Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Blizzard's 'Secret Sauce' 330

Posted by Zonk
from the goes-great-with-burgers dept.
hapwned writes "With interviews from David Brevik, Mark Kern, and Steig Hedlund (all of Blizzard Entertainment fame), Russ Pitts creates a most enlightening explanation of Blizzard's success in the latest edition of The Escapist." From the article: "So, how does a maker of B-quality DOS and console games go on to become the single most successful videogame company in the history of the world? Even accounting for good luck and talented employees, there has to be some other key ingredient in Blizzard's larder to account for their seemingly golden touch."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Blizzard's 'Secret Sauce'

Comments Filter:
  • Impossible to Read (Score:5, Informative)

    by neonprimetime (528653) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @04:36PM (#15482793) Homepage
    full text [escapistmagazine.com] cause that article is impossible to read otherwise!
    • It auto-redirects. You have to go to the page, then click print.
    • The direct link doesn't work. It redirects to the paginated "issue" view.

      To view the full text, click the tiny "text" link near the middle of the bottom nav bar.
      • Oops.

        Forcing users away from a low-bandwidth version to the original, image-heavy article => brutal Slashdotting.

        Sorry, The Escapist.

        • Not really (Score:3, Insightful)

          by patio11 (857072)
          Its not images or bandwidth that typically drive Slashdotted sites under. It ill-considered CGI or database calls which throw up a bottleneck and cause the server to burst into flames. Otherwise a slashdotting is pretty much the optimal use case for a well-configured web server: a lot of people hitting a small set of content which is guaranteed to be cached. Additionally, nowadays normal images just aren't heavy enough to cause much of a bandwidth problem (oh know, a 50 kb page load! Add a random peak o
      • Not for me. Maybe they changed it? I'm using FF 1.5.0.4/Win, like probably a majority of slashdotters...
    • The server checks the http:// refering link; off-site deep links to the print page go to the issue page. Solutions include: click on "text" once the page loads, paste the aforementioned URL [escapistmagazine.com] into your browser from any other Escapist.com page [escapistmagazine.com], change the "issue" to "print" once the page loads manually, use a refer-spoof enabled browser, or read the article from one of the Anonymous [slashdot.org] Coward [slashdot.org] "reprints". If you feel guilty about the copyright violation, stop off and read the semi-pointless ad [escapistmagazine.com] they stuck in the mi
    • They also have some seriously borked fixed-height css crap. Short sighted frontpage-illiterate web design bafoons.
    • Out of our deep love for Slashdot readers, we have removed the re-direct. Please enjoy the article in all its pure texty goodness. Alex Macris The Escapist
  • Nintendo? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @04:41PM (#15482825) Homepage Journal
    "So, how does a maker of B-quality DOS and console games go on to become the single most successful videogame company in the history of the world?
    Nintendo?
    • Re:Nintendo? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Roy van Rijn (919696)
      If you want to read about the rise of Nintendo you should really check out this book:

      The Ultimate History of Video Games [amazon.com]

      I can really recommend it. It describes how everything got started, from pinball machines to arcade machines to the first home entertainment systems. Also very nice to read how all of the Atari developers where smoking drugs all day long, and how their annoyed managers hated that :)
    • Re:Nintendo? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Surt (22457)
      I'm pretty sure they're categorizing Nintendo as a hardware/platform vendor, even though they make some games too.
      Sony and Microsoft both bring in more money than Blizzard also.
      • Re:Nintendo? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Derekloffin (741455) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @05:03PM (#15483019)
        Depends on what you mean by 'bring in more money'. Sony is actually barely profitable, and often in the red during specific quarters. Microsoft, while they makes boat loads of money off their office and OS products are actually in the red most often on their games division (I believe Xbox is responsible for a 4 billion dollar loss for the company).
      • With Nintendo that makes sense. They make money on consoles. Sony and Microsoft's consoles both lose money, at least for the first big portion of their lifetime. (Did the Xbox ever stop losing money per unit?) Their consoles are loss leaders, they make up the money on the games, like razor blades...
    • Re:Nintendo? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MasaMuneCyrus (779918) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @05:14PM (#15483094)
      "So, how does a maker of B-quality DOS and console games go on to become the single most successful videogame company in the history of the world?
      Nintendo?


