Blizzard's Next Gen MMO Details

Posted by Daeity On Friday, August 6, 2010

As promised, here's what I've learned about Blizzard's new MMO from a couple internal sources. It's not a lot of info, but I thought it sounded pretty cool the way they were describing it and it's enough to work out a possible game focus. I did a search this past week and haven't found anything related to this, so I hope it's not a repost.

I'll put this in point form too for easier reading:

  • Even though the game was first learned about 2-3 years ago, there really hasn't been a tremendous amount of progress made. It's apparently a pretty small team too.
  • However, there's supposed to be a serious kick off in production and development "very soon". Increased recruiting and an "input of cash" for example.
  • They have been primarily working on concept art, drawings, designing content and assets, environments, etc.
  • No details on the game engine or what the game is like. It sounds like the developers have just been doing a lot of "trial-and-error" testing and experimentation.
  • Will be incoporating many social elements. A deep emphasis on socilization and such, and integration with real world.
  • A lot of ideas/designs are being thrown away - "trying new things".
  • No word on any console work or PS3/XBOX360 programming.
The art and graphics:
  • There was art and concept drawings of knight armor, futuristic-looking armor, and modern wear (e.g. "present day" suit and tie.)
  • There wasn't any crazy-looking "fantasy" stuff. Instead, they were a lot more "realistic in appearance" (e.g. imagine 15th century medieval plate armor).
  • There was also old looking ripped cloth rags that could have been clothing or an asset for something else.
  • There were renders of modern-era guns, an old looking bolt-action rifle, and a futuristic-looking weapon.
The environments:
  • There was modern looking architecture with textures (buildings, windows, doors, bricks).
  • Medieval era buildings and structures.
  • Futuristic looking city with high buildings and roads (no vehicles or people visible).
  • A war-torn environment with burned-out buildings, dark colors. Looked like something out of a WW2 game.
One thing noted is that none of the concept art of renders were cartoony at all, they appeared a lot more realistic than Blizzard's typical art style. The other important note was the "variety of environments".


Blizzard wants to keep players addicted, so it will definitely have some RPG elements ("Gotta collect 'em all"). The rumors say it's going to be a MMOFPS/RPG hybrid, and I'm inclined to believe that.. it might be like TERA where movement and positioning is important and there will be projectile weapons (shooter part) as well as handheld axes, swords, bats, etc. It's important that Blizzard branch out of the MMORPG niche (too many smaller companies are still trying to gobble up whatever they can there) and expand into other niches if they intend on increasing subscriptions.

Because of the multiple different types of environments, that opens up many scenarios in regards to gameplay and storyline.

For example, the story/lore could be based around any one of these:

  1. Time Travel - exploring or missions in different time periods (e.g. Chrono Trigger)
  2. Cyberspace - virtual worlds where there is a variety of themed environments to visit (e.g. Shadowrun, Neuromancer, etc.)
  3. Dreamscape - I N C E P T I O N ? Probably not. =]
  4. Parallel dimensions - I'm hoping for this one actually, it's not very often used in games, it opens up the possibility of multiple environments and even alien-looking worlds (versions of earth) with different laws of physics, and the possibilities of expansion packs are endless (new dimensions "discovered" and it explains the existence of server shards.)
In each scenario, the modern day or "real world" could be a centralized hub of sorts for example where users can interact with each other. Or each environment might be so large, that there's plenty to do and people can focus on the environments they prefer or are comfortable with (e.g. modern day, WW2, ancient battles, futuristic battles, far-end-the-future post-apocalyptic stuff, etc.)

There was another rumor that there are "two lives", which sort of fits in with what I was told.. it works, except for time travel unless they do a "Quantum Leap" approach.

Other than that, there have already been a lot of changes and probably even more changes before they finally announce something about the game (late October), but I think it's safe to say that they have a general direction in mind.

I have a little bit more information still trickling in, will update when I can. But, that's a big chunk of it - I know it's not a lot or what you may have been hoping for, but it's still interesting.