In addition to the previously covered topics that came up during the small press conference with WoW Production Director J. Allen Brack and Diablo 3 Lead Designer Jay Wilson, the two answered questions on a wide range of subjects.
WoW Veteran Rewards?
Brack acknowledged that veteran rewards - gifts for players who had been with the game for a long time - were something that Blizzard had talked about implementing for Warcraft, and were certainly still on the table. However, they were not a priority at the moment with Lich King on the horizon, and Brack said that Blizzard had not liked how similar rewards had been handled in other MMORPGs.
A more general question was asked of the two: did they find that there were things players had been very excited about that they hadn't anticipated, or had there been things that the Blizzard team had thought was very exciting but that players hadn't been as receptive towards? Wilson answered that while they largely tried - and succeeded - to synchronize excitement levels between player and developer, he mentioned that the reaction to destructible environments in Diablo 3 was something where gamers' reactions to it had been particularly unexpected. They'd seen environmental destruction as a fun little side feature, but the players had been far more excited about it than they'd anticipated - along with the Witch Doctor's Wall of Zombies ability.
D3 Too Easy?
Many of the questions for Jay Wilson revolved around how Diablo 3 might differ from its beloved predecessor. In response to concerns that the demo build that had been playable was "too easy," and whether or not that would be indicative of a more casual-oriented game, Wilson reminded the audience that the playable level was, in fact, one of the earliest parts of the game - and Diablo 2's beginning dungeons hadn't been that hard either. Chuckling, he also said that they'd seen more than a few would-be adventurers perish on the game floor, so the development team wasn't worried that it was overly easy.
Other WoW Classes Starting At 55?
When Wrath of the Lich King launches, the new Death Knight class will start off at level 55 (as long as players have already reached that level with one other character on the server). Brack recognized that even with changes to make leveling easier, the trek to 80 was significantly more daunting for a level 1 than getting to 70, let alone level 60 - and for experienced players rolling alts, might just be repetitive. He said that Blizzard has talked about letting players that already possess high-level characters start new ones at an advanced level, but that there were no current plans under way to implement such a feature at this time.
The Other Guy's Game?
Both Brack and Wilson were asked what upcoming feature they were most excited for in the other's game. Jay Wilson said he was particularly enthusiastic about the ability to tackle any 25-person raid in a 10-man party, whereas J. Allen really liked the feel of the newly unveiled Wizard class, saying it simply felt "powerful."
Role of Guilds in D3?
One member of the press asked Wilson about what role guilds would potentially play in Diablo 3, wondering if they would play a larger role and be more necessary, as in the first Diablo as opposed to its sequel. Wilson said that Blizzard was intending to add guilds to the game, but hadn't yet covered what specific form they would take. He did caution, however, that since the developers didn't want to ruin the experience for a player who didn't have a guild, they would likely not be absolutely integral to the game's multiplayer.
Next WoW Expansion?
Though Chris Metzen et al dropped hints as to where players might be headed next in the World of Warcraft, Brack said that nothing had been decided for certain. When asked if - wherever the next expansions would be set - they would always add more levels, he admitted that anything was possible, and that they hated to rule anything out. However, the data that the developers had gathered indicated that the things that players enjoyed the most in WoW tended to be the questing process and what accompanied it - going new places, meeting new people, and playing through new storylines. So it was very likely that any expansions would continue to have that type of content, which went hand-in-hand with leveling up.
That isn't to say that they hadn't looked at, for instance, implementing side levels, or even that every expansion to come would always add exactly ten additional levels. No matter the specifics, though, Brack said that they did want to emphasize the quest experience in any expansions to come.
The old question of whether or not players would be able to have houses in WoW came up again at the conference, and again, Brack said that while the developers were huge fans of the concept and would love to have it in the game some day, nothing concrete was planned. He delved slightly deeper, saying that the particular issue that concerned Blizzard was what they could do to make player housing in WoW feel "cool," and what they could offer that other games didn't - it wouldn't be sufficient for them to just copy-and-paste it from, say, LotRO.