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Developer Interview for World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

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I had the chance to take part in an interview with Brian Birmingham and Ana Resendez in advance of the official release of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Classic. They both work as lead software engineers on the classic WoW expansion for the Lich King. Here are some of the interview’s highlights from the wide range of subjects that were covered.

Features: Should They Be Added?

One of the features in Retail WoW that makes finding parties to complete dungeons exceedingly quick and simple is the dungeon finder. However, it is frequently highlighted as something that contributed to weakening the sense of community among players because we weren’t naturally joining groups on our own and kept running into the same faces, which strengthens community bonds and new friendships. Birmingham brought up the fact that they promised not to add Dungeon Finder back in if they ever returned to Wrath from the very beginning of Classic.

The team had to reconsider their position because the community has voiced a strong demand for it. He continued, saying  “the biggest argument we hear against it is ‘if you don’t like it, don’t use it,’ but it doesn’t really work that way. Once it’s available in an ecosystem, it tends to leach players away because it’s so convenient.” This is accurate; the first time around, we saw that play out with WoW. The number of gamers wanting to form groups in various ways crashed as soon as we were able to automatically queue for items. It’s simpler to add your group to the queue than it is to use other techniques to recruit people, even if you were just attempting to find one extra person. So either you have to implement an automatic dungeon finder and understand how it will affect the community, or you can’t include it in the game. With it, there is no genuine room for compromise.

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The developers had also considered merging the raid lockouts for raids with between 10 and 25 participants. Many guilds felt under pressure in Wrath to undertake weekly 10 man and 25 man raids in order to increase their chances of obtaining gear. This was troublesome mostly because it lengthened the time required for raiding, and playing the same content twice as often can result in players becoming fatigued twice as quickly. A further stressor on raid groups in Wrath was the inability to easily divide a 25 man raid into two 10 man raids. This specifically became a problem with Trial of the Crusader because there were suddenly four versions of every raid instead of only two after Heroic difficulty was enabled.

Birmingham said they had gotten a lot of feedback from players who preferred to play one version of the raid with their buddies and the other with pick-up groups and didn’t want the lockouts shared. He gave this explanation of their solution: “So what we decided is actually, it wasn’t really a problem until Trial of the crusader, so we’d really like to try the Ulduar model where the lockout is split between 25 man and 10 man so you can do each of those in a week. But still, the Heroic versions are something you can do optionally inside the normal version, so we are going to try and see if we can do that for Trial of the Crusader.” Sincerely, this is a great answer. I’ve always been disappointed that they switched away from having the difficulty of the fight alter as a result of people acting differently during the fight. Each solution has trade-offs, but if they can successfully implement it in ToC, it would be nice to see that applied to ICC as well.

The new user interface (UI) that will be included with the Dragonflight expansion was also brought up, along with the chance that some of it might make its way into the Classic branch as well. Birmingham stated that it is something they may be able to incorporate in portions, highlighting in particular the capacity to rearrange additional elements on the UI. He added, “One of the things that we were really happy about with the initial Classic release, I know I’m one of them I really enjoyed the way it looked, was bringing the original UI for folks who were nostalgic for it. We put a lot of effort into making sure that when you first start the game, you think, “Oh, yeah, I remember this; this is how it looked.” In light of this, it’s probably doubtful that Classic will receive the same comprehensive UI revamp that DF is receiving, but players could see some aspect appear if the community wants it.

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Tougher heroic dungeons

According to a recent interview, phase two of Wrath Classic will also include harsher Heroic Dungeons. Although there has been a significant departure from how Wrath operated in the past, ultimately, this should be a good thing. It will definitely serve as a bit of a catch-up mechanic for players, which will make it simpler for raids to backfill their teams when the first tier is complete. This raises several issues, one of which is whether the Heroic+ dungeons will stop rewarding rare gear and start solely dropping epics.

Birmingham quickly clarified that he was unaware of the precise strategy being used to deal with treasure in Heroic+ because it was still being developed. He did, however, state that he thinks it is currently intended for the additional stuff that drops to be genuine additional loot. You will receive both the new epic loot and the rare gear that typically drops in Heroic. The player will still be able to go back and complete the ordinary Heroic version of the dungeons to obtain those rare items and be able to obtain the enchanting mats that way, he added, if that isn’t how they decide to go about it.

This entire interview was a fantastic opportunity to go over some of the information we already knew and to get a glimpse of what is coming up for Wrath Classic. When phase two is released, some people could be disappointed by the concept of changing some aspects of raiding and the addition of Heroic+, but these modifications could make Wrath Classic even greater than it was. Although Wrath had many positive reviews, there were also several significant drawbacks. It is amazing to watch the development team address these problems by coming up with fresh approaches.

At 3 p.m. PDT on September 26, Wrath of the Lich King Classic will be live worldwide. To find out what time zone you are in, go to the Wrath Classic launch page.

