E3 2002: A Little Bit of WoW History

Posted by Daeity On Friday, January 21, 2011

While I was looking up some old Blizzard news announcements, I came across this old article from IGN. It's always interesting to see these old posts detailing the future of games. =]

It talked about various things that Blizzard had planned before beta testing began.. so, unfortunately, I can't really add these items to that WoW Nostalgia post.

Anyways, check it out:

- Warriors had defense skills that were limited buffs (no stances).
- Warriors had an ability called "Slice and Dice" that granted additional damage when using swords.
- Shamans had an armor spell called Rockskin and could cast grasping roots (which grows roots from the ground to snare enemies).
- Shamans had a spell called "Immolation" for setting enemies on fire and burning slowly.
- Mages had a spell called "Fire Shield" that did damage to attacking players. (Although this never made it, the similar Molten Armor was later introduced in TBC.)
- There were core skills, secondary skills, and trade abilities. Secondary skills allowed Warriors, for example, to have first-aid, sneaking, thief abilities, etc. I wonder what other secondary skills they had considered?
- Core skills was basically weapon training (and possibly spells or certain skills like "Taming") by the way.
- This was interesting: "We do know there will be two continents however, Azeroth and Calendor." They even italicized "do", meaning that Blizzard confirmed to them that the two continents would be called Azeroth and Calendor. They might have misheard Kalimdor as Calendor (or maybe that was the original spelling?). Eastern Kingdoms was once known as Azotha, but in the Warcraft 3 manual Azeroth is a continent, not the planet.

Very interesting indeed. =]

Here are some other interesting details collected during that time (From E3 2002 Previews, the June 2003 issue of GMR, and forum posts).

- There will be over 100 dungeons in World of Warcraft. (Also confirmed by gamesdomain.com who had a private preview by Blizzard.)
- World of Warcraft ended up having 36 total dungeons by the way. BC had 26 dungeons by the end and WOTLK 29. Cataclysm launched with 10 new dungeons (and there are 2 new ones to be released later this year).
- Gnolls were changed to Gnomes as the playable race. (Textures were re-purposed for NPCs.)
- Entertainment on public transportation, like gambling.
- Mounts provide a bonus to armor when travelling, but could "not be used in combat yet". That feature was supposed to be implemented in the future.
- There were supposed to be hundreds of secondary skills (the only ones known at the time were First Aid, Thief (aka Pickpocketing), Lockpicking, and Sneaking which could be obtained by any class.)
- Players accumulate Special Points (SP) to unlock secondary skills.
- Druids could shapeshift into "unobtrusive animals" that are native to the area, such as a small rabbit. Basically, they could become "Critters" to stay hidden in plain sight. =]
- Mages could summon Fire and/or Air elementals.
- Blizzard stated that servers could support 2000-4000 players.
- World of Warcraft budget was about $40-50 million, was being worked on by 60 people over a 3 year period. (Good to know information to separate development costs from all other costs.)

And finally: when asked about possible new races: "There will be playable evil races, very evil races in fact".

I'm not sure what they had planned. Maybe they were just referring to the Undead race, or Horde in general? It's hard to say.. I wouldn't really consider the Horde evil, considering the amount of lore painting them as honorable and misunderstood warriors. If any race was considered evil, it would have to be the Human race considering all of their actions (and how they followed the order's of Azeroth's most evil villain for years). But that's a debate for another day. =]


- Confirmation from Warcry that "Calendor" was a typo - they meant to write Kalimdor. Azeroth was still called a continent however.
- Apparently, the Cathedral in Stormwind was to be used for virtual weddings, and Blizzard had plans to rent the space and to buy/send out invitations for players. (Early plans for paid services perhaps?) =]
- Another old mention of monthly content updates "created by an ongoing live development team that continuously designs new lands, quests, and monsters."
- Blizzard planned to have dynamic quests assigned to NPCs on the fly.
- Another funny one: "Every drop can be either used, worn, or used in crafting. Of course some things will be better than others, but there won't be any junk."
- Oh, and of course: Player Housing. =]