DGC Ep 024: Talking Warcraft with Bill Roper!

Welcome to our final episode in our series examining Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, where we welcome guest Bill Roper! Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Quick show note: We had some technical difficulties with Bill's mic, so he's a little quiet. Apologies. It is worth boosting your headphones to hear him.

Podcast breakdown:
0:38      Bill Roper Interview
1:12:41 Break 1
1:13:06 Outro, next game

Issues covered: Blizzard pre-Warcraft, how Bill got in, voice over, joining up to do anything, having empathy for orcs, manual symmetry, making investments in quality, notepads add heft, guerrilla marketing, "Growing up Blizzard," inclusivity and the "Mom test," getting into the RTS market, raising the bar back and forth with Westwood, SVGA resolution, LAN multiplayer, desynchronization bugs, pushing the capabilities of the engine, stringing missions together into a story, constant iteration of game writing, ebb and flow of mission types, longer development time for 1993, everything going right for Warcraft 2, emergence of the multiple click voice lines, letting the team find a new feature, AAA production focus vs indie innovation ability, planning for innovation and leadership buy-in, great ideas come from everywhere, Blizzard culture and design credited to the team, flip-side: killing your babies, everybody playing the game, the quote board, the world's most expensive QA team, meritocracy, Blizzard's influence on the industry and its inclusivity, simple to learn/difficult to master, supporting approachability with humor and aesthetics, grognard capture, free multiplayer clients with the single-player game, genesis of Battle.Net, pay-to-play multiplayer services, the influences that led to the orcs, the origins of Medivh's name, exiling the wolf riders, characterizing units through voice and portraiture, embedding character into the gameplay, telling side stories because you don't know what the player looks like, audio cues as feedback system, economical design, micro-management, building on roads, mini-map choices: essentially just an alert, no playing the game off the mini-map, trolling pro players, avoiding mini-map distraction, design discipline.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussedWarcraft series, Starcraft series, Diablo series, Champions, Star Trek Online, Blizzard, Silicon & Synapse, Justice League Task Force, Lost Vikings, Rock n' Roll Racing, Dune 2, Herzog Zwei, Blackthorne, Mars: Bringer of War (Hölst), Glenn Stafford, Allen Adham, Mike Morhaime, Magic: The Gathering, Jeopardy, MAD magazine, Davidson & Associates, Bethesda Game Studios, Oblivion, Command & Conquer, Westwood Studios, Ron Millar, id Software, Epic Megagames, Starfighter games, Bob Fitch, Republic Commando, Daron Stinnett, Dave Brevik, Erich and Max Schaefer, Farmville, Mafia Wars, Mario Kart, Hearthstone, Chris Metzen, Wing Commander, Skyrim, Myth series, Stu Venable, GURPS, Happy Jacks, Poxy Boggards.

You should follow @BillRoper on Twitter!

Check out his podcast, Happy Jacks RPG Podcast! Or their website!

Bliss out to the RennFaire strains of the Poxy Boggards!

Next time:
Super Metroid! Play until you get the charge beam (save around that)

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub