Giant Bomb News

102 Comments

Five Years In The World Of Warcraft

A bit of reminiscence about Blizzard's little juggernaut from a few of the developers who have been there.


See, a logo! It's official! 
Ready to feel old? World of Warcraft turns five years old this week. That's five years of grinding for your mount, five years of weird murloc sounds, five years of unchecked Defias slaughter, five years of LFG. After about two years I personally had to stop playing World of Warcraft at the risk of never doing anything besides playing World of Warcraft ever again, but millions of you are still going strong half a decade later. The sheer scale of the game's success boggles the mind to this day.

Before the next expansion, Cataclysm, comes along and ravages all the old lands of Azeroth you once got used to and then quietly forgot about, I wanted to grab a hold of a few of the people at Blizzard who made World of Warcraft happen and have kept it running all these years to see what they remember about what must have been a whirlwind period of their lives. Big thanks to art director Sam Didier, production director J. Allen Brack, lead world designer Alex Afrasiabi, and cinematics project lead Jeff Chamberlain for sitting down for a short chat. You can find some of their memories below.

On the early days and the madness of development


Brack: The World of Warcraft team started out pretty small, and worked its way up. For a while it was between 20 and 30 people, and slowly ramped up, so by the time the game shipped it was at 60 people.

Didier: art director by day, metal god by night. 
Didier:
A lot of us were playing EverQuest and Ultima Online, so that was probably the main influence. We kind of took the things that we liked and then started doing things that we wanted to improve on, but that was basically it. A lot of our games here at Blizzard are basically, we'll play a game for a while and go "Wow, that game is so awesome. I wonder if we could do something like that." Back in the old days, we made The Lost Vikings because everybody was playing Lemmings. Same thing when we were working on BlackThorne, we were playing Out of This World. And the RTSs, we were inspired by Dune II. WOW was the same way. We just really wanted to get into the Warcraft world, but this would be our first chance to do it on a completely different visual level.

Brack: The story that gets told around the office a lot is about Allen Adham, who's one of the founders of Blizzard, who got the team together at one point and was talking about how WOW was great, was going to be fantastic, everyone was really going to love what we were doing, and giving a huge motivational speech to everyone. He said, "This game is one day going to have a million subscribers." And everyone was really fired up and happy and excited--and no one believed that at all. No one believed that, that was crazy talk. How could any game ever have a million subscribers? That was just ridiculous.

Didier: We had just gotten finished working on Warcraft III, and I think we were starting WOW about then, but a lot of the [artwork] we were doing was a lower-poly version of what the WOW team was going to be doing. So we would make some of our characters, and then the WOW team was looking at "Oh, OK, that's what their guy looks like from top-down, three-quarter view. What does he really look like  when you look at him straight forward?" So a lot of the early work was working with some of the artists to just get that style that we had from the top-down perspective, but have that carry over so when you're looking at [the characters] face-to-face they're not too goofy or cartoony looking.

One of the things was, did we want to make it a pure evolution of Warcraft? Did we want to make it 60 years in the future, and orcs were now completely demonic and they had black skin and red tattoos? We were going through a lot of that sort of thing and doing some tests on it. But we figured out that we just wanted to make Warcraft. We didn't want to change up the characters that people already knew and loved. A lot of that iteration happened probably about a year before we announced in 2001.

 I don't know if you noticed, but that scarecrow is actually an evil robot.     
Afrasiabi:
We crunched a lot. It wasn't unusual to be here at 4 or 5 in the morning, especially later, the last couple of months before ship. When I came onto the project, it was pretty much in the middle of crunch, so that was a pretty amazing environment to jump into. Crunch at Blizzard is a beautiful thing in my opinion. Some people may disagree, but, you know, it's alive. You're buzzing. You're going through, and there's work to be done, and there's people who do that work, and everyone's on the same level. You're just jamming.

Chamberlain: There are pros and cons. You're killing yourself to get it done, but it's a labor of love so we're putting everything we can into it at the last minute just because we want it to be as good as it can. We were pretty much in a 24-7 crunch mode in the cinematics department.

Didier: [The scope of the project] definitely got bigger as we were going, because there were more things that we wanted to showcase. We didn't just want to do human lands, we wanted dwarves, and we wanted everything to have its own feel. In terms of popularity, as well, we weren't expecting the game to be this big. A couple hundred thousand [players] and we would be like "Yeah, alright! We made it!" Everquest had some numbers like that, and that was the level where we'd know we were successful. So this game, on every front, has just grown and gotten bigger than we ever expected.


