PCGamer Interview on the Battle for Azeroth Pre-Patch Controversy
11.08.2018 um 16:25
interviewed game director Ion Hazzikostas and production director John Hight on the controversy surrounding the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch story. If you need to catch up on the story, check out our
BFA Pre-Patch Lore Synopsis
Click here for the full PCGamer Interview
The interview immediately opens with a discussion of the Burning of Teldrassil. Unsurprisingly, Ion and the team had an idea that this decision would cause some controversy, sparking strong feelings in the playerbase. It was also fun for them to watch reactions behind the scenes, first outrage over "Warbringers" and then faith restored in "Old Soldier."
Hazzikostas: I think a lot of the player reaction stems from that emotional investment in people's views of Sylvanas, a character that has been prominent in the Warcraft franchise going back years and years—at this point predating WoW itself—and then of the Horde as a whole. One of the big questions in players' minds was, "Well this act seems evil. Does this act define the Horde as a whole? Does this implicitly then define me as a player who is a member of the Horde?" And that is what has kept them bound together over the years, but those differences can and will emerge. It was very interesting to see the point and counterpoint unfold as we saw the pragmatic ruthlessness of Sylvanas on display countered by the focus on honor and justice, values embodied by Saurfang most of all. Both of those are still encapsulated within "what is the Horde?"
The full reply is worth checking out; however, the answers in general tend to focus on Horde players. With major cinematics focusing Sylvanas and Saurfang, and nothing equivalent for the Alliance covering the Burning of Teldrassil, it would have been interesting to learn more about how the developers feel about the reactions of the Alliance as well.
The confusion surrounding the idea that there would be a twist with Teldrassil was also addressed. We definitely see where Ion is coming from, as well as the community interpreting "morally grey" to mean Sylvanas, not Azeroth. However, the burning of the tree clashes a bit with the Blizzard marketing effort to amplify faction pride and it would have been interesting to have that covered--perhaps players thought Sylvanas wouldn't do something horrible because of how heroic Blizzard marketing was trying to spin both factions.
Hazzikostaks: On the internet, as this giant game of telephone to some extent, things can definitely take on a life of their own. At Blizzcon 2017, I remember Alex Afrasiabi teed up the question of who struck first: The Burning of or the assault on Lordaeron? But that was before alpha. That was at the very initial announcement of Battle for Azeroth. From the time the game was in alpha, beta, and beyond, the order of events was manifestly clear through the contents within the game.
As for concerns that the story seems predictable...perhaps leading up to a repeat of Garrosh 2.0, well, Blizzard may be trying to trick us. Earlier this week, we
speculated on Sylvanas' future
We can absolutely trick you. If you think that we're doing something that's blatantly obvious and repeating itself, just stay tuned because we're probably setting you up for a surprise.
Ion also addressed the pre-patch stat squish and how that affected many parts of the game, such as
leveling getting harder
. Here he explains the culprit for all the problems in more detail:
Hazzikostas: We think the whole thing is solved. The fix that we applied—it wasn't just this blanket reduction. It was actually hand-tuned and selected values going up to 24 percent reduction in the 60 to 80 level range and tapering off above and below that. It wasn't a code bug. It's all just a lot of math. Doing the squish, we were accounting for changes to base player stats, player abilities, the gear itself becoming weaker but also the removal of the artifact weapons at the high end and trying to tune and balance players against each other in the absence of all those things. In particular, we had underestimated the impact that the artifact weapons had. So when we made changes to offset its removal, we basically undershot those changes leaving players weaker than they had been before globally.
There's much more covered in the full article, which we invite you to check out
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