Even if you don't know the name, you're familiar with Rob Pardo's work. He is, after all, the Vice President of Design over at Blizzard, and he's responsible for the game design decisions you see whenever you venture into the World of Warcraft. Next Generation sat down with Rob Pardo to ask some of of everyone's burning questions on the future of World of Warcraft. First up, what exactly does a VP of Design do? Pardo explains:
With the teams as big as they are I don't get as much time to write design documents myself. There's a lot more meetings, a lot more collaborative stuff that happens. Let's take one small component of WoW, let's say quests. We have a team of quest designers and we all sit in a room everyday and jam up ideas. I'll follow up with each individual quest designer. I'll play their quests and iterate through it. But there's some stuff I get to design too. I also try to fill gaps that need filling. I'm trying to provide the big picture vision and philosophy and also helping out where it's needed.
Pardo is happy with the way the Burning Crusade has turned out. But what about the future? Are regular expansions a matter of survival for Blizzard's hit MMO?
Calling it a matter of survival makes it sound grim. It's more a matter of entertainment. Of course we want our gamers to stay in the world for as long as we can. But I look at this from the positive angle of us trying to entertain them. We're trying to give them new experiences. One of my favorite analogies is how much an MMO is like a TV series. We're developing episodes just like Lost or Seinfeld. We're always trying to come up with something that's true to the theory; that's true to the content that people love; but that is new. From the moment that the series starts re-treading the same ground over and over again... well, that's what we're trying to avoid.