Sep 2, 2008

[The RL Grind]

I've talked about this before, how the continued emphasis on heavily-scripted game content instead of developing tools for user-created content is a bad thing for WoW. Basically, that the constant race to create new scripted content for people who chew through it 100x faster than it can be produced is a destructive, unwinnable cycle. A quote from a recent interview with Frank Pierce has confirmed my opinion:
Question: How interesting has it been for you to watch the success of World of Warcraft?
Frank Pearce: I don't know if I'd describe it as "interesting" as much as exhausting. We've got almost 3000 employees worldwide now, and the majority of that growth is due to the success of World of Warcraft.

As a company we've found ourselves spread very, very thin - because the World of Warcraft community has a voracious appetite for content. That development team is 130 people, they're working on content patches, they're working on an expansion set, they've got their hands full - and then we've got the other development teams that we need to continue to support as well.

So it's great, it's a great problem to have, but it is a lot of work. We've learned a lot, made a lot of mistakes along the way. It's been good experience for us, I wouldn't say that we've regretted it... but "interesting" isn't how we'd describe it necessarily.

And they can't ever lessen the breakneck pace, until they shift the focus of their development to longer-lived mechanics that allow people to make their own content and experiences. As long as WoW players are stuck waiting for handouts from Blizz for their fun, that 'real life grind' won't end, and I worry about potential burnout of the devs.