Public Q&A with Upper Deck Entertainment
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|Medievaldragon: Welcome Cory, glad to have you here.
Medievaldragon: We are having a Public Q&A with Upper Deck Entertainment concerning the upcoming World of Warcraft Trade Card Game 2006
Medievaldragon: Could you introduce yourself and your position within Upper Deck Entertainment?
CoryJones: Sure, I am Cory Jones, and I am the Director of Brand and New Product Development
Medievaldragon: For the benefit of those fans overseas that might never have heard of Upper Deck, explain what the company is and what you focus on. And the various products available.
CoryJones: Upper Deck is a sports and entertainment collectibles company. We manufacture both sports and entertainment card sets, and trading card games. Upper Deck Entertainment (UDE)—a subdivision of Upper Deck—focuses on entertainment-based collectible card sets, and trading card games (TCGs) featuring some of today’s top-rated entertainment properties. We are known for the highly-successful Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game and the Vs. System—UDE’s trading card game that features Marvel and DC heroes. We support these games with a Million dollar Pro-Tour and thousands of sanctioned tournaments. That’s keeping it “brief”
Medievaldragon: Based on your list of products I notice the trend in creating TCGs based on franchises that have been around for many years. The Warcraft franchise started back on 1995 and has spawned 3 games and 2 expansions; plus many novel pocketbooks and Warcraft RPG Books, Board Games and Action Figures. World of Warcraft, however had been online for only 9 months when Upper Deck made the first press release in which the World of Warcraft TCG was announced. Why start off with a World of Warcraft TCG, especially based on a MMORPG?
CoryJones: We are pulling from all the WOW lore, and want to make sure the widest possible group of WOW fans is served by the TCG, also the MMO has a HUGE amount of content and that’s critical for a successful TCG.
street_warriors: Cory, what about traditional TCG players who may not have played WoW? What will the draw be for them?
CoryJones: I think the amazing fantasy setting of WOW is a draw for any game fan, and with the amount of resources we are putting against the design and support of the game you will find a very compelling experience even if you don’t know the first thing about WOW.
street_warriors: I think another burning question is: There’s been rumors of special cards to be used in game. Can you verify?, if it’s not top secret.
CoryJones: It’s not top secret, but still, in the planning phase. What do you mean by special?
street_warriors: Like chase cards, which may have in-game codes for clothing, weapons, armor, etc …
CoryJones: Yes, we are going to have “loot” cards that include a scratch off code that will give you a cosmetic alteration to your MMORPG character. Because we are still in the development phase, I cannot confirm the specifics, but I do know that fans who are into that sort of thing will be blown away.
Meara: Could you tell us how the idea of creating the World of Warcraft TCG start and the process of contacting Blizzard to reach an agreement?
CoryJones: We have some DIE HARD wow fans here at Upper Deck Entertainment (UDE) and it was really a no brain-er, World of Warcraft is the #1 fantasy franchise for many of the people here at UDE and we felt it was a perfect fit for a TCG. As to getting the license, we also have a lot of cross pollination in the gaming world with video games (many people here have friends at Blizzard) we used our personal contacts to get a hold of the right people at Blizzard then made it happen.
Medievaldragon: How involved is Blizzard with the World of Warcraft TCG? Is Chris Metzen or Samwise involved in the project? If so, what’s their part in the development of the TCG?
CoryJones: Well I cannot go into who is doing what, but I will say this, they have to approve everything we do and we know it needs to be AAA quality. So you can expect all the incredibly creative people at Blizzard will impact this game and help us make it the best TCG possible.
street_warriors: I’m just curious if the WoW TCG will be a 1-on-1 dueling game, multiplayer game, or a game master versus multi-player?
CoryJones: All of the above if you can believe that!
street_warriors: I can!
CoryJones: Yes, there will be multiple set ups dependent on the number of players. So if you want to play one on one with Irene it will work!!
street_warriors: So there will be multi-ruled setups, depending on the group? A question that TCG players will be curious about is: Will there be sanctioned tournaments for the WoW TCG, and will there be support similar to Yu-Gi-Oh! and .Vs ?