      Maybe they meant, "So, how does a maker of B-quality DOS and console games go on to become the videogame company that made an MMOG with more players than ever in the history of the world?"
    • For better or worse, EA is likely the actual holder of that title.
  • Here's how (Score:2, Funny)

    by Flimzy (657419)
    So, how does a maker of B-quality DOS and console games go on to become the single most successful videogame company in the history of the world?

    By creating very unique, original gaming concepts, such as the "Role Playing Game," adding lots of custom content, including interesting levels, unique character types, and a wide range of items you can interact with... and putting it into a single package called "Diablo" then remove all of the complexities that would actually make the game interesting!

    No, I'm

    • Re:Here's how (Score:3, Interesting)

      by xouumalperxe (815707)

      From the article:
      Blizzard has succeeded largely by consistently identifying what it is that makes gamers want to play a game, and then amplifying that all the way to 11.

      I agree. If you look closely, all the really famous Blizzard games are really the same genre concepts as previous games -- but taken to a much greater level.
      Picture Dune II, and the early C&C games. Great games, to be sure. Dune II really made a genre. But then look at Starcraft, and everything else that came later. SC has three com

  • Full Text AC ftw (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @04:43PM (#15482844)
    Secret Sauce: The Rise of Blizzard
    Russ Pitts
    In 1991, the internet didn't exist.

    That is to say, it did exist (and had for some time), but to the majority of Americans it might as well have been a huffalump until the creation of the World Wide Web in (approximately) 1992, when the internet would begin to become both widely understood, and easy-to-use (therefore "of interest" to most people).

    Yet in 1991, the internet (such as it was) was neither widely understood nor easy-to-use, which is why the prospect of playing games on the internet may have seemed like a good and bad idea simultaneously. On one hand, nobody was doing it yet - it was a virgin market; on the other, nobody was doing it yet - the risks were terrible.

    In 1991, videogame industry leader Sierra launched the Sierra Network (later called the ImagiNation Network). It was geared more-or-less toward children, with cartoon-ish art and themes, but it allowed users to play a variety of games and chat with friends in online chat rooms - all for an hourly fee, of course. It was, in every way, ahead of its time.

    Particularly in terms of what users were willing to pay. At one point, the hourly rate for access to Sierra's network had climbed as high as $6 per hour. This was in addition to the subscription fees users were already paying for dial-up access to the internet itself and (in some extreme cases) long distance telephone charges levied by the telephone company. By contrast, many telephone sex chat services charged less than half that amount.

    The Sierra Network, not surprisingly, failed and was shut down in 1996 by AOL, who had acquired it from AT&T. Ironically, this was not too long after the internet had become both widely understood and easy-to-use, and right around the same time that several other online gaming services had begun to flourish. Among them, an exciting new service offered by a company called Blizzard.

    The Sleeper Has Awakened
    In 1992, a revolutionary videogame was released that captured the imaginations of gamers the world over, almost immediately selling half a million copies. One of the first "real- time strategy" games ever made, it tasked the player with building a virtual army by collecting resources and then constructing buildings that would produce their machines of war - all in "real time." While the player was at it, their "enemy" was doing the same, building up to an eventual showdown between the competing armies, after which one side would claim total victory. Whoever had the most machines or the best strategy would win the day. It was like chess combined with backgammon wrapped up in an erector set, and gamers loved it.

    That game was not Warcraft.

    Westwood Studios' Dune II, predating Warcraft by at least two years, was based on the science fiction books by Frank Herbert, and cast the player as one of three races bent on controlling the spice-infested planet of Arrakis. It has been described as among the best PC games ever made, and many still consider it the best example of its genre ever made. Yet, it was not without its share of problems.

    As with any game based on a license, Dune II relied on the players' familiarity with the premise of the original works. The Dune series had sold millions of copies of books world-wide, and had been made into a feature-length film in 1984, but to many people, the story was simply too dense to get their heads around. Case in point: The resource Dune II players were tasked with mining, the spice "Melange," took Herbert an entire novel to attempt to explain. Called "the spice of spices" in his appendices, the fictional Melange has been attributed with prolonging life, allowing users to foresee the future, astrally project objects through time and space, turn people's eyes blue and make giant worms try to kill you. "Catchy" is not the first word which comes to mind here.

    Still, the game was among the first of its kind, and as such is fondly remembered and universally considered the grandfather of the RTS genre. The cri
  • Warcraft (Score:4, Funny)

    by mooingyak (720677) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @04:46PM (#15482863)
    The article basically says something like 'They made warcraft, and things went uphill from there.'
    • Re:Warcraft (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Simon Garlick (104721) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @09:17PM (#15484451)
      That was one of the shittiest pieces of gaming journalism I've ever read. That's saying quite a bit.

