Joshua Kurtz, a Level Designer for World of Warcraft, was kind enough to sit down with WoW Vault at E3 and answer our many eager questions.
Joshua Kurtz 作为魔兽世界的级别设计师在E3上友好的和WoW Vault坐下交谈并回答了许多热门的问题。
WoW Vault: Thank you for meeting with us. Can you introduce yourself?
WoW Vault: 谢谢你给我们这次见面的机会。能介绍一下你自己吗？
Joshua Kurtz: My name is Josh Kurtz and I'm a Level Designer for World of Warcraft.
Joshua Kurtz: 我是Josh Kurtz,魔兽世界的一个级别设计师。
WoW Vault: The first question is about PvP. What will the PvP zones be like? Objectives or key terrain to capture and hold?
WoW Vault: 第一个问题是关于PvP模式，PvP区域将会是什么样的？是否有目标或特定地形以进行占有或守卫。
Joshua Kurtz: Right now we're doing a lot of work on the PvP System. We want it to be really cool, so we're kind of going through and deciding how we want to do it. We are going to have separate zones that you can go to and PvP. We kind of want it to feel really fast paced as opposed to a slower system. How we're going to accomplish doing that we're not sure yet. We're kind of shooting for a feel like Warcraft III, so you feel like you're on the ground like on a Warcraft III map, but on a much bigger scale than that.
Joshua Kurtz: 现在我们正在进行关于PvP系统的工作。我们要让它变得很酷，所以我们正在做某种测试来决定我们如何才能做到这一点。我们将会设计分散的可进行PvP的区域。相对于一个较慢的系统来说我们希望它让人感觉节奏迅速。我们现在并不完全肯定怎样来完成这项工作。我们可能在追求一种魔兽3的感觉，以让人似乎置身于魔兽3的地图里，而不是更大的尺寸。
WoW Vault: Will the PvP zones be level based?
WoW Vault: PvP区域会受级别限制吗？
Joshua Kurtz: We kind of want to do something like that. We're not sure that's going to work yet. It's something we're still working on.
Joshua Kurtz: 我们想这样做。但现在并不肯定这样就一定合适。这正是我们正在做的。
WoW Vault: Will opposite factions run into each other outside these zones?
WoW Vault: 相对的派系在这些区域之外会跑到对方中间吗？
Joshua Kurtz: Right now in the beta, we already have that happening. Orcs and humans can run into each other. It does happen regularly.
WoW Vault: Will that continue to happen at release?
Joshua Kurtz: We're not entirely sure. We want to have battlegrounds, and when you go in there you know you're going to face off against Orcs. You can go in there with your buddies and your guild buddies and you're going to go out there and kill some Orcs and Tauren and you're going to have a good time. So yeah, they will interact. We have noticed that running into the opposite faction outside the PvP zones is an issue. It feels funky and broken and we're looking into it.
WoW Vault: What types of servers will you have at release? PvP, AvH (full and standard), Roleplaying, etc.
Joshua Kurtz: We're going to have a wide variety of servers. What those are in the final shipping product, I'm not sure. We do plan to have PvP servers of some kind.
WoW Vault: A recent article mentioned that Hero classes are planned for level 60. Is that correct?
Joshua Kurtz: We actually haven't finished the design on the heroes yet. The level of design we have on heroes right now is that we know we want them, but we're not sure exactly how we're going to implement them.
WoW Vault: Are they still planned for release?
Joshua Kurtz: We don't know yet.
WoW Vault: Will there be unique hero classes for every race/class combo?
Joshua Kurtz: It's not decided yet. I would like to, it would be cool.
WoW Vault: What is the target leveling speed for players? How long do you expect it to take people to hit the maximum level?
Joshua Kurtz: We don't want to make people play for seven years to hit the max level. The fact of the matter is, there are people out there who are going to hit the max level really fast. I don't think there's anything that we can do to stop them. In EQ players are hitting max level in two or three days now. So anything we do to limit their leveling capability will of course affect the casual gamer, who just wants to log on and play twice a week. It will take him an eternity. So we're kind of trying to balance it and make it interesting. We don't want it to take too long.
WoW Vault: What are your plans for the end game? What do you expect people do when they hit the level cap? Why will they want to keep playing?
