Warcraft 3

The Warcraft series set the standard for Real Time Strategy gaming that evolved into the hit game Starcraft and created legions of devoted fans the world over. Now Blizzard is set to return to the series that started it all with the first of two Warcraft titles. With a massive online version of the game in the works, fans have set their sites on the pending Warcraft 3 to satiate the public demand. I recently was able to talk with Bill Roper of Blizzard about their highly anticipated next chapter in the series.

GVK: Describe how the idea for the game came about.
BR: We had always wanted to continue the story of the Warcraft world and when
StarCraft was completed and the development team was seceding on their next
project, the opportunity arose to revisit the place where it all began for

GVK: Going into this game, what were the main objectives you wanted to
achieve in regards to content and game play?
BR: We wanted to create something that had a very different strategic focus than
our previous Real Time Strategy games while, at the same time, would remain
familiar to our players. We have achieved this by introducing Role Playing
elements into a Strategy game and has shifted the focus of the game play
from sending wave after wave of warriors at your opponent to managing fewer,
more powerful units.

BR: As far as content is concerned, we wanted to create a 3D game that remained
true to the look and character of the Warcraft series. We spent considerable
time and effort (and threw out a lot of artwork in the process) making
Warcraft III a true descendant of the previous games while simultaneously
introducing many new art and game play elements.

GVK: What were the biggest obstacles and success stories that you
encountered when you were creating the game?
BR: We had a major shift in the look and some parts of the game design after a
year or so by moving away from the over-the-shoulder camera and not
requiring units to be attached to heroes. This probably caused more concern
and confusion to our players than to the development team, as the rest of
our design concepts were basically unaffected.

BR: In regards to successes, we have had many – both big and small – but as
always, the greatest success will be in bringing the game to the computers
of gamers worldwide.

GVK: In regards to content, were there features you wished to include but
were unable to do so, and if so what were they?
BR: Probably the single biggest feature we simply did not have time or quite
honestly, a groundbreaking idea on how to implement was Navies. Battling on
the high seas was a very novel element in Warcraft II, and we wanted to
include this in Warcraft III. We did not want to incorporate them, however,
if they were not going to play a very significant part in the game and
change the strategies of players who used them. In the end, we simply did
not feel that of the ideas we had met our criteria, and so we made the
decision to not include them in the game.

GVK: If you could change any part of the game, what would it be
and why?
BR: Well, since the game isn’t finished, I suppose that is what we would love to
be able to change – having it out right now!

GVK : What new features would you like to see developed in terms of
multiplay for gaming?
BR: We have done quite a bit of work on the multiplayer aspect of the game,
especially where Battle.net is concerned. We received incredibly applicable
feedback on what players liked and disliked in their online gaming
experience from StarCraft, especially from Korea. We are introducing some
great features on Battle.net that will make communicating within our
community much easier and will also help run tournaments and competitive
ladders more fairly and easily.

GVK: How long was the development cycle of the game?
BR: When all is said and done, this will have been a mammoth project that has
taken about 4 years. Development cycles on games has become immense,
especially when we are developing almost 3 products at once – a
single-player game with many complex missions, a multiplayer game with
support for millions of players from all corners of the globe, and an
impressive amount of feature-film quality cinematic sequences with
unbelievable sound and music. It is almost more than you can comprehend when
you are laying out the project idea on day one.

GVK: Will there be an add-on pack or a sequel?
BR: We are very focused on getting Warcraft III to beta, and then out into the
hands of players right now, and have not really started anything in regards
to expansion sets or sequels. As always, we will consider creating an
expansion if the success of the game merits it and if we feel we have
something to seriously contribute to the storyline or the game play.

GVK: What are you working on now?
BR: We have two full teams in Irvine working hard on Warcraft III and World of
Warcraft. As Diablo II was their last 2D game, the team at Blizzard North is
honing their 3D skills while formulating the next great game idea to unleash
on the world. Finally, everyone at Blizzard is getting ready to take a few
well-deserved days off to spend with family, friends and loved ones as we
celebrate the holidays and bid a fond farewell to what has been an
incredible year for games.

GVK: Thank you.