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  1. #1
    The Unstoppable Force Teriz's Avatar
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    Remarks from former WoW designer gives insight on WoW's classes

    I haven't seen this posted here. I came across this Reddit AMA from a few years ago where former WoW game designer Kevin Jordan discusses how they came up with WoW's original classes, and kind of shows how we didn't end up with certain classes;

    Our original goal for the 9 classes we settled on was to bring in all the hero classes from the Warcraft RTS games. We also wanted them to be open ended concepts so that various races could attach to it and make it their own. For example, we didn't set out to make the Dwarven Mountain King, Tauren Chieftain and Orc Berserker. We made the Warrior, so that any of those could become a reality based on other choices made by the player (race, weapons, etc., note that this was before talents were dreamed up).

    After we had the basics covered, we also wanted to have a freak class that was unusual and different from the standard RPG tropes. It came down to two choices. The Warlock and the Runemaster. Warlock KO'd Runemaster! :P

    So this sort of explains why something like Warden, PotM, or Dark Rangers didn't make the cut. They were too race-specific. Instead they merged related concepts into 9 major classes. Additionally we have some level of confirmation that the goal of WoW class design was indeed to bring the hero classes from the RTS into the MMO. Considering the classes in WoW, that design goal still seems to be in effect. Also quite interesting that the Warlock beat out the Runemaster. It would be interesting to see what would have happened without a Warlock in the original lineup. Would that have paved the way for a Necromancer class? Would Runemaster have replaced the eventual Monk class?

    In the case of Demon Hunters and Death Knights;

    We talked about the Demon Hunter throughout WoW's early development and how to actually pull it off. It is very specific and so iconic and Night Elf Dual Wield Warrior wasn't actually getting all the way there. I'm not surprised that they finally added it as it's own thing.

    To be honest, I was probably too conservative with my approach to classes. One of the most requested features by players was new classes and that's what all the other games were doing. For me, I felt like there wasn't any space to add more classes as we already had the three roles covered (Tank/DPS/Healer) so why add more classes? I preferred the hero class idea that evolved the class you already were into something more specific but it didn't have the same splash in the marketing announcements and it was a tougher thing to pull off across 9 classes x3 specs. Different schools of thought at the end of the day.
    Seems to confirm earlier reporting that the Demon Hunter was always desired by the development team.

    Also interesting that one of the original devs felt that there wasn't a need for more classes after the original 9.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/wow/comment...ordan_classes/

  2. #2
    The Insane Val the Moofia Boss's Avatar
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    We made the Warrior, so that any of those could become a reality based on other choices made by the player (race, weapons, etc., note that this was before talents were dreamed up).
    Interesting he says this. To this day, you still can't play as an actual Tauren from the RTS. There is no log weapon for you to swing.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Teriz View Post
    Also interesting that one of the original devs felt that there wasn't a need for more classes after the original 9.
    I don't think that's particularly interesting, I find it quit obvious. Adding a new class takes away possible ways to develop existing classes, or even takes away existing traits from a class and give it to another (like Metamorphosis). So I never really get why people are so obsessed with adding new classes.

  4. #4
    Glad to know that, even back then, they considered "flavor fantasy" based on race + class combination. Now if they just take that next step and implement a system via Glyphs to further that.

  5. #5
    Titan Grimbold21's Avatar
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    To be honest, when I hear Runemaster I think of a mix between a Warrior and a Shaman or Druid, than I do a Monk

  6. #6
    The Unstoppable Force Teriz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimbold21 View Post
    To be honest, when I hear Runemaster I think of a mix between a Warrior and a Shaman or Druid, than I do a Monk
    I do remember a developer remarking that the Runemaster was similar to the class from the TTRPG, which was monk-like;

    https://wowpedia.fandom.com/wiki/Runemaster

  7. #7
    Old God Al Gorefiend's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teriz View Post
    I haven't seen this posted here. I came across this Reddit AMA from a few years ago where former WoW game designer Kevin Jordan discusses how they came up with WoW's original classes, and kind of shows how we didn't end up with certain classes;




