Blizzplanet assisted to the Fan Sites Program Chat with Blizzard Public Relations Department to talk about World of Warcraft. The Blizzard employees attending to the chat were
Donna Anthony (Katricia), World of Warcraft Community Manager.
World of Warcraft Development Team: Mark Kern, Rob Pardo, Shane Dabiri, and Jeffrey Kaplan
Public Relations: Lisa Bucek (Public Relations Director), Gil Shif (Public Relations Assistant Manager), George Wang (Public Relations Fan Sites Coordinator)
Web Team: Geoff Fraizer, Blaine Whittle, and Mike Hein.
Special Guest: Mike Morhaime, President.
Blizzplanet was represented by MEDIEVALDRAGON, Dark Nemesis, Stephen and Yitten. We arrived 2 hours before the chat to find many Fan Sites waiting there for hours as in preparing for a big event. I chatted with OneMadOgre from WorldofWar.net, found MikiTitan from Wowlands, WowCentral, WOW-Ra, Demolishman, WarcraftGaming.com, Ogresnet.com, Wow.Stratics, Wow.Warcry, JudgeHype and many others. Something we could notice was that the channel limit was still 40 chatters. As you may guess, many fan sites were in transit hitting that button many times trying to get into the channel in Battle.net US East.
Some time later, everyone were in silence as Lisa Bucek entered the channel. The Channel limit was increased once Robert the SysOp set up the limit. Suddenly a wave of Fan Site Program members came in like an avalanche. From 40 members, the room increased to 150 members. And introduction of the Public Relations staff initiated. That said, the Questions and Answers were led by Lisa Bucek and Katricia, with some intervention by George Wang and Gil Shif—who were behind reading some of the submitted questions in the background and shared few answers.
The World of Warcraft chat revealed many questions that covered the following topics:
FAN SITE CHAT TRANSCRIPT:
[LisaB.PR] Hey everyone, good to see you – we’ll start the chat now – fire away
[Katricia] Hiyas all … Good to see you all here this afternoon
Q: If a group of people enter an instaced dungeon, how does a new player join that group or enter their dungeon?
Katricia: Basically the group can invite that player into their party and when the player enters the instance they will automatically be in the same instance as that party.
Q: What sort of information the map going to display?
Katricia: The minimap will show various points of interest such as towns and major cities. You will also be able to see members of your group and if they are out of range, you’ll get directional arrows so you can easily find them. For the world map, you can see the entire world at once, half the world, or zoom into paticular zones which will show areas that you’ve already discovered. You’ll also be able to place a rally point on the map which group members will see. This will be used for navagational purposes.
Q: Will I be able to place flags down on the minimap to mark locations if I wish to return to that place later?
Katricia: You can ping the minimap to make group members aware of a particular area. You will be able to make notes on the world map including key locations later.
Q: How does pathing work? In other MMORPGs problems have resulted from players being able to affect NPCs without retaliation and viceversa. What are the solutions to these problems in WoW? Summoning, warping , line of sight, etc...
Katricia: We have special creature AI so they can’t be exploited. Creatures know when they are being exploited and go into “evade” mode and return to their spawn point.
Q: Will players be able to customize their interface?
Katricia: Yes, you can drag and resize chat windows and later on we hope to enable dragging for other windows in the game as well. For those more technical types you can completely customize and change the interface using XML and Lua scripting. We expect users to create custom interfaces for PvP, trade skilling, guild skins, specific classes etc.
Q: How many trade skills can a player master on an individual character?
Katricia: A player will have to pick and chose as they will not have the skill points to take everything. Skills can be “untrained” though, so there’s no worry about picking the wrong one and being stuck with it.
Q: How will the trading interface work?
Katricia: You must be side-by-side. The interface is designed to be as secure as possible. A similar interface is used to provide a secure system for enchanting and unlocking boxes etc. This is cool because in other games you actually have to hand over your items to the enchanter, who may not be honest. In WoW, the enchanter never has physical possesion of your item.
Q: Can you give any comparisons, or lack of, between the drop system in WoW and D2?