On launch day and the technical challenges therein


Afrasiabi: I think the first week took everybody by surprise. There was no way we could have expected what we got, and in between the elation and the happiness that we shipped a successful and good product that everyone's happy about, there were certainly a lot of people running around with their heads cut off, trying to put out fires.

Decisions, decisions. Remember the first time you made this one? 
Brack:
One of the ways that we knew we were going to be successful was that we had 20 servers on launch day, and then we had 20 other servers that were built and dark and ready to be used. The idea was that over the coming year, those 20 servers would get brought up, they'd replace other servers that had hardware problems, they were sort of like the backup. Within the first couple of hours of the game being available for people to buy, all the existing servers were full and we had to bring up the other 20 servers. So all 40 servers, we went through a year's worth of hardware allocation in a couple of hours, and still needed more. 

That was an interesting problem to have. When we talk about a server, when we talk about 20 servers on day one, a server is not actually one box, it's a collection of boxes that are linked together to form what we call a server. Obviously there's a database backend for that as well, that stores all the data for players and updates and things like that. So it was a pretty sizable number of machines, and of course these are not machines you can go down to Best Buy and get, so when the 40 servers were up on day one, there were many panicked discussions, phone calls and meetings about "Where in the world are we going to buy more hardware that usually takes two, three, four months to buy, to get built and get deployed? How are we going to do that quickly?"

[On server efficiency] You've seen recently within the last few years a huge push toward, "This server takes 40 percent less power." The way datacenter power works is, you get a power allocation based on the number of boxes you're storing there, and the footprint, and things like that, and that's a big battle at datacenters because they only have a certain amount of power coming in. Most people on the consumer side think "Oh, 40 percent, not that big of a deal, how much is one computer really doing?" But when you've got 10,000 computers you've got to power, that's pretty significant.

[On stability over time] There is a database architecture that provides some redundancy, and then we have a backup system that also provides redundancy, so theoretically we feel like we have a good amount of backup. We've had a lot of technical issues in the last five years, but none of them have led to any lost data, so we're very happy about that. Very fortunate.


On playing the game as a Blizzard employee


      The real reason anyone plays WOW.
Didier:
I haven't been playing as much lately, because there's been a lot of other games that I've been wanting to check out. The last time I logged on was during Brewfest. I wanted to see about getting another Brewfest mount, sometime in mid-October. But I still go back to it. Sometimes my kids want to play, so I'll log on with a lower-level character with them, run around, that kind of stuff. It's always on, but whether I play it every night of the week, it hasn't been that for a while.

Chamberlain: I get in every once in a while, but not as hardcore as originally. I've moved on to other games as well, like Left 4 Dead, and to be honest, I probably fire up Warcraft III more often than I should.

Brack: I play about 10 to 12 hours a week. I had a raid last night. I got two pieces of loot! And there's no way for players to know who Blizzard employees are [in-game]. The number of people purporting to be Blizzard employees vastly exceeds the number of actual Blizzard employees. People are always in the game going "I work for Blizzard and therefore I know blah blah blah!" and... they don't work for Blizzard.

Didier: I've met myself.

Brack: Oh, congratulations!

Didier: I had a conversation with Sam Didier, online. It was pretty impressive.


On WOW's path, how it evolves, and how long it will last


Afrasiabi: We do have a roadmap for where we want World of Warcraft's story and flow to be, over time, and what we release. But how strictly we stick to that is up for debate.

Expect many more villains to come.
Brack:
Blizzard is obviously well known for having an iterative design philosophy, and that plays a huge role in where we are today and where we [will be] tomorrow. In terms of knowing the next one, two, three expansions down the line, we really don't know. We plan about one expansion ahead, and right now the team is focused on delivering patch 3.3, which is the end of the Arthas storyline, and then we know about Cataclysm, and we have a good idea of what's going to be in that. We have a couple of good ideas for what the Cataclysm patches could be, but nothing that's firm, and nothing really beyond that. The reason for that is, we're going to be much smarter, when we release Cataclysm, in terms of what the right next thing is for us to do. Why spend huge amounts of time on this plan that you know is going to change?

Most of the time, [the core design changes come about through] player desire and player requests. The game is successful and fun mostly when it's a social experience and you're playing with your friends, so most of the services we've introduced, and the leveling speed-up and things like that, are almost universally with the idea that it's better to play with your friends, so how can we facillitate that? How can we make it easier for you to get together to play with a group, in the case of leveling speed? Faction change, you've got friends in another faction. Faction transfer, you've got friends on another server. All these things are really designed to help people play together and get the most enjoyment out of the game.

