Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan on WoW Classic and the Overwatch toxicity ‘strike team’

Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan gave an interview on Reddit this week that provides an interesting perspective from an original World of Warcraft developer who defected to Overwatch.

“I think classic is a great idea,” he says. “I have great nostalgia for what the game was. I think people need to be careful about what they think the magic was versus what it actually was. I don’t think what made the classic servers great was the shitty quests. I’m allowed to say that because I wrote all of them.”

Indeed, he stresses the importance of community and lauds the absence of the dungeon finder, but he also points out that some of vanilla’s problems: the lack of server transfers, the lack of well-distributed auction halls, and the smaller servers.

“There are a lot of systems in place now that I think actually make WoW a better game, that contributed to there being a small the community… people are going to be in shock at some things that were in classic WoW. Think about flying your griffin … you had to go stop-by-stop, clicking each link. You couldn’t go grab a beer while you flew across the world.”

Kaplan’s busied himself talking up Overwatch too – specifically, the “strike team” he’s assembled in-house to fight toxicity, one of the year’s buzzwords. That’s in addition to another team battling cheaters and hackers. Indeed, Kaplan’s plan ought to remind you a lot of Riot’s philosophy, down to telling reportees that the toxic turds they reported actually got what was coming to them.

“We’re starting to action less toward silences and more toward suspensions. If somebody’s doing bad behavior, just silencing them can sometimes convince them to do things like throw matches and grief in other ways. If you keep exemplifying bad behavior, we’re gonna have you leave the game [permanently].”

Source: Kotaku, Reddit
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Giggilybits

Shitty Quests? You mean like the stupid ones you have now or riding the Harrison Jones gag to death? They weren’t shitty they were awesome if you took the time to read and care.

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Dušan Frolkovič

The Classic WoW crowd needs to be very careful now. They have presented a unified front and Blizzard is now at least trying to make their wish happen.
Now they just need to not fracture into factions to fight over the spoils (which can be already seen a bit in comments, unsurprisingly one humans Classic is not what another one imagined).

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Bryan Gregory

I’ve been playing on older era servers for various MMOs for at least 15 years. It most cases, the server is never 100% the way it was. In fact it actually can’t be. Each of us are all a different person than we were when we played vanilla WoW. We are much more knowledgeable about the game now. When players begin to raid areas like Molten Core and Blackwing Lair on WoW Classic, they are going to find that things are much easier than they remember. Most of us are going to know what to expect, and generally on a server like this I’ve noticed players seem to care a bit more about min maxing, or at the very least, using things like food and potions, and making use of things that they previously hadn’t.

Nearly every server leaves in certain modern or quality of life mechanics as well, and I expect WoW classic to do the same. Each and every feature and mechanic is going to need to be discussed by the developers and the community and hopefully we’ll end up with a server that most people are happy with. Yes it’s true – there’s going to be things that some of us have completely forgotten about when it comes to vanilla WoW. There’s going to be things we don’t really want. There’s going to be things we want to see changed. And we need to be talking about all of those things.

Personally I think it’s a mistake to try to recreate a 100% vanilla experience. All it needs to be is MOSTLY vanilla. This is an opportunity to correct issues and fix things that were fixed too late. It’s an opportunity to make an even better vanilla. The griffin thing discussed by Mr. Kaplan above is the perfect example of something that there’s really no reason not to fix. There’s a long list of mechanics just like this that need to be considered and talked about – and eventually decisions made about – before this server can ever come to fruition. We just have to be careful not to add tooo many modern and quality of life changes, otherwise we’ll end up with a very neapolitan server.

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Tom R

I do wish some of the QoL and interface stuff would hit Classic.

Of course that’s not as easy to do since I”m sure some QoL stuff I would want is something other people might not and visa versa.

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Schmidt.Capela

A player’s inconvenience is another player’s game.

