Thursday, June 29, 2006

Is Jeff Kaplan ruining WoW?

The lead designer of World of Warcraft for the last year has been Jeff Kaplan. Jeff migrated to Blizzard from Everquest back in the early days of development on WoW. He originally was a lead quest developer and is responsible for many of the quests found in Duskwood and Redridge. After World of Warcraft was released some key designers left and Jeff was moved up to being in charge of all development.

I believe this was around the time that Dire Maul was released. Most of those in the anti-kaplan kamp will point out that Dire Maul was the last non-raid instance introduced into the game. This coupled with Jeff's roots in Everquest has started a rumor that Jeff favors raiding as the main end-game content. This rumor has been denied often but its hard to believe it when interviews with Jeff seem to show him distant from the casual crowd.

Examples used against Jeff Kaplan:

A early interview with WoW has Jeff claiming that raiding would not be the only way to get the best items in the game. Instead he is quoted as saying raiding would only get players neat-o effects like particle glows. This was a pre-release interview so its only to be expected that some things have changed.

A video interview with Jeff at E3 this year has him saying certain things like "we know the pvp system is kind of a grind" which caused many a brain aneurysm among WoW players. This condition know as Tigole Terrors is caused when a casual WoW player thinks he might be playing the beta for Everquest 3. A band-aid for this horrible condition is being introduced in patch 1.12 with the widening of the pvp ranks.


Because of this and other reasons many people have started to blame Jeff Kaplan for everything they feel is wrong with Everquest 3 umm I mean WoW. Tigole can hardly post on the forums without being flamed like Eyonix at a Shaman Pep Rally. All this hatred directed at one game designer and I am not even sure he can really be blamed. World of Warcraft is no longer in its infancy, a majority of players are 60, and they need end-game content. Raiding requires coordination and dealing with elitist guilds but its been a standard form of end-game content for quite awhile.

However, most people new to the genre aren't going to understand this and will only get angrier as more content comes out that they cannot access. Unless Jeff Kaplan comes out with some way of showing that he does care about casual players I think he will continued to be blame. If he wasn't so busy with the expansion I would recommend him doing a blog that shows the steps he takes to be fair to both play styles. Heck he could have a intern do it and just proofread.