[On WOW's lifespan] I think Ultima Online just had its 13th birthday, and EverQuest is 10 years old, so [we hope WOW lasts] at least as long as that. We have those guys as guideposts to help us know how things are going. Those are sort of the grandaddies of the grown-up MMOs.

Didier: I think as long as we have cool ideas that we want to do, there will be expansions. There are so many things we want to do that we haven't done yet. 
 
Thanks again, guys. In case that official logo up top didn't tip you off, Blizzard is serious about this anniversary business; they've launched a new site celebrating the event where you can find extensive video interviews, a podcast, and some other fun stuff rolling out over the next little while. 
 
And hey, why not share your own tales of addiction and recovery in the comments? I think a little part of me would still like to play nothing but WOW for the rest of time, if that were actually an option. Brad Shoemaker on Google+
102 Comments
  • 102 results
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Posted by Brad

See, a logo! It's official! 
Ready to feel old? World of Warcraft turns five years old this week. That's five years of grinding for your mount, five years of weird murloc sounds, five years of unchecked Defias slaughter, five years of LFG. After about two years I personally had to stop playing World of Warcraft at the risk of never doing anything besides playing World of Warcraft ever again, but millions of you are still going strong half a decade later. The sheer scale of the game's success boggles the mind to this day.

Before the next expansion, Cataclysm, comes along and ravages all the old lands of Azeroth you once got used to and then quietly forgot about, I wanted to grab a hold of a few of the people at Blizzard who made World of Warcraft happen and have kept it running all these years to see what they remember about what must have been a whirlwind period of their lives. Big thanks to art director Sam Didier, production director J. Allen Brack, lead world designer Alex Afrasiabi, and cinematics project lead Jeff Chamberlain for sitting down for a short chat. You can find some of their memories below.

On the early days and the madness of development


Brack: The World of Warcraft team started out pretty small, and worked its way up. For a while it was between 20 and 30 people, and slowly ramped up, so by the time the game shipped it was at 60 people.

Didier: art director by day, metal god by night. 
Didier:
A lot of us were playing EverQuest and Ultima Online, so that was probably the main influence. We kind of took the things that we liked and then started doing things that we wanted to improve on, but that was basically it. A lot of our games here at Blizzard are basically, we'll play a game for a while and go "Wow, that game is so awesome. I wonder if we could do something like that." Back in the old days, we made The Lost Vikings because everybody was playing Lemmings. Same thing when we were working on BlackThorne, we were playing Out of This World. And the RTSs, we were inspired by Dune II. WOW was the same way. We just really wanted to get into the Warcraft world, but this would be our first chance to do it on a completely different visual level.

Brack: The story that gets told around the office a lot is about Allen Adham, who's one of the founders of Blizzard, who got the team together at one point and was talking about how WOW was great, was going to be fantastic, everyone was really going to love what we were doing, and giving a huge motivational speech to everyone. He said, "This game is one day going to have a million subscribers." And everyone was really fired up and happy and excited--and no one believed that at all. No one believed that, that was crazy talk. How could any game ever have a million subscribers? That was just ridiculous.

Didier: We had just gotten finished working on Warcraft III, and I think we were starting WOW about then, but a lot of the [artwork] we were doing was a lower-poly version of what the WOW team was going to be doing. So we would make some of our characters, and then the WOW team was looking at "Oh, OK, that's what their guy looks like from top-down, three-quarter view. What does he really look like  when you look at him straight forward?" So a lot of the early work was working with some of the artists to just get that style that we had from the top-down perspective, but have that carry over so when you're looking at [the characters] face-to-face they're not too goofy or cartoony looking.

One of the things was, did we want to make it a pure evolution of Warcraft? Did we want to make it 60 years in the future, and orcs were now completely demonic and they had black skin and red tattoos? We were going through a lot of that sort of thing and doing some tests on it. But we figured out that we just wanted to make Warcraft. We didn't want to change up the characters that people already knew and loved. A lot of that iteration happened probably about a year before we announced in 2001.

 I don't know if you noticed, but that scarecrow is actually an evil robot.     
Afrasiabi:
We crunched a lot. It wasn't unusual to be here at 4 or 5 in the morning, especially later, the last couple of months before ship. When I came onto the project, it was pretty much in the middle of crunch, so that was a pretty amazing environment to jump into. Crunch at Blizzard is a beautiful thing in my opinion. Some people may disagree, but, you know, it's alive. You're buzzing. You're going through, and there's work to be done, and there's people who do that work, and everyone's on the same level. You're just jamming.

