Blizzard's Bill Roper interviewed (part one)
by Mark Asher
Quarter to Three had a chance to talk to Blizzard’s Bill Roper
yesterday. Bill was suffering from a slight cough but was otherwise
in fine spirits. And why wouldn’t he be? Blizzard’s fiery chariot
is still blazing across the gaming heavens with Diablo 2 still on
the bestseller lists and an expansion due early this year and then,
knock on wood, Warcraft 3 due out before year’s end. And that’s
just the latest. Starcraft, Diablo, and Warcraft 2 were all huge
success stories for Blizzard, even with Diablo 2 shipping with some
bugs and some initial Battle.net problems. Here’s part one of our
interview where we get the Warcraft 3 stuff out of the way.
Quarter to Three: What's going on with Warcraft 3?
Bill Roper: Oh all kinds of stuff. We’re banging away on
the programming and the art. We’re now getting content into the
game and planning out the campaign elements, putting triggers in,
and so on. The level designers are going nuts and getting excited
now, asking for all kinds of new triggers. We’re busy but its fun.
Qt3: Why did you initially want to do six races in Warcraft
3? That's so many.
Roper: I think it was a real desire on our part to really
go over the top with every element. We always want to top the previous
games. Plus, you really blue-sky at the beginning of the design
process when everyone’s excited and you put in a lot. Then once
the development process starts, you begin to see that some things
just may not work.
A lot of difficulties had to do with the demons. We want them to
be a huge component of Warcraft 3, a powerful element in the game,
and we don’t want to have to negate their impact in the game world
by having to balance them with other races.
Qt3: You mean, here’s this uber race and now we have to have
Roper: Yeah, stuff like that. To make them balance we’d
have to minimize them to some extent. "Here’s the most powerful
race who have enslaved the Orcs, and oh yeah, this is the demon
who goes and gets the gold." It just didn’t seem to work as
well as we wanted.
Getting back to taking out races, Warcraft 3 is a lot deeper than
our previous strategy games with the heroes and their abilities
thrown into the mix. Also, we always take a lot of stuff out in
our games. We’re always tweaking stuff right up until we ship. So
dropping races isn’t unusual for the way we make games. It’s just
that issues like this in our games get a lot of publicity. It’s
like missing school. You’re always told how many days you miss instead
of how many you attended.
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