Katricia: Like D2, WoW supports a form of random item generation. Unique items can be created by the system such as “Sword of Life-stealing” or “Breast-Plate of Stamina”. We take the basic item like the sword, and the system randomly combines it with a modifier such as life-stealing.
Q: We’ve seen from an older screenshot that the Dark Portal has been rebuilt (after being destroyed in War2 expansion pack). Can you give us any background on why it’s back or what role it’ll play in the game?
Katricia: The foundation of the Dark Portal was never destroyed even though the connection between the worlds was severed; and while it is no longer open, there is a legend of a ritual contained within Medivh’s spellbook which might one day allow powerful Warlocks to open a portal.
Q: What happens when a player fails to complete a quest? Will there be and option to try the quest again?
Katricia: Yes, players can always go back to the quest giver and try again.
Q: Can you tell us more details about group spells and/or rituals?
Katricia: The warlock has the ritual of summoning. With three people in a group, the warlock will cast a portal that two others must touch which will summon a distant party member to that location.
Q: Will it be possible to journey into Outland (or not if in the initial release planner later)?
Katricia: Ahhh … We’ve got to keep some secrets
Q: Will there be any class-related quests that take you to enemy towns and/or cities? (For example, can a rogue get to sneak in, steal stuff, and sneak out for a quest)?
Katricia: Yes, there are some quests in the game that take you into enemy towns.
Q: Will the quests progress the Warcraft storyline, and can we expect to see the storyline drastically affect the Warcraft game world as time progresses?
Katricia: We have a story planned over the next few years which affects the world in dramatic ways.
Q: For people who have friends that want to play together from the start, but play different races, is it going to be easy and/or quick to start playing with your friends as soon as possible?
Katricia: For some races its easier than for others. For example the Humans and Dwarves have easy transit between their two cities while the Night Elves are in a distant land.
Q: Will there be a variety of fish to catch while fishing? Will there be any special items, treasure chests, or SOS bottles that are able to be fished up?
Katricia: Yes, we are even planning in having seasonal fish—and they can tie into quests and other tradeskills. You can also fish up things like lock boxes, unique armors, and other things.
Q: How will players use mounts? Will they be available through a summonalbe skill, or merchant (ie. stables). How long will they last and are there different levels for mounts?
Katricia: Mounts become availlable to each race at a high level. We also have other specialty mounts … Warlocks for example can summon a Nightmare. Mounts can be called when needed by the owner.
Q: Will Hunters who train in bows and rifles always be better than say a Warrior who has trainned to the same level of same weapon?
Katricia: They will very likely be very similar in skills, however; the Hunters will have additional abilities with those weapons that are unique to their class. This will ultimately make them more powerful with ranged weapons.
Q: Will there be “named” or “unique” monsters in the World or Warcraft? If so, will they appear randomly or will they only spawn under certain circumstances?
Katricia: Yes there are many unique monsters in Wow. Some will appear randomly, while others will only spawn when certain conditions have been met.
Q: Will items be crafted in Wow be more useful to other players than the crafted items are in other RPGs?
Katricia: Throughout your career as a crafter, there will always be items which you can create that will be the best items a player can use at that level. For example, at level 40 the best bracer might come from a blacksmith; while at level 45, the best brace might come from a quest. There are also a number of consumable items that can be created such as armor patches and sharpening stones. Tradeskillers can sell th
ese consumable items to players who will use them to improve their existing armor and items.
Q: Will players be able to recreate the same item over and over as long as they get the r
Q: Will there be a follow option to have your character automatically follow your group leaders?
Katricia: Currently you can follow anyone not just the group leader.
[GilS.PR] Hey everyone, that was the last question. However, we have a special announcement for you, so hold on a sec’, and I’ll turn it back over to Katricia.
[Katricia] Just wanted to thank you all for coming today and wanted to let yas know that all of the sites in the Fansite Program have automatically been entered into our beta program …
[Katricia] this includes international fan sites.
[Katricia] Also, we will be handing out additional beta accounts to fan sites to use for contests … (more on this at a later time).
[Katricia] Thanks again for joining us .. yas all have a great night
[GilS.PR] Thanks everybody. Katricia has left the building See you next time.