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Rob Pardo talks about free WoW, Starcraft, Activision

Rob Pardo, SVP of game design at Blizzard, gave the keynote speech at the Game Developer's Conference held in Paris this week. Here are some WoW-related tidbits from his talk and the Q&A session held afterward.

About WoW
  • WoW was first conceived as free to play, being supported by advertising. However, the non-subscription business model couldn't support Blizzard's goals for the game.
  • Pardo suggested that Blizzard approached the MMO genre "very naively, or else we might not have done it."
  • He once hired a WoW player who sent him a 16-page diatribe about the game because, even though the guy was wrong, "he was passionate" about improving the game.
About Starcraft 2
  • Blizzard has no problem putting intellectual properties on hold for a while, hence the wait for a Starcraft game. Pardo says that they wanted to make a real-time strategy game but were "tired of green-skinned orcs" so they moved away from Warcraft to Starcraft.
  • Starcraft 2 is at a playable stage in its development and he's having a lot of fun with it.
Read more about Rob Pardo's keynote speech.

About the Activision Blizzard merger
  • Pardo says that the merger is not really affecting Blizzard at all because Activision is taking a hands-off approach in building a true blended company.
About game design
  • Making a game community should not be the first priority for an MMO. Pardo says that game communities arise out of great games, not the other way around.
  • Pardo noted that he's a great fan of user-developed content but that he believes you must first make a great game to which players can add content. He doesn't side with the idea that all you have to do is provide users with a playground so they can do all the work for you.
  • While not exactly pessimistic about the future of PC gaming, Pardo believes that true innovation in web interfaces will more likely come from Apple than from Microsoft.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Interviews

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