Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Developer Retrospective on Warcraft and WoW

Recommended Posts


We have a great piece over at IGN, with both current and former Blizzard developers talking about the 25-year history of the Warcraft franchise, as well as the 15-year one of World of Warcraft. There's many stories and tidbits from all of Warcraft, from how the original was almost not made in favor of a point-and click, adventure, to the unique art style of the franchise, WC3 originally being a hero-only game, the way the editors evolved and eventually gave us the MOBA genre, WoW almost having a more realistic art style and a whole lot more!

Starting at the beginning, we get to hear about how exactly the original came to be, and the fact that the development "slot" Warcraft was developed in was actually supposed to be a point-and-click adventure starring the Lost Vikings. This means we have Westwood Studios to thank for Warcraft happening, as the "first ever RTS", as it's commonly called, Dune 2, was in fact the reason Blizzard moved away from an adventure game and Warcraft came to be.


    “We were thinking that the obvious answer was to take the Vikings, shrink them down to be really small, and then have the player direct them where they wanted them to go," Bob recalls, noting that the initial tests were simple scenarios that were very different to the puzzles found in The Lost Vikings. Looking to Dune II, the addition of opponents, the ability to attack, and PvP entered the picture. But when it came down to creating abilities or different types of Vikings, the team hit a wall.

    “We realised that just telling our Vikings where to go and attack wasn't as much fun as playing Dune II,” Bob continues, confirming that coming up with Viking powers was a struggle. “The next thing you know, artists were drawing pictures of orcs and goblins and elves and saying that if we weren’t coming up with interesting ideas for what Vikings could do, this might be the answer.”

    Then there's also this great quote from Samwise Didier on the original mission statement for the art style of WC1, which would stick with the franchise to this day:


    "We pushed our fantasy world into the realm of superhero comics, blockbuster movies, and heavy metal music. Everything we created was ramped up. Anything ‘Level 1’ needed to look like it was ‘Level 5’. We didn’t go to ‘11’, we went to ‘111’!"

    With Reforged coming in two weeks, we also get to hear a little about why WC3 was so hero focused, aka the fact that it was supposed to be an RPS (Role Playing Strategy), where you'd only control your hero and the units you had line of sight to, which would have made it a very different game. Oh, and it also originally had 16(!) playable races!


    “Warcraft III was where everything came together,” Samwise tells me. “The story, art, movies, hell - even the art in the manual, really pushed our game to 111. We came up with the franchise’s biggest characters in Warcraft III: Jaina, Illidan, Thrall and Arthas, and dozens more. Almost every character in World of Warcraft was based and modelled after something we created in Warcraft III and when World of Warcraft came out, it only got better."

    "It was originally a hero-controlled game,” Chris says, talking about the earliest moments developing Warcraft III. “You could only control your hero, and the units you had around it were selected only if you had vision of them. It was a very different game. It wasn't working out, but it gave this differentiator for Warcraft III that we wanted, which was something that played very differently than the units-swarming you got from StarCraft. Hero-centric, level up, have items, consume them, go into different buildings and then focus on a few smaller armies. We called it RPS (Role Playing Strategy).”

    And finally WoW came around, which also came out of a different project the team was working on (which they don't talk about), as they pivoted to their own MMO after having played lots of Everquest and Ultima Online. The art style was almost very different from the established Warcraft standard as well:


    “Keeping the Warcraft style; we struggled with that for a while,” Samwise admits. “For some reason, with this new point of view, the art team had a tendency to go more realistic with the characters and environments. Our weapons and armour were more proportionate to normal-style weapons, and our colours were becoming dull and muted. Maybe it was the view we were working in.”At that time, most first-person style games were trying to be more realistic," Samwise continues. “That is definitely not want we wanted. We wanted the immersion to feel realistic, but not kill the Warcraft art style that we all loved. We needed to get that superhero vibe back. We just applied our normal philosophy for creating art and tweaked it a bit to fit this new camera view. By pushing the proportions back to normal Warcraft levels, our characters became more dynamic and more heroic. We pushed the weapons and armour to be even bigger and bulkier, and juiced up our palette to keep our colours rich and vibrant. After that, we had the feel of Warcraft back in our art.”

