Death Knight nerf, XP off switch and 80 man battleground.
VideoGamer.com: Is patch 3.2 an attempt to revive PvP in WoW?
TC: I don't think that it really needs reviving. Certainly our battlegrounds have been going strong. There was definitely a time when there were more people in battlegrounds than there are now, but a lot of that has to do with our reward system. With Burning Crusade there was a while there where you could get best in slot pieces of gear just by grinding out some battlegrounds. It motivated people whether they liked battlegrounds or not, to get in there and get their awesome gear. As we've tried to balance the rewards system more, we're seeing a more natural distribution of players in terms of; they're doing activities that they want to do rather than doing activities they feel like the game is forcing them to do to get the best stuff. Certainly there are a ton of people doing battlegrounds. PvP is still alive and kicking. I just think we want to add more to it and give players more content. One thing players have struggled with for the last couple of years is that there haven't been a lot of new battlegrounds added to the game. It's been a very slow pace of additions. We want to make sure that we take an approach where we can deliver more battlegrounds more often than we did before, just to keep the content fresh.
VideoGamer.com: So there will be more battlegrounds incoming then?
TC: That's certainly our intent. What we're doing is we're trying to improve our tools and infrastructure to make building battlegrounds easier to do. We also want to make sure that the queuing system supports it so players don't get spread out between so many battlegrounds that we don't have enough people for any given battleground. There's work to be done, but it's definitely in our minds that we want to deliver battlegrounds more often that we did before.
VideoGamer.com: How do you view the arena system in terms of what you intended for it to be and how it's turned out? Has it been a success?
TC: It's very successfully doing what we intended it to be, which was a fun side PvP activity. It in some ways went too far in Burning Crusade and started to dominate parts of the game. I say that it went too far because the balance of getting rewards from the arena versus the balance of getting rewards from other parts of the game, wasn't very balanced. It was driving a lot of people into arenas to get easy stuff when arenas aren't necessarily for everybody. We want them to be there and it's pretty cool that we have this relatively hardcore major skill on there and we want to keep supporting it, but we don't want it to dominate all PvP.
VideoGamer.com: You're implementing an option to turn off experience gain. Why do that?
TC: Because we wanted to add the ability for players to gain experience in battlegrounds. As the game has evolved a lot of players re-roll new characters and as they re-roll new characters they've already been through a lot of the content before and want to do something different. A lot of times what they do is they re-roll a character and they wish they could go through battlegrounds and level up their character that way, because it would feel different than it would through the normal level experience. But we felt like if we were to simply give experience in battlegrounds and let people re-roll characters they would be crushed by a very small hardcore part of the community that create battleground “twinks”, and tend to dominate battlegrounds in these very certain level brackets – 19, 29, 39. We wanted to make sure that didn't happen. At the same time we're being told very often by that small community of players that like creating low level twinks, that they're not interested in crushing these other players that are just trying to level up their characters and don't have the kind of gear that they have. They want to face off against each other in organised fights. They want to have the ultimate battle of level 19 characters. We wanted to make sure that we supported both of those at the same time. If we added experience gain to battlegrounds without allowing players to disable it somehow then we would almost accidentally destroy that community and that set of players.
VideoGamer.com: Why are you “nerfing” the Death Knight class?
TC: More than anything else we're just trying to make sure that we balance Death Knights relatively to everybody else. Of course we want Death Knights to feel like an awesome powerful class, just like any other class. People mention the fact that they're a hero class, but to us what that means is well, they have their own special starting experience – they start at level 55, which is very heroic compared to other characters – but that doesn't mean that at the end game they're supposed to be more powerful. We've found that there were areas of the game that we felt like they were just too strong, so we're trying to balance them just like we would any other character class.
VideoGamer.com: Do you have any idea when the patch will go live?
TC: It's been on the public test realms for a few weeks now. Generally we have our patches up there for a while longer than that. I'm sure there will be several weeks when I get back that we'll still be on the PTR. Whenever we feel like it's ready and solid and as free of bugs as we can possibly get it, then we'll release it.
Patch 3.2 Call of the Crusade will be ready when it’s ready.