Intrepid reporter and all-around cool guy Kevin Kelly over at Joystiq scored an interview with J. Allen Brack during the festivities at BlizzCon 2009. Just in case you're not aware, J. Allen Brack is the lead producer for our beloved World of Warcraft, having joined the team back in 2005. Kevin's a pretty smart cookie, and managed to get some great insight into the game from Brack. The interview's worth a full read, but there's a lot of insight that's worth spending some time talking about.
It's not any surprise that Brack told Kevin that there's no end in sight for WoW, and that he expects the game to survive at least another 10 years. But Brack immediately followed up by saying that Blizzard has changed the way they view the franchise novels recently. Back in the day, it seems, they just let authors go wild. "Go off and create a kind of story in the world," Brack told Kevin. Now, however, it seems like the creative team is spending more time trying to make sure the novels reflect what they plan in the game, as well as vice versa.
Brack confirmed that Blizzard still keeps an eye on what other games are doing, and will bring that into the World of Warcraft by giving it their own take. That comment reminded me of the discussion about upcoming Fishing changes in Cataclysm, and how the new fishing system was inspired by Animal Crossing.