    So this sort of explains why something like Warden, PotM, or Dark Rangers didn't make the cut. They were too race-specific. Instead they merged related concepts into 9 major classes. Additionally we have some level of confirmation that the goal of WoW class design was indeed to bring the hero classes from the RTS into the MMO. Considering the classes in WoW, that design goal still seems to be in effect. Also quite interesting that the Warlock beat out the Runemaster. It would be interesting to see what would have happened without a Warlock in the original lineup. Would that have paved the way for a Necromancer class? Would Runemaster have replaced the eventual Monk class?

    In the case of Demon Hunters and Death Knights;



    Seems to confirm earlier reporting that the Demon Hunter was always desired by the development team.

    Also interesting that one of the original devs felt that there wasn't a need for more classes after the original 9.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/wow/comment...ordan_classes/

    And you know a class concept that isn't covered by anything? and the closest thing to that fantasy is a gnome hunter?

    You know what, Teriz.

    Tinker 2022.

    Actually wild it wasn't conceptualized from the start, probably because Goblins weren't an original Horde race. I could see Tinker as one of the original 9 if Goblins existed since vanilla, then it'd be just like Druid.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Puri View Post
    So I never really get why people are so obsessed with adding new classes.
    It depends on what matters to someone.

    For me, I'm always more into the lore than mechanics. I mean, I still need the gameplay to be solid and not buggy and ultimately fun, but it's the flavor that draws me in.

    For instance, I still want Spellbreaker or some sort of other War Mage type class. Mechanically, we already have melee classes that use magic. Flavor-wise, all of the magic/melee classes have very specific lore. An arcane-based melee class has its own flavor and depending on how they do it that flavor can be much more open-ended (even Spellbreaker has been expanded past its original blood elf-specific real life origin).

    This is also the reason some existing race/class combinations bother me and I've campaigned for "class skins". Sunwalkers have very different lore than the rest of the paladins, but as long as they're using all their gear, all their icons, and all their abilities, they're not Sunwalkers, they're just paladins. I don't mind them sharing mechanics, but when they share everything there's something missing for some of us.
    Last edited by Jokubas; 2021-12-28 at 11:42 PM.

  9. #9
    Interesting

    See above about classes.

    The Demon Hunter fit into the Warrior class. We figured players would make a night elf warrior with dual wield and voila! On top of that we would offer some system (Hero Classes, Talents or something) that would really help them cement that feeling of being a Demon Hunter.

    We got the talents, but instead of Hero Classes the Demon Hunter was made its own class (I was gone by then).
    Makes alot of classes possible

  10. #10
    I think we all know what this thinly veiled thread is actually meant to be about....

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by qwerty123456 View Post
    I think we all know what this thinly veiled thread is actually meant to be about....
    Well of course it will be derailed in to that soon.

  12. #12
    Overall I think the decisions made by the developers early on were fairly solid ones. Trying to cover the iconic heroes was a noble goal, but one that obviously is cripplingly narrow in some places. Making the classes a bit more archetypal, but not overly so, was a good compromise.

    Demon Hunter is an interesting slippery little concept there, too. It was extremely narrow, but also so insanely iconic. I think this gives a little more context to skipping Burning Crusade and waiting for Legion. They didn't just need an expansion where the concept was relevant. Having time to expand the lore a bit helped as well, not to mention having broken other precedents by then, so an extremely race-selection-limited class didn't feel so odd.

    I personally feel like they may have made a mistake with Warlock though. A lot of Warlocks in canon were technically shaman or mages who simply used forbidden spells. That's a place they could have expanded those classes later. Also, between this and the origin of the Forsaken (some devs wanting to literally play the Scourge), there seemed to be a group of devs who really wanted to be able to play evil characters, and the game has struggled poorly with that concept to this day. Also, I just think Runemaster would have provided just that more extra variety in the classes at the time. Honestly, to this day Warlock has struggled to find its own niche which wasn't helped by the fact that it borrowed from Demon Hunter to be more distinct earlier on, only for Demon Hunter to eventually happen and make Warlock look even more redundant. The pet class element being a Necromancer class definitely would have stood out more, even against Death Knight, I think. At the very least I'm convinced the green fire should be default on Warlocks nowadays, because they just come across as a weird mage variant early on.

