There are games that go beyond the entertainment itself to become part of our cultural heritage, and then there is the license Blizzard Entertainment and legend that-today- still writing. Since the debut of ‘Warcraft: Orcs & Humans’ at the end of 1994, the battle between orcs and humans has sat chair in the online game, it has established itself as the benchmark for persistent universes and soon will jump to the big screen, leaving very clear that their media conquest has no roof.
However, more than two decades of battles and epic adventures in the world Azeroth show that this is not a product of a fad or a successful result of chance, but the talent of a company in the entertainment, the ability to overcome and proximity to their community of players who have maintained until now. How is able to maintain the status of legend for so long?
The key is a small secret as the principles of the developer itself. Are eight core values that have kept in each of their projects and can be read from their own website: The game (gameplay) is first, a commitment to quality, respect and integrity (play nice, play fair), find the ‘geek’ within us, every opinion counts, think globally, lead responsibly, and finally learn and grow.
Silicon & Synapse of Activision Blizzard
Blizzard, like most studies of current success, was not introduced in the video game industry with a title that catapulted him to glory, but rather was dedicated to making ports to other game systems that were already in the market.
Founded as Silicon & Synapse in 1991 by Allen Adham, Frank Pearce, and Mike Morhaime, and after several orders of conversions for other studies, eventually we would see its first own game in 1992 ‘RPM Racing’, published under the wing of Interplay for Super Nintendo.
When we were a lot younger and smaller study, the ties that developed between all of us were very strong. It was easy to know well between us because for beer and leave out all the company only needed 2 or 3 cars.
After developing games like ‘Lost Vikings’ or ‘Rock’ n Roll Racing’, it would not be until next year that will begin to take decisions that would expand as a brand, starting with a change of facilities to expand its staff and renaming the company and subsequently Chaos Studio Blizzard Entertainment.
At the moment that began to develop the first “Warcraft”, the Blizzard in the early 90s was developing four projects in parallel with little more than two dozen creative and developers on the payroll. The funny thing is that many members of the study were to multiply its objectives to be parallel development of two, three or four projects simultaneously as happened to Glenn Stafford, the only sound engineer and studio musician at that time.
More recently, and after several twists and turns as their own autonomy as a studio, Blizzard finally merged with another industry giant on equal terms, forming the titan Activision-Blizzard thanks to its enormous weight in the community of users and enormous influence for the rest of development companies, while maintaining its core values.
Today, its staff exceeds 4700 employees, 2620 of whom work at its headquarters in Irvine, California having distributed the rest of them in branches in 11 countries worldwide. Although its most profitable and recognized success has been ‘World of Warcraft’ licenses as ‘StarCraft is a mass phenomenon, especially in Asia moving millions of dollars monthly with the rise of ‘eSports’, and settling with IPs as diverse as ‘Devil’ and soon ‘Overwatch’
Warcraft could have been another game in the Warhammer series, but Blizzard liked Dune 2
Although initially the possibility of giving a historical approach contemplated, the first foray Blizzard in the field of real – time strategy (RTS) sought inspiration for its setting in the heavyweights of epic fantasy as ‘The Lord of the Rings’, ‘Conan’, ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ and countless cultural references that finally ended in forging its own mythology ‘ Warcraft: Orcs & Humans’, the first title in the series.
However, even before betting on developing a game in which fantastic and warriors sword and honor creatures fought for the survival of their species, we should find the spark of that first clue that would lead them to develop a project demanding strategy, and the inspiration for that first generation of creative Blizzard was ‘Dune 2’, a title which ended permeating strongly among the members of the study.
The inspiration for Warcraft came after playing (and replayed and replayed) ‘Dune 2’ Westwood Studios. ‘Dune 2’ was possibly the first RTS with a scrollable world map, construction and movements of characters and individual combat in real time. It is not very different from the design of our modern strategy games in real time as ‘Starcraft 2’, bridging the distance from the very magnitude of the latter and its graphical bet.
At some point in the production, he speculated with the idea of adapting a known as the firm was licensed Games Workshop ‘Warhammer’. In fact, Allen Adham hoped to obtain the license for more positive sales leveraging precisely from a known brand. However, that idea would end up being discarded, partly due to Blizzard’s previous experience with other licenses based on the universe of DC Comics and the limitations found to bet on something that was not entirely his.
Finally they decided to make ‘Warcraft’ own license and thanks to that it is not necessary to consider what would have happened if Blizzard had not had all intellectual property rights on that first game in the face of sequels, spin-offs, and even the creation which would be his biggest hit to date ‘World of Warcraft’, a title that has earned it a leading position in the industry today.
