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WoW Lead Producer J. Allen Brack discusses Cataclysm

Updated Mon, Aug 31, 2009 by Ethec

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Ten Ton Hammer and a number of fansites and community representatives were invited to a Blizzard press conference with J. Allen Brack, Lead Producer on World of Warcraft. We had a chance to voice a few questions from our WoW community as Brack touched on a number of hotbutton and general interest topics for WoW players.

In addition to the standard questions about lore, raid difficulty, the Warcraft movie, of particular interest were Brack's responses regarding the mood inside the studio after news of Cataclysm leaked out weeks before BlizzCon, level 80 accounts sold and "laundered" by a Battle.net merge, and why levels 1-5 weren't playable for Worgen and Goblin characters at BlizzCon.

What follows is a word for word transcript of the WoW-related questions from the press conference. Questions are in bold, responses in regular type, and we've tried to credit the person asking the questions where they stated their name and site with the question. Other questions came from the other 20 or so press and community reps present.


(Bill from WoW-Achievements) - Most of my viewers want to know about guild housing and if that would ever be implemented.

Allen Brack - That is something that we talk about, we did talk about it with this expansion. We’re kind of figuring out what the feature list was going to be; we did talk about it last expansion. So, never say never in an online game, but currently it’s not part of the plan for Cataclysm.

Would you be interested in doing something for the iPhone? Would that be something that’s exciting to you?

Yes! We just released the WoW Armory on iPhone. I think it’s natural to think about what other cool things we could do to connect the games with their phones, I think that’s awesome. We’re not currently planning on doing iPhone games - we think that’s its own kind of market. We have a team dedicated to the phone, but our game team is focused on our other games. But I’m not saying it would never happen.

WoW Lead Producer J. Allen Brack takes questions at the BlizzCon press conference.

(Jason Bolton - Ten Ton Hammer) Do you have it storyboarded out or planned out a final level cap for the game? An ending point?

Not in any way, at all. We’re very much a team that does something and learns from it. We did some stuff with Ulduar that helped inform some of the decisions we made for 3.2. I’m sure that’s going to happen with 3.3 as well, and that’s going to happen for Cataclysm. Someone asked me earlier if the reason why we did 5 levels because level 100 is the final cap; did we want to slow that down. We’ve never had a discussion like that.

So in the future, if the game goes to 100, 100 is a very large number, it’s double what the game was when it started. Are there any plans to start at level 55 or 60, so that when you’re starting out, you don’t have 100 levels to go.

That is something that we’ve talked about. One thing to mention is that although 100 is a very high number, we don’t really want the amount of time it takes for you to get to max level to change dramatically. We are on record as saying that the amount of time it took you to get to level 60, that’s the amount of time it takes you to get to level 70, same amount of time it takes you to get to level 80 and then some future level cap. The amount of leveling time we don’t want to change, so we’ll make it faster as we go along.

On the same note, could there be expansions in the future where there’s no level cap raise?

Sure, we could definitely do that. We could make an expansion that didn’t have a level cap. That’s highly theoretical and nothing we could talk about, but I think we could definitely do that.

The main boss in Burning Crusade was Illidan, Arthas is the end boss for Wrath of the Lich King. Will there be another boss between Arthas and Deathwing in Cataclysm?

We’re not going to make another end boss. We may do something. But the Lich King is the boss of Wrath of the Lich King. (laughter) His name’s in the title. Similarly, Deathwing will be the final boss of Cataclysm. There may be other things that come up that we do, but as for giant content patches, he’s the last boss.

Will any content updates come between now and Icecrown Citadel?

No, the next content patch we’re going to do is Icecrown Citadel. It’s going to have the 5-man dungeons, the 10- and 25- person raid for Arthas, and that’s the last content patch of that magnitude. There might be another small thing.

What would you say to players who don’t think there’s enough content planned before Cataclysm?

What if we released Cataclysm tomorrow? (laughter) I’m just saying that players have no idea when Cataclysm is coming out, so they don’t know how much content is available or is not available.

So...?

No! (laughter) Come on!

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