      There was NOTHING in there about what has made Blizzard successful. It was a collection of one-line quotes from former Blizzard team members, strung together with some vague industry history that you could get from Wikipedia. And the omissions! No examination of internal structure, no dissection of ownership/development/publishing models, no description of team culture, nada. FFS, 90% of the article was about Condor/Blizzard North -- not Blizzard -- but then the article didn't even mention that Blizzard North GOT SHUT DOWN. And not a SINGLE reference to Starcraft, just the most popular online game in the history of the world.

      Jesus, that was shit.
  • Personally.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by King_TJ (85913) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @04:46PM (#15482871) Journal
    I always felt that Blizzard had an edge because they've always been really good about releasin g their titles with both Windows and Mac support on the same CD.

    When World of Warcraft came out, for example, a *lot* of Mac owners bought it and gave it a try, simply because the number of games written to run well on new Mac hardware with OS X is pretty limited. (If you're a Mac gamer and you want to play an MMORPG, how many choices do you really have besides WOW? I guess there's Shadowbane... but you have to skip Star Wars: Galaxies and most others.)

    By the same token, how many copies of Diablo, Warcraft and Starcraft were sold to Mac owners over the years who bought them largely because they were about the only Mac compatible games you could find at the local superstore or discount store?
    • unfortunately the only Universal Binary they're released as yet is WoW. I just wish they'd give us some kind of timeline for UB's or even let us know which games will be updated(like are they doing Starcraft?).
    • Re:Personally.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @04:58PM (#15482973)

      ...how many copies of Diablo, Warcraft and Starcraft were sold to Mac owners over the years who bought them largely because they were about the only Mac compatible games you could find...

      How many copies were sold to PC gamers because it was the common ground for LAN parties with mac gamers? It only takes one mac gamer to motivate the sale of a lot of PC games, and since you can usually use one purchase for everyone to try it out, it makes for great free advertising.

    • The Mac support thing also means that the games tend to support OpenGL, which works a lot better with Cedega or WINE than direct X and allows a (surprisingly large) number of people to play on Linux.

      Of the 40 or so hard core MMPORPG players I know, about a third play on Linux. The demographic of hardcore raiders and Linux users must overlap pretty well.
      • Of course it's interesting to note that with the advent of DirectX 10 Linux may actually become the second best gaming platform in front of Windows XP and only just behind Vista*. The knifing in the back of OpenGL is probably going to end the porting of games to OS X except by the really die hard software houses (who, yes, probably make the best games anyway) come to an abrupt end, and I doubt that DX9 game development will consider must past 2 years and definatly not beyond Win XP end of life**.

        *Depends on
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @04:48PM (#15482883)
    Thinking back, I remember waiting a lot of times while Blizard did some extra polishing instead of releasing the product on the original schedule.

    Perhaps Blizzard has lost less customers because of buggy early releases.
  • by hibiki_r (649814) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @04:48PM (#15482888)
    Warcraft, like Dune II, was a RTS game, in which the player mined resources in order to build an army. The difference, however, was in the details. Warcraft was set in the fictional world of Azeroth, a land which borrowed heavily from the fantasy universe created by J.R.R. Tolkien. In Warcraft, a horde of orcs have invaded the world of humans and must be pushed back (by the player) to the world from whence they've come. Or, alternately, the player must guide the invading orcs onward to victory against the hapless, medieval humans.
    And for all this years I thought that Warcraft was borrowing heavily from Games Workshop's Warhammer miniatures game. Orcs that are green and pig-like, bearers of shamanistic magic, Dwarves with gunpowder, steam tanks as siege weapons, a race of demons... I guess that the article reporter/blogger knows better.
    • by Cy Sperling (960158) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @04:58PM (#15482966)
      GW, TSR, and virtually every other 'medieval fantasy' borrows from Tolkien- who himself borrowed from the folk tradiotions of Northern Europe. The point of the statement is that Blizzard wrapped their products in settings and stories that people could easily recognize, understand and get excited about. You look at the box for Warcraft and it says Orcs vs Humans- does it really need to say anything else?
    • by Hannah E. Davis (870669) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @04:58PM (#15482967) Journal
      Well, Warhammer borrowed from Tolkien, and Warcraft borrows from Warhammer.... so I guess it kind of works...