Interestingly, former Blizzard executive Patrick Wyatt is still surprised that ‘Warcraft’ gets to surpass the popularity and magnitude of own figurines ‘Warhammer Fantasy’.
Years after the release of ‘Warcraft’ my father, returning from a trip to Asia, brought me as a gift a set of miniatures of ‘Warhammer’ they were a wagon driven by skeletons with the comment: “I found these great toys in my travel and reminded me a lot of your game. You may have to contact your legal department because I think you are being copied “.
On 23 November 1994 goes on sale ‘Warcraft: Orc & Humans’ and receiving the same cannot be more positive in critical and sales, rivaling Westwood Studios itself for many years in the field of RTS. The sequel would soon arrive with a number of substantial improvements in all technical, storylines and artistic sections with ‘Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness’ and later the first expansion of the saga with ‘Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal’. Establishing as one of the most significant sagas of a genre that were reached a new golden age thanks to other timeless gems like ‘Command & Conquer’, ‘Age of Empires’ or ‘Civilization’.
In 1998 Blizzard took this formula to infinity and beyond with ‘StarCraft’, obtaining results of marketing and loyalty that completely exceeded their best expectations, and although commercialize- although never developed an adventure game Point N Click on ‘Warcraft’, would have to wait until 2002 to see the third and latest installment to date of the series, whose latest expansion would come with ‘Warcraft III: the Frozen Throne’ in July 2003, and has curiously received a new patch earlier this 2016.
The Internet gets bigger and the world a smaller place with Battle.net
Our vision of Battle.net is to unite all players under the banner of a powerful and advanced gaming platform
With the arrival of the first installment of ‘Devil’ in November 1996, Blizzard launched one of the pioneering projects in terms of support, distribution and socialization facing the community of online players, beginning to unify in a single online platform for all users of its present and future games. It was born Battle.net
Conceived as a completely free tool is Battle.net online gaming service that unified the online modes Blizzard titles and distanced itself from the external interfaces used by other contemporary online services, allowing access, acquire and enjoy all company games in one place, automatically downloading patches and minor updates of these, and even automatically synchronize our progress to continue our departure regardless of the PC on which we want to play.
This system would be implemented in 1998 with the release of ‘Starcraft’, although the inhabitants of Azeroth joined the service in 1999 with ‘Warcraft II: Battle.net Edition’. However, it would be in 2002 with the release of ‘Warcraft III’ when the stalwarts of the license would take advantage of the true potential of the platform offering online qualifiers and casual encounters comfortable and personalized.
One of the turning points of the series and the service would be the creation of clans, which were beginning to take shape in property and global player communities, and pave the way for the next big project of Blizzard, which expanded the boundaries of digital entertainment and an absolutely settle definitively the existence of virtual universes: ‘World of Warcraft’ .
World of Warcraft and time to revolutionize the way we understand video games, and society
The first time made public the existence of ‘World of Warcraft’ was a year before the release of the third installment for the Computer Trade Show in 2001 and as expected, the attendees were absolutely stunned.
Blizzard had not invented video games massively multiplayer online role – playing the game (MMORPG) and at that time ‘Everquest’ dominated fluently a genre that if had not finished off a global level was precise because of the precarious connections to the network of networks that users had access during the millennium. However, the producer of ‘World of Warcraft’ Mark Kern knew what at hand during the presentation of this ambitious bet
The online experience can be intimidating for some. We want to break the ice, take you to that land, and do you know where you are at all times and have incorporated a lot of very easy to understand features in our interface you get it.
The output of ‘World of Warcraft’ to the American market occurs one November 23, 2004, in the United States, Australia and New Zealand and a few months later on the old continent, breaking all sales records in its first day after launch and becoming the ninth No.1 selling game Blizzard. In August 2005, it reached a figure of 4 million monthly subscribers shortly after its launch to the Chinese market and closes its first year with over one million users.
Originally raised under a monthly subscription model , the first expansion of title arrive on January 16, 2007 with ‘The Burning Crusade’ , which would be followed by ‘Lich King’ at the end of next year and will continue for the following years ‘Cataclysm’, ‘Mists of Pandaria’ and ‘Warlords of Draenor’ . On August 6, 2015, it becomes official the sixth expansion of ‘World of Warcraft’ with ‘Legion’, including new customizations, weapons, missions, incorporating the Demon Hunter class and even a new continent : The Broken Isles.
Interestingly, ‘World of Warcraft’ was not initially integrated into Battle.net to the big update of this platform in 2009, consolidating user communities through this portal and benefit from unified support could provide Blizzard consolidated as one of the most prestigious and solvent companies in the industry.
