Business Acumen From An Ice Storm

In this article detailing Rob Pardo’s Keynote at the Austin Game Conference, we get a pretty awesome look into the minds of Blizzard.

They run their company the way I’d like to do Development.

A couple of quotes will say it better than I can.

Easy to Learn, difficult to master is the first Law. Design in the depth first, the accessibility later. A lot of folks seem to approach this the other way; when we first develop our games, we first try to come up with the really cool things that add years of replayability. Then we start talking about accessibility afterwards.

Concentrated coolness. What this means is, rather than make variety and lots of things to do, make fewer things really cool. The best example in woW is the class system. Lots of games have more classes, multiclassing, etc. We consciously avoided that in order to make each class as cool and different from the others as possible. This allowed us to have unique spells, abilities and mechanics. No red fireball, white fireball, blue fireball, etc. Even the two pet classes, hunters and warlocks, use their pets completely differently. We consciously avoided sharing mechanics across classes. We recently announced that the paladins and the shamans are switching sides. One of the primary reasons why we undid that rule was that we found ourselves merging them into each other for PvP balance. So we decided that it was less important for each side to have its own class than it was to have concentrated coolness for each class.

Don’t ship until it’s ready. This matters even more with MMOs. You might hear that it’s improved later, but no one actually goes back to try it. You will really cripple yourself, you put at risk the next five years of your product. So hopefully all you publishers will give the developers more time.

There’s a lot more of what Rob Pardo says in the article. It’s all gold. They are the most successful (in my mind) gaming company today. Their lessons in Development are global in scope. They don’t just apply to games.

So go have a read.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *