IGN’s Luke Karmali spoke with World of Warcraft Executive Producer J. Allen Brack about the past and future of the game. With a new expansion coming out—Legion—and subscriber numbers dropping rapidly, a lot of people are curious what Blizzard has in store for the MMO.
The last World of Warcraft expansion came out just last fall. Warlords of Draenor was praised for its streamlined and interactive quest lines, but some complained that they wanted more fleshed-out stories. More importantly, they missed old characters.
“I think the setting and the tone of Warlords was excellent—I think people got really excited about interacting with the heroes of the past so I feel that’s a significant win,” said Brack. But old friends like Jaina and Sylvanas (my favorites from childhood, certainly), the expressive leaders of the human and undead campaigns, never showed up. And people are getting tired of orcs. Brack agreed: “Orc fatigue. We’re very aware of it.”
Evidently, Blizzard is listening. Legion will feature Sylvanas once more, and she’ll apparently be playing a big part in the expansion. Maiev Shadowsong will also reappear as the cold-hearted but driven night elf jailer from Warcraft III. And, finally, Illidan, the original rebel demon hunter with a tortured heart, is also returning. Thrall will be back as well, though he’s been a pretty major character all along. “We’ll see an evolution of Thrall in Legion as we always do. He’s an important character in the Warcraft universe and he still has a story to tell.”
Brack also noted that the Blizzard team would like to put out expansions more quickly. “I mean, we’ve said for getting on to 10 years now that we want faster expansions…but we haven’t actually done it yet! So we’ll see if we’re able to do it, and that’s something we’ve put really strong focus on.”
When asked whether the subscriber drop was inducing panic at Blizzard, Brack said that they don’t allow themselves to be distracted by that. “The only thing we can do is focus on making a great game, doing the best we can, learning lessons and trying to make the next thing better. Hopefully, that’s just what we’ll do.”