While World of Warcraft’s upcoming expansion has been in the works long before the launch of this past August’s WoW Classic, the fallout from the legacy server type nevertheless has crept into the DNA of Shadowlands.
In an interview with Kotaku, Blizzard said that it was reminded of how game design can subtly encourage players to work together rather than be forced to team up. As a result, some of Shadowlands will offer common goals and opportunities for spontaneous alliances rather than forced systems.
“It’s been informative seeing how well people play together, even in the face of [the fact that] there’s no rules,” said Executive Producer John Hight. “That social system — I’m going to help you out if you help me out — that’s resonant in Classic has shown us that you don’t have to beat people over the head to get them to understand things. It’s best when they talk to each other and help each other out. A little bit of complexity is OK, a little bit of friction is OK as long as you have a good social system to support that.”
Other WoW Classic-influenced design that Blizzard is bringing forward into Shadowlands includes adding “cool and satisfying” class and zone moments that offer fun over pure combat utility as well as a more “cohesive” and “super immersive” world that has a bit of bite to it.
The studio said that it’s still too early to tell if WoW Classic is stabilizing into a long-term residents for players or if it’s “just a novelty.”