BlizzCon 2019 - World of Warcraft: Developers' Tales
Join members of the World of Warcraft team as they share stories from the early days of the game’s development.

  • Gary was hired to work on Nomad, a sci-fi RPG. No one thought it was great.
  • At some point the team thought about making an MMORPG and was influenced by Everquest.
  • Morgan Day started in Summer 2005. Got in the car, drove across the country, really wanted to work on the game. There was an opening for QA at the time, he was part of a successful raiding guild. Interviewed for QA night crew, got the job, a new position opened up a few months later for a Raid and Dungeon QA specialist.
  • Testing AQ20, split QA Night Crew into 2, whoever got furthest got to test it.
  • Monte Krol started in October of 2000. Studied Computer Engineering, graduated and went into Healthcare software. A friend showed him Diablo and he played a ton. He bought Blizzard's next game without seeing it, Starcraft. Played a ton of it with friends. Warcraft 3 trailer had come out when he was looking for a new job. Flew out, interviewed, didn't know what game he was working on. WoW was still a secret at this point, so Monte thought he would be working on Starcraft 2. Monte was loaned to Team 1 for 6.5 years, then came back to Team 2.
  • Terran Gregory has been at Blizzard since 1.12. He was playing a ton of WoW as he was finishing school and working. A friend wanted to enter the movie contest at BlizzCon with him, had to convince Terran to do it. They dove right in and found a little project called the WoW Model Viewer. He reached out to one of the two developers, asking for some new features to make movies easier. The author kept adding features he requested, allowing them to make their BlizzCon submission. Terran made a few more films, got in contact with Blizzard, interviewed, and was hired. First project was the 1.12 trailer, then Black Temple trailer, one of the first times telling a story in the game.
  • When Terran submitted his movie, no one at Blizzard knew how he did it. They were trying to make their own movies at the time.
  • Joeyray came out and asked Gary to draw something in the lobby for his interview.
  • Joeyray asked if Terran made the movie, like actually did the editing. After that it was a casual conversation.
  • Some people on the team thought Warcraft was the wrong setting for an MMORPG, as Team 1 was already making Warcraft 3.
  • The team didn't want to have to make a whole new world, they already saw how that went with Nomand.
  • Everyone was very influenced by Warcraft. Gary wanted to go and see what was inside the Barracks.
  • No one was thinking about demographics, just making the game they wanted to play.
  • The team originally started with a more realistic graphic style. Someone took a Gnoll from Warcraft, upresed it, and Bill Petras decided that it would be the cornerstone for the art style.
  • The team started making more of the world based on the style of the Gnoll.
  • Easier to be creative with a style guide.
  • Hogger is the artistic cornerstone of World of Warcraft!
  • The team wanted to make 4 continents.
  • They didn't know how fast a person should run, or how big they should be.
  • The speed of characters were 7.2 yd/sec.
  • The team wasn't sure if all characters should move at the same speed.
  • The whole world was initially built on inches, with 1 inch being the base unit. The team found that numbers got very large quickly. There were numeric precision problems in the graphic engines, making animations happening far away jerky. The team then scaled everything with yards and ended up calling them meters.
  • In one cinematic, there were characters far from the origin and this was causing jerky motion. The team had to move them above Dalaran crater, which is 0,0. They then put them back in the scene.
  • One of the bugs for the BlizzCon demo was missing scrolling combat text. The Bastion zone was so far away from 0 that it caused this.
  • Sending things to 0,0 was done to prevent crashes.
  • Terran was asked to work with a team of 2-5 to make the Icecrown in-game cinematic. 20 members of QA ran up the stairs to make the charge scene. Most of the movie is players actually playing the game, including the Alliance charge. The flame effect was a vehicle that someone was driving.
  • Vehicles were abused a lot.
  • In Lich King, there were some ghouls walking around. Designers wanted icy spike ghouls, but the art team didn't have time. Designers used vehicles to add the spikes to the ghouls.
  • Testing Dalaran, they found an area with an awful framerate. It was inside the Toy Shop. One of the toys was a Dalaran in a bottle. A designer had spawned all of Dalaran, scaled it down to 1%, and stuck it in a bottle.
  • In 2010 Monte got to go to Moscow to do a signing. About 3,000 people were waiting in line, in December, for the Cataclysm launch signing. A man came up to him, gave him a rolled up piece of paper, told him that he worked for Blizzard. It was an artist that did TCG art for Blizzard, he came to Moscow for the signing.
  • Terran put his parents in Stormwind. In 2004, Terran visited his mom for Thanksgiving, right around release. He told her the game was about to come out, they took a 3 hour spontaneous road trip to the event. His mom picked up a copy of the game, joined a guild, made friends all over North America. She became very ill in 2005, MRI of her brain showed a large abscess. It wasn't a tumor, just a serious infection. As she slowly recovered her tactile skills, she played WoW with her friends playing at her pace. She made a full recovery and went back to being an RN. She has come to BlizzCon, asked questions, done cosplay, and is watching right now.

This article was originally published in forum thread: BlizzCon 2019 - World of Warcraft: Developers' Tales started by chaud View original post
Comments 8 Comments
  1. Sanguinerd's Avatar
    That intro video gave me chill though
  1. wombinator04's Avatar
    This is probably the best panel all Blizzcon, really interesting!

    Never knew, a retextured Gnoll, built the base of how WoW looked.
  1. iamthedevil's Avatar
    lol that's awesome that the wrathgate was somewhat live action.
  1. Relapses's Avatar
    There's something inherently hilarious about the devs abusing vehicles.

    Artists: I'm sorry Dave, we can't do that.

    Devs: Just throw some fucking vehicles on it.
  1. gutnbrg's Avatar
    why would they have sylvanas yell for the horde?
  1. aeuhe4yxzhds's Avatar
    Testing Dalaran, they found an area with an awful framerate. It was inside the Toy Shop. One of the toys was a Dalaran in a bottle. A designer had spawned all of Dalaran, scaled it down to 1%, and stuck it in a bottle.
    How do people manage to not realize how dumb this is? Something similar happened with sunwell as well
  1. Gref's Avatar
    lol at that dalaran in bottle. seriously ;D
  1. Kyphael's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by gutnbrg View Post
    why would they have sylvanas yell for the horde?
    Got to feature waifu queen number 1.

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