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Malcolm Swoboda

I wouldn’t mind some of an updated inferface (stuff mods serve anyway) but that’s about my limit. Classic/Vanilla character models, quest design, chat, etc.

Alternatively, even if it gets kinda complicated at this point, I’d like Blizzard to differentiate between ‘Vanilla’ and ‘Classic’. Vanilla gets all the walking uphill both ways, while Classic just get the content that was cut out/irrelevant since original version of game/Cataclysm, but otherwise the QoL.

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Bullwraith

I know I’m a Dino and one of the “niche” people, but all of the things that Kaplan and readers list as negatives for Classic WoW are the things that I find compelling. I look forward to the challenges and slow pace. It is easy to forget that a big contributing factoring to the growth of community was the time we had to communicate with each other while traveling and grinding.

I look forward to having to manage my hunter pets and keeping ammo stocked. Restore the full strength roaming world elites. Restore the walls to the buildings in Anderhol and the mob densities. And the bit of fun that my Pally can have by dropping a Consecrate and force flagging Horde players (evil grin).

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Schmidt.Capela

“Think about flying your griffin … you had to go stop-by-stop, clicking each link. You couldn’t go grab a beer while you flew across the world.”

1. I believe there was a mod for that.
2. Even without a mod, players could do something else to distract themselves while they waited, even if they had to click again for connecting flights. Taxis were the main reason I played WoW with a book or a portable console (or both) at hand.
3. Connecting flights were added back in in patch 1.10, so Classic should have it.

“Remembering that the auction house wasn’t linked, so the server communally had to decide “I guess it’s Ironforge and Orgrimmar, sorry other cities I guess we’re never going to go to you”.”

I believe other cities didn’t even have AHs at first, which is why players flocked to Org and IF; access to the AH was important enough for players, all other cities, which intentionally didn’t have an AH, were mostly deserted. As far as I recall, when auctioneers were first added to other Alliance and Horde cities, all of them were already linked.

In any case, linked (per faction) AHs were added in patch 1.9, so it should be in Classic as well.

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Bullwraith

There was a mod developed for the flying routes, but we didn’t have it right off the bat.

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Tom R

I’ll be curious to see all the old mods that get remade/brought back.

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Dan

Don’t think they have to be remade. There will be tweaks needed of course for where ever blizzard starts us at, but there are more addons than ever for wow 1.12.

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Cyclone Jack

I hope someone finds the Discord UI mods from that era. You could make some very cool and unique layouts with that set of tools (I think there were 3 or 4 different tools, DUF, DAB, DART, etc).

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Tom R

Usually distracted myself by being social and talking to my friends/guild.

I no longer have wow friends or a guild now though so vanilla might be rough. Maybe I’ll make some though since you had to actually interact with people…nah who am I kidding I’m too jaded with people.

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Schmidt.Capela

I only managed to get into a guild in WotLK, thanks to LFD; a few guild members saw me tanking dungeons and scouted me for their raid group.

Though, of course, by the time WotLK arrived I had mostly stopped using flight paths, boats, and zeppelins anyway (I went through each path exactly once just to see the sights, after that I used a combination of the hearthstone, portals, flying mounts, and other assorted travel mechanisms to get around).

In fact, having to use boats and zeppelins again due to the portals being removed was one of the main reasons I left WoW after Cataclysm; IMHO, WoW has the worst, most boring system of “fast” travel ever devised.

That, BTW, is part of the reason I’m not interested in Vanilla, nor in WoW’s current expansions. I’m not going to play WoW without being able to completely avoid the taxi system and the boats/zeps.

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Annoyed badger

I like how you see your version of classic (vanilla) as being the automatic one…but what happens if I think we should have classic as in classic….open the servers as they were on Day 1 and proceed in real time, patches come when they would have come the first time.

The problem with vanilla, or classic, servers is your version of classic is not necessarily mine…..its the brexit connundrum all over again…we got what we wanted…now we have to work out what we actually want…..

