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Monday, November 30, 2009

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Blizzard Developers Discusses Warcraft Anniversary
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

GameSpot has published a new interview with Blizzard Entertainment's Rob Pardo and Jeff Kaplan about the 15th anniversary of the Warcraft franchise and the 5th anniversary of the MMO juggernaut, World of Warcraft. The developers discussed the franchise's history, surprises over the years, the unexpected success of WoW, and the future of Warcraft.

Blizzard lead designer Jeff Kaplan assumed control of Pardo's guild after the Blizzard executive retired from EverQuest to focus his efforts wrapping up development on Warcraft III. In 2002, he was brought on to aid in development of the original WOW, and he said that it was no easy task adapting the franchise from its RTS roots to a more RPG setting.

"It required a huge shift," Kaplan said. "You do a lot of things in an RTS for very different reasons than you would do things in an MMO. As it relates to story, if you look at the ending of the original Warcraft III, you've got the Humans, Orcs, and Night Elves all united to overcome Archimonde at the World Tree. That didn't work for the structure of the MMO at all, we knew that we wanted to have Horde and Alliance pitted against each other. We had to re-create the rift that went all the way to the original Orcs and Humans."

"It's also hard to deal with the psychology of the dev team," he continued. "We would often feel obliged to do things exactly how they were done in the RTS, which isn't always right for the gameplay of an MMO. An example is, we wanted to give an ability called Death Coil to warlocks, because we thought it was really fitting. In Warcraft III, Death Coil was a Death Knight-only ability, and not only did it do damage, but it healed. People had a rough time coming to terms with the fact that it was OK to make changes and do what was right for the gameplay of WOW, even if that somehow contradicted what people saw in Warcraft III."

However, having the RTS as a backdrop did more than create challenges, as explained by Pardo. "We were really aided by the fact that we had so much history in the Warcraft franchise," he said. "So we had all these storylines and worlds, and in a lot of ways, at least early on when we started developing the maps and the zones, there was so much to already start from."
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GameSpot: 15 Years Of Warcraft
Blizzard Entertainment

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Archives  News  Blizzard Developers Discusses Warcraft Anniversary