World of Warcraft Does Not Use Generative AI – Franchise Director

  • 04-04-2024 |
  • Amanda Griffith

In a conversation with IGN at the Game Developers Conference, John Hight, the franchise director of Warcraft, shed light on Blizzard's approach to integrating technology within World of Warcraft's development process. He highlighted that while the studio employs machine learning for mechanical tasks, such as adjusting armor fits across a diverse range of character models, the essence of artistic creation within the game remains firmly in the hands of human artists.
The process of adapting armor designs for the game's myriad character forms – considering their unique shapes, horns, and tails – was previously a tedious task for artists. Blizzard decided to leverage machine learning to automate this process, successfully reducing the workload and allowing artists to focus on refining designs. This innovation not only accelerated the creation of new armor but also enhanced the artistic team's satisfaction by eliminating the monotony of repetitive tasks.
However, Hight acknowledged the concerns among artists regarding the potential implications of AI technology on their careers. There exists a fear that the adoption of generative AI could potentially render their roles obsolete. Reinforcing his commitment to the artistic process, Hight, who was raised by an aeronautical engineer and a fine artist, expressed a deep appreciation for human creativity and imagination. He reassured that Blizzard is cautious in its approach to AI, ensuring that it supports rather than replaces the human element of game development. Currently, World of Warcraft does not utilize generative AI in its content creation, focusing instead on how technology can assist in streamlining development while preserving the integrity and contributions of its artists.
As World of Warcraft wraps up its Dragonflight expansion, anticipation builds for its upcoming major expansion, The War Within. Additionally, the game recently introduced Plunderstorm, a new 60-player battle royale mode, offering players a unique way to earn rewards for both regular and classic servers, further enriching the dynamic world that so many have come to love – a world that remains, at its core, a product of human imagination and creativity.