To launch the latest World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth expansion, Blizzard Entertainment threw a party for fans at The Arts House 2 days before Singapore’s National Day. The invite-only event saw an attendance of more than 200 dedicated fans from both Horde and Alliance factions. Event highlights include a question and answer/autographing session with WoW Game Designers John Yang and Johnny Cash, a riotous battle for supremacy between Alliance and Horde, a mini-art exhibition for fan-art and being in Singapore, must have lucky draw la!
Question & Answer with John Yang and Johnny Cash
For those that are unfamiliar, John Yang is part of the team that iss responsible for the class balance and PvP elements especially world PvP for Battle of Azeroth. Johnny Cash is part of the team that is responsible for crafting the stories and quest-lines we experience in World of Warcraft.
Great opportunity to get answers to some of our burning questions!
What is your favourite part of the expansion and why?
Johnny Cash (JC): Sure I’ll start. I’m a little biased, understandably as I’ve put my heart and soul into this (the expansion). My really favourite parts are Kul Tiras and Zandalar which are the 2 continents that I’ve worked on. They are very different from one another and they have a whole lot of very different and interesting experiences to offer. Every zone is quite different from the others, from the deserts of Uldum to the spooky forest of Drustvar, to the swamp of Nazmir, there are all these very different biomes. And so when you’re going between the different zones as you’re levelling up and meeting all these characters, we really had to do a deeper refine of the characters and the storytelling methods and how we try to create characters, innovate cinematics between our big story moments. You have all these awesome things coming together. So between all of that, if you like all these very Warcraft iconic places, as soon as you set foot into Kul Tiras and Zandalar, you’ll realise that these places have been around and have history to them. I think that’s really cool.
John Yang (JY): For me it’s gonna be Warmode. It’s World of Warcraft. The story and the game is about war, it’s about conflict. It’s about Alliance versus Horde. With Warmode, we really think more players are going to try out world PvP and PvP in general. We really want to make it the highlight of the expansion. With Warmode enabled, it’s kind of a new way to play the game. When you log on to any of your classes and you go select your PvP talents and go out to do some questing, you’re going to find players from the opposite faction, fighting over the same targets as you, trying to do the same things as you, kind of naturally organic fights will just play out and I think a lot of players enjoy that. We’ve heard stories from our development team members, from our friends and people who play the game. They said, “I haven’t really tried PvP before, world PvP just wasn’t for me but with Warmode, I’ve tried it and now I love it and it’s the only way I wanna play.”.
In recent cinematics, Sylvanas is being portrayed as a bad guy and this has cause a bit of community outrage. How would you respond to fans saying that Sylvanas is going to be the next Garrosh?
JC: I totally understand. Sylvanas is one of my favourite characters of all time definitely, probably after Arthas. So i totally understand the passion that’s involved every time Sylvanas is on the big screen and in front of a story. That being said, Sylvanas is a very complicated character and we are trying to make sure that we handle her in the right way and that she’s doing the things that makes sense for her to do. She has her motivations as the Warchief of the Horde, she has her own personal motivations, she has motivations as the queen of the Forsaken as the Dark Lady. Those are sometimes at odds with each other, sometimes not so much. So we’re trying to handle that in a tactful way. We have a full-time story team that helps make sure that we’re handling her the right way. If you watch some of the pieces that are coming out recently like “Old Soldier” (from the Warbringer videos), a lot of these inferring perspectives are intended to tell the same overall story leads from a lot of perspectives including Sylvanas’ and those that she wronged and those that she fought for. I think it’s okay that not everyone knows what Sylvanas is up to, that’s kinda for her to know, but it’s important to know that Sylvanas is a character that we care about as much as anybody and that we want to make sure that we do her right.
In Legion, Artifacts gave gameplay an added dimension that was enjoyable. Will we be seeing the return of Artifacts in the BFA expansion?
