World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Q&A

World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Q&A
You've read the E3 preview and you've watched the video interview. Now check out our behind-the-scenes interview with World of Warcraft lead designer Jeff Kaplan.

We had a chance to sit down with Blizzard lead designer Jeff Kaplan during E3 to discuss the Burning Crusade expansion for World of Warcraft. We covered the new Draenei Alliance race announcement and detailed the new jewel-crafting skill in our E3 news and preview coverage, but we wanted to put together this Q&A to share the other interesting information that Kaplan revealed about the expansion.

GameSpot:: Hey, these Draenei aren't ugly at all.

Jeff Kaplan: A lot of people were thinking that we would give the Alliance an ugly race since we gave the Horde a beautiful race, the Blood Elves. It was never our goal to tank the Alliance race. We want the Draenei to be as cool as any other race. If we have any sort of balance issues, the answer is going to be more than just making one race good and one race lousy.

GS: Were you considering any other races for Alliance before settling on the Draenei

JK: Yes. Actually, we considered other races for Horde as well. For both Horde and Alliance, we considered and debated almost every sentient creature that you see in the game. We have concept art--you name it, we debated it.

The Draenei classes include warrior, paladin, priest, mage, and hunter.
GS: Can you give an example race that was debated

JK: We talked about the goblin race. We debated that for both Horde and Alliance. We made arguments for why they would be cool on both sides.

GS: The Burning Crusade will open up a new Outlands area that isn't a part of Azeroth. How will players reach the Outlands

JK: You'll travel through the Dark Portal, which is in the Blasted Lands. At one point the Blasted Lands and the Swamp of Sorrows were one zone called the Black Morass in the Warcraft 2 era. When Medivh opened the Dark Portal, it caused a huge crater to form and opened the world to the Hellfire Peninsula. Eventually as the expansion ages, you'll be able to port to one of the key cities, and if you have a warlock buddy and two friends, they can just summon you up. We're not going to force you to run through the portal every time.

GS: What do you have planned in terms of player versus player for the expansion

JK: We're building a PVP objective into every new Outland zone for outdoor world PVP. They're different for each zone. Hellfire Peninsula actually has three objectives that are very close to each other. Picture an outdoor Arathi Basin that's always ongoing. We're going to have some other big announcements that have to do with the PVP system, but that will be closer to launch, so we're not ready to talk about that yet.

The Outland is all that remains of the Draenei's world, Draenor.
GS: It sounds like the theme for Outlands is that everything is going to be really huge.

JK: Yes, we definitely want the Outland zones to be big because we have such a large pooling of level-60 players that are going to be unleashed on these towns. We want to get them into instances;we don't want them to feel like they're stepping on each other's toes.

GS: Is there more to jewel crafting than just making rings and necklaces

JK: Jewel crafters can also cut gems. Let's say a star ruby drops in the world. A jewel crafter, in addition to making cool items that people will want, can cut that star ruby to make it a socketable gem. The first key to that is that I'll need to get a socketable item, which can be made by other trade skills, dropped in dungeons, that sort of thing. Socketable items, for example, can have three slots. It doesn't compete with enchanting. If I wanted to put gems in all three slots and have an enchantment, I can do that.

GS: Will there be a combination bonus that will encourage players to use different gem types

JK: We don't want players focused like, "All I want are intellect gems; that's all I care about," so we have a system, we don't really have a name for it yet, but it's almost like gem sets or metagems. For example, I can socket in this gem that does +12 strength if four blue gems are equipped. There are these gems that will make me shake up my normal socket system, like one that does +4 agility per different-colored gem, so if I keep mixing up gems, I get more agility.