CoryJones: We have a tourney planned for Salt Lake City right now, and will have various tourneys just about everywhere else.
street_warriors: You psychic?
street_warriors: My wife is Irene!!!!! Please continue.
CoryJones: I was with the CIA
street_warriors looks around nervously
CoryJones: There is going to be HHHHUUUUGGEEE organized play support for the game, we are going to own Gen-Con Indy . . . I think people will be BLOWN away!
Meara: The Blizzard fanbase knows many of the Blizzard developers are fans themselves of D&D, d20, Pen&Paper, and other RPG games. I assume they are also fans of TCGs. Is the Upper Deck Team, in charge of development of the TCG, playing the MMORPG to get a better feeling?
CoryJones: We have huge, insane fans here at UDE of World of Warcraft. Brian Kibler (one of our key designers) has 100+ days played, that’s crazy (he actually has a Winterspring tiger). I play, and have multiple level 60 characters.
Medievaldragon: That means you are well informed of the game mechanics and lore. What features will the World of Warcraft TCG have that can be revealed at this point? I think the fans want to know.
CoryJones: As mentioned before, everything is still in the development stage, so you have to take this as “subject to change”, but we will try to put some emphasis on the specific character, and allow you to build your deck as a character with abilities, equipment, etc. We think this approach will allow us to emulate a reasonable WOW experience and leave open a robust, raid dynamic.
street_warriors: Besides the “Loot” cards, Will there be anything special such as holo-foil cards, common, rare, ultra rare, etc?
CoryJones: Yes, although it’s still up in the air, we have even talked about a huge 3X5 card as part of the game.
street_warriors: Will there be special in-game cards that can be redeemed for real world products, such as rare playing mats, etc.?
CoryJones: We are going to have a resource card in every pack, and you will be able to save up these UDE resource points and spend them in our online store. The stuff we will make available there is going to be insane!: original art, special gaming supplies, loot cards, etc.
street_warriors: Ooops, I meant in the online game.
CoryJones: No. That’s not anything we have planned at this point, but cool idea
Meara: The Upper Deck Press Release back on August mentioned “Among the activities, players will be able to build their decks and attend events that let them challenge Onyxia, or raid Molten Core in an attempt to defeat Ragnaros with the hopes of getting powerful Epic cards. How will the epic cards rewards work out throughout the TCG?
CoryJones: Well, first there isn’t really an EPIC card it was referring to the “loot” cards I believe; but The raid deck!? This is super cool, we are going to have a stand alone pre-generated raid experience that one person can run against a group of friends, it’s almost like a having RPG modules. So one person would “run” Molten Core and the other three would play through it.
Medievaldragon: We are on our last two questions, and soon getting ready for questions from the fans. What characters, races, heroes, instance bosses should we expect in the TCG? i.e. Maraudon(Princess Theradras), Stratholme(Baron Rivendare)—at least those you can safely mention in advance.
CoryJones: Great! You should expect to see it all in the game, over the course of the next few years. One thing that is universally true about TCG’s is the veracious nature of the content need.
Medievaldragon: Next few years??! The TCG will have expansions?
CoryJones: With hundreds of cards per set, we are going to give fans a taste of all their World of Warcraft favorites in a relative short amount of time. Yes. Tons of expansions.
Medievaldragon: Ok we are ready to take questions from the fans, you may private message Meara and me for your questions in a moderated way. this way we make sure all questions are given in a timely manner to avoid spam and scrolling. As a matter of fact, hold on your horses, we will go one by one.
Meara: Will the naval nation of Kul Tiras have any role in the game?
CoryJones: I think over the next couple of years with multiple expansions you will find some of the more obscure WOW stuff entering the TCG. BUT . . . to start, it will be the most common and popular stuff. So in the first set . . . No, sorry!
Meara: Will the Blood Elves be an available race to play as?
CoryJones: Not in the first set, they may be an ally card, “maybe”, but not playable. We are saving that to launch closer to the expansion.