‘World of Warcraft’ has broken all schemes imaginable success and its 5.5 million subscribers a month after more than 10 years in active evidenced, adding recognitions and breaking historical records with each passing year and still even being studied by numerous investigations, as well as an alleged observation tool by some governments as they say some documents provided by Edward Snowden. However, what is beyond doubt is how much it has caught on among players around the world, even to generate cases of severe addiction to this digital fantasy universe.
Beyond the RTS and MMORPGs
The decision to commit to create our own intellectual property against exploit an existing license as ‘Warhammer Fantasy’ entailed risks, but also a huge advantage for the future, and that ‘Warcraft’ has become one of the best-known brands , influential and far – reaching of the video game industry, and global culture, resulting in all kinds of proposals and transmedia productions playable aimed at meeting the huge demand that exists for this rich universe.
In the field of video games would have to start with the canceled Graphic Adventure ‘Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans’ whose output was scheduled for 1997 and eventually would be canceled a year later because, according to the producer of the same Bill Roper, an already outdated product was offered.
I think one of the big problems with ‘Warcraft Adventures’ was that we were actually creating a traditional adventure game based on what people expect from a game like that, and being very honest what our perspective of an adventure game Cambo in the development of the project. When we reached the point where we canceled, it was because we look at where we were and thought it would have been great three years earlier. However, with that, we developed the material we embarked on the production of ‘World of Warcraft’.
We can much more recently find adaptations of Universe ‘Warcraft’ much more varied and equally successful in the middle of the game itself, through the CCG online ‘Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft’ released as a free-to-play in 2014, or multiplayer arena of online battles ‘heroes of the Storm’ in which the greatest heroes and villains Azeroth cross their skills with a selection of characters iconic other Blizzard games like ‘StarCraft’ ‘Devil’ or ‘Lost Vikings’.
Warcraft also has been adapted countless times to other formats like board games in ‘Warcraft: The Board Game’ and ‘Warcraft. The Board Game Expansion Set’; Books games traditional role as ‘Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game’ and manuals, and official expansions; and an inexhaustible consignment of novels and literary adaptations like ‘Warcraft: Day of the Dragon’, ‘Arthas: Rise of the Lich King’ or ‘Warcraft: Lord of the Clans’, among many others, the eBook’ WarCraft: Of Blood and honor ‘manga’ Warcraft: the Sunwell Trilogy’, illustration books as’ the Art of Warcraft’ and numerous strategy guides.
The universe of ‘Warcraft’ also covers music content, merchandising, toys and action figures and collectibles, and soon will jump to theaters with a long -announced adaptation directed by Duncan Jones and will premiere in June 2016.
The future of Warcraft
While it is true that the landscape of industries has changed significantly in the last ten years between the rise of video games massively multiplayer online role -playing, the nothing questionable financial results of first – person shooters or fortissimo health of the Arena online multiplayer battles, led by ‘League of Legends’; we see that ‘World of Warcraft’ still has a loyalty rate absolutely enviable subscribers and is not expected to this point downward or with ‘Overwatch’ -of own Blizzard- about to be released.
In fact, it is expected that both the premiere of film production, scheduled for June 3, as the launch during September ‘World of Warcraft: Legion’ resulting in a new wave of popularity of MMORPG Blizzard attracting new users and returning thousands or millions of inactive accounts to Azeroth taking advantage of changes and developments that will arrive this year.
To this must be added the operation of Activision Blizzard Studios, the new entertainment division of the American company designed to promote, develop and monitor the adaptations of their valuable licenses to small and big screen through own productions and concessions third film studios, and ‘Warcraft’ is precisely one of the most important assets that aims to become a new media titan live up to Disney or Warner.
Activision Blizzard is home to some of the most successful entertainment franchises in history. With the release of Activision Blizzard Studios, our biggest fans will see how the games come alive worship through film and television and we hope that our productions in both media entertain and delight new audiences.
However, Blizzard is one of those companies that pays special attention to his legacy and continues to support its classic titles for a long time to pass recently re-edited a new patch that updates ‘Warcraft III’ and is in the process of upgrading several of his classics to suit modern equipment and return them available to the user community.
Of course, the unstoppable rise of eSports increasingly receives more attention from the video game industry and Blizzard has greatly benefited you the performance of ‘StarCraft’ in that regard. The company itself has already stated that the announcement of an alleged ‘Warcraft IV’ would be subject to user demand, but those who know the history of the study know if something is conspicuous by its absence in the Californian company is the rush, and it is that Blizzard just always justifying every minute that has done us wait. What else could be expected from a master of strategy?