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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.
As Blizzard’s executive vice president of game design, Rob Pardo oversees 800 or so developers with cofounder Frank Pearce. He sees everything coming and going. But what touches him most is watching how people interact with the game.
Like his 10-year-old daughter. She started playing at age 4 when the beta test period began.
“When she started, she didn’t want to be in zones where you get attacked by monsters. She really liked to attack critters, like rabbits. What she really liked was jumping off the building. It baffled me why she liked doing that over and over and over,” he said.
“As she got older, she still didn’t like player-to-player combat. Then one day, I noticed that she was waking up on her own and playing on the battleground. She’s now 10,” he said.
Pearce might always be known as the guy who almost killed World of Warcraft.
As one of the cofounders of Blizzard Entertainment, Pearce was the skeptic to fellow cofounder Morhaime’s believer.
“I had a hard time wrapping my head around a game that never ended,” Pearce said.
Pearce quickly got over that thought, gave the game his blessing and now he’s the game’s executive director as well as the company’s executive vice president of product development.
But even though he found the game compelling and immersive, Pearce admits that he and everyone else at Blizzard didn’t expect WoW to attract more than 400,000 players.
“I think we reached that in the first month,” he said.
The game has 11.5 million players who have logged in within the past 90 days. Now his team, which has a core of 135 developers, is working on WoW’s third major upgrade, called “WoW: Cataclysm.”
“Cataclysm is a big revamp of all the stories and most of the content we put in five years ago is getting an update. We want to target a launch for that next year. I don’t think that’s a big secret,” he said. “I definitely think there are more expansions in store for everyone. We’re not short on ideas.”
Stories in the series will be/are linked below.