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A snip from Wired's Q&A:
Wired.com: As an executive, do you take petitions into account? What is your response to them?
Sams: I don't know if a petition with X number of signatures on it is going to cause us to change this thing or that thing. What I will tell you is that we listen, and I think you can see that through the entire history of our company. We listen, we hear the players, and we regularly put things into the game and make modifications to the game that take into consideration their feelings.
The other challenge, however, is that we often times don't give a grand review of everything. So sometimes the decisions we make, you don't necessarily know why until later. You can say, (Well, we don't like this that or the other about Starcraft II or Diablo III,) and we'll get grief about it. There are certain things that players don't know yet because they haven't played it.
The fact of the matter is we like doing things that are tried and true, and I think we're more interested in making sure whatever we do is great. If what's great and if what is the best way of doing this is how we used to do it, then we certainly will consider it. The same way if what we think is best requires us to look at something differently, we will.
So I will say trust us and be patient. Ask yourselves how many times we have tried something big, where we changed the way you were expecting it, and it wasn't the right decision. How many times has it happened where we completely screwed it up? I would argue that's a pretty small number of times. There's always a reason why. We don't make decisions. we don't take them lightly. We take them very seriously. We know in advance if we should change the art style somewhat here and there, that people are going to be frustrated by it. But if there's a good reason, then we say, (Let's make that move.) Ultimately, when everyone gets the clarity on why we really did it, they'll go, (Oh, I see.) That's the way we look at it.
And a snip from GI's Q&A:
Q: When it comes to World of Warcraft Cataclysm, was it a difficult decision to devote that much of your development resource to basically re-engineering existing content?
Paul Sams: It depends on who you ask that question to [laughs]. Was it a tough decision for me? Yes, but I wasn't deciding it; it was up to other developers to decide that stuff and then our management team supports them. They're gamers, they know what gamers want next. They even know sometimes what the gamers want next before the gamers know what they want next. So I can tell you that me, the business guy, the operations guy - we were going through the whole process before we really knew all the reasons why.
I was sitting there just going, "Oh my God, really? Should we do that?" And I've got to tell you, I'm completely sold at this point. I think it's the right decision. I think that everybody thinks it's the right decision. But there were a couple of folks that didn't necessarily see why that was the right decision and, you know, I'm honest, I was one of those people that was like, "Really? Are we sure?" But I think it's a good decision. People have been really excited about this - we've had a lot of folk come up and say, wow, we think it's awesome you're doing this. The races look incredible and it's going to be a really great game. And it's going to feel really new, so we're glad about it - it's really good.