Medievaldragon: sligapls[Tyranny]‘s question: Is Ben “TBS” Seck working on the TC game development?
CoryJones: I don’t know if you may call it “working” . . . Just kidding! Yes, he sure is. We have all our “best” people on it.
Medievaldragon: VH-Listless asks: Well, WoW for me was a different game practically every 10 levels, each with its own usable set of items. Once I got a better item, I would never go back to the older one. An example would be the hypnotic from SM to the shanker from BRD. How are you going to keep both low and high level content desirable, yet separate?
CoryJones: Good question. I think everyone has a favorite low level item that they would love to see in the game, and we really do want to include them, SOOO . . . we are going to balance items to remain in the same semi-flat tier that all good card games strive for. And different styles of play will use different types of cards. That way, different power levels are achieved; but all the cards are useful, like a shivan dragon and hypnotic specter. Shivan is clearly a stronger creature; but I would say the hypnotic is a better card. Make sense?
Meara: When will we get to see some pictures of the cards?
CoryJones: The cards are still in the “works”, but i hope to release some Card Art soon.
street_warriors: Cory, is there leveling up in the game?
CoryJones: As to leveling, we are currently working on a level dynamic. It’s different, but very cool, hopefully it passes the gauntlet here to make it into the game.
street_warriors: So, it still has a few pieces being worked on.
CoryJones: You have the world’s roughest play testers here, they break as many systems as they create.
street_warriors: They have to!
Meara: Is this game going to be translated to foreign languages?
CoryJones: True. We want top end tourney support, so it’s a must. Yes on the foreign languages question.
Meara: As an African American, will there be a fair amount of African Americans represented in the cards?
CoryJones: No africans or americans, only Azerothians.
street_warriors jumps up and bows to Cory!!!!
Meara: In the online-game WoW, mana is needed to cast spells. Will that play any role in the TCG? Will there be some sort of item that allows spells to be casted?
CoryJones: Yes. Mana, rage, power, HP . . . will all play a role in the game “subject to change”
Meara: Will the trading card game be adaptable to past events/eras of the WarCraft timeline?
*Grimey* Will Warriors be able to 2 shot priests and mages just like in actual WoW?
CoryJones: Yes, we have the chance to pull from all the elements of the WOW universe and timeline, so it’s not out of the question for us to create an entire expansion that takes place in the far past of the WOW universe. As a matter of fact it might be super cool!
Meara: I’m not too familiar with how gameplay will work, but will players assume the role of a WoW character and fight each other; or will the game be on a more macroscopic scale (like MTG)?
CoryJones: You will be on the level of an individual character, but your deck may include “allies” to bring in the party feel, and give you assists. So . . . no, it’s not like the MTG model
Meara: I have a few more questions: How many cards will an “average deck” consist of?
CoryJones: Again “subject to change.”
CoryJones: ok sure, my C/S/C is Zorch/Blackrock/Shaman
street_warriors: How many cards in a standard deck? 40? 60?
CoryJones: 60 per standard deck . . . with 40 for limited.
street_warriors: Is there any plans for a public beta?
CoryJones: Not really. A public beta for a card game is rough, I am not sure it’s even been done, cool idea! Maybe we can do something through our website, and get a beta test team together.
street_warriors: Yeah, but it’s print outs. White Wolf does it from time to time.
CoryJones: We do testing with our TO’s and extended family of organizers; but not really public.
Medievaldragon: hmm, what about an interactive Flash-based beta?
CoryJones: We do make flash demos for our games; but it’s SUPER expensive and for a beta, I just don’t think it would work. At a “beta” stage we are still going through a ton of changes. Balance on a TCG is super hard.
street_warriors: Yeah, it takes just a couple broken cards to ruin the environment.
CoryJones: And can ruin a great game.
street_warriors: Yes, I see your point.
Meara: This question is mostly oriented for Parental concern with kids: Will the artwork on the game cards be sexually revealing like other Blizzard artwork?