    The whole piece is very much worth a read, with many more stories from the devs and details from the games' development. It's a really great way to mark the two big Warcraft anniversaries, so thanks a lot to IGN for making it.

    Share this post

    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Reply to this topic...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

    Sign in to follow this  

    • Recently Browsing   0 members

      No registered users viewing this page.

    • Similar Content

      • By Starym
        A big batch has arrived today with fixes to the Auction House, Azerite Powers and Corruption effects, increases to rare spawns, a nerf to the Defragmentation Punchcard in PvP, Vulpera and Mechagnome issue fixes and the usual large amount of quest tweaks and fixes.
        January 17 (source)
        Fixed an issue where a dead player's Damage Over Time effect could cause the raid to fail The Best of Us . Auction House
        Bids now display properly in the sell tab for caged pets. Fixed a bug causing the quantity field to be empty when selling a non-commodity. The “Uncollected” filter now filters owned battle pets as expected. The “Upgrades Only” filter now correctly applies to wands and shields. The "Usable" filter now filters profession-restricted items and owned toys as intended. Purchasing an entire listing now displays the item count in the seller's auction list. Players can now buyout an auction for which they are already the high bidder. Fixed a bug that caused some mail from the Auction House to exclude expected attached gold. Creatures and NPCs
        The Gaze of N'Zoth can now only be faction tapped while in War Mode. Onyx Warserpent’s Lightning Pool no longer hits players harder than intended. Taijing the Cyclone now resets properly. The spawn frequency of several Rare enemies in Uldum and Vale of Eternal Blossoms Assault areas has been increased. Items
        Azerite Essences Fixed an issue that caused Breath of the Dying’s minor damage effect at Rank 1 or 2 to benefit from the Rank 3 increased proc chance against low health targets. Corruption Effects Fixed an issue preventing Twilight Devastation from triggering on ranged attacks. Infinite Stars damage reduced by 25% at all Corruption levels. Player versus Player
        The red punchcard Subroutine: Defragmentation now heals for 50% in PvP situations. Fixed an issue causing Breath of the Dying to have an incorrectly-lowered cooldown when used against player pets in PvP. Races
        The Vulpera Holy Relic Trick now heals for the correct amount. Fixed a bug preventing Mechagnomes and Vulpera from using ghost flying mounts when dead in appropriate areas. Fixed an expected sound effect on the voices of Pandaren Death Knights. Quests
        Vulpera can once again proceed during the Tirisfal Glades quest, "A Scarlet Letter ". Players who are outside of the Vision while their party defeats Ysedra the Darkener now receive quest credit for “Deeper Into the Darkness ”. Fixed a bug that could prevent Magni Bronzebeard from spawning as expected in “The Halls of Origination ”. It is again possible to turn in “Ancient Crypt Key ”. Titan Artifacts should now appear for the quest “Unearthed Artifacts ” regardless of the completion status of the Assault bar-fill objective. Assault daily quests such as “The Sun King's Chosen ” or “The Strongest Among Them ” now require 3 Rare kills (was 4). Rare kills now provide more credit for Assaults. User Interface
        Guild and community setting dropdowns no longer appear when they are grayed out. Visions
        Players should now find their Sanity draining more quickly after an extended period within Vision of the Twisting Sands and Vale of Eternal Twilight. Fixed an issue that was preventing an iLvl 430 item from dropping when you had completed two objectives and the boss in a Horrific Vision. This item will be awarded to players on their next run if they satisfy these conditions.
      • By Starym
        Blizzard have clarified what keystone you need to complete this week in order to get the +15 next week and the answer is a +19. The wording on the exact decrease in keys for Season 4 next week has been a little unclear, but it's now clarified that the decrease will in fact be 4.
        M+ Season 4 Decrease (source)
        If you want a +15 next week, you will want to do a +19 this week. Happy dungeon-ing this weekend all! ?
      • By Starym
        Blizzard have posted some additional details on the rewards structure for Horrific Visions, from the relation of item level vs. how much you cleared and gathered inside each vision, the weekly tier rewards and the fact that the rewards in general are not RNG but dependent on the milestones you clear.
        You can read more on Horrific Visions in general in our in-depth guide here.
        Horrific Vision Rewards Clarifications (source)
        We’d like to clarify some details about rewards from Horrific Visions. Items are awarded from Horrific Visions at the following milestones:
