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WoW through the years
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.
Even if you’ve never played the game, you’ve probably heard about WoW or the original Warcraft series, which itself celebrates 15 years this year.
There are hundreds of fan sites that track every little Blizzard burp. There are professional game competitions for Warcraft. There are college courses and art shows inspired by WoW. A Hollywood movie is in the works.
But it’s the people who built the game that we don’t hear about much.
Like Sam “Samwise” Didier, one of the more recognized names.
Didier saw an ad in The Orange County Register and joined the startup six months after it launched in 1991. His previous job? An usher at a local movie theater.
Back then, gaming was an activity relegated mostly to teenage boys. When Didier told people he worked for a game company, they’d respond with something like, “Oh, did you make Street Fighter?” he said.
“Now they’ll ask, ‘Did you work on WoW?’ You say no, otherwise you’ll be there for three hours talking about the game,” Didier said, whose fan-sighting story is getting recognized in an El Pollo Loco drive-thru.
Didier also would love to get a new race inside the game, the Pandarens. The Pandaren race, one of the most elusive, showed up as an April Fools joke. But all the fans loved it; some thought it was real.
“If you’ve ever seen ‘Kung Fu Panda,’ we did that three years ago,” said Didier, the mastermind behind the Panda bear race. “The Pandarens have always been a semi-joke race. We came up with it as an April Fools joke and everyone was like, ‘Oh cool. Is it part of the Horde or Alliance?’”
“I would love to have more classes and races,” he said.
Stories in the series will be/are linked below.