This is part of a series of stories about the World of Warcraft, a massively multiplayer game built by Irvine’s Blizzard Entertainment. The game celebrates its five-year anniversary on Nov. 23, 2009. Catch the earlier stories at ocregister.com/blizzard.
Shane Dabiri, lead producer who joined Blizzard 15 years ago next month, remembers the eve before WoW went on sale.
Members of the development team were going to Fry’s Electronics in Fountain Valley to sign copies at midnight. Even with the success of past Blizzard games, Dabiri had his doubts.
“We were so worried that no one was going to be there and it was just going to be us 16 developers,” he said
As it turned out, fans began lining up just after noon. By midnight, the line looped around the building and parking lot twice before spilling out into the street.
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WoW through the years
The Blizzard team had to call headquarters to drive more copies of the game to Fry’s. They sold all 3,500 copies before sunrise.
“It was amazing. Thousands showed up. They showed up in campers and vans. Some of them had brought their family cross country,” Dabiri said. “When I first got into games, I didn’t realize how much impact I could have.”
WoW’s impact on the gaming industry? “It used to be that if you mentioned games to a girl, she’d say, ‘Oh, my husband plays that game.’ Now they say, ‘Oh, I play WoW.’ … Women want to have fun as much as guys do. It’s the social aspects of the game. You create something.”
Dabiri’s celebrity spotting story? Back during the Burning Crusade launch in China, he snuck away to buy a jade statue at a store in some obscure alley way. “An old man started saying something and the translator said, ‘He recognizes you. He saw you on TV for a game.’”
Dabiri also has a long list of stuff he’d like to squeeze in to the game. The great thing is that since there are constant updates and expansions, what didn’t make it this time will always have another chance.
“What didn’t get into the first game that I really wanted? Flying mounts to fly all over the game. It came out in the next expansion,” he said. “Another thing, boats. The booze cruise. There’s all that ocean in there but not enough to do. … It’s all a matter of priorities.”
Stories in the series will be/are linked below.