Joshua Kurtz: We have a lot of ideas for the end game, and we haven't announced all of them. Of course there's going to be PvP. There's also trade skilling and exploration. What it all is we haven't decided yet.
WoW Vault: Are there going to be any PvP rewards?
Joshua Kurtz: We're going to have rewards. What they will be we haven't decided yet. We want to get PvP in and see how it feels before we decide what you get for it.
WoW Vault: What is your stance on macros and exploits? Are you going to really try to crack down on them?
Joshua Kurtz: We're going to crack down on exploits, yes. We don't like it any more than anyone else does. What the exact response will be we're not sure. For example if people find a bug in the game and exploit it - should we ban them? Maybe. But it's our bug and it's our fault, so we should fix it. That's probably the biggest response we'll have to exploits - fixing the problem.
WoW Vault: Do you have any stance about third party programs?
Joshua Kurtz: I actually have no clue.
WoW Vault: Are you going to monitor anything in game like chat or player actions?
Joshua Kurtz: We will track things in game, yes. What we're tracking or how we're tracking it - I can't talk about that.
WoW Vault: Do you plan to expand dungeons at all? For example, creating labryinth-like layouts instead of linear layouts or having puzzles or traps?
Joshua Kurtz: Right now we have so many different dungeons. We instance all of our big dungeons. We have what we call micro dungeons - small caves and buildings that you can go into to fight stuff, and those are part of the world. You can run into other people, you can have player collision, you can meet people. But our big dungeons are all instanced based. We do that for two reasons. The first reason is that it helps you and your group. You go into a big instanced dungeon and you're the only ones there. You get to beat the badass boss. You get to go kill the villain. You get to go accomplish this great feat. You get to explore the whole way, it's like a dungeon crawl. Another thing this lets us do is set up traps and set up cool events that we can't accomplish without an instanced dungeon. Right now we have a dungeon called the Deadmines. When you go into this dungeon, there's these big locked doors and you have to find out how to get through. For the first one, you have to kill the boss to get the key to unlock the door. You get to the second one and there is no key, so you have to find the black powder to put in the cannon and launch the cannon ball to knock down the door. So there are different kinds of dungeons and we have a wide range. You'll have a labyrinth or you'll have this dungeon where there are different parts that you go into and different levels.
我们现在又这么多地牢。所有我们的大地牢都是副本。我们有所谓的微型地牢 – 有可以进行战斗的小洞和建筑，有些是世界的一部分。你可以跑进其他的人群中，可以与其他的玩家冲突，你可以遇到其他人。但我们的大地牢是作为副本。我们这样做有两个理由。首先是这将有助于你和你的团队。你进入一个副本地牢你们就是里面唯一的人们。你们可以去杀老怪。你们可以杀坏人。你们可以完成这一壮举。你们完成整个道路的探索，既像在一个地牢爬行。另一个原因是这让我们能够设置陷阱设计很酷的事件，而否则我们无法完成。当你进入地牢，会有巨大的锁着的门你必须找到穿过他们的方法。第一你必须杀了老怪拿到钥匙。如果碰到第二种情况，并没有钥匙你就得去找到黑色的能源把它放到大炮里发射，轰开大门。所以有不同的地牢，我们有一个范围。你会发现一个迷宫或发现地牢有不同的部分是你进入不同的层次。
WoW Vault: Are you going to be adding more of these type of dungeons?
Joshua Kurtz: Yes.
WoW Vault: There are a lot of dungeons that are the same dungeon model with just different textures. Do you have any plans to change this?
Joshua Kurtz: We have recently added in a whole bunch more. We created about five or six more caves. I don't know if there are any plans to continue that further, but at this point we're not working on that.
WoW Vault: What are your reasons for including the 24 hour in game clock and are you definitely going to keep it for release?
