World Of Warcraft Is “Painful” To Support Legacy Content, Says Developer
World of Warcraft recently launched its newest expansion, Battle for Azeroth, which is naturally drawing the attention of both veteran players and new ones looking to see what all the hype is about. While everyone is enjoying – or at least, trying to enjoy – the new expansion, the talented team at Blizzard is going back and making sure the game’s legacy content jives properly with the new content.
In a recent interview with GamesIndustry, technical director Patrick Dawson reveals that this task is by no means an easy thing to accomplish. “World of Warcraft doesn’t shy away from doing difficult things by any means,” the director said. “It is difficult to support legacy content. Every time you release a patch or expansion you still have to make sure Ragnaros works, and Onyxia works, because there are people that still go back and do that. So the challenge is, how do you support legacy content while developing new content?”
While consistently going back and making sure older content still works sounds like an absolute pain, Dawson revealed that the team has gotten better at minimizing the workload required by relegating features to specific expansions. We’ve gotten a little smarter about things over the years,” he said.
For example, there are features that are relegated to just one expansion now. The Artifact system for Legion is a good example of that. That’s been sunset. We don’t need to support that going forward. And what we’ve done is been able to take that and learn from it, figure out what’s worked and what hasn’t, so we can apply that to future expansions and not have to support other features like that going forward.”
While relegating certain features to certain expansions helps with the busywork, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t much for Dawson and company to do when all is said and done. “However, there are a ton of features we do have to support. One of the most important things from a tech end is we always look at modernizing wherever we can. When World of Warcraft shipped it was on single realms that were completely independent from all other realms. Now we’re on a much more cloud-based infrastructure, which didn’t exist in 2004 and is now the industry standard. We’ve modernized our game to make use of that, so we have a lot more resources we can share between different realms and a lot more connectivity we can provide to our players in their gameplay experience.”
This essentially means that, while new content is constantly getting added to the game, the team is hard at work developing new ways to more fluidly implement new features, while at the same time ensuring that legacy content doesn’t get completely borked when new patches hit the live servers.
World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is now live.
So, thoughts on Blizzard’s commitment to still supporting legacy content? What has been your favorite World of Warcraft expansion so far? Let us know in the comments section below, and as always, stay tuned to Don’t Feed the Gamers for all the latest gaming and entertainment news! Don’t forget to follow DFTG on Twitter for our 24/7 news feed!
Ryan "Cinna" Carrier2160 Posts
Ryan is a writer and the head editor for Don't Feed the Gamers. When he isn't writing, Ryan is likely considering yet another playthrough of Final Fantasy IX. He's also the DFTG cinnamon bun.