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Posts with tag game-development

Blizzard should rethink their content release model

Sleeping druids
Blizzard changes many things for each new expansion: raid structures, class spells and talents, game systems, UI elements -- few aspects of WoW survive an X.0 patch untouched.

It's time for Blizzard to change the one thing that has stayed the same since The Burning Crusade: the "event patch" release cycle. In WoW today, every patch is a big deal. We get previews. We get a trailer. We get fancy artwork with the X.X numbers. The patch release is an event.

Every patch has tons of content for nearly every aspect of the game. It's exciting -- there's almost too much to do. When a new patch releases, we're in WoW heaven.

Then months go by and that content grows stale. Blizzard doesn't give us new content at that point, but peeks at future content. We're starving for a delicious content meal, but we can only look at pictures of the food.

It's a feast and famine cycle that has to end. It creates this massive gap between the final content patch of one expansion and the release of the next. We must cross it once again in 2014. Players put up with it because we know Blizzard will deliver, eventually, a tremendously fun experience. But should we have to endure this, still, after the game has been around for almost ten years?

It's time for Blizzard to rethink the way they release content.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

On developer interaction and behind-the-scenes info

There's an interesting thread going on right now on the official forums, concerning the possibility of an ongoing series of interviews or video content exploring the behind-the-scenes at Blizzard. CM Zarhym chimed in with a mention of the A Day in the Life series that was released during Blizzard's 20 year anniversary celebration. But more importantly, he noted that it takes a lot of resources to put that kind of feature together, which is why Blizzard tries to pair things like interviews and behind-the-scenes info with big announcements.

And that's completely understandable. It takes time, effort and resources to put together a feature -- time and resources that could be spent on better things, like improving and working on that game we love to play. But after many other inquires and suggestions on the subject, Zarhym shared another, longer post that made everything just a little more clear -- and raised some good points about developer interaction in general.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Community Manager Zarhym on game design vs. story development

Zarhym on game design vs story development
It's always interesting seeing the blue team's thoughts on World of Warcraft, whether on the community, or the development of the game itself. Community Manager Zarhym had some profound words to share this week regarding the interviews we've been seeing for patch 5.4, and the challenges of setting up community interviews with the different developers. There's been a big, ongoing debate amongst players regarding story development this expansion -- in particular, faction story development. Players feel that the Alliance story has been somewhat left behind this expansion, to say the very least.

Zarhym decided to chime in and comment not only on this topic, but on the topic of interviews in general, and how hard the story development team works on the story behind the game we love to play. Given that we've done several interviews with various developers over the course of Mists of Pandaria, it was nice to see Zarhym's thoughts on the matter. Read on for his post in full.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Blizzard developers discuss patch 5.2 and more

Patch 52 Developer fansite interviews
Last week was a flurry of preparation for patch 5.2's launch, including a whole host of developer interviews. WoW Insider had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak, but there were plenty more interviews to be had as the week progressed. And just in case you happened to miss any of that developer excitement, we've put together a roundup of all the fan site interviews in one handy spot.
While the same developers may have done multiple interviews, each interview offers a different look at what's in store for patch 5.2 and beyond. It's certainly nice to see the developers out and about in the community and talking content -- and one thing's for certain, everyone is pumped for patch 5.2's release. Be sure to check out all of the interviews for the most in-depth look at patch 5.2 you can get.

Filed under: Blizzard, Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

The inside story of the making of Warcraft on Kotaku

The inside story of the making of Warcraft on Kotaku
Ever wondered about the beginning of Warcraft? Not World of Warcraft, the game you're playing right now -- no, I'm talking about the Warcraft franchise. It all started with a game called Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, released way back in November of 1994. Warcraft was originally developed as a real-time strategy game, nothing at all like the MMO monstrosity it has evolved to today. But the story of WoW has its roots firmly entrenched in Warcraft's history, and WoW would not exist if we never had Orcs and Humans.

Kotaku has begun posting a series of fascinating interviews with Patrick Wyatt, game developer, former Blizzard executive, and producer as well as lead programmer on the original Warcraft game. Part one talks about the sources and inspiration for Warcraft along with the early development of features that are standard with games these days, and it explores the unique formation of a team of developers that would eventually leave an indelible mark on gaming history as we know it.

Part one is good enough on its own, but the next in the series promises to shed even more light on the development of game. Head over to Kotaku and check out the full interview. It's definitely worth the read, and keep an eye out for the next installment.

Filed under: News items, Interviews

The Smart Kids -- or, why Cataclysm failed to impress

I was a smart kid. You remember those kids from school who were always the first to turn a test in and the ones to get the best grades? The ones who never seemed to put any effort into studying but always managed to get an A? That was me. You'd think that being a smart kid would make life incredibly easy, but it did exactly the opposite. Of course you had the endless students who hated you or made fun of you because you were smart, but there was something much harder to deal with than that.

See, in public schools (in America, at least), teachers generally teach at the speed of the slowest kid in class. This is absolutely appropriate, because you don't want anyone to fall behind. For the slowest kid, this meant that subjects were presented in a way that they could understand, and they'd learn the lessons even if it took a little extra time. But for the smartest kid in the class, it meant that classrooms were places of exquisite torture where information flowed at a snail's pace, and most of the information presented were things the smart kid already knew.

It made school an excruciatingly boring place to be.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

China's gold farming ban not really a ban

The other day, we reported on China's recent ban on trading real currency for virtual goods, and it was hailed as the end of gold selling in the MMO world. Unfortunately, it may not actually play out that way. While this would put a stop to some gold selling, it won't stop all of it thanks to a convenient little loophole.

That loophole is the fact that their law has no jurisdiction over foreign transactions. While it absolutely can put a stop to these transactions on Chinese soil using Chinese servers and Chinese currency, Chinese goldfarmers can still happily (well, probably not happily) scrounge up gold on American realms and sell it to American players. Most likely, this new law won't have an impact on the gold selling industry whatsoever. The people being impacted are those crafting their games on a model of microtransactions rather than a subscription model. Developers, not gold farmers, will be harmed by this. A game like Free Realms is no longer a feasible option in China.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Economy

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