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Blizzard developer blogs about game design

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Netherspite was overcomplicated to the point of absurdity and the most enjoyable way to approach the fight was to skip it. It required a level of coordination that players had never experienced at the time. Heavy movement, beam rotations, a need to run away to avoid death, then run back in to get beams back under control. Raiders today could pull it off without issue. Raiders back then, it was far above what most players had ever seen, and it was in the introductory raid. Its difficulty was far beyond the rest of the dungeon, even.

This is what Alex told me when I asked him to describe Netherspite for me. I wanted to know because I recently found out that the Blizzard developer who designed Netherspite was reassigned to work on simpler content in the game after designing that encounter. The reason? He'd let his desire for innovation get away from him.

At least, that's what he says. His name is Alex Brazie, and he's been blogging about game design the past couple of months. In his blog, Breaking Open the Black Box, he shares his experiences and lessons learned from working as a game designer at Blizzard. The whole blog is a sort of a meandering trip through the intellectual process of game design, which you'll probably find amusing if you've seen a fair share of raid encounters over the years.

And if reading about game design doesn't appeal to you, I'll admit that I've also been reading every one of his posts in hopes that at some point he'll explain why so many strange items in the game are named after him. Here are but a few: Brazie's Black Book of Secrets, Brazie's Guide to Getting Good with Gnomish Girls, and Brazie's Notes on Naughty Night Elves. Who is this guy?!

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