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The State of Blizzard's Union 71

Posted by Zonk
from the lots-of-orcs-in-that-place dept.
Gamasutra has an extensive interview with Senior Vice President Frank Pearce (one of the company's original founders), and Starcraft II producer Chris Sigaty. They discuss some elements of the the company's future. They discuss their expectations for Starcraft II, some hints of what's to come in World of Warcraft, and word that 50 people are working on the mysterious 'Team 3' game. "Pearce: Our global headcount is like, 2700. Most of that is customer service for World of Warcraft. I mean in terms of development staff... it's probably around 350. For all of Blizzard. World of Warcraft development team is about 135 people...40 for you [indicates Chris' Starcraft 2 team], 50 for ... Team 3 ... Gamasutra: Team 3? What's Team 3 working on? Pearce: Team 3 is working on something really awesome. I will totally tell you, it's really awesome ... Nope, can't give you any hints. Gamasutra: Well, as long as it's awesome."
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The State of Blizzard's Union

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  • like, i totally, like, totally, find it like, totally, like hard to read this, totally awesome article.
    • by Poltras (680608)
      The interviewer then went on with

      What do you eat to be so awesome? Can I touch you, are you for real? What's it like, like? What do you taste?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      I glanced over the interview after you made your post, and I have mixed feelings about how to respond. In summary it's worst on page 4 but he's literally telling a story about his family trip, it's hardly a prepared statement.

      The following is my criteria for measuring word counts:
      totally - any use, although it includes good (i.e. meaning "completely") and bad (i.e. saying "totally awesome") uses.
      like (good) - means the same as any of the following: such that, such as, for example, as if, around, in th
  • I bet it's Ghost II. Like totally.
    • by Achoi77 (669484)
      My guess is that while it would seem to be a logical extension to create D3, I think I would be pretty excited about another attempt to take a crack at the MMOFPS genre, with what Blizzard has learned from WoW.

      Shelving Ghost and grafting that into MMO space would seem more exciting, both as a gamer and in the business sense, since you could deploy that game to the next gen consoles along with PCs. Add to the fact that you have lower risk of cannibalizing your existing playerbase while entering (at least for
      • If they build WoS, I am so Dropping my WoW account... well, maybe...
      • by sYkSh0n3 (722238)

        But it is likely going to be Diablo 3.


        I've read to much of the "like, totally" posts. I read that as "But it is like totally going to be Diablo 3."

        Everything I read on this page sounds "valleygirl" in my head. Please make it stop. /loads gun
  • Is the mystery game they are working on Diablo 3? I've heard various stories already that it has been in production for awhile, but they had to take it baack to the drawing board.
    • Ah, I remember a while ago, we were waiting for a game announcement from Blizzard. Everyone was sure it'll be Starcraft 2 or Diablo 3. I mean, it made sense, right? They had all the fans lined up waiting for them. Instead we got World Of Warcraft.

      So my bet is that now we'll get something like a space flight sim set in the world of Starcraft :P Could be something else, but that's the only idea I have at the moment of completely mis-using an existing franchise. Oh, or maybe a city building game set in the wor
      • by Binestar (28861) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @10:22AM (#20651759) Homepage
        Actually, that space fighter sim sounds good. Of course, I've been looking for a good Space Combat fighter ever since WC:P and Freespace 2.
        • Maybe they bought they license for the Freespace series and they are working on Freespace 3 or Freespace vs. Starcraft
      • It sounds like you're implying that WoW was a mis-use of an existing franchise. I think there are around 8 million people who would disagree.
        • I don't think he's saying that it's bad, but it's certainly not what everyone expected Blizzard's next big game to be. (I was expecting them to release StarCraft II next, myself- they had released Diablo II and WarCraft III since StarCraft came out, and we were all expecting a sequel). WoW was (and is) amazingly successful, but I don't think anyone expected Blizzard to take that route with their WarCraft Franchise.
    • by jayhawk88 (160512)
      Perhaps not surprising. A lot of the guys from Blizzard North who were responsible for D1 and 2 are now off at Flagship working on Hellgate: London. Not trying to say that D3 won't be good, because who really knows at this point, but undoubtedly it's a different world over at Blizzard North these days.
      • by Schmapdi (840038)
        I disagree. Notice how a lot of things in WoW are pretty much lifted straight from Diablo II? In Diablo III I sorta picture a Guild Wars/WoW hybrid. The same sort of mini MMO with Wow's item generation system and talent trees and whatnot but set in Guildwars sort of map system/level play. It could really end up being the best of both worlds and I'm pretty excited about it. Not that Guild Wars doesn't do a pretty good job already - I just picked it up a week or so ago and its a fun game; but Guild Wars
  • Diablo 3 (Score:4, Informative)

    by Nasarius (593729) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:55AM (#20650337)
    One assumes that's the Team 3 project, since it's been more or less confirmed [diablo3.com].
    • You know, this makes a lot of sense, and seems pretty plausable. But, I was really hopeing they'd do something new and different. Sadly, looks like thats not the case since blizzard went corporate.
      • Re:Diablo 3 (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @09:09AM (#20650485) Homepage
        New and different would be nice, sure...but honestly, the ONLY, and I mean ONLY thing I want out of Blizzard at this point is Diablo 3.

