World of Warcraft Five-Year Anniversary Interviews

Four separate interviews covering the fifteen-year anniversary of the Warcraft franchise and the five-year anniversary of MMO spinoff World of Warcraft have emerged overnight.

The first is at IGN with Blizzard's Shane Dabiri and Cory Stockton:
IGN: From an outsider's perspective though it seems that none of those resources are being spent to advance the Warcraft RTS brand. Since the release of World of Warcraft we've seen nothing else. Has Warcraft become an exclusively MMO-focused property or are we possibly going to see a return to a more RTS-oriented format?

Cory Stockton: It's definitely not only limited to the MMO genre. That's the direction we are in right now. I think the way we look at it is that the franchise can go in whatever direction we want to take it. World of Warcraft is the direction we're focusing on with Warcraft right now. It's always open in the future that we could go back and continue the Warcraft series as an RTS.

Shane Dabiri: To add to that, I keep bringing this up and it sounds so clichéd but we're gamers and we like to play lots of different types of games. It's easy to look at the success of World of Warcraft and think 'Why don't you just work on MMOs from now on out?' but we put a lot of love, tears and sweat into our Warcraft universe, or Starcraft or Diablo, and we're first in class in all of those games and it would really be kind of a shame to abandon those. There's no plans to do any of that. We want to persist those properties into the future.

Following close behind is Bitmob with Blizzard's Sam Didier, Cory Stockton, and Greg Street:
What contribution that you made personally to the Warcraft universe are you most proud of?

CS: For me the biggest thing is being involved in the creation of the world. Coming here a couple months after WoW had launched and then working on a number of patches all throughout Ahn'Qiraj, then Burning Crusade was getting kicked off, and just being able to be in all those initial meetings about what we were going to do, working with [Chris] Metzen on that stuff. We knew we wanted to involve the Burning Legion somehow, but how we were going to do it....

And then being able to go through that same experience again on Northrend, and help create the universe, to me that's been the biggest thing, to come up with creative ideas and see them actually come to fruition in the game.

GS: Some of the things we do, I couldn't take personal credit for because so many people are working on it together, so it's hard to say, "This is the thing that I did." But one of the things I'm really happy with, with Lich King, is how we got a lot of other players to see the really awesome raid content. People were killing Kel'Thuzad, and hearing his great voiceover work and seeing an epic encounter, that never would have in the original WoW, when raiding was for the uber 2% or so. I really like that now it feels like something that's approachable for just about anyone that's interested in it.

SD: I think for me it would be helping develop what's now referred to as the "Blizzard artstyle." Back when we first started doing PC games, everything was a little bit more realistic, even the mighty warriors that you were playing were kind of thin dudes with thin swords and doink armor. We just threw that out and started making our characters a little bit more over the top. We took the comic book superhero approach and we did that to fantasy.

Nowadays, you see that around all the time, but back when we first started, there wasn't a lot of that going on. It's cool now for me to look at other games that are out now and I see people doing that. We kind of helped start a style of fantasy art work that wasn't the norm, and now it's kind of becoming the norm. It's really cool to see people sending in art submissions that look like our style; it shows that we've really helped set a style of art in the industry.

Next we have AusGamers with Blizzard's J. Allen Brack:
Looking back on the five years of World of Warcraft, Brack gets philosophical, explaining that the company has a "never say never" attitude - something they've learned the hard way.

He explains that "The things that you have today, and the principles that you have... it's not necessarily going to be the principles that you have tomorrow, because the game is going to change, the players are going to change, the needs of the player are going to change..."

Sometimes, these changes happen almost overnight, with some pretty major adjustments being made to the game in just the past 12 months - Brack explained that nobody would have predicted dropping the level at which characters can acquire a mount from 40 to 20, and yet, that change has been made.

Brack ponders: "If you had a time capsule and you went back to launch day and said 'Hey, would you believe that in this amount of time you're going to change what seems like such a core, fundamental part of the game...' I bet the answer would be no."

And the last is at Games On Net with Blizzard's Tom Chilton: Looking back over the years there are some parts of the game that have not been revisited. First off class quests like Benediction, Rhok'Delar and Druid's Swift Flight Form? Are we ever going to see something like that back in the game?

Tom: Yeah, I think there's a good chance that we'll see more stuff like that back in the game again. I actually think that in patch 3.3 getting the Shadowmourne legendary weapon is in a lot of ways much more similar to the quests like Rhok'delar, Benediction/Anathema. It's a significant departure from some of our previous legendaries like the Warblades that were just a drop off Illidan or if you even look at the Valynyr hammer in Ulduar which you get different pieces for it and you are kinda done. There's a much stronger questing element to the Shadowmourne weapon. I think that's one step to get back some of that cool factor that we had with some of those quests.