AusGamers has slapped up an extensive interview that they did with Blizzard's J. Allen Brack and Tom Chilton during this year's Game Developers Conference. A lot of ground gets covered, but the primary topic is World of Warcraft:
AusGamers: In terms of player goods like armour and such, the question I've got here: is there any plans to introduce a dye colouring system on those to try and make those a little more unique?
Tom Chilton: Not really. We've talked about the idea of dying armour a lot before the game shipped and there were two different directions we could go. Two very different philosophies about how to approach visual customisation for player armour. One of them was to give players a lot of freedom to dye their armour and look however they want them to look. The advantage of that approach is it gives players a lot of freedom; people can look how they want to look and express themselves however they want to express themselves.
The downside being: we don't really know anything about the player by looking at them, as far as what they do in the game, what they've accomplished in the game - at that point it's kind of a random mishmash out in the world.
The other direction which you can go is the achievement based, so by accomplishing things within the game you essentially earn the right to look a certain way. And we felt like World of Wacraft was an achievement-orientated game more than a character self-expression kind of game. So that was the direction that we went.
Now within that, we're always trying to find reasonable customisation to give players, and we feel like there is more we can do in that regard then we are doing today, to give players a little bit more control about how they look - whilst still maintaining that link between the character and what they have accomplished.
AusGamers: Was there ever any thought of making World of WarCraft more of a single player experience? Maybe more soloing, stuff like that?
Tom Chilton: I guess it's just like you just said, we really factor in the solo experience quite a bit in that, a philosophy of ours that is any player should be able to level any character class from one to max level, solo. And we do things like have solo end game content with daily quests and things like that. So there is a certain amount of solo player adoption that we have. But not so much with the expectation that these players will never interact with anybody else under any circumstance. More that like there a lot of times you just want to play the game and circumstances aren't right for you to group up with other people.