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John Hight on WoW Development Crunch

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The long time troublesome topic of game development "crunch", aka the period where a game's release date is fast approaching and the developers are pushed to work insane amounts of overtime, has become a hot topic again recently, with Fortnite, Read Dead Redemption 2 and many more. It seems the usual crunch has now been replaced by a constant and unending nightmare for some developers, as "games as a service" has become the norm and a game is never really full released and done anymore.

Blizzard's John Hight, executive producer and vice president for World of Warcraft has been talking to Eurogamer on the subject, as WoW is very much a live service game and is constantly in development, so it's a perfect subject for the discussion.

Quote

Generally our policy on the team itself is we want to be a no-crunch team. We're not there 100% yet, but we're really dramatically better than we were even five years ago, certainly 10 years ago. I think that very few parts of the team end up having to work any degree of overtime.

He goes on to say that it's easier for the WoW team to avoid crunch due to the long-running nature of the game.

Quote

We've got a pretty good sense of what we need from a staffing standpoint. There's still a few pockets... Largely this is people that are self-motivated, they want to put in just that extra little effort and they have a hard time letting go. As we're finishing up a major patch or an expansion, I'm literally wandering the halls and saying, 'Go home! It'll still be there tomorrow.'

He also talks about the spacing out of content instead of having it all available right away, what he would change about the whole process, from a production standpoint, and why modernizing WoW too much wouldn't really be the best idea.

Quote

The tools for WOW were built 15 to 20 years ago... while we have modified them over time, I think that we have a ways to go to really optimise them and make it fun to create content for the game. My ideal would be that an artist or designer would have an idea in the morning, sit down at their desk, start to work on it and see it in the game instantaneously. Right now, there's a delay. If we can close that gap, the more iteration you can do, and the faster the transference from ideas to reality, the richer and deeper the experience can be. Maybe it doesn't sound very sexy, but just making our toolchain a little better, a little faster will yield really excellent results.

Check out the full interview over at Eurogamer.

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How much must it suck to devote this kind of time and energy to something that your man children players whine about because it doesn't fulfill their misguided hopes for their lives.

smh

I don't think I could do this.

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40 minutes ago, Prophet001 said:

How much must it suck to devote this kind of time and energy to something that your man children players whine about because it doesn't fulfill their misguided hopes for their lives.

smh

I don't think I could do this.

That could be said for everyone working in the game industry though 😄

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WHAA! I gotta work overtime now and then at my job!  Welcome to the real world!  lol!  they wouldn't last 1 week working at an Amazon distribution center!  lol! 

 

giphy.gif

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9 minutes ago, multiboxing said:

WHAA! I gotta work overtime now and then at my job!  Welcome to the real world!  lol!  they wouldn't last 1 week working at an Amazon distribution center!  lol! 

Well no one should last a week working at litteraly one of the worst places to work on the planet. It is the modern sweat shop that operates on basic slave labor. 1 extreme doesnt replace another and just because its worse in 1 place doesnt mean its ok at all.

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People who play games tend to be very passionate about it. That means there's your expected quota of manchilds / harassers, but there's also a ton of supporters / fans. In the end, programming games for a living is exciting, which is a different word than good or bad.

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33 minutes ago, multiboxing said:

WHAA! I gotta work overtime now and then at my job!  Welcome to the real world!  lol!  they wouldn't last 1 week working at an Amazon distribution center!  lol!

Well, if you look at Glassdoor reviews you will probably notice that employees are far less satisfied at some game developer companies than at Amazon. In the job market it's not the absolute quality of the job that matters, but the quality of the job relative to the expectations of the workforce. If there's a young talent who graduated in say computer graphics capable of adding high value to a project, he/she is worth a lot and probably wants to be treated as such, whereas labour force for Amazon warehouses is rather abundant and doesn't requires much special skills or deep knowledge of computer science.

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2 hours ago, Starym said:

That could be said for everyone working in the game industry though 😄

Not every game has that many "fans" who are just demanding and being ungrateful. Nintendo is in a good spot with their satisfied fans for example. God of War as well.

