“When we look at a system like that: how can we give that utility, but also give people what they asked for? I don’t want to see the water walking mount all the time. Typically it’s a lot of trying to hearing what the players are saying but identify what the problem is and then come up with a solution that’s going to address the problem, rather than just hearing the feedback.”
In terms of both mechanics and lore, the team doesn’t show any sign of slowing. World of Warcraft is a hodgepodge of fantasy tropes and heroic conquest, and that flexibility gives the team lots of room to explore. The Battle for Azeroth is deadly serious, but even the Rise of Azshara expansion shows the duality of the world. Azshara’s lair is dark and foreboding, while the lost city of Mechagon is often goofy and light-hearted. Blizzard feels this is the strength of its world.
“I think one of the interesting things about the Warcraft universe–we go to another planet and fight a titan god one day, and then other days you’re rescuing pigs in Goldshire,” Feasel said. “We can tell very different storylines. We can create very different characters. Probably one of the most fun parts of the making of World of Warcraft is lifting up a character from a nothing side-quest to be something fans really care about and follow and has a Hearthstone card made about her. It’s something that we strive toward all the time because there are so many different characters and personalities in the world to draw from. I feel like we’re just scratching the surface.”
Rise of Azshara is scheduled to release this summer. For those who prefer the retro experience, Blizzard also announced World of Warcraft Classic will launch on August 27, with a beta scheduled this week and stress tests throughout the summer. Read our interview with the project leads on bringing WoW Classic back to life, and check out the neat 15th Anniversary Collector’s Edition releasing in October.