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Schmidt.Capela

The hiring add Blizzard put up suggests Classic will be released with Naxx already, which would mean 1.11 or 1.12. Thus, with those improvements in place, as well as things like queuing for BGs from the capital cities, respeccing for gold, and a number of other quality of life improvements.

Which would make sense. 1.12 is typically seen as the best version of Vanilla.

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Sorenthaz

Question of course is whether or not we’ll be seeing the AQ War Effort and Scourge Invasion events. Personally I’d love to see those brought back, and knowing Blizzard they would probably find a way to tie them into giving rewards on present WoW.

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Oleg Chebeneev

He is right. Quests in vanilla were shit for the most part. I can only chuckle at those who tell they were better in vanilla then post Cata. Actually pretty much everything was worse: graphics, combat, talents, dungeons, raids (MC particularly was pile of crap).

THE ONLY things where vanilla aced over current wow were sense of community and challenging gameplay. People want vanilla for those 2 reasons.

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Schmidt.Capela

My issue with post-Cataclysm old world questing is that the quests became too linear, too railroaded. Blizzard completely removed all replay value from the old world when they revamped it.

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Malcolm Swoboda

Agreed Schmidt. While I can say I enjoyed the experience of early Cata questing more than early Vanilla questing, there’s particular qualities that make this VERY debatable in my mind. Cata questing did indeed go too linear, was too sideshowy, removed the sense of a ‘world’, and while the increasing of a sense of ‘plot’ was nice, much of this plot was done around gags instead of something more compelling. Like much of that expansion, it bit off a lot, and couldn’t chew it all to expected quality. Thankfully the expansions since have tried to at least have more variety and explorative quality to their zones, but what’s definitely been lost since Vanilla (/BC/WOTLK?) is the sense of a *world* of Warcraft. Like anything of community engagement and built-in time investment in an area (without mechanics like ‘dailies’ etc) was deemed to be bad.

Sure its not good to encouraging no-lifeing, but don’t do that at the cost of just ushering me from sideshow to sideshow. Unless you want to be Secret World at least (its ‘sideshows’ are actually really nice story missions hehe).

Many people like/want to have Vanilla back because it was a place they could hang out in every one of its many zones (even the dumber and more barren ones) and have cool things they could do to contribute to some sort of individual or collective fun, for months. I can go to Westfall and help lowbies with Deadmines, go to Un’Goro and farm, Stranglethorn and (try to) PvP, Wetlands and wait for the ferry with others, Tirisfal Glades and help lost players, Hillsbrad and unofficial fight over control of it. Expansions since have tried to ‘manage’ something that was surprisingly ‘organic’, with both the good (noticed more by the nostalgic players) and the bad (noticed more by the designers in retrospect).

Of course Classic, nor BC, nor WOTLK were perfect. So I’d be very up for alternate servers that brought in all sorts of convenience features. But still, remember what was loved. Early Cataclysm questing dropped the ball to the point that I wouldn’t mind (main) game reworks to some whole new and better leveling/questing vision of the game, leaving Cata-timeline-questing to be covered by other private servers/Blizzard hosted Cata servers (assuming Classic goes well and moves onward). Bye Deathwing!…

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Rumm

Vanilla wasn’t even more challenging, people were just worse at the game, significantly less organized, and had far fewer combat tools in the form of class abilities. Tedious is a more apt description.

The only thing that Vanilla had over current WoW is a forced sense of community, where people were far more reliant on other players not being sketchballs in order to complete content. Someone AFK mid-run? Have fun running back to the city, spamming trade chat for a replacement (which nobody wanted since the run was partially complete), and then heading back to the dungeon an hour later just to have someone else disappear during the downtime. That dungeon finder that everyone laments looks pretty nice when you can instantly fill a slot and keep cracking on.

