Behind the Blue Curtain: Inside Blizzard Headquarters with Wrath of the Lich King

Behind the Blue Curtain: FinalNeither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor imploding hard drive could keep me from my appointed rounds of publishing this impressions piece… even if it is a bit on the tardy side.

Finally bringing to a close our Behind the Blue Curtain series, we bring you today a look at some of what the upcoming WoW expansion has to offer, along with a few brief glimpses of the inner workings of the company behind it.

If you missed them, you may find the other two articles in the series at the links below:

Behind the Blue Curtain: Discussing Wrath of the Lich King with Jeffrey “Tigole” Kaplan

Behind the Blue Curtain: Further Discussion on Wrath of the Lich King with Tom “Kalgan” Chilton

The Introduction

Blizzard Main GatesFrom the street, you might never know that within this nondescript cluster of low-slung office buildings lay the people responsible for some of the most successful gaming franchises known to man. If not for the two foot high lettering announcing the presence of Blizzard Entertainment above the main gates they could have been selling life insurance in there.

As I passed through those gates and found myself a spot in the parking lot—which, to my utter disappointment, was not paved in solid gold, with every other car either a Ferrari or Bugatti—I took a moment to reflect on the appropriateness that Blizzard should be a company named after a force of nature.

You don’t need a weatherman to tell you that there is a storm brewing on the horizon of the MMO genre. Its name: Hurricane Arthas. Once it makes landfall, the only thing anyone in its path—like the competition—will be able to do is get the hell out of its way, and hope it doesn’t cause too much damage as it rolls on through.

Being sent into the headquarters of the company setting that storm into motion, I couldn’t help but feel a bit like the proverbial reporter, standing on the beach in a rain slicker, earnestly preparing to state the obvious for the viewing public back home: “It sure is windy out here, folks!”

Barring the onset of Armageddon, I don’t know of anyone who seriously believes that Wrath of the Lich King won’t go on to become the fastest-selling PC game of all time roughly ten seconds following its release, taking over the mantle that its predecessor, The Burning Crusade, captured for itself a mere two years prior.

Zul'Drak -- Exterior building shot.jpgThe reputation that Blizzard has built up over the years is such that by now they could release an empty cardboard box with “Diablo III” written across the front in magic marker and it would still become an instant best-seller, with everyone and their mother falling over themselves to see who could rush to print the most glowing 10/10 review:

“Blizzard is really thinking outside of the box with their latest addition to the Diablo series, forcing players to use the power of their imagination to create their own game, just like when we were kids! Using this revolutionary system, the graphics, design, and story can be customized to each player’s liking, and, for the creative types, the game never even has to end! Editor’s Choice!”

What could I ever possibly say to that?

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  1. As ever, a great article Steven, thanks.
    And out of interest Onyxia was soloed for the first time last week by a Druid (and then a couple of days later by a Pally). :)

  2. Robin says:

    GRR!!!! i cant wait!!!!awsome article!!

  3. Outstanding story there. What occurred after? Good luck!

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