Part two: Expansion, races. classes and the new Blizzard MMO discussed.
VideoGamer.com: WoW's five year anniversary will come this November. Are you planning any celebrations?
TC: There will definitely be something in-game. I'm sure that at Blizzard headquarters we'll have celebrations too! There may be drunken people, but we'll have to see about that. We certainly plan to have some in-game stuff too. It's definitely very cool. In a lot of ways it's cooler for us than maybe a lot of the players. I would say a lot of players aren't necessarily even cognisant of the fact that it's been around for that long. We're not going to try to shove it in everybody's face too much, but it's cool.
VideoGamer.com: You were there from the beginning. Did you know at launch that in five years you'd be kings of the MMO industry?
TC: Near the end of development I felt like, I really think we have the best MMO. But as far as how successful it would be? Pff - no I never would have guessed how successful it's been. I definitely would have guessed it would be around for as long as it has. Other games previous to WoW had been around that long. When WoW was released games like Ultima Online and EverQuest were on their sixth, seventh birthday, and they still had, even if they didn't have communities that were at their peak, they still had substantial communities, at least for what was considered substantial at the time. It doesn't shock me that WoW has lasted as long as those have. There's a lot of history behind MMOs, and even MUDs that pre-date MMOs, that indicate that the games tend to last a long time.
VideoGamer.com: How long can WoW last?
TC: I don't really know.
VideoGamer.com: Does anyone know?
TC: I don't think anybody really knows. I could easily see it going... I really don't know. It depends on what you consider how long it lasts. Between the day we finally shut off the servers, which will happen eventually someday for sure! At least that's my prediction. I'm willing to guess that someday the servers will be shut off, but it will probably be many years from now. When that might be I don't really know, but I think it's going to be quite a while still.
VideoGamer.com: I recently interviewed Ryan Barker, the lead designer on EverQuest, and I asked him if WoW's subscription numbers could ever be beaten. He suggested a Facebook-inspired MMO would eventually dwarf WoW's numbers. What’s your feeling on that? Could that happen?
TC: You can draw arbitrary category lines wherever you want. I certainly believe that there will be online communities bigger than WoW. You could argue that there are online communities bigger than WoW right now.
VideoGamer.com: But is an online community an MMO?
TC: Right. That's where it becomes arbitrary, and I don't know that any answer is the correct answer. To me, for the purposes of what we're doing as a game company, as Blizzard Entertainment, I don't really think of Facebook as an MMO. To me there would need to be game elements and all that kind of stuff that are a little bit more traditional, if you want to compare them apples to apples. Also subscription fees, that kind of thing. It's hard to compare games that have subscription fees to games that don't have subscription fees. They're really apples to oranges as far as saying which one's bigger. But I definitely do think there will be some MMO at some point that beats WoW, that's bigger than WoW. Hopefully we're the ones that make it, but whether that happens, I don't know. Certainly back when WoW came out, nobody felt like EverQuest could be beaten. A lot of people felt, I don't know if anybody's ever going to get bigger than EverQuest. Certainly that happened.