Chamberlain: There are pros and cons. You're killing yourself to get it done, but it's a labor of love so we're putting everything we can into it at the last minute just because we want it to be as good as it can. We were pretty much in a 24-7 crunch mode in the cinematics department.

Didier: [The scope of the project] definitely got bigger as we were going, because there were more things that we wanted to showcase. We didn't just want to do human lands, we wanted dwarves, and we wanted everything to have its own feel. In terms of popularity, as well, we weren't expecting the game to be this big. A couple hundred thousand [players] and we would be like "Yeah, alright! We made it!" Everquest had some numbers like that, and that was the level where we'd know we were successful. So this game, on every front, has just grown and gotten bigger than we ever expected.


On launch day and the technical challenges therein


Afrasiabi: I think the first week took everybody by surprise. There was no way we could have expected what we got, and in between the elation and the happiness that we shipped a successful and good product that everyone's happy about, there were certainly a lot of people running around with their heads cut off, trying to put out fires.

Decisions, decisions. Remember the first time you made this one? 
Brack:
One of the ways that we knew we were going to be successful was that we had 20 servers on launch day, and then we had 20 other servers that were built and dark and ready to be used. The idea was that over the coming year, those 20 servers would get brought up, they'd replace other servers that had hardware problems, they were sort of like the backup. Within the first couple of hours of the game being available for people to buy, all the existing servers were full and we had to bring up the other 20 servers. So all 40 servers, we went through a year's worth of hardware allocation in a couple of hours, and still needed more. 

That was an interesting problem to have. When we talk about a server, when we talk about 20 servers on day one, a server is not actually one box, it's a collection of boxes that are linked together to form what we call a server. Obviously there's a database backend for that as well, that stores all the data for players and updates and things like that. So it was a pretty sizable number of machines, and of course these are not machines you can go down to Best Buy and get, so when the 40 servers were up on day one, there were many panicked discussions, phone calls and meetings about "Where in the world are we going to buy more hardware that usually takes two, three, four months to buy, to get built and get deployed? How are we going to do that quickly?"

[On server efficiency] You've seen recently within the last few years a huge push toward, "This server takes 40 percent less power." The way datacenter power works is, you get a power allocation based on the number of boxes you're storing there, and the footprint, and things like that, and that's a big battle at datacenters because they only have a certain amount of power coming in. Most people on the consumer side think "Oh, 40 percent, not that big of a deal, how much is one computer really doing?" But when you've got 10,000 computers you've got to power, that's pretty significant.

[On stability over time] There is a database architecture that provides some redundancy, and then we have a backup system that also provides redundancy, so theoretically we feel like we have a good amount of backup. We've had a lot of technical issues in the last five years, but none of them have led to any lost data, so we're very happy about that. Very fortunate.


On playing the game as a Blizzard employee


      The real reason anyone plays WOW.
Didier:
I haven't been playing as much lately, because there's been a lot of other games that I've been wanting to check out. The last time I logged on was during Brewfest. I wanted to see about getting another Brewfest mount, sometime in mid-October. But I still go back to it. Sometimes my kids want to play, so I'll log on with a lower-level character with them, run around, that kind of stuff. It's always on, but whether I play it every night of the week, it hasn't been that for a while.

Chamberlain: I get in every once in a while, but not as hardcore as originally. I've moved on to other games as well, like Left 4 Dead, and to be honest, I probably fire up Warcraft III more often than I should.

Brack: I play about 10 to 12 hours a week. I had a raid last night. I got two pieces of loot! And there's no way for players to know who Blizzard employees are [in-game]. The number of people purporting to be Blizzard employees vastly exceeds the number of actual Blizzard employees. People are always in the game going "I work for Blizzard and therefore I know blah blah blah!" and... they don't work for Blizzard.

Didier: I've met myself.

Brack: Oh, congratulations!

Didier: I had a conversation with Sam Didier, online. It was pretty impressive.


On WOW's path, how it evolves, and how long it will last


Afrasiabi: We do have a roadmap for where we want World of Warcraft's story and flow to be, over time, and what we release. But how strictly we stick to that is up for debate.

Expect many more villains to come.
Brack:
Blizzard is obviously well known for having an iterative design philosophy, and that plays a huge role in where we are today and where we [will be] tomorrow. In terms of knowing the next one, two, three expansions down the line, we really don't know. We plan about one expansion ahead, and right now the team is focused on delivering patch 3.3, which is the end of the Arthas storyline, and then we know about Cataclysm, and we have a good idea of what's going to be in that. We have a couple of good ideas for what the Cataclysm patches could be, but nothing that's firm, and nothing really beyond that. The reason for that is, we're going to be much smarter, when we release Cataclysm, in terms of what the right next thing is for us to do. Why spend huge amounts of time on this plan that you know is going to change?

