Q: One of the things I’m really excited about in the new customization features is how its sort of allowed sub-races of a sort to get in, like Sandfury trolls and Wildhammer dwarves. And then those purple trolls who may be dark trolls or Shatterspear trolls; it’s not clear. But I wondered: it reminded me, in the pre-patch to Cataclysm they added little questlines explaining some of the new race/class combinations. Would there possibly be something similar about, like, Sandfury trolls or high elves in the Shadowlands pre-patch?
A: There are no specific plans along those lines in Shadowlands. Though I think we are planning on just broadly incorporating the range of character customization options for NPCs as well as players just across the world.
I think, in some ways we’re frankly viewing this as a bit of a retcon. Like, we’re not going to change existing named, established characters and make them look different. But, walking around Stormwind, walking around other parts of the world, you will see guards and random civilians that have these looks as if they’ve been there all along. Because frankly I think we see this as correcting an oversight on our part over the years, as well as just trying to improve representation more broadly. We are custodians of a fantasy universe and a world that we built, and we don’t want to not do the right thing because we feel shackled to a decision that was made creatively in a different era that was fifteen-plus years ago.
Now, as for details of troll clans and dwarven clans and the rest, I think as we have opportunities to do things like racial heritage lines or other race focused questlines, that’s a fun opportunity to explore those areas. But we don’t have any specific thoughts for Shadowlands right now.
With all the diversity now possible in player customization options, we’re curious if the new customization options will also be reflected on Shadowlands NPC appearances? And will existing NPCs around Azeroth (like Stormwind NPCs from Cataclysm) receive new appearances reflecting the new diverse customization options?
As with any tool we have available with us, designers will make use of it for current or future content. That may include going back to the old world, when new vendors are added, and customizing and updating some of the old NPCs in the world. But it depends on the time involved and what our bandwidth is. Our focus is always on the next expansion and the content coming up to provide the best possible game, but certainly having those available gives our designers a lot more to work with, and I would expect to see more of that diversity and customization represented in the world going forward for sure.