Allied Race and Level Scaling Interview
We recently had a chance to talk to Shani Edwards (Art Producer) and Paul Kubit (Senior Game Designer) about Allied Races and Level Scaling.
- Pre-purchasing Battle of Azeroth will grant access to Allied Races and a Level 110 boost.
- Battle of Azeroth will cost $50 and the Digital Deluxe edition will be $70
- If you pre-purchase Battle for Azeroth, you will be able to begin your journey to recruit these Allied Races:
- Lightforged Draenei, Highmountain Tauren, Void Elves, and the Nightborne.
- The details and timing for release of other Allied Races are still being figured out.
- The team listed to a lot of player feedback to decide what Allied Races to do. Players really wanted to be able to play Nightborne. All of the races really tied to the Legion story.
- The team wanted the Allied Races to feel different and unique compared to the races that they are based off of, which is why the class restrictions for the Allied Races are the way they are.
- The Heritage Armor sets also make them unique. The team put a lot of time into making them unique. They aren't material specific, so you can wear the Lightforged plate looking set on a Mage.
- Heritage Armor for the old races is something the team has talked about and is thinking about, but they don't have anything to announce yet.
- There aren't plans to add any more classes to the Allied races, but they will keep an eye on feedback provided by players. If there is a lot of feedback that a specific race and class combination was missed and makes sense then maybe they could add it.
- The team is happy with how unlocking more classes over time for the existing races has worked out. As the game has grown, restrictions that were in place in the past didn't make as much sense anymore.
- The team wanted Allied Races to feel prestigious. Throughout Legion players experienced storylines for Allied Races and earned their trust.
- With Battle for Azeroth there is conflict between the Horde and Alliance, each faction needs to find and recruit allies, so the recruiting process could be built into the gameplay of unlocking these races.
- Allied Races will be using the dance of their base race. There may be some dance updates in the future.
- There was a giant list of races that were considered for Allied Races. These four tied into the Legion story well, which is why they were selected. Pretty much anything with two legs was considered.
- The team considered starting Allied Races at Level 1, but ended up settling on 20. It's a natural starting point, as starting zones are complete by then. It didn't feel natural for an Allied Race who has already gone through an introduction to go through the Human starting experience in Elwynn Forest.
- Allied Races are going to be played by players that are already familiar with WoW, so the new player starting experience where you slowly unlock skills isn't necessary.
- Every sub-team on the art team worked on Allied Races. Totems, armor, loading screens, character models, and other things needed to be worked on.
- Thousands of hours went into creating the Allied Races.
- The entire team had to sit down and decide what color Void Elves should be. What does it mean to be Void?
- Initially the team had colors like pink and purple involved in the void. The effect, dungeon, prop, character, and other teams all sat down together to decide how to differentiate what it means to be Void from what it means to be Shadow.
- The pink involved in Void Elves was just hints of pink on the outside of the blackness on their Heritage Armor.
- The Seething Shore loading screen was added to the build before it was finished. It was still a work in progress and wasn't meant to be seen yet.
- There are no plans to give the Allied Race customizations to the base races
- The team iterated a lot on zone level scaling ranges. The initial version just bumped up and down the maximum and minimum level for each zone by 5-10 levels.
- The team also wanted to make sure that players that were currently leveling in a zone to suddenly be too low or high level to quest in that zone.
- The team wanted to make sure you had some zones that you could look forward to, so zones didn't scale for all levels. You shouldn't be able to head to Icecrown and kill things at Level 1, as that was a scary zone you worked towards.
- There are zones that you could level past and it would be annoying to be chased by Level 110 wolves when you came back to Elwynn Forest.
- There are a few zones that don't have scaling applied, such as the Cataclysm PvP areas.
- It made sense for raids and Heroic dungeons to not scale and stay at a fixed level.
- Both leveling through dungeons and questing should be valid ways to level a character. The game isn't better off if either one is obviously the right choice, so the team will continue to look at those numbers and iterate as they see fit.
- For players that have already played through the game and want to level an alt, is there a good method and reasoning to make leveling faster for that type of character? That is something the team has talked about but has nothing to announce at this point.
- The team hasn't talked a lot about allowing players to blacklist a dungeon when queuing for a random dungeon.
- When you queue at Level 55 for a random dungeon, you have a pool of maybe 30 dungeons you are eligible for at that point. The system attempts to put you in a dungeon that is close to the normal level band you are in. You can get sent to Deadmines or Wailing Caverns, and will have to be if you are grouped with someone that is Level 15.
- Scaling required a lot of data work.
- When looking at Normal and Heroic Burning Crusade bosses on a Level 110 character, players noticed that Normal bosses had more health than Heroic. This happened because Heroic Burning Crusade bosses are Level 70, but Normal bosses scale to 83 when you are Level 110. This is why Normal bosses ended up having more health than Heroic bosses. An additional bug made the Normal bosses have even more health than intended at Level 110. This bug didn't affect any players that were leveling, as everything was scaled properly.
- Worgen and Goblin model updates are still planned for sometime during the Battle for Azeroth expansion.