Most of the time, [the core design changes come about through] player desire and player requests. The game is successful and fun mostly when it's a social experience and you're playing with your friends, so most of the services we've introduced, and the leveling speed-up and things like that, are almost universally with the idea that it's better to play with your friends, so how can we facillitate that? How can we make it easier for you to get together to play with a group, in the case of leveling speed? Faction change, you've got friends in another faction. Faction transfer, you've got friends on another server. All these things are really designed to help people play together and get the most enjoyment out of the game.

[On WOW's lifespan] I think Ultima Online just had its 13th birthday, and EverQuest is 10 years old, so [we hope WOW lasts] at least as long as that. We have those guys as guideposts to help us know how things are going. Those are sort of the grandaddies of the grown-up MMOs.

Didier: I think as long as we have cool ideas that we want to do, there will be expansions. There are so many things we want to do that we haven't done yet. 
 
Thanks again, guys. In case that official logo up top didn't tip you off, Blizzard is serious about this anniversary business; they've launched a new site celebrating the event where you can find extensive video interviews, a podcast, and some other fun stuff rolling out over the next little while. 
 
And hey, why not share your own tales of addiction and recovery in the comments? I think a little part of me would still like to play nothing but WOW for the rest of time, if that were actually an option.
Staff
Edited by NoXious

I still look at my WoW CE box every now and then. Man I had fun with this game.

I actually played very hardcore 5 raids/week during Casual WoW as an MC Raider.
When Ahn'Qiraj came out I took a looooong break only to return to WoW with the release of Burning Crusade. Played semi-hardcore during BC but mostly for the PVP since the improvements to PVP were a lot better than PVE.
Then another break came up and just before WotLK I remade my ancient level 60 druid, and started grinding 1-80 only to come back to 'hardcore' raiding and finish the end-game the expansion released with.

That was the end of what started with the closed european beta. One hell of a ride that I enjoyed for at least 90% of that ride.

At least I still got some achievements to show for here on GiantBomb, but it's not exactly a game I'm willing to come back for.
I loved the WarCraft Lore and I really have a feeling alot of it is raped for PVE purposes (think, Grom Hellscreams Axe [legendary Orc Warrior anyone] that drops in a 10 man raid?!).

Posted by Kuragari

Haha nobody mentioned it's EQ2's 5 year anniversary. I swear WoW is only as big as it is because of the marketing tactics.
Nobody really even mentions EQ2 I suppose because it's not as easily played on max graphics. But there's a hell of a lot more to do there than in WoW.
I quit WoW because I ran out of quests to do, maxed out my tradeskills and got bored of the idiots on my server (who all showed up after the South Park episode aired) who couldn't function in a raid worth jack.
So after I quit and started playing EQ2, I realized it's like WoW for people who want more. So I think it deserves at least some mention. SOE just doesn't know how to draw in the customers and 
I don't think that's what should decide whether or not a game is good.

Posted by thejamster

god i just got an e-mail from blizzard offering me 7 free days on my old account. they're trying to pull me back in

Posted by wings

I recently froze my account cause I went to college. Reading this made me want to make a dwarf hunter and go play through Kharanos again. Greatest zone in any game.

Posted by ryanwho
@Kuragari said:
" Haha nobody mentioned it's EQ2's 5 year anniversary. I swear WoW is only as big as it is because of the marketing tactics. Nobody really even mentions EQ2 I suppose because it's not as easily played on max graphics. But there's a hell of a lot more to do there than in WoW. I quit WoW because I ran out of quests to do, maxed out my tradeskills and got bored of the idiots on my server (who all showed up after the South Park episode aired) who couldn't function in a raid worth jack. So after I quit and started playing EQ2, I realized it's like WoW for people who want more. So I think it deserves at least some mention. SOE just doesn't know how to draw in the customers and  I don't think that's what should decide whether or not a game is good. "
I think there's more to it than that. Don't ask me what it is, I have no idea what the appeal is, but clearly its here for this and not for other things. I think the lowered bar to entry totally helped, but the reality is the vast majority of WOW players are still under level 20, so really its just a game of people never deactivating their accounts "just in case".
Posted by Drebin_893

Thanks for this feature, Brad :)

Posted by mikeeegeee

Played WoW for two years. Got an undead mage up to level 60 right before The Burning Crusade came out. Playing during the initial release of The Burning Crusade perhaps produced my best memories of the game. Me and all my friends who played were all finally the same level, tackling the same objectives, with thousands of other players in the same boat.
 
