BlizzCast # 12: 15 Years of Warcraft Interview
Those who visit Blizzplanet, if you haven’t heard the BlizzCast # 12 released a few days ago, this is a good time to do so. I suggest bringing some snacks and juice with you before loading this podcast, because it is 59:10 minutes long.
The first 40 minutes we have Karune interviewing Chris Metzen (Senior VP of Creative Design), Rob Pardo (Executive VP of Game Design) and Samwise Didier (Senior Art Director). This is a very interesting interview which goes in-depth through the development of each of the Warcraft games starting with Warcraft: Orc and Humans, Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal, Warcraft III and World of Warcraft.
Lots of funny moments, old-die-hard debates between Rob Pardo and Samwise come afloat right in the middle of the interview [Blademaster’s mirror images not making damage] — that was an epic Rob Pardo facepalm moment (“oh lord, not here, not right now. Again …”). This kind of interview is what makes anyone wish to be a Blizzard employee making games, and having fun while making them.
The second part of the BlizzCast 12 is led by Nethaera who asked Tom Chilton (Game Director), J. Allen Brack (Production Director) and Jeff kaplan (former Game Director) what made them join the production of the WoW team, and their previous experience with games. How difficult it was to translate the RTS game into a MMO.
It’s interesting to learn that all three of them were former Warcraft: Orcs and Humans players and were fans of Blizzard Entertainment. Gotta say this because there are many talented fans out there whose dream is to one day work at their studios in Irvine. Download the BlizzCast # 12 podcast here (Transcript available)
J. Allen Brack: You want to tell the Adham story, post-E3 Adham story? I think that’s pretty good.
Jeffrey Kaplan: Yeah! Okay, when WoW was in early development, we had this moment where we were going to show at our first E3 and it was a very scary time for the dev. team, and exciting at the same time, because you’re kind of putting it out there and hoping there’s a good reaction. We showed at that E3 and the game was received well, but there were other games that really did well and the press was talking about a lot. One in particular was Star Wars Galaxies, and they had this awesome movie that they showed and they won “Best of Show.” Afterwards, we’re kind of having this team meeting about, “what did you guys see at E3?” And there were some members of the development team that were kind of down a little bit and they were saying, “man I don’t know, how can we compete with Star Wars? We all grew up with Star Wars and Everquest II’s coming out and there’s all of these great games coming out right now.” And Allen Adham, who was one of the original founders of Blizzard and who was the lead designer on the project at the time, stood up in front of the team and said, “guys this game is going to have a million subscribers.” And we were just blown away because most of the team was thinking if we could have in the ballpark of a couple hundred thousand subscribers, the game would be a great success. At that time, that’s what a successful MMO did.
Nethaera: Right, at the time, nobody knew a number like a million subscribers.
Jeffrey Kaplan: Yeah, exactly. To have basically the leader of our company and our lead designer at the time stand up in front of the team who we all had tremendous faith in and say, “you guys are going to get a million subscribers, this game is that good,” was kind of shocking to us. It was a great pep talk. And yet at the same time, after Allen left the room there was some of that, “is he crazy? A million? How are we ever going to do that?”