World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Q&A - Questions for the Lead Designer

The lead game designer of World of Warcraft answers our questions about the eagerly awaited expansion for the smash online role-playing game.

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With a reported 6 million subscribers and counting, World of Warcraft is easily the most popular online role-playing game on the planet. Now the developers at Blizzard are working on World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, the first major expansion for the game. The Burning Crusade will introduce a lot of new content to the World of Warcraft experience, including new races, new areas of the world to explore, new quests, and much, much more. We're big fans of the game ourselves, so we jumped at the chance to get some questions regarding the expansion answered by the lead game designer of World of Warcraft himself. The Burning Crusade is due out later this year.

This is a blood elf mage in the Terokkar forests. The blood elves are one of the two new races in the expansion.

GameSpot: Will The Burning Crusade be primarily aimed at World of Warcraft veterans who have hit level 60, or will new players or less-advanced players find value in it as well? In other words, will you need to be a high-level character to enjoy the content in the expansion?

Jeffrey Kaplan: The Burning Crusade will draw in completely new players as well as less-advanced players, in addition to appealing to the World of Warcraft veterans. We'll be adding two new races to the game, complete with a new starting experience for both of those races. For example, the blood elves (our new Horde race) will be able to adventure through Eversong Forest and the Ghostlands. Eversong is the equivalent to a zone such as Elwynn or Tirisfal Glades, and Ghostlands is roughly the same level range as Westfall or Loch Modan. So, as you can see, there will be brand new content for people starting right at level one.

GS: You've given the Horde a "pretty" race with the blood elves; can we assume that the new Alliance race will conversely be considered the "ugly" members of that faction?

JK: With the Alliance race, our goal wasn't to make an "ugly" race. Our goal was to make a "cool" race. We thought of races that fit into the Warcraft lore and complemented the Alliance. We also thought of races that fit this particular expansion, The Burning Crusade, and the Outland and started from there. But from the beginning, we wanted to pick something cool. At the end of the day, we needed to approach it as a player and ask ourselves, "Would I want to play that race?" Personally, I am very excited about our choice.

GS: Will The Burning Crusade add much content to Azeroth's existing territories, or will it all be on the new continent? If new quests and such are going to appear in Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, will players without the expansion be able to undertake them?

JK: We're adding content to both existing continents as well as to the zones specific to The Burning Crusade. We'll also be opening some dungeons in the old continents such as Karazhan in Azeroth and Caverns of Time in Kalimdor. Many new quests will be integrated to the existing cities that pertain to the expansion. Because this content is part of the expansion, players will need to purchase The Burning Crusade to engage in it.

GS: What sort of system will The Burning Crusade have for socketed items, and how does it compare to the item-socketing system in Diablo II: Lord of Destruction?

This fellow here is a blood elf rogue.

JK: The system will be fairly similar to that of Diablo II, along with some nuances that will make it unique to World of Warcraft. For example, we plan to introduce a new type of gem that grants bonuses that depend on the other types of gems your character is using. In addition, players will be able to overwrite gems, but at the cost of the gem they are replacing.

GS: When creating new content in The Burning Crusade, do you prioritize the needs of large guilds and raiding parties, or do you place equal importance on players who prefer to quest alone or with small groups of friends?

JK: We realize that we need to cater to many needs. Our hope is to create quality content for people of various play styles. No one play style is prioritized over any other. We've really learned a lot from providing live content since the release of World of Warcraft. We're hoping to take what we've learned since release and do a better job when it comes to providing content in The Burning Crusade and after.

GS: What details can you tell us about the new jewelcrafting profession? Will craftable trinkets, rings, and necklaces require the jewelcrafting skill to equip, or will you be able to give them to anyone?

JK: Not only will jewelcrafters be able to interact with the socketed-items system, they'll also be able to create various wearable items such as rings, necklaces, and trinkets. Most of the items jewelcrafters create can be sold to other players, with some being reserved for jewelcrafters themselves.

GS: Tell us more about epic flying mounts. Will these be purchasable, or are they obtained only through questing? Will it require a large raid group? Do the mounts vary depending on player race, or are there only a couple types?

JK: Flying mounts will be obtained through a quest chain with some cost involved. For the basic flying mount, a raid group will not be required. We're hoping to have some variety in our flying-mount models so players can distinguish themselves.