Most of us Blizzard fans are in a riot :p

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Uncommon Patron

Who really gives a s$%t about a silly *filtered* correlation between working for Amazon vs blizzioid. I don't care! I've been playing Wow since 05' and it serves a purpose for me. It provides an escape and stimulates thought processes. My big issues w/ blizziod/WoW over the years has been, "too much group dependency", poor distribution of talents/power, encouraging "elitist behavior", and constant technical issues. This pretty much sums it up!

 

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58 minutes ago, Alkasar said:

Not every game has that many "fans" who are just demanding and being ungrateful. Nintendo is in a good spot with their satisfied fans for example. God of War as well.

Most of us Blizzard fans are in a riot 😛

Eehhh, I don't really want to get into it but Nintendo fans are... special. Console fans in general are a whole different breed, so I'd say this mostly pertains to PC gamers.

And just to be clear, I don't think people complaining are whiners, there's always something to be improved and discussed on a game, it's just the WAY in which some people point out things that are wrong that's the problem. And yea, Blizzard "fans" are just a tragic bunch if you ask me, both in the "everything Blizzard does sucks" and the "omg stop bashing Blizzard they are great and are the best" camps. Play the games, enjoy them or not and discuss specific issue in a civil manner... oh who am I kidding, it's the internet, screw it: I WANT EXACTLY THE THINGS I WANT IN DIABLO 4 AND NOTHING ELSE BLIZZARD OR I'M SPAMMING YOUR FORUMS WITH WHINE.

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Could be worse could have the same conflict of interest with Bioware and EA.

Fans: We want more content and more story in your games!

Bioware/EA: Let's give them more microtransactions in the online cash shop followed by roadmaps that are pitfalls and won't go anywhere!

RIP Anthem

 

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ok let me rephrase...

 

Boofrickinghoo! you have to work overtime indoors in a climate controlled office sitting at a desk in front of a computer! Some of us don't have that luxury! Sorry but I have to laugh whenever I hear someone complain about hours they work at office jobs!

 

boohoogif.gif

Edited by multiboxing
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16 hours ago, multiboxing said:

ok let me rephrase...

Boofrickinghoo! you have to work overtime indoors in a climate controlled office sitting at a desk in front of a computer! Some of us don't have that luxury! Sorry but I have to laugh whenever I hear someone complain about hours they work at office jobs!

If you say that you clearly have no idea how draining, stressful and exhausting office jobs can be.

Edited by Valhalen
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1 hour ago, multiboxing said:

ok let me rephrase...

 

Boofrickinghoo! you have to work overtime indoors in a climate controlled office sitting at a desk in front of a computer! Some of us don't have that luxury! Sorry but I have to laugh whenever I hear someone complain about hours they work at office jobs!

 

By this logic, only the one person on earth who is suffering more than anyone else on Earth is allowed to try to improve their life?  Does that make sense?

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4 hours ago, Oceola said:

Who really gives a s$%t about a silly *filtered* correlation between working for Amazon vs blizzioid. I don't care! I've been playing Wow since 05' and it serves a purpose for me. It provides an escape and stimulates thought processes. My big issues w/ blizziod/WoW over the years has been, "too much group dependency", poor distribution of talents/power, encouraging "elitist behavior", and constant technical issues. This pretty much sums it up!

"stimulates thought processes" LOL

Edited by Serrated
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2 hours ago, multiboxing said:

ok let me rephrase...

 

Boofrickinghoo! you have to work overtime indoors in a climate controlled office sitting at a desk in front of a computer! Some of us don't have that luxury! Sorry but I have to laugh whenever I hear someone complain about hours they work at office jobs!

 

boohoogif.gif

A chef I used to work for complained a lot about his previous office job but for good reason. While he may have made over $100,000+ in a year, he eventually realized being stuck inside a small office/cubicle was driving him crazy. Eventually, he  came to work at the golf course I was hired at afterwards and said he makes less than half of what he did (so $50k if not less a year) but loves it more, because there's lots of freedom that comes along with the change.

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