Design Insights with Ben Brode - The Dark Side of Releasing New Content
E-Sports Heroes Website, Brawl With the Blues Rexxar, Weekly Rotation and Sales
Gamereactor recently published an interview from Gamescom. The highlights are below, but be sure to watch the full thing for additional context.
- The team is never sure if they are giving out too little, enough, or too much information.
- When sharing new information, the team has to consider if they are setting themselves up for trouble later on if they end up unable to do something they talked about previously.
- They have been trying to tie expansions together better, rather than having disconnected chunks of content. This is why Garrosh led us into Warlords and Gul'dan led us into Legion.
- Once the team had settled on the concept of Legion, they couldn't think of a better time to add Demon Hunters.
- The Tomb of Sargeras was the anchor for the Broken Isles. The places and cultures related to it were then considered. The Tomb was a temple to Elune, surrounded by Night Elf civilization. That felt like a good direction to go, especially after all of the Orcs.
- The complaints about Orcs didn't go unheard, but the team knew a change of pace was coming with Legion.
- The art team does a great job of designing art that captures the fantasy of each expansion. This time, there was the expansion reveal art, Illidan fighting Gul'dan, and some more art for Blizzcon. All of this art together defines the iconic look for the expansion.
- The team is looking at all of the player feedback to see what players are most excited about and affirming that they are on the right track.
- Legion had been worked on for over a year before the announcement.
- The idea for Legion is several years old. The team was planning out several expansions and trying to decide the order of Legion and Warlords of Draenor back in 2012.
- There were already two zones in production at last year's Gamescom.
- The team is already well in process on the expansion after Legion.
- The internal alpha is still ongoing at the office in preparation for beta.
Quantity and Quality of Content
- Subscriber numbers will always fluctuate. The team tries to focus on making sure that players are happy, having fun, and excited about the game.
- When players feel like the team isn't doing a good enough job delivering content, the rate of content being added, the quality of content being added, or the type of content being added, that is what the team will focus on.
- There are a lot of things that influence subscriber numbers and some of them aren't under Blizzard's control.
- It is hard to look at World of Warcraft and say that the game isn't big enough or doesn't have enough stuff. It is a question of how the team uses the existing stuff, how replayable things are, how the progression and reward systems line up to create a satisfying experience, are players social enough, is there a good mix of single player and social activities. The way content is used is more important than the quantity produced.
- The team is committed to quality, but it can't come at the expense of quantity and getting things in player's hands. If the team is spending a long time to make something perfect and players are starving for content, that isn't doing the right thing.
- The team needs to give players a reason to keep playing the content that they enjoy, as well as giving them more to do.
- Progression is a huge part of the game. When progression is done well, the game does better and people are happier and having more fun.
- Players often say they have the most fun during the start of the expansion when there is so much to do. After that the progression options narrow, as the main focus is on increasing your item level. Artifacts are an alternative path that keep things interesting and relevant.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Ghostcrawler still occasionally talks about WoW. Remember that he no longer works for or speaks for Blizzard.
Originally Posted by MMO-ChampionI really have hard time believing that throwing money at artists won't solve the art issue. Even with high standards ..
Recruiting is a slow process as long as you value your company culture. Money can only speed that up so much. (OccupyGStreet)
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