Joshua Kurtz: At this point we're not sure if we're going to keep it. We haven't reached a final decision on it. We like it for a number of reasons. The main reason is, believe it or not, people play they game and they'll mouse over the little time thing that we have and it gives them more of a sense of what's going on in the real world around them. People will look up and go "Wow, it's that time already? I gotta go to school" or "I gotta go to work." And most people don't notice that kind of stuff. We've received feedback from people who say they never would have known what time it was without mousing over the clock. So we like it for that reason. Not everyone encounters that, but some people do. Another reason we like it is that it allows us to create content or events or occurances that can only happen either at a certain time of day or maybe on a holiday. So if it's Halloween, it will be Halloween in game, and it will last all day. So we can set up events based around that. So there's a lot of reasons we want to do it. We don't think it's going to be a huge problem because our night time is so bright and it's easy to play. We have been receiving feedback about it both good and bad.
WoW Vault: Are there going to be a lot of events that only occur at a certain time of day?
Wow vault ：你们会设定很多只有在一天的特定时间才发生的事件么
Joshua Kurtz: We haven't done a lot at this point, we've only done a few things, but we think it's kind of cool to have stuff that only happens at a certain time of day.
WoW Vault: What is your response to people who can only log on at a certain time of day?
Wow vault： 你们怎么来照顾那些不能在这些特定时间游戏的玩家
Joshua Kurtz: Say we have an event that only happens during the day, and another event that only happens at night. So there will be people who can't do the day time event or might have to wait until Saturday. If they can't log on during the day, they can do the night time events. There is a balance of night and day events.
WoW Vault: Will there be any alternatives to wearing cloaks, such as battle standards or other items?
Joshua Kurtz: Right now we have tabards that you can wear for guilds. It's youd guild tabard and it has your symbol and your colors and you can wear that. Right now the cloaks have just been put in, so we're still creating models and artwork. So the chances of new and interesting things happening with cloaks are high. What they are I don't know.
WoW Vault: Is there any chance of putting in a toggle so that people can hide their cloaks if they want?
Joshua Kurtz: I don't know. That has been suggested though.
WoW Vault: A recent screenshot showed a Troll on a Raptor mount. Is that the Troll mount?
Joshua Kurtz: I'm not sure actually, I haven't seen that screenshot. I think they are doing racial mounts for all the races. The Orcs have wolves, Humans have horses, Night Elves have big cats, and I know we're doing something for the Trolls, I believe they're Raptors. If it's in the screenshot, then that's probably it.
WoW Vault: Do you have any idea what the Gnome mount will be?
Joshua Kurtz: I'm not sure. I haven't gotten that question before.
WoW Vault: Crafted items do tend to lag a little behind quest and loot items. Are there any plans to change this?
Joshua Kurtz: We're constantly updating our crafting. We just recently added in some new things for Blacksmithing and Leatherworking. So keep your eye open for it in the next push. As for keeping Blacksmith items up with quest items, it depends on how fast your character increases in skill. For example I have a Blacksmith who can make better items than I can wear. In fact, I can't wear some of the items I can make. So by that token I'm not missing anything from quests. Some people quest faster than they spend time advancing crafting.
WoW Vault: So it depends on what you focus on?
Joshua Kurtz: It depends on you, as a player, and how you choose to spend your time.
WoW Vault: I read in a recent E3 article that the level cap will be raised to 55 next phase. Is that true?
Joshua Kurtz: I hadn't heard 55, but I had heard that we are going to raise it. Expect the level cap to be raised consistantly across the beta.
WoW Vault: Do you know when the next phase will start or how many emails will be sent out?
Joshua Kurtz: Actually I don't, that's a completely different department.
WoW Vault: Do you know how many beta players are in the game right now?
Joshua Kurtz: A lot. I don't know exactly how many, but I know that we are reaching our goal numbers for servers.
WoW Vault: Often a certain class cannot use any of the quest rewards offered from a quest. Are there any plans to change this so that you can always get a reward that you can use?
Joshua Kurtz: We are discussing it. I'm not sure exactly what we're going to do to address it, but I know we've been discussing it.
WoW Vault: How soon before we see major characters in the storyline?
Joshua Kurtz: There are actually already well known characters in the beta. You can go into Orgrimmar, the Orc city, and go into the fortress and Thrall is hanging out in the fortress. He can't really do anything right now. He's just eye candy, but he's there.
WoW Vault: Are you going to add more to the storyline?
Joshua Kurtz: Yes, there are going to be events, quests, and all kinds of things based around them. Cairn Bloodhoof already has quests to give out. We plan to do that with all the well known characters.