CoryJones: I have never really thought of Blizzard’s art as outside the realm of acceptable fantasy art, is it sexual? Expect our art to be as exciting as Blizzard’s! I will say that. Would you like a few of the “big” name artists we have?
Meara: Oh, please.
CoryJones: Darrell Sweet, Greg Staples, Greg Hildebrandt, Dave Dorman, Todd McFarlane, Rebecca Guay, and R. K. Post.
Medievaldragon: OMG! Todd McFarlane!
CoryJones: I know, and that’s just to name a few. The art is going to be insane!
Medievaldragon: We bet!
Meara: Will professions (like those seen in World of WarCraft’s MMORPG) be involved in any way?
CoryJones: Yes, for sure, we are going to have them in!
Meara: Will we be seeing Zul’jin in the game? Is he alive?
CoryJones: I am afraid that I cannot answer that, we have some cool theme stuff, but it’s under wraps.
Meara: Now, I must warn you I still don’t understand who this person exactly is, and how he relates to the World of WarCraft community, but here’s the final question never the less. On a scale of 1 to 10 . . . how would Chuck Norris rate the World of Warcraft Trade Card Game 2006?
CoryJones: Math cannot describe it! One time, he thought about the card game and I exploded!
street_warriors: Cory, during structured tournaments are you going to have special big boss cards that players can try to defeat, and then keep as a trophy?
street_warriors wipes pieces of Cory off
CoryJones: Wow! Another good idea street_warriors, and yes we have something like that, but more and better
CoryJones: The op will have you playing against Upper Deck Entertainment(UDE)‘s experts as the Raid Boss. Imagine that! And that’s just a small part of the overall OP plan!
CoryJones: it’s going to be amazing!
CoryJones: I am super excited!
street_warriors nods and rubs beard
street_warriors: So the soonest we’ll be able to get hands on playing will be at GenCon Indy?
CoryJones: Just before that, 2 or 3 weeks! If all goes according to plan!
street_warriors: special sneak preview . . . Where will they be available when they launch?
CoryJones: No sneak, but expect something big and not available before GEN CON indy to launch there.
street_warriors: Any co-ops planned with bundling starter decks in with the World of Warcraft video game through Local and/or Online Game Stores?
CoryJones: Blizzard is a great partner and anything we can do to support them we will make happen, but at this time, no for sure plans.
street_warriors: Awwww!! come on!! At least a special collectible card!!!!!!! Just one!
street_warriors grovels and begs for an excuse to buy WoW
CoryJones: Excuse? you don’t need one!
street_warriors: Tell that to my wife!!!
Medievaldragon: Street_Warrior doesn’t play World of Warcraft, but if he does, he will be addicted to the MMORPG and the TCG
street_warriors: She barely sees me as is . . . hehehehehe! Probably!
Laelree pokes everyone back to the questions :p
CoryJones: I am at about 2-4 hours a day of WOW.
street_warriors: Anything you can accidentally let slip about the game?
CoryJones: I already did ><
street_warriors: Ok. Welllllll, my brain is drained!
street_warriors rubs temples and squents at screen
street_warriors: I’m excited!
CoryJones: You should stay away from WOW . . . you’ll need more stamina.
Meara: Go ahead, and talk!
H|dp|Lear takes a deep breath. :O
Medievaldragon: ok, guys . . . we will be good guys and open the channel
CeleTheRef: I’m a hardcore TCG player, I’ll judge when I see the rulebook and a few cards.
CoryJones: You’ll love the game! We have great people on it.
sligapls[Tyranny]: To take an analogy from Vs. Suppose someone wants to be a Rogue, would getting a Warrior card be kind of like someone who only plays X-men getting a Doom card in a booster? Or can they all go in the same deck somehow?
CoryJones: (slig) in limited there will be some cross over, but for constructed, it will be more limited
Xinnro: Will there be any sort of contest where a player could win a spot as a card?
CoryJones: (Xin) there is a strong chance. I want to make it happen. VS sized.
street_warriors: These cards will be .VS size? Cool! Cory, how many core developers are working on the game full-time?