      It's just funny looking at screenshots of the new Warhammer games and trying to fight the urge to exclaim "That looks just like Warcraft!", especially since I actually know better. I don't play the miniatures game, but I'm involved in a regular WFRP group, so I know the art style well :)

      I think Warcraft takes a fair bit of inspiration from D&D too, if only because their world is a lot more light-hearted and high-fantasy than the Old World. Yes, even with all the demons and undead, Azeroth is still less grim and dirty than the average gutter in Altdorf. Probably less smelly too.
    • And for all this years I thought that Warcraft was borrowing heavily from Games Workshop's Warhammer miniatures game. Orcs that are green and pig-like, bearers of shamanistic magic, Dwarves with gunpowder, steam tanks as siege weapons, a race of demons... I guess that the article reporter/blogger knows better.

      Or like anyone else with an ounce of sense, he completely ignored shysters who want to sell pewter figurines for real money.
    • by Admiral Ag (829695) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @11:58PM (#15485039)
      Yes, Blizzard borrowed heavily from Games Workshop. You only have to look at the late 80s Citadel catalogue to see where the inspiration for Warcraft's Artwork came from. It's not enough to say that both borrowed from Tolkien, because they did. But Blizzard borrowed heavily from GW's "chunky" spin on fantasy figures, and WCIII borrows heavily from the Warhammer Universe and the invasion of Chaos (hell, it's even called Reign of Chaos). The Warcraft games even have much the same sense of humour as the Warhammer games.

      But that doesn't make them bad. I happen to hate what Games Workshop has done to itself. In 1989 they had the most fun tabletop games in existence, the best gaming magazin,e and the best roleplaying game I had ever played. They abandoned the latter and dumbed down both of the former in order to sell overpriced hunks of metal (I was particularly distressed at what happened to WH40K). I'm glad that Blizzard came along and took some of these ideas and made them into great games, since GW doesn't have a hope in hell of doing so (I predict WAR will suck).

      TFA is right in that Blizzard is just good at making extremely playable games. World of Warcraft is the best game I have ever played. I have spent more time on it than any other game, even the original Civilization, and I still have tons of stuff to do. Sure, there are lots of bad things about it, like the daft emphasis on 40 man raids, but it's still a cracking game and well worth the money.

      And I love Blizzard for one additional reason. Their Mac support is by far the best of any gaming company. The WoW Mac Tech forum has the highest CM response of any forum and the responses are always useful and honest. Blizzard go out of their way to make Mac users feel like first class citizens in their games and it is much appreciated.
  • by unity100 (970058) * on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @04:50PM (#15482903) Homepage Journal
    And the reason for this is that the article does not ever mention Starcraft, which is one of the biggest rts hits of the time, and which is what took blizzard from being 'producer of a few hit titles' to 'producer of quality-only' titles.
  • by paladinwannabe2 (889776) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @04:50PM (#15482904)
    Basically the article says "They made some games people liked, and then Battle.net became the first profitable gaming service- even though it was free. And now they are really awesome. I love Blizzard!" It was an informative piece about Blizzard's history, but didn't tell me anything about why they were successful (other than the above).
  • B-Grade? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by null etc. (524767) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @04:52PM (#15482928)
    If I recall correctly, Warcraft and Diablo were seminal pieces of work. Not that they broke new genres, but they combined underplayed genres with cutting edge graphics work and sound. Even their website was pretty to look at.
  • by Daveznet (789744)
    I have to agree that Blizzard is one of the greatest game developing companies around today, if not the best. Ive been playing Starcraft since it came out and havent stopped since. South Korea has a huge professional gaming community based on Blizzard games, instead of say football, hockey or basketball people in Korea watch professional gamers play Starcraft or Warcraft 3. Ive seen huge stadiums filled with thousands of people watching two guys playing Starcraft, with lighting effects, fire effects and
  • My Explanation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by yashinka (891973) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @04:54PM (#15482941)
    Blizzard created the closest thing to RTS perfection ever made. Starcraft. Just ask Korea. If there were ever a video game Olympics, I'd vote for SC and CS. Never have I been so good at a game, yet so humbled by amazing players as with these games. Oh yeah WoW is fun too i guess.
  • The secret? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Scott Lockwood (218839) * on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @04:58PM (#15482968) Homepage Journal
    Step 1: Ignore the demand for StarCraft II, and produce other games instead.

    Step 2: ???