        Not because I don't think they could make a new series...I just think that the Diablo storyline has a lot of potential, and the game itself has a lot of potential...look at the massive difference between Diablo and Diablo II...and then look at the large number of changes between Diablo II and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction...LoD was EASILY the best expansion pack made for ANY game EVER. No other expansion pack (in my experience anyway) did more to add to the game, fix what was wrong, or make it more fun.

        Just imagine the monster they could make with Diablo 3...
        • by moranar (632206)
          Lord of Destruction didn't feel like an expansion to me. Granted, I played all of Diablo 2 (including LoD) together, but still, the story didn't feel complete at the end of Diablo 2. Baal was still out there. ... Totally awesome, that's what I thought of it. From start to end, I loved LoD. And Diablo 2, even if I hated Duriel (act two boss), and the way I couldn't beat it with my amazon.
          • by Pojut (1027544)
            As far as LoD goes, I was referring more to changes they made with the gameplay itself (socketed items, runewords, bug fixes, expanded stash, etc.)

            Not to mention that since the game took forever to make, you could literally watch the art get more and more detailed and complicated as you progressed through each act...to me, that added a cool little edge rarely seen in a game.
        • Excuse me, but.. the Diablo storyline?

          Uhhhm.

          You should read Mel Odom's first book of the Hellgate: London trilogy -- Exodus. It's sorta like the movie Anchorman where the reporter is talking about going in there to watch a panda have a baby but saying he can't because the panda will "literally rip your face off".. That's what Hellgate's story does to Diablo's "story". It rips its face off.

          BTW, all the good artists and devs in from the Diablo days are making Hellgate: London so uhh, the jury is still out o
          • by Pojut (1027544)
            Just because a Ferrari "rips the face" off my 04 RSX Type-S doesnt mean my RSX isn't a blast to drive.

            As far as Bill Roeper and friends not being at Blizzard anymore...yes that sucks, but I think they will manage.
          • by Nasarius (593729)
            I've been playing the HGL alpha and now beta. Maybe the book is good, but the story in the game is more or less on par with the Diablos. But as you say, Diablo 3 without Bill Roper et al...who knows.
            • Well, I see the books as the backstory that you can read if you want it. This is the first time in my life I've ready a book based on a game. I was pleasantly surprised. It will make the game that much more enjoyable I think.

              'course, if the game sucks it won't matter that the book was good.

              I'm aware that Roper has said they are on content lock now, in other words no real new content until after release. That being said, and understanding that you are under NDA obligations, could you just tell me your im
              • by Nasarius (593729)

                I'm aware that Roper has said they are on content lock now, in other words no real new content until after release.

                They only gave us pieces to play with in alpha, and I'm not sure how much more is in the beta; I haven't played through it yet. At the basic level, killing stuff is a blast. But I'm not really impressed with the character development system. There's a lack of interesting skills and skill relationships, which is where D2 really shined, IMO. But in short, look at it as a sci-fi, first-person Dia

                • Too true. The tiered skill system in Diablo 2 and the way skills complimented each other was very, very well done.

                  Did you get to max level? I am hoping they just hadn't rolled out all the skills etc yet for you to see them.

                  Also, first person for hunters/fps chars and third person for melee etc I would imagine?

                  I am in the Tabula Rasa closed beta and it suffers from the same problem with a lack of skills that interplay. But the gameplay is really awesome, so I am hoping they can do something to think of mo
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by king-manic (409855)

            BTW, all the good artists and devs in from the Diablo days are making Hellgate: London so uhh, the jury is still out on Diablo 3, if it ever even gets off the drawing board.


