Skip to Content

WoW Insider has the latest on the Mists of Pandaria!

Posts with tag gdc

The Razer Switchblade concept slithers its way to GDC 2011

Razer was on hand at the Intel booth on the GDC expo floor with a sealed-off concept unit of the Razer Switchblade, the company's new small-form gaming PC. Travis Wannlund, Razer's global community manager, gave me the ins and outs of the hardware. The unit has a touchscreen to replace the pointer and also accepts a USB or Bluetooth mouse as an input device. The keyboard is made up of small LED screens that work as contextual keys, changing to ability keys with pictures, alphabetical keys, arrows, and more.

The Switchblade was cycling through games, showing off different context-sensitive key setups depending on the game. Quake Live placed down a row of abilities ranging from grenades and rockets, alongside buttons for walk and crouch. A WASD array also popped up, and presumably a mouse would facilitate the view space. I couldn't touch it, of course, as the machine was guarded by a nefarious plastic box, but it was there, working, and impressing the heck out of everyone who stopped by.

The Switchblade looks very promising, even in its concept stage, showing that Razer intends to push a whole lot of boundaries with its new little darling. It is almost as if the machine were built with the express purpose of playing a game like WoW on the go, with other games as an added bonus. Now we just have to watch and wait, hoping this little beauty goes from concept to production as soon as possible.

Filed under: Events, Hardware

GDC 2011: Tom Chilton discusses Cataclysm design, talent and zone revamps

Tom Chilton gave a comprehensive and enlightening talk today at the Game Developers Conference, discussing remaking the World of Warcraft through Cataclysm's systems and content revamps. Chilton talked about some very interesting topics, including WoW's talent tree revamp, how he feels that the revamp of Desolace fell incredibly short of its potential, and a warning about the illusion of choice.

Read more →

Rob Pardo speaks about Blizzard game design

The tenth annual Game Developers Conference is in full swing in San Francisco, CA -- and yesterday included a panel by Rob Pardo, Executive Vice President of Game Design at Blizzard Entertainment. Pardo spoke about design philosophy and how Blizzard approaches it, sharing not only Blizzard's success stories, but where they failed along the way, and what they did to fix it. Blizzard's design philosophy follows some key elements:

Gameplay First: Before anything else, you want to concentrate the game on the fun. All aspects of the game -- the design, the mechanics of encounters, the quests and story are focused on making the game fun to play. Not only fun to play -- but fun to play for players, not developers. The challenge is to keep players jumping through the correct hoops, while making those hoops fun. Sometimes this involves making some changes -- for example, only night elf males could be druids in Warcraft III, but for the sake of making the druid class, something that sounded like all kinds of fun, they had to be made accessible to both genders, and both sides. So the lore was adjusted so that females and tauren could both be druids -- otherwise they couldn't have introduced the class at all. And that wouldn't be any fun.

Read more →

Filed under: News items

Mac drivers to be available for all Razer mice


World of Warcraft players using a Mac should be pleased to hear that gaming peripherals manufacturer Razer pledged their commitment to supporting the Mac gaming community at the Game Developers Conference. They announced that all upcoming Razer products will come with Mac driver support, including the Razer StarCraft 2 peripheral suite scheduled for release later this year.

Prior to the Razer DeathAdder Mac Edition in 2008, all Razer mice and peripherals only had native Windows support and drivers. While these products would generally work with a Mac through its plug-and-play technology, customizing them was more difficult and in some cases, impossible. In order to configure my Razer Lachesis to make all its buttons usable on my Mac, I had to configure it on a PC and mapped some of the buttons as little used keyboard keys because the Mac wouldn't recognize click-throughs from more than a few mouse buttons.

This situation improved with the release of the Razer Naga, which shipped with native Mac support, although the key-mapping functionality for the Mac came several weeks after the PC version. Currently, newer mice come with basic Mac support, although Razer promises the same functionality and customizability as their PC counterparts through future updates. Razer also promises to release Mac drivers for all existing products, which presumably includes their line of headsets and keyboards. While Mac gamers have always been treated as second class citizens by most peripheral manufacturers, it's encouraging to see a major player pay the community some attention. I mean, the Magic Mouse is awesome and all, but there's nothing like having a real gaming mouse to play WoW.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items

GDC roundup, day two

The tenth annual Game Developers Conference is in full swing in San Francisco, CA, and our sister sites Joystiq and Massively are on the scene! No matter what kind of games you're into, there's a ton of news on its way out of the convention, and we're compiling some of the stuff that might matter to you in daily roundups just for you. If you want the whole GDC news experience, check out all of Massively's and Joystiq's coverage, or yesterday's roundup.

