Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco will have a lot to offer you. Every year GDC offers game developers and (by proxy) the gaming public an inside look at the way the industry as a whole is swinging. The Game Design track is, in this blogger's opinion, always the most interesting. 2009, above and beyond the average, is going to appeal to those of us with a love of online gaming. Two well-known MMO industry leaders will be speaking at the event. Those aside, there are numerous talks that fall well within the interests of folks who like open world environments and roleplaying combined.
Whether you're going or just reading coverage, you're definitely not going to want to miss Cruise Director of Azeroth: Directed Gameplay within World of Warcraft. Jeff Kaplan will talk about the guidelines and philosophies behind making the uber-popular game, and (tantalizingly) will be going into the evolution of Blizzard's quest design leading up to Wrath of the Lich King. The other big draw is going to be Making an MMO Based on a Beloved IP (Without Pissing Everyone Off), done by none other than Mythic Entertainment's Paul Barnett. Barnett will be speaking to the challenges of working with an established IP, as well as sharing humorous anecdotes from the years-long dev process. There are plenty more tantalizing events on the docket; be sure to check out the Cliff's notes at GameSetWatch.