World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor Interview

AusGamers has treated us to an interview with Blizzard Entertainment's Ion Hazzikostas about their soon-to-be-released World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor expansion pack, the evolution and future of the venerable MMORPG, and more. Check it out:

AusGamers: From the gear, you've removed the secondary stats like Hit and Expertise, also Dodge and Parry. I know when it was Hit and Expertise it would be something where you would have a certain amount of points needed for each one to work and then anything more was kind of redundant. Was this the reason behind removing them -- were these too confusing for players and you wanted to streamline the stats a bit more?

Ion: That was exactly it. It wasn't just confusing but hit and expertise were actively anti-fun. We want our stats to feel good about making you more powerful. When you get lots of haste you should feel your spells actually casting faster, so that should make you feel more powerful. When you didn't have enough hit a lot of our core combat mechanics just broke down. You have a rotation that you use on a target but, (oh no my flame shot missed and that has a cool down, well now my whole rotation is broken because '˜A' isn't there so I can't do '˜B'). So really you needed to get a certain amount of hit and expertise for the game to feel right, but once you had that unlocked anything over that also felt bad. It was this bizarre constraint, it was this penalty if you didn't have it but never actually made your life better so we are happy to get rid of it.

Dodge and Parry was a little bit of a different story. Players were more actively avoiding those stats over the course of Mists of Pandaria. They used to be core tank stats just because there was nothing better out there. Once we added in active mitigation, where other stats could give you a more active, visceral and, more perceptible role in keeping yourself alive, because it allowed you to push your defensive cool downs more frequently. Those stats were more attractive than, (Well I'm 2% more likely to dodge). So we moved in the direction of armour as a tank stat which is less random, much more predictable and, much more discernible. (Ok my armour is 3% higher now because I've stacked some of this on my jewellery, and so now I'm just taking less damage from all melee attacks across the board and I can immediately see the benefit that it's doing for me).

AusGamers: Looking back at the quest system and the way that has evolved since the original release what would you say is the biggest change you are bringing in this expansion set?

Ion: With regards to outdoor questing in particular I think striking a somewhat different balance between the core storyline for a given zone, and the optional side-quests which you can explore. In the past in a lot of our zones doing a full completion of a zone, just seeing all of the story in the main plot line let's say, using the example of during Mists of Pandaria in Valley of the Four Winds and Krasarang Wilds, if you wanted to complete a zone and see the culminating event at the end of it, you basically had to do every single quest from the zones, covering the entirety of both of them, and if you missed something along the way then the finale event wouldn't trigger and you would have to go back and figure out what you skipped. Now we are calling out much more clearly this core series of quests in your tracker for a given zone that lets you know that this is the main path that you are going to follow. But off the path are side-quests where you can go, they are completely optional and not mandatory to progress the main story but if you want to do stuff there you can. Furthermore there are other areas on the map where there are just bonus objectives, creatures to kill like rare spawns, and little events like those on Timeless Isle which you may come across.