As Editor here at GeekReply, I'm a big fan of all things Geeky. Most of my contributions to the site are technology related, but I'm also a big fan of video games. My genres of choice include RPGs, MMOs, Grand Strategy, and Simulation. If I'm not chasing after the latest gear on my MMO of choice, I'm here at GeekReply reporting on the latest in Geek culture.

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Frostpunk 2 offers a thrilling combination of post-apocalyptic survival strategy and intense political maneuvering

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Frostpunk 2 is the follow-up to a morally challenging strategy game that has captivated players, and it appears that even more difficult decisions await in the sequel. The game is set to release on PC and Xbox Series X|S on July 25th, with plans for a later release on PS5. Thanks to IGN, we were treated to an in-depth preview of 11 Bit Studios’ dark and gritty survival city builder.

Players are faced with the challenging task of making difficult decisions in order to endure the impending storm. They must carefully navigate through various ideological technology trees to reach their inevitable outcomes. Considering the shortage of manpower, are you planning to employ underage workers to fulfill the demand? What is the most efficient method for controlling a rebellious population: using brute force or employing religious manipulation?

In Frostpunk 2, players are transported to a world 30 years after the catastrophic global weather event that challenged their survival skills in the original game. The world remains frozen, with the most pressing danger now coming from fellow survivors vying for scarce resources and the growing democratic nature of your own people. Take a look at the trailer below to get a taste of what makes the series truly exceptional.

Can you handle the challenging decisions necessary for your survival? Are there any boundaries you refuse to cross? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Baldur’s Gate 3 had a more manageable development process compared to Larian Studios’ previous RPGs

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According to Swen Vincke, the founder and CEO of Larian Studios, the level of crunch on Baldur’s Gate 3 was lower compared to their previous games like Divinity: Original Sin 2. Crunch, also known as “crunch culture”, refers to the overtime that many developers are often expected to work when production deadlines are approaching.

According to GamesRadar+, Vincke was questioned about the challenges that emerged during the game’s extensive development and whether the studio had to work under intense pressure. Vincke mentioned that they are investing less in BG3 compared to their previous projects. We definitely did. We encountered unforeseen events.

Vincke highlights Larian’s global studio setup as a method through which the developer alleviated the pressure. This structure was established to guarantee round-the-clock coverage, specifically designed to prevent individuals from having to put in additional effort to resolve late-night issues. The Belgian developer has expanded its reach by opening a seventh office in Poland.

According to Vincke, employees who had to work long hours were compensated with overtime pay. He also mentioned that after 8pm, the offices would be nearly empty, and weekend work was a rare occurrence at the studio. Expanding on the topic, he clarifies: “We didn’t excessively push ourselves, but we did have to put in some extra effort.” And I believe, honestly, there will always be a sense of anticipation when you’re working towards completing a project, particularly when there are numerous intricate elements that need to be integrated.

Did you know that the development of Baldur’s Gate 3, with its immense size and scope, involved developers working tirelessly to meet the deadline? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Mad Max developer responds to comments made by Furioso director George Miller about Kojima

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Last Friday, we shared with you the news that George Miller, the director of the Mad Max franchise, mentioned Hideo Kojima as his top choice to develop another video game adaptation during the premiere of his latest film, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga. By doing so, it appears that he also criticized the previous game with the same name. The founder of Avalanche Software and creator of the Just Cause series, Christofer Sundberg, the developer behind the last Mad Max game, has responded with strong determination.

On Twitter (thanks, Eurogamer), Sundberg expressed his disagreement with Miller’s comments about Avalanche’s Mad Max game not meeting his expectations. The director stated: “I prefer to only engage in activities if they can be executed at the utmost level of excellence.” Sundberg strongly disagreed with Miller’s statements, describing them as baseless and arrogant. He then proceeded to provide insights into the game’s development, revealing some interesting details.

Sundberg believes that Hideo Kojima has the potential to create an incredible Mad Max game, but emphasizes that it would offer a unique and distinct experience. He adds: “The publisher made extensive efforts to transform this game into a strictly linear experience, despite partnering with a developer known for their open world games.” In a subsequent Tweet, Sundberg elaborated on the situation, revealing that after the initial year of development, the higher-ups came to the realization that they had inadvertently steered them towards creating a linear experience instead of the open world game they had originally proposed. He stated: “We wasted an entire year of effort and were informed that ‘players desire independence in the current era’.” Well, obviously…”

Larian Studios’ director of publishing, Michael Douse, expressed his opinion, stating that Avalanche faced challenges in capturing the spirit of the 2015 film due to limited access and legal restrictions on intellectual property. He suggests that there may be a subtle detail that Miller is unaware of.

Mad Max, developed by Avalanche and published by Warner Bros Games, was released in the same year as Miller’s previous Mad Max film, Fury Road. Drawn from the series, it presented a backstory for Max, where players were assigned the mission of collecting components for his legendary Magnum Opus.

What are your thoughts? Were Miller’s comments inappropriate? What are your thoughts on Avalanche’s Mad Max game? Additionally, would you be curious to see how a Kojima-led adaptation would bring a unique perspective to the game? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

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