    I think the most disappointing thing about the observations they made back then is how they seem to have failed to continue to take some of this in consideration going forward. These thought processes are definitely along the lines of a sort of "class skin" thing, but even with that we still don't have Tauren fighting with totems, as mentioned earlier in this thread.
    Last edited by Jokubas; 2021-12-28 at 11:59 PM.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by qwerty123456 View Post
    I think we all know what this thinly veiled thread is actually meant to be about....

    It is inevitable. Don't rush an apocalypse.

  14. #14
    Arguably wow could of likely done with less classes at launch. A lot of specs where unplayable and reworked or imagined constantly just look at arcane.

    I'm not against the concept of more classes but I would want them to both fit into the game and have a mechanic that won't actively damage. Perhaps a class designed specifically to fight mid range at the 20 yards mark? I can't think of much else that wouldn't be copy pasted or rehashed.

  15. #15
    The Unstoppable Force Teriz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jokubas View Post
    Overall I think the decisions made by the developers early on were fairly solid ones. Trying to cover the iconic heroes was a noble goal, but one that obviously is cripplingly narrow in some places. Making the classes a bit more archetypal, but not overly so, was a good compromise.

    Demon Hunter is an interesting slippery little concept there, too. It was extremely narrow, but also so insanely iconic. I think this gives a little more context to skipping Burning Crusade and waiting for Legion. They didn't just need an expansion where the concept was relevant. Having time to expand the lore a bit helped as well, not to mention having broken other precedents by then, so an extremely race-selection-limited class didn't feel so odd.

    I personally feel like they may have made a mistake with Warlock though. A lot of Warlocks in canon were technically shaman or mages who simply used forbidden spells. That's a place they could have expanded those classes later. Also, between this and the origin of the Forsaken (some devs wanting to literally play the Scourge), there seemed to be a group of devs who really wanted to be able to play evil characters, and the game has struggled poorly with that concept to this day. Also, I just think Runemaster would have provided just that more extra variety in the classes at the time. Honestly, to this day Warlock has struggled to find its own niche which wasn't helped by the fact that it borrowed from Demon Hunter to be more distinct earlier on, only for Demon Hunter to eventually happen and make Warlock look even more redundant. The pet class element being a Necromancer class definitely would have stood out more, even against Death Knight, I think. At the very least I'm convinced the green fire should be default on Warlocks nowadays, because they just come across as a weird mage variant early on.

    I think the most disappointing thing about the observations they made back then is how they seem to have failed to continue to take some of this in consideration going forward. These thought processes are definitely along the lines of a sort of "class skin" thing, but even with that we still don't have Tauren fighting with totems, as mentioned earlier in this thread.
    I think the benefit of using the WC3 heroes is that they covered a lot of ground in terms of standard RPG classes, yet also allowed Blizzard to put their spin on things.

    I agree though that at this point we should be getting more race-based stuff like Totems for Tauren or Blademaster swords for Orcs.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Teriz View Post
    I think the benefit of using the WC3 heroes is that they covered a lot of ground in terms of standard RPG classes, yet also allowed Blizzard to put their spin on things.

    I agree though that at this point we should be getting more race-based stuff like Totems for Tauren or Blademaster swords for Orcs.
    I think we technically have blade master swords though they are old and low poly. Wouldn't hurt for a touch up. Totems woukd require another animation set and do look kind of silly though.

  17. #17
    It's an unspoken, or I guess maybe often unrealized, element of the division between casual and hardcore, or casual and competitive. Where you stand, how you feel about the various elements, is subjective, but the fact that there are different perspectives is objective.