JY: First, I’m really glad you enjoyed Artifacts, we did too. We felt that they were creative and were very fun to play. To answer your question, I think there are 2 things to remember. One is, as we play the game, players want to grow more powerful and they want to have more abilities. They want to acquire things by defeating monsters, by completing dungeons and raids. The other thing to remember is, there’s only so much you can put on a class. We’ve had seven expansions now. It’s not possible for a player at level 60 to gain more and more abilities every expansion. At a certain point, it’s too much. We feel that there’s a right amount of complexity and gameplay for most classes. If you think about those things together, it kinda means naturally on a grand scale, as we have expansions, it’s going to be a cycle of gaining power, gaining abilities, losing them and then gaining more different abilities in a different way. Clearly that doesn’t mean that we’ll delete the Artifacts and then give you the same Artifacts all over again. This time we’re trying a new system, Azerite Armor. With Azerite Armor, the difference from Artifacts is that you can choose the power you’d like. If you think back to the beginning of Legion, no one had any set items. No one had any artifacts (beyond tier 2 artifact powers). Classes were on the simple side, kinda like how it will be at the beginning for Battle for Azeroth. As the expansion goes on, the Azerite system will grow. We’re going to add more to it. There will be more Azerite items as the expansion goes on. I think players will find that there’s more to come.
What would message would you like to give to ex-players, who are sitting on the fence and have mixed feeling about returning to the game?
JC: If you’ve taken a break from WoW, because life happens and that’s totally fine, but there’s never been a better time to return to World of Warcraft than right now. It’s a fresh expansion and Battle for Azeroth has everything you remember about WoW. It has really awesome storylines with experiences that people love, it has great dungeons and it’s got challenging raids. It’ll have all the things that you’ve come to expect from a World of Warcraft expansion. But it’ll also have things that you’ve not seen before like island expeditions, warfronts and Azerite Armor. The ways in which we’re developing, both the new things and the things that you’ve come to expect, are refined by the experience we’ve had in the last couple of expansions. We’ve learned an immense amount, especially over the course of developing Legion and we’re trying to apply as many of those lessons we can for Battle for Azeroth. So if you haven’t played WoW in a while, or even just for a little while, I’m sure you’ve probably at least heard a little bit about people really enjoying the content cadence of Legion, there’s so much to do, that they were really enjoying the balance in PvP , how the classes are shaping up and the Artifacts. Battle for Azeroth has all the same sort of stuff, and I think at least personally, that it is a very worthy successor to Legion and that I’m really really excited for people that may have taken a break from WoW, to be coming back.
JY: Beginning of the expansions are really the best time to come back. You’re caught up in the same spot just like everyone else. As with all our expansions, it’s a mix of old, between you know what you know, classes, talents, those are still here. A mix of change, a mix of new. There’s going to be new raids, new world, new dungeons, all those stuff.
Are there going to be more Allied Races in WoW? Is this something that will be included for every expansion?
JY: Allied races, the new feature for Battle for Azeroth, we brought in Mag’har Orcs, Dark Iron Dwarves. We’ve already talked about the Kul Tirans and the Zandalari that were to come. The key thing to remember about allied races is, it should fit naturally in the story. As the expansion goes on, as you go out to explore and fight, the races you encounter maybe you could pull them to your side. Battle for Azeroth is about war and in war you need allies. That’s why both factions right now, are really trying to find the best allies for their side. We honestly love the feature as much as you. We’re just as excited about allied races, trust me. We don’t have anything announced right now, but it’s definitely a feature we want to keep around for the future. We don’t want to be tied to finding an allied race to add for every patch or expansion. It has got to make sense.
Fan activities – Alliance vs. Horde
There was an epic showdown between Alliance and Horde where winning faction gets to take back the Battle for Azeroth mouse mat This one, I’ll just let the pictures do the talking lah. I need to study this and see if i can speed level my pally. BFA AWAITS!!!
Pre-orders for the expansion are already available via Battlenet for SGD68.67 (USD49.99). Deluxe Editions are available for SGD96.13 (USD69.99). Battle for Azeroth will go live on 14th of August 2018.