            True enough, but a game takes a team. It's difficult to say what D1 or D2 would have been if Blizzard proper didn't have some influence on it. Being the mother studio/publisher they had a lot of influence. Many thought John Romero was the messiah of gaming and that he alone could inspire and design a awesome game. We got Daikatana. Turns
          • by afidel (530433)
            Good devs from the Diablo team, hardly. There were many known and published bugs with the item generation system from Diablo I that made it into Diablo 2. I put more stock in the third party total conversion crowd then I do in the guys that programmed on Diablo. Now the graphics artists and designers were quite good, but the guys who were supposed to make the nuts and bolts work didn't do such a great job. Oh and don't forget that Diablo 2 was unplayable online until at least 1.03, but that might have been
        • Except Blizzard made the world persistent, slapped on a Warcraft skin and called it World of Warcraft.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LocoMan (744414)
        To be fair, Blizzard has never been known to make new and different games... so far their strenght has been to take existing ideas genres and ideas, then improve and polish them. At least that's how it was with Diablo, War/Starcraft and WoW. The 3rd person hack and slash RPG, RTS and MMORPG genres already existed, they just polished them better than anyone at the time (heck, you could even say the same with the puzzle platform genre with Lost Vikings)
    • Or Starcraft: Ghost. That would definately fit the definition of "very awesome".
  • "Please be Diablo 3." * sys.maxint
  • Team 3 project: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spocksbrain (1097145) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @09:24AM (#20650667)
    "World of Warcraft 2: The Search for More Money."
  • by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @09:40AM (#20650873) Homepage Journal
    The first page is where I noticed the biggest difference between Blizzard and "the other mmorpg" studios. This representative wasn't dismissing his competition or making disparaging remarks about it. He was playing nice. I figure down deep they know that these two games are not real threats to WOW... too many have been given that title only to falter.

    I did appreciate his comments on developers. The job is pretty much thankless when everything is going right. Do your job right and most people don't care. Have problems creep up and your the center of some not so good attention.

    It was also interesting to see how many people they "admit" to working on WOW and Starcraft 2. I assume the other is D3. 2000+ others? Most support. I can see that considering they are selling a service when it comes to the numbers WOW has.

    The rule is, always talk nice about your competition. Then again when your at the top you don't have a reason to trash talk
  • How much do you wanna bet it's World of Diablo.

    Y
  • I mean, it's probably great for someone in the industry to know, so I read it, but as a game player, I just don't care.

    Blizzard lost all credibility as far as I am concerned with bnetd.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @10:28AM (#20651875)
      Blizzard lost all credibility as far as I am concerned with bnetd.

      Yes, how dare they try to stop people from pirating their games!

      Sorry, but sometimes things cost money.

      The "everything should be free" crowd will mod me down, I'm sure, so posting anonymously.
      • by sstamps (39313)
        The issue with bnetd had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with piracy. bnetd didn't enable piracy of any kind. It was a SERVER. It didn't copy games. It didn't crack serialz. It didn't distribute anything. It competed against a FREE service, so there was ZERO money lost as a result of it being used over battle.net.
        • by brkello (642429) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @12:35PM (#20654491)
          Ok, if you are going to have to have this discussion AGAIN, let's at least discuss it honestly. Yes, bnetd was a server. No argument there. But for you to say that it had absolutely nothing to do with piracy is a flat out lie. bnetd did enable piracy because it allowed people who did not buy the game to play each other online (no cd key check). The primary users of bnetd were people who did not buy a copy of the game. I have absolutely zero sympathy for bnetd because of this...plus the fact that Blizzard does not charge for their battle.net service and that it is still running today...after all these years. Blizzard is about the least evil large company you are going to find. If you aren't going to support them over bnetd, then you have either never written software or lack the ability to understand the situation that Blizzard was in.
          • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

            by sstamps (39313)
            People could ALREADY play each other online. It didn't enable anything that they already didn't have. You could already play other people online via one of several methods. The only thing you got from battle.net was a lousy MATCHMAKER service as well as a way to store characters.

            I severely doubt you can back up the assertion that the primary users of bnetd were people who pirated their games. I bought and paid for every copy of Blizzard games I had in my possession (multiple copies, even). The people I play
            • by toleraen (831634)

              People could ALREADY play each other online. It didn't enable anything that they already didn't have.
              So aside from the whole CD key thing, what was the point of bnetd again? Not trying to troll, I just never used it, and the wiki page only gives a few minor reasons.
              • by IdeaMan (216340)
                The whole point behind BnetD is control and freedom. That they happened to be pirates was very unfortunate.

                >

                Here's my top 4 reasons for wanting BnetD (and notice that they DO NOT include piracy):
                5 - Store characters on a server that will last longer than 90 days AND are non hackable.
                4 - Allow/disallow Maphack at MY choosing. (Maphack is not a hacking tool, it is a UI improvement)
                3 - Choose who can join my server. (No Spambots, just my friends + their friends)
                1 - Mod support. All of the really great g
                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  5 - Store characters on a server that will last longer than 90 days AND are non hackable.