    I'm reminded of Street Fighter 3, which basically tried to start fresh with a whole new generation of characters, and how they had to be convinced to put in any legacy characters. The game proceeded to tank the franchise for years. Some competitive players were frustrated, but eventually got a sizeable fandom to appreciate the solid mechanics of the game. Whether you were in it for the characters or the gameplay, the fact of the matter is that people exist for both. No matter which we prefer, the other isn't wrong or mistaken, it's a different reason for being there to begin with.

    Certainly, someone can want more classes and think it'll add more to the gameplay without that actually being so, but they can want more classes without being naive about the limits of distinct gameplay to go along with them.

    It's more obvious with races, since they're mostly cosmetic to begin with, but classes are a companion to the very same sort of identity.

  18. #18
    The Unstoppable Force Teriz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candlewick View Post
    Arguably wow could of likely done with less classes at launch. A lot of specs where unplayable and reworked or imagined constantly just look at arcane.

    I'm not against the concept of more classes but I would want them to both fit into the game and have a mechanic that won't actively damage. Perhaps a class designed specifically to fight mid range at the 20 yards mark? I can't think of much else that wouldn't be copy pasted or rehashed.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jokubas View Post
    It's an unspoken, or I guess maybe often unrealized, element of the division between casual and hardcore, or casual and competitive. Where you stand, how you feel about the various elements, is subjective, but the fact that there are different perspectives is objective.

    I'm reminded of Street Fighter 3, which basically tried to start fresh with a whole new generation of characters, and how they had to be convinced to put in any legacy characters. The game proceeded to tank the franchise for years. Some competitive players were frustrated, but eventually got a sizeable fandom to appreciate the solid mechanics of the game. Whether you were in it for the characters or the gameplay, the fact of the matter is that people exist for both. No matter which we prefer, the other isn't wrong or mistaken, it's a different reason for being there to begin with.

    Certainly, someone can want more classes and think it'll add more to the gameplay without that actually being so, but they can want more classes without being naive about the limits of distinct gameplay to go along with them.

    It's more obvious with races, since they're mostly cosmetic to begin with, but classes are a companion to the very same sort of identity.
    I think your arguments here kind of explains why we've only had 3 new classes in almost 20 years of WoW. I wouldn't be surprised if we only get 1 more new class and that's it.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Teriz View Post
    I think your arguments here kind of explains why we've only had 3 new classes in almost 20 years of WoW. I wouldn't be surprised if we only get 1 more new class and that's it.
    Even one woukd be pushing it... they ran out of ideas for a DH third spec. Unless they are willing to throw away a lot of balance though there are a lot of limits on what you can and cannot do.

  20. #20
    The Unstoppable Force Teriz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al Gorefiend View Post
    And you know a class concept that isn't covered by anything? and the closest thing to that fantasy is a gnome hunter?

    You know what, Teriz.

    Tinker 2022.

    Actually wild it wasn't conceptualized from the start, probably because Goblins weren't an original Horde race. I could see Tinker as one of the original 9 if Goblins existed since vanilla, then it'd be just like Druid.
    That would be the logical conclusion, since it is the final RTS hero alongside the Goblin Alchemist whose abilities have never appeared in the class lineup.

    That doesn't mean it would appear in the next expansion though. Blizzard could hold off new class inclusion for multiple expansions like they did with Shadowlands. Interestingly, the lack of a new class in Shadowlands sort of reinforces the idea that Blizzard's class goals was to bring the RTS heroes into WoW as classes.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Candlewick View Post
    Even one woukd be pushing it... they ran out of ideas for a DH third spec. Unless they are willing to throw away a lot of balance though there are a lot of limits on what you can and cannot do.
    I'm rather shocked that the DH is still only running 2 specs when Hearthstone has shown a rather realistic concept for a DH third spec that players would be very excited for;



    https://hearthstone.fandom.com/wiki/Ace_Hunter_Kreen
    Last edited by Teriz; 2021-12-29 at 02:09 AM.

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