World PVP was in its hay day, and it was goooood to be a mage. better to be a warlock, but goooood to be a mage.
 
Great interview, Brad. I was waiting for this one.

Posted by SJSchmidt93

Good read.

Posted by Darkstar614

Yeah my account is frozen as well. It's kind of a shame they messed up the Raiding scene so bad. But it's good for me because I don't have to play the game every night! 
 
I think I might check out the next expansion a little, but I don't think I'll ever get into the hardcore raiding again. Which is what I should have done in the first place.

Posted by Vorbis

Yeah kind of glad they have messed things up so much, got my evenings back to play other games now.

Posted by SJSchmidt93
@thejamster said:
" god i just got an e-mail from blizzard offering me 7 free days on my old account. they're trying to pull me back in "
Suggestion: Don't click any links in the e-mail unless you positive it's official. =)
Posted by VicRattlehead

just got an email from blizzard telling me id been banned for 3 hours for disrupting the chat....account hacked ftl :|
 
havent played wow in months as well....now i gotta reinstall and try and get me shit back....fun times

Posted by Alex_V

Good read. Nice to see them crediting Ultima Online a bit, which clearly started the ball rolling.

Posted by Sjupp

Man, this brings back memories.. I kinda want to play again. Damn you, Brad!

Posted by 2Yewtz

I've seen a lot of these interviews around lately, this one is just as interesting. Thanks Brad.

Posted by DexterKid

Ive been playing the game since 05. Recently its been very on and off, mainly due to wanting to play other things and general lack of time. But I am dead excited for Cataclysm and the huge amount of content it will introduce. Part of me wants to go back even earlier though, cause I would love to have a crack at the Icecrown Citadel stuff and maybe get a chance to see the fall of Arthas myself (unlikely though since Ive been out of raiding for just too long). Blizzard has been so good at bringing me back to the game everytime that I drifted away; they always finds ways of making the game better at just the right times. That right there, is the key to their success.

Posted by TaccyP

Having logged enough hours in WoW to get into the 4 digit territory and beyond (yes, I played WoW a lot) I've had my fill of that game. Ever since I "quit" I've gone back a few times attempting to rekindle the same sense of wonder and amazement that I had during my first 2 year run with the game, and it was just never the same. If I ever play another MMO it's going to have to do a lot of things in new and innovative ways that are much different than WoW (SW:TOR?)
 
Cool article though. It brought back a lot of my good WoW memories.

Posted by Osiris

I have played WoW from beginning untill now. Mostly raiding 4/5 days a week but with a lot of breaks in between. I think although they made some mistakes this expansion that this game is better and better every day. The game evolved loads from what it used to be and although most people say they miss the 40man raids (like me) that they did a good thing by redesigning the big raids to 25/10mans. They change things for good reason and balanced out the classes the right way.
 
Also I have a lot of control over my life, it's ridiculous to say that it "destroys" your social life because you NEED to spend so much time on this game. It doesn't if you have control over your own life and make the choice to just raid 3/4 days a week (and not be idlely online the rest). I have loads of other time for my girlfriend, friends and other games.
 
They are making this game more accessible for the random gamer who enjoys to play more then just WoW, which is good but it still maintains that toughness in hard mode raids where you need a good set of people that know what they are doing and have been playing together for a while.
 
 I love this game and I will play it until the last expansion, I'm sure.

Posted by Yummylee

I'd still be playing it now if i could afford it and if my computer could handle it =/ lol
Posted by Cerza

Ah memories. I had a good time in WoW all 4.5 years and over 12000 hours of it, but I'm done and nothing they can do will bring me back at this point. Good article Brad!

Posted by FunExplosions

Amazing article.

Posted by Lost_In_Gaming

I started playing WoW before BC, but hit level 58 with my Dwarf Paladin right when BC launched, so I didn't touch any of the original endgame.  I was very heavily devoted to BC endgame, however.  I played for about 2 years, I think, and stopped playing after buying Wrath of the Lich King and not enjoying the game anymore.  I have high hopes and expectations for Cataclysm and can't wait to start a Worgen Druid.

Posted by astonish

Playing the wow beta with 4 of my friends for the first time was probably one of the most memorable gaming experiences i had. The art, the music, the sense that there was this massive world with places, stories and mysteries that would take me long times to uncover. I raided pretty hard core through the classic and have been coming and going from the game ever since. I recently rejoined and love how accessible it is now. You can just sign on and jump into PvP and dungeons right away without running everywhere and although I'm not 80 yet having just signed back up, i head the dungeons are a lot shorter which should be a good thing. 
 
