SiliconJesus writes "Rob Pardo, VP of Design at Blizzard, gave an interesting keynote at the Austin Game Conference outlining the Blizzard philosophy on designing game content, core and casual players, and why story should always drive the game." From Raph's writeup: "If you extend the leveling curve too far, it becomes a barrier. You hit a leveling wall. Our walls are shorter and there are less of them. The short leveling curve also encourages people to reroll and start over. We had some hardcore testers who would level to 60 in a week. There was much concern within the company. But I would tell them that we cannot design to that guy. You have to let him go. He probably won't unsubscribe, he's going to hit your endgame content or he'll have multiple level 60s. In games with tough leveling curves, it discourages you from starting over." More is available from the conference, with Gamasutra having a rundown on Mark Terrano's writer's keynote, and Gamespot's piece on the MMOG Rant session. Paneled by the likes of Matt Firor, Lum, Rich Vogel, and Jessica Mulligan, that must have been entertaining to see live. One more thing - WoW has 7 Million subscribers now.