WarCry Goes to Blizzard
WarCry Editor John "Can't Fake the" Funk had the privilege to visit the Blizzard development campus in Irvine, CA, as part of their 2008 Community Summit. Attendees were treated to a quick tour of the campus and then a quick luncheon with members of the Blizzard development teams.
A New Game?
During the tour, a particular building was pointed out as the studio for not just the Diablo 3 and StarCraft 2 teams, but another team working on "a project [they] haven't announced yet." Since the WoW team is located in an entirely separate building altogether, this seems to indicate that the project being worked on behind those doors would not be an update to an existing game, but rather a completely new one.
The question is: is this unannounced title another installment in one of the three iconic Blizzard franchises, or the start of a fourth?
Attendees also had the chance to sit down and chat with members of the Blizzard team over lunch. Over the course of the meal, an impromptu Q&A session formed around WoW head honcho Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan, who joked with fansite staffers about some of the more amusing bugs they'd seen in the game - Bear Fel Reavers, Seal of Black War Kodo, and Satyrs in Desolace having a 100% drop rate for the Staff of Jordan, to name a few - and shed some light on what they were working on for the future of WoW.
Kaplan agreed with one commenter who suggested that the guild life in WarCraft was lacking, and while he declined to mention many specifics (suggestions from the crowd included things like the ability to create alliances with other guilds), he acknowledged the issue and said that one of the things they'd been considering with the new Achievement system was implementing Achievements based on guild accomplishments.
When talking about the future of the game, his speech was understandably more guarded, though he did say that the team liked to plan "three patches and an expansion" ahead of where it currently was - in fact, the first patch after the update to version 3.0 was virtually complete.
WotLK will ship with a good amount of endgame PvE content - Naxxramas II, Malygos' Eye of Eternity, and the Obsidian Sanctum as far as raiders are concerned. Kaplan told attendees that the raid instance set in the ancient Titan city of Ulduar would be in the first major content update (3.1?), but would not commit to anything past that. He did hint that whatever it was that they had planned for raiders in the second major patch, though, would be something that "players will find very cool."
The battle against Arthas in Icecrown Citadel would still be the final act of the cycle no matter what. Fans of the WarCraft lore might be interested to know that the storyline revolving around the legendary sword Ashbringer - dating back to the early days right after WoW's launch - will be finally coming to a close in patch 3.3 ... or at least, that's the plan. Will it coincide with the final fight against the Lich King? Well, Jeff Kaplan and Blizzard are doing one of the things they do very well - keeping the information under wraps.
Stay tuned for pictures from the visit to the Blizzard campus as well as further coverage from Blizzcon in the Anaheim Convention Center!