Blizzard is one of the busiest game developers on the West Coast although it may not seem like that from the amount of games they release and the time in between them. In the middle of finishing the heavily anticipated Diablo III, along with the second and third installments of StarCraft II, on top of their next MMO, it’s safe to say they are one of the workhorses in the industry. So with their award winning World of Warcraft seemingly winding down, one would think that Blizzard has enough on their plate to keep themselves satisfied.
Lead systems designer Greg Street – AKA “Ghostcrawler” on the World of Warcraft forums – tackled the subject in an informal interview with Eurogamer. Street discussed the future of WoW, along with what Blizzard would like to see happen with the franchise, and even where they would like to see some of their IPs in the future.
A big topic of discussion was the possibility of overhauling the talent system to rejuvenate the game, while also bringing in new players. Street admitted that while he and his team would love the challenge, he understands that fans and players may not see it as a “good thing”:
“We’d love to. The challenge is that, as designers we can always come up with better systems. Then you run the risk of the players not understanding that it’s better. Even if you end up with a better system, the shock of change could be enough to really turn players off. It’s really risky messing with something that ingrained in the game.”
While you may not have to worry about your “Arcane Tactics” talent being screwed around with, one of the updates that Street wants to implement in a future patch, is the inclusion of additional difficulties for players:
“We have a very wide variety of player skill. I look at a lot of other games and see that they might offer five difficulty levels – but we really only offer two. That’s something we talk about a lot, do we need to offer more difficulty levels?”
As to where WoW is going in the future, Street has his eyes set on the iOS devices, wanting to tap into the potential for mobile MMO gaming. The struggle would be similar to the issues with console gaming however, where the prime focus would be the appropriate interface.
“Everyone I know here has an iPhone or an iPad so we’re huge fans of the hardware,” he said. “If we could make the right game changes to make that work, it’s something we’d be interested in. It’s not something you’re going to see in the next week or two, but it’s the kind of thing we’re always looking at.”
With all that’s happening behind Blizzard’s closed doors, it seems that WoW is still high on their priority list, not wanting to take anything away from the fans that have built the series.
“We’ll keep working as long as the players keep playing the game. It doesn’t look like the game is going anywhere soon.”
The latest World of Warcraft patch, “Rage of the Firelands.” Launches at the end of this month.