Gamasutra Interview: Blizzard's Afrasiabi On WoW's Cataclysm-ic Expansion

Blizzard's most recently-announced World of Warcraft expansion, Cataclysm, is said to radically alter nearly every part of the game's world, which makes it the perfect game for the studio to show off its storytelling chops.

Cataclysm's lead world designer Alex Afrasiabi says that over the game's five-year history, Blizzard has learned a great deal about how to convey information to the player using less text, in service of the well-worn advice "show, don't tell."

For example, one of Blizzard's most crucial storytelling tools, phasing -- a system by which a particular player's perception of the game world differs from that of other players based on his or her accomplishments in the game -- was the inadvertent result of a simple bug fix.

Gamasutra sat down with Afrasiabi to discuss Cataclysm's extensive scope, how Blizzard prioritizes content development, and how a bug fix became a game design linchpin.

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