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.