that expanding outside the PC is "not something we're planning on doing at this point". Also, if you're wondering when the Lunar Festival is going to clear off, that's February 14th -- just in time for the planned Valentine's events.

Filed under: Blizzard

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