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. See ocregister.com/blizzard for the complete series.
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Exclusive: Employees celebrate 5 years of WoW
WoW through the years
If you were on the second floor of the Anaheim Convention Center staring down at thousands of fans of a computer game you worked on, what would you do?
“I yelled, ‘For the Horde!’” recalls Sam “Samwise” Didier, senior art director with Irvine’s Blizzard Entertainment, makers of the World of Warcraft. Yes, that game.
That game, nicknamed WoW, celebrates its fifth anniversary Monday.
In five years, this multiplayer online fantasy game has attracted millions of players around the world, added two major upgrades with a third in the works, and touched millions of lives — uniting couples, separating others and even distracting a kid named Ezra Chatterton, who played the game with his dad before brain cancer took his young life.
Accomplishment was what Didier felt on that October 2005 day, when Blizzard said thanks to fans with its first BlizzCon convention.
“They shouted back, ‘For the Horde!’ And if you know the game, the other faction is the Alliance; so in the background you heard people saying ‘For the Alliance,’” Didier said in a squeaky little voice. “And all you could hear was ‘Boos.’ And then ‘For the Horde,” and ‘For the Alliance,” and more boos. … That’s when I knew we had made it kind of big.”
On Thursday, the company held a beer and BBQ fest on its Irvine campus to commemorate the occasion. Plenty of WoW birthday cake to go around. The company employs more than 1,200 employees in the U.S. and 3,000 worldwide. In the year before WoW, Blizzard employed 220.
“One of our goals was to stay small. That’s one of the goals we failed at,” said Mike Morhaime, Blizzard’s president and co-founder. “All these games we made in the last 15 years wouldn’t be what they are without the people who created them.”
More to come so keep checking back today and this week. Stories in the series will be/are linked below.