Blizzcon 08: WoW Q&A - Swimming Mounts, Pandaren Lore, Next Expansion?

| 11 Oct 2008 21:59

The tone of the panel was wholly casual, with the panelists joking amongst themselves and with the crowd - and not being above tossing out a jab or two at their own expense. Many of the questions covered well-treaded ground, with attendees often bringing up specific concerns pertaining to the specific class (or classes) that they played themselves.

The developers discussed the difficulties they faced in trying to walk a fine line when balancing classes and different talent trees within those classes - while they didn't want certain specs to feel like entirely separate classes that mandated a player spend all their talents in one tree, they were wary of making it absolutely essential for players to spend points in multiple trees if they didn't want to.

Of course, this isn't to say that the panel was wholly without a surprise or two. In response to a question about whether or not players would be able to use mounts indoors or in caves, Jeff Kaplan revealed that in the first content patch after Lich King - Patch 3.1, presumably - players will no longer be dismounted when entering water, because their mounts have learned how to swim.

Some of the most interesting responses came from WarCraft lore-master, Chris Metzen. While J. Allen Brack confirmed that their relationship with China and their Chinese players - a very significant portion of WoW's million-strong userbase - made it problematic to introduce the Pandaren race into the game, Metzen softened the blow. The Pandaren were near and dear to Blizzard, according to him, and they were very interested in fleshing out their lore and story at some point in the future.

When asked about where the WarCraft story would go next after Northrend and Wrath, Metzen was understandably evasive, joking that if he said too much "[he] would be shot." He did hint, however, that players shouldn't just think in terms of continents - and that whatever was coming next would be "bold."

Personally, my money's on the Emerald Dream.

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Perhaps. Although Druids are slowly turning into a class which doesn't have unique attributes, but rather gets the good stuff before everyone else. Take flying form, or running, for example.

Hope yer enjoying yourself.

Well, maybe we keep the speed increase relatively? Like, we're faster than normal swimming?

But Druids might get annoyed.

Thanks Funkadory.

I assume we won't keep the speed increase when we enter water? Or maybe we will - after all, managing the buffing and debuffing of a complex mechanic like that could prove an unnecessarily complex problem.

You say Emerald Dream; I say Maelstrom (between us we probably represent all of the possibilities left for expansions anyway). Metzen said 'shouldn't just think of continents', then surely what about hundreds of smaller islands or an a quasi-underwater setting (kinda like lots of SerpentShrine Caverns, I guess) also makes logical sense? That being said, the odds are for an 'archdruid' hero class next, and the portals to the Emerald Dream have already been firmly established across Azeroth anyway. Plus, they can make the Nightmare within as powerful as they want for another endgame boss; after all, there's not much left after Arthas.

Blizzcon 08: WoW Q&A - Swimming Mounts, Pandaren Lore, Next Expansion?

The tone of the panel was wholly casual, with the panelists joking amongst themselves and with the crowd - and not being above tossing out a jab or two at their own expense. Many of the questions covered well-treaded ground, with attendees often bringing up specific concerns pertaining to the specific class (or classes) that they played themselves.

The developers discussed the difficulties they faced in trying to walk a fine line when balancing classes and different talent trees within those classes - while they didn't want certain specs to feel like entirely separate classes that mandated a player spend all their talents in one tree, they were wary of making it absolutely essential for players to spend points in multiple trees if they didn't want to.

Of course, this isn't to say that the panel was wholly without a surprise or two. In response to a question about whether or not players would be able to use mounts indoors or in caves, Jeff Kaplan revealed that in the first content patch after Lich King - Patch 3.1, presumably - players will no longer be dismounted when entering water, because their mounts have learned how to swim.

Some of the most interesting responses came from WarCraft lore-master, Chris Metzen. While J. Allen Brack confirmed that their relationship with China and their Chinese players - a very significant portion of WoW's million-strong userbase - made it problematic to introduce the Pandaren race into the game, Metzen softened the blow. The Pandaren were near and dear to Blizzard, according to him, and they were very interested in fleshing out their lore and story at some point in the future.

When asked about where the WarCraft story would go next after Northrend and Wrath, Metzen was understandably evasive, joking that if he said too much "[he] would be shot." He did hint, however, that players shouldn't just think in terms of continents - and that whatever was coming next would be "bold."

Personally, my money's on the Emerald Dream.

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