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Posts with tag frank-pearce

Blizzard 20-year anniversary retrospective video now online

Blizzard turned 20 years old this year, and we have been given a wonderful treat by Blizzard's founders -- the story straight from their mouths. Are you interested in Blizzard history? I sure am.

Mike Morhaime and Allen Adham lead us through a 20-year retrospective about the foundation and formation of the company, their trials and tribulations, and how we got to the Blizzard of today from two guys in the same computer architecture class. The video is absolutely fascinating. Check it out at the Blizzard Entertainment 20-year anniversary site.

Filed under: Blizzard

Breakfast Topic: Make it all BoA

Gnomeaggedon happened to post something so interesting the other day that I thought it merited a bit more discussion. He actually posted it almost as an afterthought (I guess he's moving in RL -- good luck with that), but it's quite an idea just the same: "Make it all BoA," he says. Blizzard has added in some more Bind-on-Account items, and most recently made it possible for BoA items to go across factions. But Gnomeaggedon says it's time to stop messing around: mounts, emblems, tier and arena gear, currencies, vanity pets, reputation items, anything that would be useful across toons should be able to be traded freely between them. Why, he asks, should there be limits on which character you decide to play with?

And actually, while the possibilities there might make some players' heads spin (imagine how many badges you could earn on your geared-out pally for your newly 80 warlock), I think that Blizzard is probably headed that direction. They may not want to open the floodgates completely, but look at where we've come -- we just heard Frank Pearce say the other day that faction changes are a direct result of Blizzard wanting to give players more choice of who to play with, so wouldn't it follow that we'd eventually get more choice about which characters we use? You have to think that we'll see more and more BoA items, so why not just skip to step ten and open it all up? What do you think?

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics, Making money

Joystiq talks to Frank Pearce about the past and future of Warcraft

Our friend Kevin Kelly over at the Joystiq mothership got a chance to talk to Frank Pearce at Blizzard about the Warcraft anniversary, and he did us proud. Not only did Frank Pearce do some nice reminiscing about Blizzard, where they've come from, and how the massive World of Warcraft undertaking has changed them as a company (they've gone from 500 employees to about 4,000 in just the last five years), but he also touched on some issues we've really been wondering about over here at WoW.com as well.

Like, say, the reason we haven't seen a girl in the ads yet. Pearce says they're open to it, and he wants some names submitted, so we'll offer up Felicia Day as a no-brainer, and if you guys have other ideas, share away below. He also talks about server capacity, and says that at nearly every step, Blizzard has been surprised by their success. He attributes race and faction changes to thinking that realms were big enough on day one to bring everybody together who wanted to come together, but they later realized that wasn't what was happening. He mentions China and NetEase and says they wish the process there was faster. And finally, he talks, surprisingly, about the BlizzCon Vegas that wasn't, and seems to confirm that Blizzard was considering a Vegas show. Interesting. Where else did they consider holding the convention, we wonder?

Filed under: Blizzard, Interviews, Cataclysm

Blizzard celebrates the WoW anniversary

The good folks at the Orange County Register got invited to Blizzard's official WoW anniversary party that took place last Thursday on their Irvine campus, and their report is now posted. It sounds like quite the event -- lots of free food and beer, head honchos regaling employees with their tales of the early days, and Rob Pardo suggesting that just like geek culture helped define this game, this game might help define geek culture going forward.

The picture gallery included with the piece is a good browse, too -- you can see all of the Blizzard heavyweights hanging out together, and the great spread set up on the campus. The Register's also been asking Blizzard about their memories of the game -- they've got more memories from Samwise, launch day stories from Shane Dabiri, and some thoughts from Pardo and Frank Pearce (who, strangely enough, at first didn't believe that Blizzard belonged in a hardcore niche market like MMO gaming -- he didn't want to make "a game that never ended," he says). All good stuff. Congrats once again to Blizzard on five years, good to see they celebrated in style.

Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Blizzard, News items, Galleries

AGDC09: Blizzard talks about world behind Warcraft


Thursday's keynote at the Austin Game Developers Conference was given by Frank Pearce and J. Allen Brack. Pearce is the Executive Vice President of Blizzard, and Brack is the Production Director. Both are heavily involved in WoW and are part of the team responsible for its success.

Unlike the keynote/opening ceremony delivered at BlizzCon, the Austin GDC keynote is geared more towards game developers and industry people than the general game public. For us WoW folks this means a little more details and numbers than you'd see from panels elsewhere.

In fact, one of the most interesting numbers that came out of the keynote today are the sizes of the teams that are working on various parts of WoW. After the break we'll look at those and other highlights from the keynote, as well as provide you with an audio recording of the entire thing for your perusal if you wish. Download the audio or stream it after the break.