GS: How will it affect the game if you don't have the expansion? Will you be locked out of certain areas? Will you not have access to certain types of new content unless you get the expansion? What happens if you join a group that's going into an expansion area, but you don't have it?

JK: If you do not have the expansion, you'll still be able to go to all of the zones you currently can, as well as access the content there. You won't, however, be able to get expansion quests or travel to expansion zones.

Behold the cliffs of Nagrand.

GS: Finally, could you share a very cool experience or story that you've had while playing The Burning Crusade? We want to give our readers an idea of just what's going to be cool and different about the expansion.

JK: So far, the coolest experience I've had was boarding a flying mount in a zone called Nagrand and flying out over the plains. I think anyone who has ridden a gryphon or wyvern in World of Warcraft has fantasized about being able to steer it in any direction they want. The freedom and beauty of flying over the expansion lands was really exhilarating.

GS: Thank you, Jeff.

Discussion

19 comments
NandoSupes
NandoSupes

just in case anyone wants to pre-order the collectors edition of WoW the Burning Crusade, go to cduniverse.com they seem to have some copies left, I just pre-ordered mine.

lordiemos
lordiemos

Will the expansion be a Download or will the players have to buy the expansion?

speedyf40
speedyf40

psycho_wombat says "Blizzard has a lot of very devoted fans who are willing to fork over some extra cash for the extra content." Its sad cuz you are right. Even though I complained in my first post, I am still going to buy it....

poundposer
poundposer

I don't think wisps are the new alliance race. I believe it was a joke from blizzard on april fool's day. First i thought it was the official too but i was embarassed with my friend told me it was nothing but a joke.

videogmark
videogmark

Well...i like these blood elves they look realy kool but WISPS!!!! i mean COME ON!!!! alliance deserves something better than wisps. Who wants to fly like there dead all day long and hav no moves but blowing themselves open. Blizzard defently rushed that cause im mostly alliance player and i cant believe that we get wisps while horde gets kool blood elves. good info on this page 2.

Jazic
Jazic

Still no mention of the new Alliance race? And the controllable griphon type mounts are gonna be so freakin cool. And btw I'm so glad you idiots can count your posts, I bet your Mom is so proud. Eww I'm 12stist someone give me a cookie!

flareman
flareman

i tried playing world of warcraft in my old pc with just a 64mb geforce 2mx440,and *amn i had lots of errors in it.Some characters didnt appear on my screen!but with my new card maybe i cud play burning crusade as well.radeon 9550 256agp 8x(i know ,u cant call it that new)

SpookyX
SpookyX

Oh come on, Blizzard has been pretty good about giving content without an expansion. Most MMORPGs have expansions and knowing Blizzard they are going to do something that is just half-baked. Have faith in them.

psycho_wombat
psycho_wombat

Because it's profitable this way. Blizzard has a lot of very devoted fans who are willing to fork over some extra cash for the extra content. Look at all of the money they're already paying for subscriptions to this service. This move will certainly alienate a few players who will resent the fact that they would need to pay even more to access everything, but most people will either buy the upgrade or just continue to play the same game they've already been enjoying.

dryden555
dryden555

Not sure why this isn't a free patch unless there's a lot more new stuff than 2 new races and new quests.

cmoney__9127
cmoney__9127

Idk... it doesn't really look that special... o wow so we got some albino night elves and friends... and some new areas. I really wont be happy unless they came with a wave of new creatures, armor, items, and quests for us lower, poorer levels who can't afford anything (anyone less then 40 or who ever can't buy a mount). I also wish they made the guild a little more meaningful other than just using it to get items you can't get yourself or showing off items you got and no one else can. Yes ik of guild raids but how about a guild arena? (the battlegrounds doesnt count) and speaking of battle grounds i think there should be more than one kind of match besides CTF. Now dont get me wrong... i am getting this to try it first hand but from what ive seen its nothing to to big...

whiplash
whiplash

I'm too tired of farming in WOW to care anymore. I've gone over to the Guild Wars camp, and life is good there. PVP is balanced, rewarding, and best of all, free. I can't wait for their Factions expansion!!! Go check it out and join the converted in the Competitive Arenas zone :)

lionel_k
lionel_k

whooo flying over the land freely!!!! i think its time to buy that game lol!!

Impulse7
Impulse7

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