Cataclysm: Tom Chilton Says Fine-Tuning Will Take “A Couple More Months”

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm still needs “a couple more months” before it will be ready for release, game director Tom Chilton said today from Gamescom in an interview with German gaming and entertainment site Gamona. While not a complete shock based on the fact that we still haven’t heard a release date (even despite the details on the Collector’s Edition we heard this week), this is the first pretty much official word that the game likely will not be ready before BlizzCon, as was previously indicated.

The interview includes some interesting conversation regarding the guild system, inflation of stats, scheduling of expansions, phasing and data protection related to Real ID. The comment on the game still needing time before its release came as Chilton discussed how the development team is still “pretty early in actually fine-tuning the classes.”

Tom Chilton speaking with Gamona at Gamescom

“We’re still trying to really get into the nitty gritty [of working through class mechanics and talent trees] … There’s still quite a bit of work to be done. I definitely wouldn’t feel comfortable if the game were shipping this second. It still needs a couple more months of sorting these kinds of things out.”

While that certainly was the most newsworthy item of the interview, there were a few other tidbits I found pretty interesting.

  • Chilton discussed mechanics of Tol Barad and how many players will be competing on each side. So far internal testing has so far been with 50 players on each side, he said, but the gameplay could be able to support more.
  • As for the guild perks system, Chilton re-emphasized that the system is not meant to penalize players who are not in a guild, but instead reward players for enjoying that social aspect of the game. He said the rewards are meant “don’t increase their character power,” and therefore will not give an advantage to players in terms of their ability to perform their class role.
  • On inflation of items and the fact that tier-10 ICC raiding gear will become obsolete after leveling through the very first new content — “That’s certainly true, and the game is by nature inflationary. The rewards are an incentive to experience the new content.”
  • When speaking on scheduling and trying to balance the release of new content for different play styles, Chilton explained that not every expansion will be as huge as Cataclysm — “Cataclysm is the most expansive expansion we’ve done yet, and I don’t know that that’s necessarily going to be true going forward…  it just felt that 5 years plus into the game, it was the right time to go in and refresh the content” that no longer meets quality standards that are set higher with new content.
  • And finally, in terms of Real ID and concerns that the interviewer raised regarding the ability to add Real ID friends via your Facebook friends list, Chilton said that was simply a matter of convenience so players could immediately find and connect with their friends. As for the ability for Real ID contacts to be able to see friends of friends, Chilton said a feature soon will be enabled that will allow players to turn off the ability for others to see them listed.

Check out the full interview to hear the details and more of Chilton’s thoughts on how the game is coming together. He left us with one simple thought that definitely applies at this stage of the game — “Keep your eyes open.”

When do you think the long-anticipated expansion will hit the shelves? I’m thinking it may be right around black Friday.


  1. pfft, ya just pulled a slip of the tongue moment on a guy who needed to think of a respones on the spot (like all interviews). The official response woulda been “Soon” but he felt confident cause there far along the line’s.

    Seriously, don’t blow this (although i know a hundred website will jump on it like a barracuda) out of proportion.

    If were lucky well be seeing the next xpac by early 2011. Trust me it’s still got a way’s to go.

  2. It’ll be out before 2011. Most of the content *is* there at this point, and I imagine the remaining areas will go into testing soon (unless they plan on keeping that internal).

    “A couple of months” is a pretty rough estimate, but taken at face value, could still place the release in mid-late October, which would *technically* still be before BlizzCon, just not by much. ;)

    Personally, I’m hoping end of September, but that’s just me.

  3. Like I said, over shooting your expectation’s.

    Realistic release date, Early February. or late November. (and that’s being generous)

    Now I’m not being pessimistic. Just stating how this should if they learned from there last xpac, how too not rush content so much that they back themselves into a corner. Which from what I’ve read they have, and this content, PVE and PVP wise will take time to polish. Unless they want half of it missing again, they might as well release it on blizzcon.

  4. I really think a holiday release date is the best bet. ‘A couple of months’ to really fine tune classes which is tough to do even after 5 years is optimistic, imo. Though Blizz’s expectations and mine are two completely different animals, I know!

    Plus, with a holiday season release, it’s the opportune moment to really boost sales and subscriptions retail wise. And with an $80 pricetag, I can see it being a big thing this holiday which makes a holiday release even more appealing. I mean, those who’ve been around a while know what’s shaking, but those just getting interested are going to see/hear (if Blizz is smart about it) a SNOT-TON of hype over what is essentially a franchise reboot. It just won’t work optimally with my work schedule sadly lol.

  5. I agree with Amatera. Although Blizzard is not one for specifics, they did say it will be released before 2011. When they make promises like that, they keep them.

  6. I understand the concern of rushing content, but as with every expansion, remember they’ve been working on this since *before* wrath came out. The key here is to be timely, and shipping the product too late is just as bad as shipping it too early. I expect pre-events to start in september with the game shipping sometime in october. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if, at blizzcon, they pulled a, “…and you can buy it right now!” Sory of stunt with cataclysm.

  7. I think without a doubt we will have Cataclysm installed in out respective computers by mid/late November. With everything that they’ve released so far in the beta even if they over haul the pvp system from what it is i cant see it taking more than 2 months.

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