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Filed under: Events, Bugs, Blizzard, News items

Blizzard is tracking 180,000 bugs in WoW


During the keynote today at the Austin Game Developers Conference, Executive Vice President Frank Pearce and Production Director J. Allen Brack spoke at length about the internal workings of the WoW team and how they get their jobs done.

One of the more stunning things to come out of the keynote, which we'll have fully written up for you later today, is the fact that there are just under 180k bugs Blizzard is tracking in WoW. That means their bug database has 180,000 entries which are in some stage of being fixed (have been fixed, have not been fixed, or being worked on).

To me this number seems very large for a video game. I can understand an operating system like Windows 7 having an unreasonably large number of bugs in it like this, but for a video game -- even one as complex as WoW -- that number is quite astounding.

It does raise the inevitable question: what is Blizzard doing to fix all these? And how does this relate to the extremely long wait times for GM contact in game? We also learned that Blizzard only employs 2500 worldwide in Customer Service. That includes things like phone bank operators, GMs, forum mods, etc...

Read more →

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

GDC Austin will feature a Blizzard keynote

The Game Developers Conference Austin, a spin-off of the original GDC in California, takes place every year in Austin, TX (home of our own fearless leader, Liz Harper). GDC is, as the name suggests, an industry conference for folks who make games. This year it's going to be held from September 15 to 18th, and it'll feature a keynote about our favorite MMO.

J. Allen Brack, Blizzard's Production Director (was that his title last month?), and Frank Pearce, Co-Founder and EVP of Product Development (that's a title for you), will be on hand to talk about "The Universe of World of Warcraft." I assume the discussion will include topics like "how to print money" and "how to secretly laugh at Shamans all day." So who's going?

Filed under: Events, Blizzard, News items

Frank Pearce labels WoW's success as "exhausting"

GamesIndustry.biz recently had an opportunity to chat with Frank Pearce, co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, about World of Warcraft and their other properties. At the Games Convention in Leipzig, Pearce was asked if he found WoW's performance since launch interesting to watch. He doesn't quite say no, but he doesn't say yes, either. "I don't know if I'd describe it as 'interesting' as much as exhausting," he says. He goes on to detail just how much the company has grown, up to 3000 employees worldwide, with 130 people on the WoW development team trying to sate our 'voracious appetite for content.' World of Warcraft is almost directly responsible for that growth.

Pearce talks a bit about Blizzard's other franchises and projects, specifically Starcraft II and Battle.net, suggesting a brave new world where World of Warcraft players could crack out a quick 15-20 minute multiplayer round in Starcraft II while waiting for their WoW raid. That sounds like an awesome time to me, but perhaps that's a little too much Blizzard in one evening for most folks. Then again, maybe not!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

LA Times covers the WoW community

Wait, what's this? A mainstream media story that actually -- gasp -- shows the world that playing MMO games together can actually be fun and healthy for relationships? Thrall be praised, apparently someone at the LA Times gets it. Yup, Brad and Cynthia Murdock, like millions of other players of this game, play the game together and have a great time doing it. Of course, near the end of the article, they get back to Mike Akers, a "self-described recluse" who plays against his wife's wishes and once made her wait for 10 minutes while in labor so he could defeat an "end boss," but we guess we can look past that -- the headline is about people playing the game in a healthy way, and we need more stories like that. since there are a lot more players like that.

Blizzard's Frank Pearce also shows up in the story, and admits that Mages could use a higher damage output at endgame. No, we're just kidding, this is a story meant for non-players, so he just says that the game has a "huge social element," and a giant community that supports everyone who logs in. That's you guys! Take a bow!

And not even the LA Times can get Blizzard to give us a Wrath release date -- they try, but Pearce waves them off with an understatement: "We typically try to avoid launch windows." Blizzard? Avoiding release dates? Sounds about right.

[via WorldofWar.net]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

MTV interviews Blizzard execs

At the Worldwide Invitational, MTV interviewed two Blizzard executives: Paul Sams, Chief Operating Officer, and Frank Pearce, Executive Vice President of Product Development. It's an interesting read -- if not the best interview I've ever read -- which includes more info on Diablo 3, mobile apps, and thoughts about MMOs in general. The duo leaves the door open for Blizzard to create an MMO that might "cannibalize" the WoW player base, although for some reason they are not convinced that Diablo 3 will impact that base. (I, for one, disagree. The huge response we got to the Diablo news on WoW Insider tells us that there is a huge amount of crossover between the franchises.) They also don't believe that there's much overlap between Starcraft and WoW. Frank stressed that, regardless of what the marketing research might say, "those aren't necessarily the data points that we use for decision-making when it comes to the games that we want to make."

