Interview with Kaeo Milker

16 Mar , 2013,
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On Monday, we sat down with Kaeo Milker, Senior Producer at Blizzard Entertainment, at Alienware Arena – Lucky Chinatown during Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm launch party. Kaeo Milker has been with Blizzard for 12 years and we ask him about the Starcraft franchise and what we can expect from Blizzard in the future.

Q. One question we usually hear is whether there be another expansion for Starcraft 2 after Heart of the Swarm and what can we expect?

There is Legacy of the Void. That is the Protoss expansion. So we actually broke it into three chapters. Wings of Liberty is the Terran end of the story of the story. Heart of the Swarm is the Zerg side and Legacy of the Void is the Protoss side.

Q. Will we see more races in the future?

There are no plans right now for that right now. We are pretty focused on making the 3 races in Starcraft 2 as awesome as they  can be. That is where our emphasis is.

Q. In Wings of Liberty, players are able to play around with old Terran technologies that produces different playstyles. In the future, will we see that option available for multiplayer?

Basically, we have intentionally separated the campaign from the multiplayer so that we can do crazy things in campaign. Basically things we can never do in multiplayer. We want the campaign to be really unique, really fun and abilities that felt crazy, fun, cool and powerful. But most things do not translate well in multiplayer.

In multiplayer, balance is so delicate that being introducing that kind of stuff, things just break everything we have worked so hard to accomplish. Yeah, there is not a lot of carry over from between all those crazy things in the campaign to the multiplayer. For Heart of the Swarm, we actually took some of the customisation we used in Wings of Liberty and went way further. Like Kerrigan herself levels up and unlocks abilities and she is fully customisable. The Zerg race is also customisable. Every unit you unlock and you get the choices of special abilities. Crazy things like Zerglings that can leap up cliffs and Zerglings that spawn instantly when you built them. Things that (again) you can never do in multiplayer. It is super fun in the campaign. You shall see lots of cool stuff in there. I guess that it’s never totally out of the question we wouldn’t find something from the campaign that we do like that and we carry over. But that is never our intention. We try to separate them as much as we can. The only things that we have introduced that is new is to allow you to unlock some skins for units so they look different; they function exactly the same. Purely like a model change.

Q. Hackers and cheaters are rare on Starcraft as compared to other games. What is Blizzard’s success against hackers and cheaters?

We worked really hard with our hacks team and technologies that helps us combat hacks. Hackers work 24hrs a day, 365 days a year so our best efforts there are usually combated quickly by hackers. We actually rely a lot on the community. People can report players inside the game and we get a lot of really good information about players that way. There is a combination of technologies and tools that we have and really players reporting people. I would encourage people, if they see someone who is straight up as hacking – report them. People like to turn in their replays, its like total proof that something happened. We always investigate those kind of things and take them seriously. We don’t want hackers in the game. We do everything we can to prevent them.

Q. Will there be a Starcraft MMO?

There is definitely not anything that we are not working on. My team itself, the Starcraft II team we did Warcraft III, we are doing Blizzard All-Stars, but we are an RTS team primarily. That is where our focus is. If you’re talking about Starcraft MMOs, it is something not on our radar. It’s not in the cards right now. Thats for sure.

Q. Will you be able to speak about Titan?

No there is nothing to say at all about Titan. They are hiring for Titan, you can see jobs openings for Titan. That is all I can say about Titan. I have no idea what announcement they have scheduled for it but I am sure they will make a pretty good announcement at some point. We definitely like to take our time and we usually do not announce things until it is time.

Q. Will Blizzard be creating games for the console?

We have just announced that Diablo 3 will be coming out on the Playstation 3 and Playstation 4. That is probably the closest thing of us returning to console. That was just announced at the big Sony event just a few weeks ago. Diablo 3 will be coming to consoles.

We have no plans like that right now for Starcraft II. Realistically, Starcraft II is not a game that translates well onto consoles as it seems right now. Original Starcraft got ported onto the Nintendo 64 back in the day so it has been done before.

Q. Is there a chance of a major Blizzard event in Singapore on the scale similar to that of Blizzcon?

Each of our regional teams we have dedicated Blizzard employees in South East Asia, Singapore in particular. Those are groups who organize something like that. I’m not aware of any plans of it right now but we are always looking for ways to make each of our regions to get some attention. There is no plans right now. Blizzcon especially, we historically only held Blizzcon in Anaheim. Our entire staff is required to put on Blizzcon and there is no way to move all those people somewhere else, we are talking about thousands of people. It will be very hard to put on anything remotely on the scale of Blizzcon out here.