We got a chance to sit down with J. Allen Brack, the lead producer for World of Warcraft, during BlizzCon - the two-day all-Blizzard-all-the-time fest. Brack talked about the upcoming patch and the recently announced second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King.
“Northrend has been part of WoW’s development for some time, it has a long history in Warcraft 3,” said Brack. “Back in the early days we actually talked about adding it with original continents, but that obviously didn’t happen.”
But will green become the new purple again? Jittery players are already wondering if the end-game in Burning Crusade is going to be worth the time and effort.
Brack acknowledged the problem, but said “One of the things [we had to consider] is what if you are not in a hardcore raiding guild, how would you feel about going up ten levels? And if you are a hardcore raider, how would you feel about going up 10 levels and not getting any drops?”
He said they are considering many, including making tier four and tier five items upgradeable via questing, much like the tier 0 to tier .5 quests in the original game. “It’s definitely one of the things we are thinking about,” he said.
Also introduced in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion will be WoW’s first hero class, the Death Knight. “It is not going to unbalance the game. Obviously, that would break the game,” Brack explained. “It will have new abilities that will be exciting. But the class designers want to make sure every class has a part to play.”
So will this mean no raids consisting of 23 Death Knights and two complaining priests?
“In order for raids to be successful, you’re still going to need warlocks, still going to need rogues. I have a lot of love for my main, I’ll play my Death Knight, but I’ll also play my main,” continued Brack.
So now that most people have grinded at least one toon (that’s your avatar, for the uninitiated) to 70 and started on one or two more, the announced expansion seems to promise more of the same experience and rep grind. “Those things were so incredibly painful and you had to grind for hours and hours,” said Brack. “We’re always looking at that, it’s just looking at the balance of time spent to items earned.”