Good folks at PC Gamer has held an interview with the game’s director Ion Hazzikostas and production director John Hight. The interview in its entirety is quite worth the read, but I’m gonna compress it for your comfort.
Turns out, as I suspected, that good people at Blizzard always knew what they were doing. Sylvanas burning down Teldrassil was no instance of bad writing, but a carefully managed plot. When asked about the timing of the events, Hight had this to say: “It was fun because we literally saw the reaction to the Sylvanas piece, the outrage, the Horde players feeling somewhat betrayed and the Alliance players being like, how could you do this? And behind the scenes we were like, “Wait for it, wait for it!” And then when [Old Soldier] landed and watching the reaction to that, it was awesome.”
The two also shared valuable insight into their method of storytelling in general. They expressed, in no uncertain terms, that the swinging pendulum of heartbreaking emotions is exactly what they were going for. Moreover, their intent was always to present players with the questions of: what does this say about me as a Horde player? How do I cope with this? How do I correct it so the Horde itself is more in line with my own ideals?
All in all, fantastic questions to ask, especially in these very politically charged times. The problem of a nation splitting at the seams due to groups having fundamentally different ideas is a great base for a civil war story.
They also talked a bit about the rocky start of the beta that broke the entire game for a time. They talk about the new system they implemented where they can just tweak several knobs in the system and re-balance the whole thing with that, which will save them a lot of time going forward.
And lastly, they made a point of note that Battle for Azeroth is going to launch globally as the same time. Which is absolutely fantastic. Blizzard already implemented this system in Hearthstone and the results were nothing short of miraculous.
So yeah, good stuff. Have faith in the writers of Blizzard, I have been converted certainly. I still don’t trust their corporate overlords, but hey, no organization is defined by a singular act or person at the helm.
And thank you kindly PC Gamer.