Read on to see what Blizzard says about time between game releases and new MMOs.

Read more →

Filed under: Blizzard, Interviews

Ten innovation lessons from Blizzard

The OC Register (Blizzard's HQ -- I'm pretty sure that's where it's at, as they're not exactly open with their location info -- is located right down near them in Southern California) has a blog post up featuring 11 "innovation lessons" other companies can learn from the folks behind World of Warcraft. While the lessons aren't exactly innovative themselves (I think there are lots of companies that do this stuff, and none of them have a ten million player game), the post does provide a good look inside Blizzard's process and the thinking behind what they do.

Blizzard is pretty stubbornly committed to quality -- not only do they notoriously release things "when they're done," but if something doesn't work they apparently are happy to trash it completely (see Starcraft: Ghost). It is amusing, too, that Rob Pardo says he and Frank Pearce are trying to make "great entertainment projects, not perfect ones." WoW has its bugs, sure, but when you look at Blizzard's catalog: Diablo, Starcraft, Warcraft, you have to wonder what a "perfect" game looks like in Pardo's mind. Those are about as perfect as they come.

And they "eat their own dog food," too: J. Allen Brack apparently spends four hours a night (up to 15 hours a week) playing the game on his own time at home. Seems like it would be tough for other companies to pull these strategies into their own plan (Blizzard really releases one-of-a-kind products), but as consumers, it's neat to get another look into the way they work.

[Via Slashdot]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Blizzard

Mobile WoW officially being considered


Here's another one from the files of things we've desired/dreaded for years. In a post-DICE interview with Blizzard cofounder Frank Pearce, MTV learned that Blizzard is definitely thinking about making some kind of mobile WoW interface. He says it would probably just allow you to chat and monitor auctions and mail, without actually being able to buy and sell things. Still, I don't think I'm exaggerating much when I say hundreds of thousands of players would use an app like that. When last this was discussed here on WoW Insider, many of you were of the opinion that a mobile WoW would be yet another infringement on our already dwindling time for "real life," and that's a definite threat, but ultimately I think it's just as easy (or as hard) to exercise self-control on a cell phone as on a PC.

Other fun news from that interview:
  • Players in Taiwan have the shortest wait time for tickets
  • Blizz is working on a way to stream a trial version of WoW so people who want to try the game can be playing in 10 minutes. Is that even possible? Edit: Apparently, not only possible but already achieved. Magic!
  • Wrath "should feel at least as substantial as BC"
  • The movie was delayed by the just-ended WGA strike, but the project is now running again and looking for directors. Pearce: "When we talk about the quality of our movie and the quality of the movie we want to see delivered, we're talking about the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy. That's what we want to deliver, that kind of epic experience." Yeah, good luck with that.
[via Joystiq]

Filed under: Blizzard, Interviews, Hardware

Frank Pearce talks WoW 2, competitors and Team 3 with Gamasutra

Senior VP Frank Pearce and Starcraft II producer Chris Sigaty sat down with Gamasutra to chat about "The State of Blizzard's Union" recently, and while there's not a lot of new stuff ("Team 3" is mentioned, but no hints are given), it's always cool to have an inside look at what it's like running the biggest MMO in the world.

Pearce does talk about a possible WoW 2 (not gonna happen, he says, until Blizzard needs a whole new framework, and that's not going to happen for a long time), and WoW's competitors-- he namechecks Warhammer and Age of Conan, but as I've said before, we won't know how those games will actually do until they see release.

There are a few interesting numbers thrown around in the interview as well-- while Blizzard has said they've got 9 million before, Pearce specifically says 8.5 million subscribers, so it does seem like they're dropping a bit (updated-- see note below). Still, especially with the release of Wrath of the Lich King in the next year or two, they remain optimistic that they'll hit 10 million before it's all said and done. It's also amazing to see Blizzard's growth-- Pearce co-founded the company, and they started out with around 50 employees. Before WoW, they had about 500, and nowadays, they've got 2700 people working for them. And the teams are really interesting, too-- WoW has 135 developers, Starcraft II has 40, and Team 3 has 50, plus Blizzard has 85 people (also devs, however) that work on their famous cinematics, and extra teams for sound and quality assurance.

Very interesting to get a look inside such an amazing videogame developer. Now if only we could find out what Team 3 was...

[ via WorldofWar ]

Update: Blizzard contacted us to say that this interview happened way back at E3, which was before this press release dropped. Subscriber numbers are not dropping-- when Pearce did the interview they had 8.5 million, and after that, they rose to 9 million. And Blizzard tells us that since then, they are above the 9 million mark.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Interviews

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