WoW Vault: Are there going to be any GM run events?
Joshua Kurtz: We plan to have some. How they're going to be implemented and how they're going to be undertaken, we're not sure yet.
WoW Vault: Do you know approximately how often those will happen?
Joshua Kurtz: No.
WoW Vault: How dynamic is the game engine? Can you change things like weather on the fly?
Joshua Kurtz: We haven't actually implemented the weather system yet. If the questions is can you change geometry and cities and buildings, then at this point it is very difficult to do, because it requires large change and we have to send updates to all the players. We'd have to take the servers down, update it, and then have all the people log in and download the new information. We plan on having a more dynamic system, we have design documents for them, but we haven't implemented the changes yet.
WoW Vault: Is that the kind of thing you will do with content updates?
Joshua Kurtz: That is the kind of thing that we'll do with content updates or an expansion. We do have a lot of things that we think are cool and that we really want to do, that we are going to do in content updates or expansions.
WoW Vault: Are you going to add seasonal changes? For example, if it is winter in the real world, will it be winter in the game?
Joshua Kurtz: We would like to do something like that. I'm not sure if it's going to be in at release or part of an expansion or something like that.
WoW Vault: Will server divergence be possible such that a certain event happens on one server and another event happens on another server?
Joshua Kurtz: It is very possible. Whether we'll do it or not I don't know.
WoW Vault: Do you plan to offer any more options for character customization, such as height and build?
Joshua Kurtz: We are constantly updating character options. In the last push, we added a whole bunch of new faces and things like earrings and tusks. So we're constantly updating that. Whether or not we offer new character models, I'm not sure.
WoW Vault: Do you plan to release any more movies?
Joshua Kurtz: There is a new cinematic and another video showing here. I think those are both fairly new. I'm not sure if we're going to do any more. It takes a lot of time and effort to put them together.
WoW Vault: Are those going to go up on the web site?
Joshua Kurtz: Probably. I can't say yes because I don't know. It takes a lot of time and effort to put those together and I think right now the dev team is just focusing on the game.
WoW Vault: Are there going to be advanced weapons, like Moonblades, that take a combination of skills, like unarmed and another weapon skill?
Joshua Kurtz: I haven't heard anything about weapons taking up multiple skills. So that may be true, but I haven't heard it.
WoW Vault: Do the devs debate anything during development?
Joshua Kurtz: We're constantly debating things and constantly discussing what to add. We've got lists of things to add and some people want some things in and other people want other things in. So we're always talking about what we think is cool and what we think isn't cool and what needs to be added. We've even been discussing suggestions from people in the beta. People send us suggestions and we're always talking about those as well.
WoW Vault: Is there anything you're debating right now?
Joshua Kurtz: All kinds of stuff.
WoW Vault: Since Rogues can duel wield, in the last push a Rogue could wield a Dagger and a Sword and use Rogue abilities, but now you can't. Why is that?
Joshua Kurtz: Originally it was not supposed to be like that. Most of the Rogue abilities are supposed to be only Dagger. So there was a bug and people were able to use swords when they shouldn't have. They were doing about twice the damage they were supposed to be doing. Now they're about equal. They still do more damage than most other classes.
WoW Vault: Right now in duels, if people are not the same level, it's not going to be a fair fight. Are there any plans to change this?
Joshua Kurtz: With PvP, changes to dueling will probably be implemented. As we implement things in PvP, I wouldn't be surprised to see changes in dueling. What they will be I can't really say.
WoW Vault: Are there going to be any updates to the graphic engine or updates to the in game models?
Joshua Kurtz: There have been some updates already. If you go and watch on the press machines, they are running some new models for some of the characters: the Orc male, the Human female, and the Orc female have had their polygon counts increased by a large amount. That is something that we're going to be doing for the rest of the characters. All the races will be undergoing a poly upgrade. Any futher changes on top of that I don't know.
WoW Vault: Are any of the monster models going to be updated as well?
Joshua Kurtz: I don't know about that. Any monsters in game that are like Orcs actually use the player models. So the updates will carry over onto those.
WoW Vault: Thank you very much. We appreciate it.