“Well but Rumm, then you can just blacklist those people and not play with them again.” Except for how that literally never happened.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Try to level as a warrior in vanilla

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Loopy

“Vanilla wasn’t even more challenging, people were just worse at the game”

True, but the game is also a lot more challenging. Mobs aggro at much greater range and are in larger numbers, chasing mobs daze liberally, health and mana doesn’t regenerate nearly as fast as WoW proper, most starting abilities form a very incomplete toolset for survival, elite mobs are actually elite and require groups to take down, leveling is much slower, and overleveling a zone without grinding never happens, which means you’re almost always either underleveled or on par with the zone you’re questing in.

This, and many more things make classic WoW a lot more challenging MMO.

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Tithian

And yet I recall dieing more in Trisfal Glades than in my entire run of Legion.

Things were legitimately hard, because the numbers and stats were stacked against your favor. You could not out run mobs unless you were a mage, aggro management was a serious task, and Elites roamed newbie zones. Pulling an extra mob in levelling – early dungeon gear would get you killed almost certainly. Failing to CC properly in UBRS or Strat or Scholo could often mean a wipe as you pulled entire rooms. Managing mana was a thing.

All of these things aren’t even a factor in the current version. Hell, people are already soloing Mythic Karazan, and it’s not even the end of the expansion.

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styopa

“There are a lot of systems in place now that I think actually make WoW a better game”

Not sure why people are so binary on this. Do they really believe it, or is it some sort of strawman-construction?

Of course there are things that make it a better game. But unless you believe in the infallibility of the Pope and Game Devs, some of the systems in place do also make it worse, depending on what players want from their game.

Cherry picking crap like ‘having to click sequentially on flight points’ is just that, Cherry Picking.

It’s irrefutable, even by Blizz insiders. For example, CLEARLY, they agreed that garrisons turned out to be a bad idea. So they (strikthrough)reskinned them as something else(/striekthrough) invented class halls, which I suspect will also be abandoned.

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Armsbend

I started doing garrison the other day and while I kinda am enjoying it I’m wondering if there is really a point – for the reason you just said. Will the new expac simply make it pointless? probably.

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Malcolm Swoboda

From my minimal understanding garrisons are still okayish while you’re on that content and a little onward, but otherwise is just nerfed (in rewards and such) at this point to be a building up of your ‘city’ hub on Draenor. Otherwise left to achievement collecting. So if you want to rush to Legion then fair play, but you may also get a nice basis for it if you stick around. But that’s the case in all expansions; the completionist reaches newer content at a better place for it, the speedrunner/leveling gets there faster but not necessarily as prepared and might hit more walls (money, power, specs).

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Oleg Chebeneev

If they agreed garrisons were a bad idea, they wouldnt reintroduce them in Legion in slightly changed form

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Serrenity

I don’t think one necessarily necessitates the other – they can say “our implementation of garrisons was bad, but we retooled the system into something is better.” Very rarely do you say “This implementation, and every possibly iteration and other avenue of implementing it is bad, so therefore we are going to burn this idea with fire and never speak of it again.” That’s just silly, and bad development to boot.

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Jarby Stark

мамку ебал, Джефф Баклан что за дела ? ты делаешь игру в которой рендомно подбирается 6 игроков с расчетом некого баланса (если у игрока % побед выше 50% его будут кидать к более слабым игрокам) и ждешь что мы будем распевать кумбайя взявшись за руки с сотнями тысяч ханзо и видоу мейнов, торбов в атаке, итп. Да есстественно с таким нездоровым балансом будет нездоровая атмосфера в игре. Что вообщем то Джеффу похоже и надо – превратить игру в бесконечный гринд Ср.
Люди выше алмаза уже практически не играют в это бессмысленное соло рендом ранкед (ну может быть раз в день) а собирают тиму и играют там а 80% времени проводят в квик плей. Это же тупость.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

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toxicity strike team.gif
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Koshelkin

How do you manage to come up with stuff like that on a constant basis. Good one.. again.

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Schlag Sweetleaf