WoW Dev Team Bigger Than Ever Before, Already Has Next Expansions In Mind
"We've never been more forward-thinking about the types of things that we can do with World of Warcraft."
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Blizzard Entertainment's genre-defining MMO World of Warcraft celebrates its 10th birthday next month, and though subscriber numbers may be down, don't expect Blizzard to stop supporting the game anytime soon. In fact, World of Warcraft executive producer J. Allen Brack says in a new interview that the game's development team has never been bigger and the studio already has ideas in mind for multiple follow-ups to November's Warlords of Draenor expansion.
"The World of Warcraft team is 50 percent larger today than it was when we shipped Mists of Pandaria [in 2012]," Brack told Polygon. "We're already working on the next expansion. We already have ideas for the expansion after that. We've never been larger. We've never been more forward-thinking about the types of things that we can do with World of Warcraft."
World of Warcraft launched in November 2004, and had 6.8 million subscribers as of June 30. Following the Chinese release of the game's second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, the MMO's subscriber base ballooned to 12 million, the largest ever for the game.
Warlords of Draenor is World of Warcraft's fifth expansion, and it has already sold 1.5 million copies through pre-purchases alone.
Also in the wide-ranging interview, Blizzard senior vice president of story and franchise development, Chris Metzen, recalled the launch of World of Warcraft tens years ago. He said the game's growth and success has been a "high-class problem," in that it transformed Blizzard into something larger than was ever originally planned.
"Maybe this is too harsh, but World of Warcraft’s success was one of the biggest challenges we ever faced," he said. "It challenged our character. It challenged our culture, the growth and the complexity, for a team that had been very tight."
"And suddenly a lot of that core team is running different groups. When organizations grow that fast, suddenly you have all these lights to keep on and all these mouths to feed and these really talented developers that we've brought in to help us do this," he added.
"Your thinking can begin to become a little institutionalized. You start to think a little more systemically, like, 'Oh god, don't break it, keep all the plates spinning, we've got to keep this up.'"