World of Warcraft is changing. Patch 3.2, titled Call of the Crusade, will bring class changes, a whopping new 40 versus 40 battleground, the ability to turn experience gain off and much more. At the Warcraft Regional Finals 2009 tournament at Cologne, Germany last weekend, we sat down for a chat with World of Warcraft game director and MMO legend Tom Chilton to get all the details on the biggest thing to hit wow since Wrath of the Lich King.
VideoGamer.com: The upcoming patch has got a lot of your fans excited. Patches traditionally are fixes, but it doesn't tend to work like that nowadays. What are your goals with Patch 3.2?
Tom Chilton: I would say our naming scheme for adding new content as a patch is probably not the best possible term! I guess patch is the name we've carried through from back when we were developing the game and it holds now. Our philosophy is that each patch should have content for just about everybody, as many players as we can possibly include in content. We're trying more and more to make sure that each patch has things like 10 man content, 25 person content, five person content, solo player content, because people play in different ways and mixes. I don't think it's even true that people tend to be, oh, all I do is blah. Certainly there are people like that but I would say the majority of the players do some raids, heroics and battlegrounds. They do a mix of different things. We want to make sure with all those different combinations of activities people do, any time we do a major content release we've given everybody something to do.
VideoGamer.com: With patch 3.2 there's a new 80 player battleground called Isle of Conquest. Tell me about it.
TC: What we're trying to do is create another epic-feeling battleground. We haven't done that since Alterac Valley, other than Wintergrasp, which of course isn't instanced, so it's sort of in its own category. Alterac Valley is one of our most popular battlegrounds. We hadn't done another one like it because they tend to be harder to build and test, especially harder to test. With a battleground like Warsong Gulch, for example to take the other extreme - much easier for us to test. Even within the design team we can get together a 10 versus 10 fight, test it out, quickly iterate on it and then feel pretty confident that it's going to be good when it gets released. It's much more difficult for us to do that. We do have the QA manpower but it's a lot harder to organise. At the same time there's a strong desire among a lot of players to see more things like Alterac Valley. So we're trying to take a lot of the best ideas from some of the different battlegrounds, like Alterac Valley and Arathi Basin, and even Wintergrasp with the siege vehicles, and create a new battleground that feels epic and different than the other ones. You're doing things you don't always do in any other battleground. There's getting into a Zeppelin and flying the gunship and shooting the cannons from there and parachuting off into their base and all kinds of mayhem.
VideoGamer.com: It's 40 on 40. How will you keep it from descending into chaos?
TC: That's actually part of the charm, is that it will be chaos! One of the things that a lot of players like about Alterac Valley being 40 on 40 is the fact that you don't have to be the best PvPer in the world to feel like you took part in it. You can get in there with the crowd, take shots at people, have some fun, get some kills and die a little bit too, but you don't feel singled out and on your own to make or break the battle. Part of what's cool about Alterac Valley should be cool about Isle of Conquest also. That plus it's hard to get those large scale battles in WoW or even in other games. It takes a lot to get that many people together and have it feel cohesive.