I was fortunate to get out of class early (I usually have a History of Jazz class from 11:30 to 12:30), so I was able to be on time for the “luncheon” with Dr. Greg Street (AKA Ghostcrawler).
But what I wasn’t expecting was… well, being able to sit next to him and chat about World of Warcraft.
However, some of the questions… went places that weren’t WoW.
Even worse, was that for a while I was the only student there to talk to GC about his vidja game designing. Unfortunately, some random chick came by (interested in game design) and started discussing non-video game things… that really had little to do with what the luncheon probably was supposed to involve.
That pissed me the fuck off. I mean, come on, why are you talking about Final Fantasy and SecondLife… geh.
ANYWAY. Here are the few things I did ask him about:
- Replenishment: Although he has said this on the World of Warcraft forums, I only wanted to confirm the need of an always present Replenishment buff. It’s too important to raid without it.
- Threats: I asked whether he has ever received credible threats to his self because of his almost ever constant presence on the WoW forums. He recounted a story of a staffer, who after only a month of doing his job, got a petition from 1000 players asking for his resignation.
- The Fun Factor: Another question was posed as whether having to work for fun: was it fun doing that work? While the questioner (the notorious SecondLife girl, I’m probably going to call her) thought it wasn’t okay to do hours and hours of work in order to get through story and to have fun, Ghostcrawler thought differently, stating that he felt like “[they] were spoon feeding players fun” and that originally (back in Vanilla WoW), the level of player was a lot higher. This is definitely true; those who have played in the original Naxxramas could probably argue we have it a lot better and easier in WotLK than they had.
- Arena: I asked whether he thought the arena system, after looking back through many seasons of the highly competitive and small PvP, it was very successful or not. He did say that he wished the player base didn’t consider it something to be almost of a “requirement” (implying that he felt that way). GC went on to state that it should be less emphasized in importance compared to the PvE content, where most of the time spent in terms of pure development.
- Fish: The reason why there are so many fish in the waters of this game is because Ghostcrawler wanted it. Seriously. He made sure they were all pretty accurate too… he does have a doctorate in marine science.
- Different Types of Players: We discussed the two major types of players… those who are more intuitive and those who min and max. He was happy knowing there were both kinds of folks who fall into those places, but it seemed like he wanted people to just play it as it is and not to read too hard into the game mechanics to the point where it’s just… well, overdone.
- The Servers Died: Ghostcrawler couldn’t go deep into the subject of some of the server instability (or random explosioning) when Ulduar released; something about how when some of the servers dropped, the others had to pick up the load. The server folks had to work non-stop to fix that… poor them!
- Expansions and Other Games: The expectation of an expansion “every 18 to 24 months” is something he said quite specifically, but also included that he wished the releases would be quicker. He also chuckled when he said that he was fortunate to be part of a company with high success and was interested in knowing how WoW would fair when Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2 would be a factor.
- Ghostcrawler’s Day… starts at 8:00, according to him, although other employees will trickle in until around 10:30 AM. He’ll have meetings, squash some mechanic issues, answer forums… when he’s off, he’ll pick up his actual leveled character (thought he said nothing during the meeting, I didn’t really care for what or where, but you can go look for this if you want… personally, I was too “starstruck”) and do some playing and raiding. While he does test with imba GM powers, he always found it more fun to do it with the people he normally raids with, even though he understands the fights better than others.
Obviously, not too many World of Warcraft related topics popped up… if I had more time, I would have asked more. But please blame SecondLife girl for coming in, making it a huge deal she was an English major with a East Asian History minor. I’ll add more when I get back from the seminar tonight about the development of WoW.
(I wish I could have punched her in the face.)