Reddit AMA with John Staats - WoW's First Level Designer

World of Warcraft Diary Book 2nd Printing Campaign
John Staats published The WoW Diary, a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of vanilla World of Warcraft back in 2018. He's now running a crowdfunding campaign for a 2nd printing. You can check out the campaign here.

We were able to share a chapter during the Kickstarter for the first printing, and now we're able to share an excerpt from the new Post-Mortem article, Blizzard's Secret Sauce:

Originally Posted by John Staats
"Innovation makes for memorable talking points and feeds into the public’s perception of a visionary genius. People want to believe there are Promethean geniuses like Thomas Edison or Steve Jobs lighting the way. It’s a simple and romantic view. Why gum up the narrative with the minutiae? Who wants to hear about long work hours, internal failures, collaboration, and incremental progress? That stuff doesn’t sell magazines.

A disciplined developer targets a broad audience. Instead of creating features that demand expensive video cards, Blizzard always aims at low-end computers, making games everyone can play. This strategy isn’t exciting or “innovative,” nor does it energize the press, but it results in better sales—yet few studios embrace this attitude. Making games is unpredictable, complicated, and expensive. If executives want to avoid laying off hardworking devs, it’s incumbent on them to ensure their project will make enough money.

The words “proof of concept” means that a pilot feature is popular enough to be feasible. Investing in a better version of it seems prudent. If it’s fun gameplay to kill and loot monsters in an open world, making a game using this mechanic makes sense. If fantasy games outsell science fiction games, it’s logical to make fantasy games. These were the decisions that drove Blizzard toward WoW."

If you enjoyed this excerpt, there are many more like it in my book, The World of Warcraft Diary, written from the lessons learned while making WoW. I am crowdfunding the second printing.
This article was originally published in forum thread: World of Warcraft Diary Book 2nd Printing Campaign started by chaud View original post
Comments 5 Comments
  1. SinR's Avatar
    for the low price of 60 bucks you get a book.
  1. Just Passing through's Avatar
    Don't forget the shipping fee.

    Luckily one also has the option to totally not buy it.

    Isn't life in the free world awesome?
  1. cozzri's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by SinR View Post
    for the low price of 60 bucks you get a book.
    *College textbook enters the chat*
  1. Hotmail's Avatar
    I ain't crowdfunding this, but that was one of the coolest game design-related quotes I've ever read.
  1. SinR's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by cozzri View Post
    *College textbook enters the chat*
    hey College Textbooks at least help you in learning things.

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