                  Two words, Open Battle.net. Additionally, how many characters did you have that it was impossible to commit to playing them each for one hour in a three month timespan? Lastly, I have my doubts that Bnetd or anything related to it was hack-proof. Speaking of which...

                  4 - Allow/disallow Maphack at MY choosing. (Maphack is not a hacking tool, it is a UI improvement)

                  Case in point.

                  Once again, Open Battle.net. Also, t

                  • by Hoknor (950280)
                    Wait, since when did open battle.net not use locally saved character files?
                    • by Hoknor (950280)
                      I think you are going the wrong direction here, if you can just use open mod tools to recreate your character, you are back at the original Diablo style hackfest. Which means if you want to play a legit game, you are limited to playing with groups you already know. You can't really run an Eastern Sun Ladder without something like bnetd.
                    • by IdeaMan (216340)
                      I have 3 times had 12 accounts filled with characters and mules.. and Bnet deleted them all.

                      Quote: I don't see how this is even an issue unless you enjoyed hanging out in the chat channels. Spambots didn't join anything but the main channels, mostly the trade channels, and couldn't join your game if you gave it a password.

                      Allowing spam bots onto chat channels guarantees that nice players will no longer join chat channels.
                      Spam bots joined public games too. It's not so much about hosting a private server, if
    • I mean, it's probably great for someone in the industry to know, so I read it, but as a game player, I just don't care.

      Blizzard lost all credibility as far as I am concerned with bnetd.


      BnetD: Hey blizzard is it okay if we invent something to circumvent your primary motivation for people to buy your game?
      Blizzard: Ummm no. could you stop please.
      BnetD: no. We want to do this. Why don't you help us out and give us your verification algorithm.
      Blizzard: no please stop.
      BnetD: no. Fuck off.
      Blizzard: ahh well. Mr.
      • Hardly.. (Score:1, Troll)

        by sstamps (39313)
        It was about control.

        The primary motivation to buy the game was to PLAY it. If you pirated it, you could still PLAY it with your friends via several methods. The difference was that you couldn't use their "official" matchmaker service. The existence of BnetD had, at most, a negligible impact on the level of piracy.

        They also didn't demand the key checker; they OFFERED to use whatever keychecker Blizzard was willing to give them access to.

        It was a valid fair use case, killed off by venue-shopping.
        • It was about control.

          The primary motivation to buy the game was to PLAY it. If you pirated it, you could still PLAY it with your friends via several methods. The difference was that you couldn't use their "official" matchmaker service. The existence of BnetD had, at most, a negligible impact on the level of piracy.

          They also didn't demand the key checker; they OFFERED to use whatever keychecker Blizzard was willing to give them access to.

          It was a valid fair use case, killed off by venue-shopping.


          Variants bne
  • World.
    Of.
    Starcraft.
    • Perhaps a large-scale framework for turning Starcraft II into an online world with games acting much like random encounters in FF.
    • by varcher75 (800974)

      World.
      Of.
      Starcraft.
      Starcraft Fleets.

      An EVE/E&B rip-off, Blizzard style.
  • I ditched wow and gone lotro. For the first time in a long duration, im having fun in a mmo. A catching story, easy come easy go playstyle, nice environment, gorgeous graphics. So such games can still be made.
    • by teflaime (738532)
      LOTRO has the same problem the movies had - it lacks the breadth of the books.
    • by entmike (469980)
      That's how they all start. Report back to us in 6 months.
    • I think it's all a matter of taste. I don't think this is the place to get into the difference between LOTRO and WoW, but I'll just say that Blizzard has a habit of making games that are obtainable and enjoyable by a larger crowd than the games that came before it without dumbing the game down. That's a part of the key to their success. Competition from games like LOTRO will always be important as well as it reminds Blizzard and other companies that players might not share the same vision as the developers
  • I think I'll stick with Hello Kitty Island Adventures - the online sensation!
  • Hydra (Score:2, Informative)

    by Adair (629401)
    Some speculation over at wowinsider.com that Blizzard's Third Project [wowinsider.com] is internally called "Hydra".
  • by uofitorn (804157) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @12:38PM (#20654567)
    Gamasutra: Well, as long as it's awesome.

    Now that's what I call hard hitting reporting! Gamasutra's not afraid to ask the tough questions.
  • "We are experts in what we play, and we wanna play a more traditional sort of game, and not really casual stuff." I.E. Wow is h-core, l2p casual nubs.

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