When Team B met WoW

It seems to be the week for retrospectives. Today, Nils is looking at the history of WoW development from the “Team A” days (Vanilla, TBC, and if I recall correctly, up until Ulduar, although Nils says that WoTLK was Team B, and I’m sure he’s done more research!) through to the “Team B” days of WoTLK and Cataclysm.

For those who aren’t aware, WoW was originally developed by one team of developers, who subsequently moved on, prompting the major changes in accountability and style of WoTLK and onward. Nils is looking at what they got right and wrong:

Next to the phenomenal technical and artistic qualities, the central reason for WoW’s success was that all players could always advance their characters by experiencing interesting content. That means that the content the players experienced was at a reasonable challenge level and happened in a pleasant social environment.

Since players are differently motivated, invest different amounts of time and maybe even are differently skilled, the game was flexible.

A player who played less often would experience the content at his own pace. If finishing a raid tier took him a year, then it took him a year. If it took him a month, it took him a month. All he needed to do was to find a compatible raid group or re-join one when he came back. Since raid groups were hard pressed to come up with 40 players and there always was somebody who couldn’t make it that evening, random players would be invited. Part of the server community was built this way. It was how I got to raid the first few times.

Nils definitely has strong opinions on this subject – but it’s an interesting and persuasive analysis nonetheless. And the titbits he mentions from the history of Team B are fascinating all by themselves – for example, did you know that they originally planned to do a “7-chapter epic WotLK expansion”?

What do you think? Did Team B drop the ball? Or is something else going on?

_Quote taken from Nils’ original post.

Find Nils’ homepage at http://nilsmmoblog.blogspot.com/_