    Step 3: Profit!
    • That may be the smartest thing they've ever done. People loved SC. A sequel is not garunteed to be good, and most likely would end up disappointing hardcore fans. It may be best to leave everyone with good memories, and move on to other games. Not every idea needs to be milked to death.
    • Re:The secret? (Score:2, Insightful)

      ??? = release a MMORPG that costs $50 plus $15 a month with millions of subscribers
    • I believe step 2 was 'release WOW instead, making millions per month'.

      I don't think it's any big secret that there will be a starcraft 2 in the not too distant future.
  • In-between Battle Chess and Warcraft, Silicon & Synapse made Rock & Roll Racing [wikipedia.org] and also The Lost Vikings. [wikipedia.org] The first is my favorite racer-with-weapons ever, and the second is a very fun, challenging, and amusing puzzler.
  • by Reason58 (775044)
    World of Warcraft uses the exact same formula that every other EQ-clone for the last decade has followed, so what makes it so special?

    First off, Blizzard was a household name for gamers well before World of Warcraft thanks to the Warcraft, Diablo, and Starcraft franchises.

    Second, this game was hyped for almost 4 years before actually being released. That is a lot of time for both marketing and word of mouth to build consumers into a buying frenzy.

    Lastly, and I believe the most important single factor, was
    • Actually no they didn't produce a traditional MMORPG.

      The game is heavy on PvP, heavy on Instancing (a halfway house between single player and multiplayer), and light on storyline. It appeals to the 13 year old gamer in a way that a traditional MMORPG never would.

      This is what made them their millions..

      Yes they lost people like me (who like to spend time with their RPGs and play over a period of years) but I'm probably in the minority.
  • That's what WoWs (LOLLERSKATES!) me about Blizzard. Diablo 2 came out in 2000. The latest patch came out in January 2006. That's just AMAZING to me: 5.5 years later they are still actively patching the game. I honestly can't think of another game that has had someone issuing patches for 6 years. I know the Ambrosia Software guys pride themselves on porting the shit out of their games (Apeiron is working on 10 years now), but they aren't making the little centipede slightly faster or reconfiguring for widescreen displays or anything. Blizzard stands by their products in a robust and sadly rare manner. I'm guessing that's why a BattleBox of Diablo still costs $40 at retail--it's worth it.
    • Actually, Ambrosia has only ported 4 of their 26 games to Windows (a few more if you count the plug-ins to play old ones). I started playing Escape Velocity (the original) on the high school computer club's Mac, and I was in my senior year of college before they finally ported the series for Windows (EV:Nova).
    • That's what WoWs (LOLLERSKATES!) me about Blizzard. Diablo 2 came out in 2000. The latest patch came out in January 2006. That's just AMAZING to me: 5.5 years later they are still actively patching the game. I honestly can't think of another game that has had someone issuing patches for 6 years.

      Well, 3D Realms/Apogee released a patch [3drealms.com] for a 14 year old game (version 1.0 released in 1991, patched to 1.0a in 2005). It's just a small bugfix, but it must be some kind of record.

    • by Jtheletter (686279) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @05:55PM (#15483384)
      I honestly can't think of another game that has had someone issuing patches for 6 years.

      Win98? That game sucked.

      /me ducks!

  • by stu42j (304634) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @05:07PM (#15483055) Homepage
    ... and clicked ... and clicked ... and clicked ...
  • by smwoflson (905752) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @05:12PM (#15483081)
    Well, maybe not an addict so much as a user and ocassional abuser. Yes, despite the continual annoyances of crashing servers and obnoxious players, Blizzard has my monthly $15. And I'm perfectly happy with that. I remember first playing the original Warcraft so long ago and Blizzard had me at "work work work." (If you don't get the reference, I'm sorry...). And Starcraft is still one of the best games I've ever played. I even took a starcraft strategy class in college--for credit! The thing that I really feel that Blizzard does better than perhaps any video game company out there is that they are not caught up in the push to release things too fast. It seems to me that artificially set release dates and production times are often extremely destructive to the final product. (Consider the film industry too--how often do movies look like they needed extra time to be just right). But Blizzard is not afraid to delay their final product so that it is as ENJOYABLE as possible. Think about how long it was before Warcraft III was released. And Starcraft: Ghost has been pushed back indefinatly, last I heard. And it is all in the quest for perfection. And I love that. They are not afraid to wait and make the product that they envision. Sadly, the waits can be painful, but to this date the end product has always been worth it.
    • Yes, despite the continual annoyances of crashing servers and obnoxious players, Blizzard has my monthly $15.