Looking forward to continuing to play this game casually with friends.

Posted by EndrzGame

I still play WoW, mostly during the winter. Here where I live it gets pretty cold and snowy and there isn't that much to do but to stay in and watch movies/play video games. I've been playing since launch and still find something new all the time. I find that I also play more right after a major patch or expansion, then my tastes shift to other games. Taken in moderation it's a great game, but some people with compulsive tendencies take it a bit too far. I urge everyone to at least try it.

Edited by stinky
@Osiris: i think 40 man raids are only good for nostalgia. 
back then a few guilds on a server really controlled who got to play and who didn't because of the sheer number of people it took to do end game content. 
that was just wrong.  
 
recently got back into the game with Lich King and i agree with you, they really have made some impressive changes.
Posted by Kohe321

Great interview Brad!

Posted by zyn

Great times have been had playing this game with my friends.  Great times.

Posted by 02sfraser

that was a good read :) i will be celebrating my year of playing WoW fairly soon and still loving it :D

Posted by Bigandtasty

 I think a little part of me would still like to play nothing but WOW for the rest of time, if that were actually an option.
 
You and me both, Brad. But only a little part. »_»

Edited by Lazyaza

Ah wow, a game I will always remember as one of the best and worst experiences I've ever had in my life.  I logged on for the 5 year anniversary achievement since blizz mailed me a free week, didn't realy do much besides that.  Cant say I'm interested in ever actively playing again, man is the game old now and its been getting more and more dumbed down (thus less and less fun) as time has gone on. The community is so over-flooded with morons now its like why play at all.  I mean shit in the next x-pack every race is getting every class, they're adding furries and not even bothering with much new content, just re-doing old stuff to entice more new players.
 
The game really is just a massive pointless waste of time at this stage, the fact it still costs money makes it even worse.

Edited by piderman

 I think a little part of me would still like to play nothing but WOW for the rest of time, if that were actually an option.


I know that feeling. I played a *lot* in 2005 and 2006, and I had a really great guild, played until the sun came up (literally). That was when I was a student. Now I have a regular job so I can't do that anymore. And I'll probably never find another guild like that :(
 
Oh and I'm really excited about the LFG system in 3.3, makes me level my druid to 80 so I can heal some peeps again :D
Posted by Maxszy

Thanks Brad... as an ex-WoW player myself, really appreciated this! I had some great, grand times in WoW. Met some great people who have become good friends that I still talk to today even though none of us have probably played WoW in 2+ years!
 
WoW...you have some great memories my friend. Though I will never come back to you at this point.

Posted by Bucketdeth

I haven't really enjoyed Wow since it had first came out, burning crusade and battlegrounds ruined it for me.

Posted by JoelTGM

I had no idea they started off as small as that.  And wow, they used up all their servers and back up servers when it launched hah.  Cool to hear it like that, because I never hear from the actual people who made the game; as far as I knew I figured the WoW team was always huge and knew exactly what they were getting into.

Posted by Jimbo_N

Man. WoW memories. I cant even start to recap all the memories from WoW that will probably stick with me until I die. The games that leave such a mark on your memory are very few. I just get overwhelmed if I even think about starting to list my 5 years with this phenomenon. I havent played for 6 months or something like that but I do feel the urge from time to time, especially when the winter grows ever closer.  
I still remember every second of the first day with the game as if it were yesterday tho, ill say that much. The way to the store to pick up up, the conversations, the moments leading up to registration and every quest and mob I killed within the first hours in the game. Its kinda scary when you think about it and MAN does it make me nostalgic.  
Its kinda funny how 5 years has made WoW something nostalgic for me when I think about it. That usually only applies to games from my childhood but when I think back on the past 5 years I feel nostalgia for WoW.
Posted by Darknaut

That was pretty interesting to read. I can only imagine how it must have been to see your game skyrocket way past any expectations you could possibly have imagined and continue to grow exponentially over the course of five years to become something like it is now.
 
That line about Sam meeting himself was great.

Posted by Bitemarks
@Kuragari said:
" Haha nobody mentioned it's EQ2's 5 year anniversary. I swear WoW is only as big as it is because of the marketing tactics. Nobody really even mentions EQ2 I suppose because it's not as easily played on max graphics. But there's a hell of a lot more to do there than in WoW. I quit WoW because I ran out of quests to do, maxed out my tradeskills and got bored of the idiots on my server (who all showed up after the South Park episode aired) who couldn't function in a raid worth jack. So after I quit and started playing EQ2, I realized it's like WoW for people who want more. So I think it deserves at least some mention. SOE just doesn't know how to draw in the customers and  I don't think that's what should decide whether or not a game is good. "
wow has a huge cult following. EQ1 certainly did but WOW is the dominant MMORPG these days. I suppose when you're making a retrospective, you try and cover the game more people are playing.
Edited by Osphere

Great memories with my friends in this game, undoubtedly some of the best I've had in any video game.