Sony has the power to Move you
Though it might look like a black Wiimote topped with a scoop of sherbet, Sony's PlayStation Move motion peripheral aims to take the motion-sensitive gaming field to eleven. Joystiq's got all the Move info you need, and you can dance to it.
38 Studios swings for the fences with two new titles
World Series champ Curt Schilling's 38 Studios is developing an "epic single-player RPG" codenamed Copernicus, and an MMO project codenamed Project Mercury. Oh, and fantasy novel fans: R.A. Salvatore is in charge of building the universe where both games take place.
Welcome to Poisonville, population 4,000
Bigpoint Studios says their browser MMO Poisonville is the most expensive browser-based MMO to date, with a budget of two million dollars. It certainly seems to have been spent in the right places in this full-featured GTA-alike.
It's the DLC Age at EA
EA's John Schappert says that Dragon Age: Origins downloadable content has made over a million dollars so far! Digital distribution in total netted them $575 million last year and projections place next year's DD profits even higher. EA is ready with DLC strategies for several upcoming games.
Monkey Island 2 Special Edition overflowing with new booty
LucasArts' beloved Monkey Island franchise saw a resurgence with the release of a remastered Secret of Monkey Island last year, and now Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge is getting the same treatment, with new art, developer commentary, and improved controls.
Sakaguchi's latest Story looks like a picture book
Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi's Mistwalker Studios is hard at work on a new RPG, and they released some truly beautiful artwork of the game's island locale to whet our appetites.

Filed under: News items

GDC 2010 roundup, day one

The tenth annual Game Developers Conference is in full swing in San Francisco, CA, and our sister sites Joystiq and Massively are on the scene! No matter what kind of games you're into, there's a ton of news on its way out of the convention, and we're compiling some of the stuff that might matter to you in daily roundups just for you. If you want the whole GDC news experience, check out all of Massively's and Joystiq's coverage!

Sword of the New World: Let's get political
GamersFirst's achingly pretty MMO import Sword of the New World, née Granado Espada, is getting new content in its Political PvP system, allowing players to "run for office, control the colonies, and be a tyrant" in the SotNW universe's bizarro-America.
Battlestar Galactica MMO on its way to your browser
TV space opera Battlestar Galactica follows in the footsteps of that other popular space show and gets its own MMO -- right in your browser. That's right, you can be a forsaken and a Cylon at the same time if you so desire. Somebody knows their audience. Massively gives it an in-depth look right here.
Indie Fund wants to help your indie game get off the ground
Ron Carmel of 2D Boy -- creators of indie superhit World of Goo -- unveiled plans for Indie Fund, an innovative funding and mentoring system for indie developers who might not have the capital to get a game completed and published on their own.
Taikodom blasts its way to America
Taikodom takes the mine-space-rocks economy of EVE Online and throws in a dash of twitch shooter for flavor, and GamersFirst is launching it stateside, with plans for a closed beta by summer and a release by year's end.
Fallen Earth iPhone app is, well, basically Fallen Earth
Icarus Studios wants you stay connected to their post-apocalyptic romp Fallen Earth, and to that end, they're developing an incredibly comprehensive FE experience on the iPhone, allowing you to check out your inventory, browse the auction house, chat with friends, and even craft items, all on the go.
Civilization V is bringing hexy back
Firaxis' latest entry into the Civilization series doesn't want you bogged down worrying about stuff like cardinal directions. You don't even need most of those anyway! Civ V goes old-school with its hex-based grid. Oh, and they also built a whole new engine from the ground up. Hug that DX11 card.

Filed under: News items

Blizzard developers to speak at GDC 2010

Following the pattern held in previous years, Blizzard will again be loaning out some of their top developers for panels at this year's Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco, CA. WoW's former Lead Producer Jeff Kaplan, a.k.a. Tigole, presented the keynote speech at last year's GDC, and this year two top developers will be on tap to give horribly esoteric panels.

Brian Schwab, Blizzard's Senior AI/Gameplay Engineer, will be presenting a lecture on AI architecture ...

"AI programmers rarely use a pure architecture such as a State Machine, Planner, or Behavior Tree in isolation. Rather, several symbiotic architectures are mashed together, resulting in an overall architecture that is unique and powerful in its own way. This lecture is designed as a series of three mini-lectures where you will hear about several mashed up AI architectures along with intriguing lessons and insights."

... and Erin Catto, Blizzard's Principle Software Engineer, will be presenting a workshop on physics engines.

"This one-day tutorial continues the 10-year tradition of the Math for Programmers and Physics for Programmers tutorials by bringing together some of the best presenters in gaming physics. Over the course of a day they will get programmers up to speed in the latest techniques and deepen their knowledge in the topic of physical simulation."

More information, including panel times and availability, can be seen on BlizzPlanet's writeup of the announcement. This is basically total nerd talk -- it's very unlikely that we'll have any new WoW-related info from these panels, unlike Kaplan's keynote, but anything is possible. We'll keep you posted.

Filed under: Blizzard, Interviews

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

Progressive drop rates

Jeff Kaplan has said some interesting things at this year's GDC (expect a full account from us soon). One of them concerned a new technology that debuted in Wrath of the Lich King which I, for one, had not heard of before: progressive drop rates for quest items.

