Brian Birmingham Season of Mastery Interview on Countdown To Classic Podcast

Brian Birmingham Season of Mastery Interview on Countdown To Classic Podcast

Brian Birmingham is the Lead Classic Developer and joins the Countdown to Classic Podcast, going over the launch for Season of Mastery, development insights, and the issue of botting and gold buying in WoW Classic. We’ve prepared a detailed breakdown of these topics below.

Listen to the Countdown to Classic Podcast on Youtube

Is there a concern of too many options for WoW?

At 7:53, Josh asks Brian about the possibility of too many version of World of Warcraft going simultaneously and possibly splitting up the community too much.

Looking at Classic Era realms, Brian states it isn’t a secret that those realms are mostly empty and this is the reason Blizzard offered up free transfers on Classic Era realms. Blizzard will always look to ensure there is a way for players to play their preferred version of World of Warcraft with others in a community, whether it is Season of Mastery, Classic Era, Burning Crusade, or something else.

Brian used the data from the initial launch of Classic comparing the number of name reservations to the possible number of players. Many of the changes the team did for Season of Mastery are laying the groundwork for future seasons and the Development team’s goal is to expand the audience with every future season

What Season of Mastery changes were considered but didn’t make it to live?

At 12:48, Josh asks Brian what changes were considered for Season of Mastery but didn’t make it to the live version. And this is a fantastic question because it can show some of Blizzard’s thought process during development and how they consider certain changes.

Surprisingly, Brian shared that the team considered using Retail Mythic affixes, such as Volcanic for the updated version of Molten Core. Which would make some sense because Molten Core, Fire, Volcanos, etc. But thankfully the team didn’t go down that path because the changes that were implemented to Molten Core had a much more positive response from the Classic community.

Going back, what would you have changed about Classic if you could have?

At 18:58, Josh asks Brian about what he would have changed about Classic if he could go back with a time machine and implement changes.

Somewhat not surprising, it was mostly a technical answer, but it did confirm many community suspicions about the client changing and new bugs re-appearing that had been fixed for over a year. Brain explained that one of the major changes would have been to not “fork” the Classic Client from retail too much.

When Blizzard applied Patch 1.14.0 to the Classic Era PTR, it was theorized this meant Classic “fresh” was coming. In reality, Blizzard was updating the entire client for Classic to a more modern version, similar to Retail and Burning Crusade Classic. This way, it would be much easier for Blizzard to implement changes across all three versions.

How far is the Classic team willing to go for changes in Season of Mastery?

At 26:23, Josh asks Brian about how flexible the team is about changes to the Classic formula for Season of Mastery and heavily hinted at future seasons.

Brian’s answer was somewhat surprising, stating that the Blizzard team doesn’t necessarily want to make drastic changes, but they have the ability and the permission to do so if they have to. Brian further explains that the team’s goal is to plan far enough ahead so that they won’t have to make drastic changes to correct an issue.

Using one example, Brian brings up how players are asking for class changes. Blizzard decided not to do that because Blizzard wanted to make the raids challenging and if you want to play something like Moonkin but don’t believe it is good, you shouldn’t play it. Brian goes on further to say how if you really wanted to play Moonkin, there are other places to play that specialization (such as Burning Crusade or even Retail).

Botting, Mage Boosting, GDKP’s, and Gold buying

Beginning at 30:48 and for the remainder of the podcast, Josh and Brian talk about Botting, the economy, and the issue of players purchasing gold in Classic.

This conversation goes through many topics, as they are all tied together in some way. Brian answered in a surprising way, even going so far as explaining that the guild he is in on Classic did do GDKP runs and Brian actually enjoyed it. Blizzard does understand how this issue impacts Classic and is looking to make a change about the ban duration for gold buying, increasing it from 3 days to something longer.

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