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Thursday, June 8, 2006
 
Blizzard's Rise To Power
7:19 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Issue 48 of The Escapist online magazine contains a trio of articles detailing Blizzard Entertainment's rise to power, it's loss of some creative employees, and the tremendous impact of its most popular title: World of Warcraft. The three articles provide an interesting look at the advantages and drawbacks of overwhelming success in the game industry.

From Exodus by Shannon Drake:

This small company culture was hard to sustain, as Blizzard grew on the strength of its previous titles and went through the rocket-powered launch of World of Warcraft. Up in San Mateo, Blizzard North headed toward its demise and subsequent shuttering, the departures began en masse. Some employees declined generous relocation packages in the Irvine Mothership to head off on their own, or to join already-established companies like NCsoft. As Blizzard North disappeared into fond memories, her alumni scattered to the winds, starting or taking prominent positions with companies like ArenaNet, Red 5 Studios, Flagship Studios, Perpetual Entertainment and Hyboreal Games. Some devoted themselves to single-player games, while others stepped up to challenge their former employer in the realm of MMOGs. Stieg worked with Ubisoft for a while, before joining Perpetual Entertainment in 2004 to help craft Gods and Heroes. Stefan and a band of former Blizzard North employees started Castaway Entertainment, where they're working on a number of projects. ArenaNet went on to release Guild Wars; the guys who went to NCsoft are working on Dungeon Runners; and Flagship Studios came up with Hellgate: London.

They went to many different companies with many different goals, but when discussing their reasons for leaving, there is a single common thread that can be summed up as "We wanted to do something that wasn't Diablo or World of Warcraft." If Robert Johnson is stuck playing the blues in Hell for all eternity, the after-game facing the Blizzard team was constantly churning out World of Warcraft expansions and enhancements to feed a ravenous mass of players that'll pounce on whatever they create, analyze it, chop it to shreds, exploit it, camp it, and then insult them by name for not churning out more content. And that's just on the first day it's out. So, what's a designer to do? Sign at the Crossroads and ride the wave of success, or turn around and start their own company?

To read the rest of articles, head over to The Escapist at the link below.

The Escapist: Issue 48
Blizzard Entertainment


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