      Then you are a fool to yourself. Sorry, but the whole idea of paying $15/month for WoW is that whenever you feel like a game, be it at 3am, you can hop onto a server and play. If those servers are crashing, then you are not being provided with the service that you rightfully purchased. You should be *complaining* to Blizzard about it and if they do nothing, then withdraw your subscription until the

    • I even took a starcraft strategy class in college--for credit!


      Which college? I suddenly feel like broadening my education...

      (Unless it was this one [penny-arcade.com].)
  • Warcraft II & Starcraft are two of my favourite RTS games, as are Total Annihilation, Red Alert & C&C. And Heroes Of Might & Magic III is also a superb strategy game, albeit turn based.

    Unfortunately, Blizzard & Westwood (with 3D0 & Cavedog no longer being in existence) have made the same stupid mistake that just about every RTS company has made - namely switching 2D graphics for 3D ones.

    I don't play WoW but I guess the type of game it is makes it appropriate for 3D - however, any

  • Like others had said that the article failed to even mention Starcraft. Personally I cannot believe people are still playing it so much so they still have tourney @ Blizzcon.
  • Whoever is designing the layout over at escapistmagazine.com (article site) should be FIRED immediatly. Reading that article has been pure torture. I had to move ridiculously close to my monitor, squint my eyes, and end up with a sore back just to read the words. By the time I was at page 2, I'd closed the stupid site and vowed never to return. And no I wasn't able to increase the font size from my browser's settings either, because whoever is in charge of designing the site over there has fixed the fon
  • Modem Wars (Score:5, Informative)

    by SirBruce (679714) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @05:46PM (#15483321) Homepage
    You're all wrong. Modem Wars [gamespot.com] was the first RTS.

    Bruce

  • So where exactly is this enlightening explanation? While the article was interesting and worth the read, there really was no explanation as to their success other than "gamers liked their games". The articles title, "Secret Sauce" was brought up in the last two paragraphs and not fully explained.
  • "So, how does a maker of B-quality DOS and console games go on to become the single most successful videogame company in the history of the world?"

    So, how does one go about considering Lord of The Rings (the old game) and Lost Vikings B Quality?

    Now this was the Lord of the Rings way back when when it was cool... I used to wear the ring and sneak past the guards at the mill and blow up the machines at the get go and it kept pretty much to the books are at least in plot.
  • Secret Sauce (Score:5, Interesting)

    by glassware (195317) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:01PM (#15483426) Homepage Journal
    The article doesn't explain anything. Want a real answer?

    In the mid-nineties, Blizzard was purchased by Jan and Bob Davidson, the founders of the Math Blaster line of educational CD-ROM titles. Jan and Bob treated Blizzard well. When Blizzard said they wanted to take extra time to polish a game, Jan and Bob let them have the time they need. Each new wave of corporate acquisitions - CUC / Cendant / Havas / Vivendi - has tried to force Blizzard to push out titles early to meet release dates and profit targets, but each time Blizzard has been able to put in a phonecall to key shareholders to get the time they need to make things right.

    If you combine this type of financial and moral support with the dedication and perfectionism of the employees of Blizzard, you get good games.

    Next time you scroll through a Blizzard title, look at the names in the "Special Thanks" section.
  • Phone sex? (Score:2, Funny)

    by TomTheHand (892103)
    "At one point, the hourly rate for access to Sierra's network had climbed as high as $6 per hour... By contrast, many telephone sex chat services charged less than half that amount." Phone sex for $3 an hour? SIGN ME UP!
  • by wuie (884711)
    My friend and I discussed the merits of Blizzard and its success many times, and we've pretty much come up with the following as the "secret sauce":

    1. Support - Blizzard supports both PC and Mac gamers, bridging the gap between the two platforms and allowing both groups to kill the everloving frag out of each other. Combine this with extensive bug testing and game balancing, and you have a game that the company continues to support on a long-term basis.

    2. Stability - For the most part, Blizzard games
  • ...that the supposedly fundamental question of the article (what is Blizzard's secret sauce?) was never even remotely answered?

    What a worthless waste of 10 minutes of my life. It was nothing but an overview of Blizzard's history, with a meaningless soundbite question at the very end.

    Pathetic.

    -stormin

"Irrationality is the square root of all evil" -- Douglas Hofstadter

Working...