Pre-Wrath, if you're on a collection quest, whatever you're trying to collect will drop at a constant rate (35% was apparently the standard). Overall, this averages to a predictable amount of kills per quest. But probability being the way it is, it was altogether possible to have terrible luck and have to kill 100 foozles to get your four gizmos, or to have great luck and get your gizmos in only four kills. It was the bad streaks that the devs were particularly concerned about, as those are very memorable and never fun.

In Wrath, according to Kaplan, drop rates for quest items are progressive - the more foozles you kill, the higher chance each one has to drop a gizmo. The standard quest item drop rate has been raised to 45%, and each kill you make raises that drop rate by some amount. Kaplan said that it can eventually reach 100%, at which point every kill would drop your item. This puts a hard cap on just how frustrating a collection quest can be. Seems like a smart idea to me. I hadn't really noticed Wrath collection quests being easier, but then, I wouldn't - I simply wouldn't have bad-luck streaks, the absence of which might not be easy to notice.

[via Shacknews]

Filed under: Items, Quests

Kaplan on being the "Cruise Director of Azeroth" at GDC '09

Jeffrey "Tigole" Kaplan, former WoW Lead Designer who just recently headed off to work on Blizzard's new MMO, held a panel at the Game Developer's Conference earlier this week in San Fransisco called "Cruise Directior of Azeroth," in which he talked about some of the design decisions behind World of Warcraft, where Blizzard got their inspiration for a lot of the gameplay now made famous by the game, and even some of the mistakes they made in putting the world's most popular MMO together.

WoW Insider had correspondents there on the site, and they sent back audio of Kaplan's speech. We've paraphrased the salient points, and you can find them all after the break. There's some really interesting stuff in there, including the fact that in the past two years, 80 billion quests have been completed in North America's Azeroth alone, and just who is behind the frustration that is The Green Hills of Stranglethorn (hint: it's Kaplan himself).

Hit the link below to see what Kaplan told the crowd at GDC.

Read more →

Filed under: Warlock, Virtual selves, Blizzard, News items, Quests, Expansions, Classes, Death Knight

Ron Pardo hints at a new game announcement at Paris GDC

Pardo at the Austin GDCAs you may recall, Rob Pardo was the keynote speaker at this week's GDC in Paris, only days before the Worldwide Invitational in the same city. He delivered a speech laden with a lot of insight into his and Blizzard's inner workings and philosophy, but not much in the way of new information about WoTLK, as Natalie reported yesterday.

However, Gamesindustry.biz is reporting that Pardo did let a rather major piece of information slip in the final Q&A session that wrapped up on the conference. It looks like there may be a new game announcement at the Invitational later this week after all. Someone asked Pardo to comment on the Diablo 3 rumors that have been whizzing around the net lately.

"So you want me to announce the game before our announcement?" he said. "No offense, but I think there's like 300 people here, and I'll be ripped apart by 8000 people there [at the Invitational] if I pre-announce it - but it's going to be really exciting. I think everybody here will be really excited about the announcement."

Luckily, among those 8000 people at the Worldwide Invitational will be three of our own, so you can expect WoW Insider will be on top of this announcement when it drops. In the meantime, be sure to check our in-depth analysis of the latest changes to Blizzard's splash screen, which is almost certainly a teaser for this announcement.

[Thanks for the forward, Centipede!]

Filed under: Events, WoW Social Conventions, Blizzard, News items, Rumors, Worldwide Invitational

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.

Read more →

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

Rob Pardo to keynote at the Paris Game Developers Conference

Blizzard's Rob Pardo, Senior Vice President of Game Design, has been recruited to keynote the Paris GDC this summer, which will take place on June 23rd and 24th at the at the Coeur Défense Convention Centre in Paris. He'll participate in a Q&A session in which he will discuss his inspirations and challenges, as well as Blizzard's future plans.

The official press release should appear soon on the Paris GDC site.

The Paris GDC will be taking place a few days before Blizzard's World Wide Invitational in the same city. We're expecting a lot of choice WoTLK news to drop there, but certainly, Pardo may say something juicy ahead of time at the Paris GDC, and we'll be sure to find out if he does.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Worldwide Invitational

GDC08: Pardo and others on the future of MMOs


This afternoon gaming luminaries Rob Pardo (Blizzard), Min Kim (Nexon), Ray Muzyka (Bioware), Jack Emmert (Cryptic), and Matt Miller (NCsoft) got together at GDC to exchange their thoughts on the future of the industry. Sister site Massively was there live, no doubt typing furiously in order to catch every crumb of information. Want to know what's going to happen to your favorite game (or games!) in 10 or 20 years? Check out Massively's live coverage.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Blizzard

Around Azeroth

Around Azeroth

Featured Galleries

It came from the Blog: Occupy Orgrimmar
Midsummer Flamefest 2013
Running of the Orphans 2013
World of Warcraft Tattoos
HearthStone Sample Cards
HearthStone Concept Art
Yaks
It came from the Blog: Lunar Lunacy 2013
Art of Blizzard Gallery Opening

 

Categories

Joystiq

Massively

Engadget