CoryJones: Twelve, and extra people to help test off and on.
CeleTheRef: I wonder if those scratch cards are subject to cheating (recognizing a facedown scratch card by touching the card face)
street_warriors: Any final decision on ratios of loot cards?
CoryJones: It will be balanced and allow many play styles “classes” to be effective. Not yet on the ratios, that’s a biggie and something we are trying to do our best on.
street_warriors: Yeah, I’d think you’d want to limit them like Ultra Rares.
Qairix: Character cards will basically include some statistics, and a class with certain abilities that can be activated under certain circumstances or certain monsters?
CoryJones: (Qai) I cannot go into the specifics yet, it would be too early, and may change. (sorry)
H|dp|Lear: Are the cards going to be sold outside the US?
CoryJones: Yes, they will be sold outside the US.
Killian: Will the loot cards be unique to each set and eventually stop being printed? Or will the same loot cards be continually reprinted in new sets?
CoryJones: (K) I would like new “loot” for each set but it’s something we are still working on.
street_warriors: Are there going to be different sets sold 1)Mass retail 2)Hobby?
CoryJones: I think this will be more of a hobby title, and I don’t expect different sets for the two.
H|dp|Lear: How long have you been working on the TCG?
CoryJones: We have been working on it for 6 months. Yes, there will be Wal-Mart.
Medievaldragon: Make sure to check out the edited log later on at http://www.blizzplanet.com and to share your comments at the http://www.rp-pvp.com forum—there will be a copy of the log too. A copy will be sent to different World of Warcraft fansites as well as TCG communities.
street_warriors: How about Gamestop? Seems like a good spot to sell.
CoryJones: EBGames and Gamestop are great.
Qairix: Gotcha, CoryJones (bout the classes) , it’ll be interesting to see how it ends up, especially the draw dependant things, like warriors being good in general, and rogues kicking proverbial behind when they get their dagger of stabbity in their hands, or a ‘sneak up behind monster card’
Xinnro: I work at Gamestop!
CoryJones: Gamestop rules!
Xinnro: damn straight!
street_warriors: Gamestop rules! They actually know about the games!
CoryJones: (Qa) think of it like the different types of decks out there for VS or MTG.
Medievaldragon: I think no one asked. Will expansions of Wow TCG offer Caverns of Time features? And let’s say … face heroes and monsters of the past of Warcraft?
Jayde wants a card to say, “Why do you keep touching me?”
CoryJones: We covered that, and yes we have . . . can go to any period, will we? not sure.
H|dp|Lear: Coryjones; how many bosses have you so far implemented?
CoryJones: We are working on the first one, so ONE!
Xinnro: I never really got too into card games extensively, but some of my previous experience includes Pokemon, Yu-gi-oh, and MTG. In some of these games, there are cards much stronger than normal. Like in Yu-gi-oh, you have the egyptian god cards and what not. Will WoW TCG have anything similar to this?
CoryJones: No. We are focused on balance.
Deljarum: Will I have to wait in a queue to open a pack? But more seriously, Do you plan on covering all potential race/class combos? I could see that being difficult . . .
CoryJones: We really want to get to all the race/class combos, but it will take a few sets.
Deljarum: Excellent . . . thanks!
CeleTheRef: Just is there going to be an upper deck limit? (fan of Battle of Wits here)
CoryJones: No Upper Deck limit at this point, but don’t hold me to it.
CeleTheRef: That’d be weird if Upper Deck puts an upper deck limit.
Darkatreyu: And, will there be a special WoW version of Beckett?
CoryJones: That’s up to Beckett, not us.
CeleTheRef: I meant, an upper limit of cards in one’s deck
CoryJones: All cards in your deck should be from Upper Deck.
Deljarum: You mentioned having extensive tourney support, such as One-on-one, Multiplayer, Raids, etc . . . can we also expect to see an Alliance/Horde competition, perhaps a persistant “Battleground”-esque series of tourneys with Stat-tracking?