        Objective Reward iLvl Vision Boss Only 420 Vision Boss + 2 Bonus Objectives 430 Full Clear No Masks 445 Full Clear + 1 Mask 450 Full Clear + 2 Masks 455 Full Clear + 3 Masks 460 Full Clear + 4 Masks 465 Full Clear + 5 Masks 470 Each week, you can obtain each tier of rewards once, with a 100% chance to obtain the best reward that the you were eligible for on any given Horrific Vision.
        For example, if on your first run of the week you clear 2 bonus objectives and defeat the Vision boss, you’ll get an iLvl 430 item. If you then repeat that run, you’ll get the iLvl 420 item that you were eligible for (because you’re no longer eligible for an iLvl 430 item until the weekly reset). If you then perform a full clear, you’ll get the iLvl 445 piece.
        Please note: the presence or absence of other players in Horrific Visions does not influence the chance for an item to be rewarded. All loot tracking is personal, and a character must be alive and sane at the start of an encounter in order to receive credit.
      • By Starym
        We have an incoming hotfix for the Infinite Stars trait, with a significant nerf to its damage at all corruption levels, as well as some more issues with the revamped Auction House.
        Corruption Effect (source)
        We’re working on a hotfix that will adjust the Infinite Stars Corruption Effect:
        Corruption Effects
        Infinite Stars damage at all Corruption levels has been reduced by 25%. This hotfix should go live in the next few hours, and will appear in our next hotfixes update tomorrow.
        Auction House Issues (source)
        Here are some additional issues that we have identified and are actively investigating:
        When items are returned in the mail from the Auction House, it can incorrectly contain more stacks than the displayed maximum of 16. This makes it look like some items are not being delivered. You will know if you are experiencing this if a mail appears empty but can’t be deleted. To retrieve the missing items in this scenario, take out all 16 of the displayed stacks, then close and reopen the mailbox to see the rest (you may need to repeat this several times). If a character buys commodities in high quantities, they may not be able to access their mail. The favorites list is not saving properly. We have resolved some of the issues causing the “Internal Auction Error” to pop up, but it is still occurring and we are continuing to look into it.
      • By Starym
        We'll once again have two competing Mythic raid race events in the new patch, as we've already heard about Method's, but now we also found out Limit (who were also recently added to the Complexity esports org) will be hosting their own!
        A raid ago, in the Eternal Paalce, we saw Red Bull going up against Method's event, with the two having split ways after previously working together on two events (Uldir and Dazar'alor), and Limit were among the guilds headlining the Red Bull event. With the larger org to back Limit up they've now decided to take Method's route and go it alone, with several guilds also joining them, namely Pieces, Big Dumb Guild, Fat Shark Yes, and Club Camel, with the live broadcast for the event held at Complexity’s GameStop Performance Center in Frisco, Texas. 
        The real winners here are the viewers following the race for World First, with the Eternal Palace having been an amazing experience with so many different perspectives to check out and some great commentators on both sides, driving viewership of the race through the roof (with over 200,000 concurrent twitch viewers at one point). It also seems the split in the events here is EU vs. US, which seems fitting as that's always been a division in the raid race - and a pretty intense one at that.
        When it comes to the race itself, this one's going to be pretty damn awesome, as Eternal Palace was one of the best races in WoW history, with Limit getting extremely close to toppling Method, after they basically threw away a win back in Uldir over one wrong non-resetting call. With 12 bosses the final raid/race of the expansion should last a bit longer than usual, which also makes the Asia server guilds a competitor, despite their 2 day-disadvantage over US and 1 over EU, so we might see an even crazyer race - and we get to watch it all live! As always we'll also be covering the race with daily summaries of the action, in case you prefer to catch up with the events instead of follow them live.

        World First race related articles
        Method's Race to World First: Ny'alotha Announced
        The Raid History World First Timeline
        The Eternal Palace Mythic Race Summaries Hub
        Method Down Queen Azshara Mythic World First + Video, Raid Comp
        Mythic Jaina World First by Method!
        Ragnaros Classic Down World First by APES
        Method and the Future of the World First Race Coverage
        Red Bull Announce Their Own Eternal Palace Race Event
        Method to Livestream Uldir Mythic Progress for First Time in History
    • Create New...