Posted by HombreGato

Are people getting a gift in their mailbox like they usually send for special occasions?  Last one I got was the baby blizzard bear.

Posted by mikeeegeee

anyone ever watch Vurtne PVP vids? those still shock and amaze to this day.

Posted by Det1

I lost my best friend to WoW.
...well, it's either that or coming to terms with me being a horrible person/friend. So I blame WoW.
DAMN YOU WoW

Posted by cypher89
@wings said:
" I recently froze my account cause I went to college. Reading this made me want to make a dwarf hunter and go play through Kharanos again. Greatest zone in any game. "
After I read this article that's exactly what i was thinking lol go play a dwarf hunter!
 
Played the game off-and-on for ~3 years and reading this article makes me want to play again.... This is bad, 2nd year in university and i want to play WoW... homework will not get done
Posted by steevl
@HombreGato said:
" Are people getting a gift in their mailbox like they usually send for special occasions?  Last one I got was the baby blizzard bear. "
Yeah, this year everyone gets a pet Onyxia whelp.
Online
Posted by BagManForHire

5 years of fun, one of the best games ever made!!!

Posted by Brackynews

I tried some funservers for a weekend.  I think that's a really good option to allow a community to do (priiiivate serrrvers anyone?).  It speaks a lot to the quality of an MMO's design if you can strip out 100% of the grind, and the quest content is still fun as a steady stream of activity, bambambam.
 
But yeah, ain't no way I can give my life to WoW.

Posted by TomA

The only thing WoW has been missing, is better stuff for people to do while leveling, and maybe a bit more focus on story and lore because Wrath seemed to mostly be about max level characters, DPS charts, and that sort of really technical stuff that is overly daunting for a new(or even not new but without a max level) player. But luckily with Cataclysm, they're whole focus is on non max level content. Hopefully this will also lead to more fun and interactive lore, and more of it as well.But only Time will tell. 2010 can't come fast enough:)

Posted by BawlZINmotion

Some of the best memories I've had playing a video game have been with World of Warcraft, but they're mainly from 2004/2005/2006. A lot of the game changed in ways I don't like. I struggled for a further 3 years on and off, finally calling it quits this past September. After pretty much everyone I knew who played left it behind during 2006-2009, and a realization half of why I played were memories, yeah. Mechanically, the Burning Crusade did the best job, but conceptually classic World of Warcraft will always be king.  
 
That said I often wonder if my dislike of where Blizzard took WoW is a result of the game specifically or Blizzard itself as a whole. I think one would be hard pressed to find a person who could reasonable argue Blizzard is the same humble company they were when WoW launched back in November 2004. And I only say this because it seems Blizzard is playing way more to the Wii crowd (what's left of it, anyway) than traditional gamers. As a result things become more straight forward and, well, less challenging. That's fine for those people, and probably for others, but having played games for 25 years now, it's just not enough. 
 
Wow did I ever stray.

Posted by PolyesterPimp
@Kuragari said:
" Haha nobody mentioned it's EQ2's 5 year anniversary. I swear WoW is only as big as it is because of the marketing tactics. Nobody really even mentions EQ2 I suppose because it's not as easily played on max graphics. But there's a hell of a lot more to do there than in WoW. I quit WoW because I ran out of quests to do, maxed out my tradeskills and got bored of the idiots on my server (who all showed up after the South Park episode aired) who couldn't function in a raid worth jack. So after I quit and started playing EQ2, I realized it's like WoW for people who want more. So I think it deserves at least some mention. SOE just doesn't know how to draw in the customers and  I don't think that's what should decide whether or not a game is good. "
I dont think you can blame Blizzard for SOE not backing its own game up and not mentioning it. Its SOE's job to get us excited about EQ2's 5years strong, I forgot that game even existed. Ive played WOW and I can say it isnt my cup of tea but bravo to them keeping it up for the past 5 years. They still have a tight lock on a few friends of mine every once in a while I jump on my cousins level 80 and get scared by how so much of it has changed in the passed 3years since I stopped playing. GG No RE WoW.
Posted by HydraHam
@SJSchmidt93:  its real the 7 day pass, i got mine last night and played a little it takes you to the official battle net site
  • 102 results
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3