So, entire Blizzcon was awesome.
I was a little disappointed at first when the announcement was for Cataclysm (mostly because I really, really wanted certain individuals to be wrong), but after they started showing it off… well, it’s hard to hear Chris Metzen talk about anything and not get excited. Revamping the old world is exactly what WoW needs to not only make leveling interesting again but also to go back and fix all the little mistakes they made in the early life of the game (and have learned from since).
J. Allen Brock actually said something I found very insightful in that regard during the fansite press conference after Blizzcon. Someone asked him “Where do you see World of Warcraft in 5 years?” His answer was (paraphrasing): “I couldn’t even guess, because we’ll be so much smarter in 5 years.” I found that attitude of “I’m still learning every day” and, by proxy, “what I did a while ago isn’t as good as what I can do now” very refreshing from someone who is arguably one of the most powerful and successful figures in the video gaming industry.
Speaking of powerful figures, as you’ve hopefully seen by now, I got a chance to interview both Chris Metzen and Greg Street (AKA Ghostcrawler) at the convention. If you’re unfamiliar with the names, well, first of all: shame on you. Secondly: These two people are responsible for everything that is good in the world. Specifically, Chris Metzen is the VP of Creative Development for all Blizzard titles (that means he makes up all the silly stories), and Greg Street is the Lead Systems Designer for World of Warcraft (that means he makes up all the silly numbers).
Chris Metzen gives off a total rockstar vibe on the stage, but he deserves it; he’s one of the coolest guys I’ve ever met. Not in the Fonz sort of “I’m cool because I’m better than you” sort of attitude, but in the friendly “Hey, how’s it going? What can I do for you?” way. Instant best friends with everyone he talked to. Hell, my character name is a tongue-in-cheek stab at him, and he still took some time to answer my giggly schoolgirl questions. In fact, he approached me when he saw I was standing there with a mic and camera waiting for him to finish talking to the couple other guys that had jumped him after he got off stage.
Ghostcrawler had a very similar attitude as well. I managed to bump into him at least once every day, and his actions and mannerisms showed me just how well he understands game design and why he spends so much time on the forums. There is nothing Dr. Street would rather do than listen to you talk about World of Warcraft. At first impression he seems shy or hesitant when he’s with a group of players, but look closely and you’ll see that he’s paying very close attention to everything everyone else is saying. He won’t interrupt conversations or arguments with “Well this is how it should be.” He watches and listens to both sides. Absolutely fascinating.
He’s a completely approachable guy as well. When I first met him at the fansite summit the day before the convention, I was sitting across the table from one of the lead programmers (I missed his name and feel terrible for it) who, incidentally, plays a Prot Paladin. He noticed my nametag and said “Oh, Tankspot. I read your site. I play a Prot Paladin.” I said “What a coincidence, I’m Lore.” Ghostcrawler heard me from 3 spaces down and said “You’re Lore from Tankspot?” and extended his hand. I tried my best not to let my glee overtake me.
Really though, I had an amazing time and I’m heartbroken that it ended so quickly. Looking forward to next year!