CoryJones: Yes, Del, we have talked about that. I really want to have an innovative tourney structure; so I would expect some cool stuff.
H|dp|Lear: 40 vs 40
H|dp|Lear: That would take like a week
CoryJones: 180 rounds of swiss
Darkatreyu: I don’t know if this has been asked yet . . . But, will Leeroy get his own card?
CoryJones: 40 on 40 iron man
CeleTheRef: gee winner takes all cards
CoryJones: Only if Leeroy buys them, again . . . Upper Deck will not limit how many cards you have.
Xinnro: lol a Leeroy Jenkins card
H|dp|Lear: What would it do dark? Wipe the party?
CoryJones: Humor is an important part of life. It may happen as a reward or prize, still in the works.
Xinnro: If you made the card I would be your friend. And slip you some cash.
CoryJones: I am actually a gold fish, so money does nothing for me.
Darkatreyu: Are you planning a SWG TCG too?
CoryJones: Hasbro and WOTC own that.
Deljarum: Are you going to dabble in any of the content related to the WoW community itself in humorous fashions, or stick to the canon of the game? Perhaps a rare “Learn2Play” card, that de-levels a character?
CoryJones: haha! I really would like to include humor in the game, so we will see.
Killian: Do you have any suggestions for people who’d like to become a game designer for a company like UDE?
CoryJones: I sure do. Work your way up from a test department in a video game developer; or if you’re into cards, get an internship with a card game company.
CoryJones: Well, I hope you all give the TCG a try and it was great chatting!
Deljarum: Thanks for chatting with us, Cory.
CoryJones: Nice chatting with you, I am sure we will do it again soon
Medievaldragon: Links to remember:
Post your comments concerning this Q&A at the Warcraft Lore community Forums::
Stay tuned to an upcoming interview with Keith R.A. DeCandido—known writer of Star Trek, Andromeda and Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel books. The interview will be about the new World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred novel and the Starcraft Ghost: Nova novel book. Hopefully by next week at http://www.blizzplanet.com
And of course, many thanks to wow.Stratics.com , Ladybeth and Brekkee for providing assistance with the channel and server announcement.
A copy of the Q&A will be given to Stratics to keep, and remember Cory Jones said he would like a future Q&A again probably when the World of Warcraft TCG release is nearing.
Medievaldragon: Many Thanks to Upper Deck Entertainment, Claudine Ricanor—Sr. Public Relations Specialist for granting a Public Q&A and many thanks to Cory Jones—Director of Brand and New Product Development of the upcoming World of Warcraft Trading Card Game 2006 (TCG).
Concerning the upcoming interview with Keith R.A. DeCandido about the World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred
. . .This is the book cover:
Description: “The Burning Legion has been defeated, and eastern regions of Kalimdor are now shared by two nations: the orcs of Durotar, led by their noble Warchief, Thrall; and the humans of Theramore, led by one of the most powerful mages alive—Lady Jaina Proudmoore.
But the tentative peace between orcs and humans is suddenly crumbling. Random attacks against Durotar’s holdings suggest that the humans have renewed their aggression toward the orcs. Now Jaina and Thrall must avert disaster before old hatreds are rekindled—and Kalimdor is plunged into another devastating war. Jaina’s search to uncover the truth behind the attacks leads her to a shocking revelation. Her encounter with a legendary, long-lost wizard will challenge everything that she believes and illuminate the secret history of the world of warcraft.”
Meara: About Rp-pvp.com Forum Community—we’re a roleplay community for the World of WarCraft RP-PvP servers. The majority of our attention is spent to Maelstrom, but we’ll eventually branch our event services to other RP-PvP servers once I begin recruiting some more staff.
Are you excited about the World of Warcraft TCG? Share your comments Here
Read our recent interview with Richard A. Knaak concerning War of the Ancients Trilogy pocketbook and the Warcraft Manga: The Sunwell Trilogy. Did you know the Old gods created the Naga? More details by clicking the image below:
Interview linked by