Archive for the ‘News’ Category

How To Get Into the Gaming Industry ala Blizzard Style

September 7, 2009

by Leea Harlan

The panel was all Q&A, and consisted of a person from each part of their design process. There was also someone from HR I believe, but it was mostly people from the part of the business that makes games. In other words there were no accountants on the panel. 100_3352

 Q: What sort of skills are most important for someone looking to work in character design/modeling?

 A: You should be a good artist. What software you have been using to develop your talent is not as important as that you have talent and have learned how to display it. A portfolio that displays that talent is the most important part of your application. In addition, your portfolio should include many examples of the specific thing you are into. So if you want to do character design, you don’t need examples of animations or programming samples.

Q: For a recent graduate with a degree in computer engineering, what recommendations do you have for someone who is trying to decide on a career path?

A: Look into a Quality Assurance position because it puts you in a place to see all the parts of the game development process. Also, it puts you in contact with individuals working on each part of the process. This should be done in a company with good internal mobility, so that you can train into another department from QA.

Q: I have worked with pen and paper RPG’s for a while and I am wondering if this experience could translate into level design for the computer gaming industry?

A: Yes it does help because it has given you an idea of what part of game development you are interested and some ideas about what to do, however it does need to be translated. The design you have been doing needs to be applied to the computer gaming arena. Also, the work with pen and paper games may encompass many parts of the game and you should consider picking a specialized piece to work on with computer gaming.100_3323

Q: With all the new degrees that are beginning to be offered for game development, which is the most useful to get hired?

A: Having talent matters more than the title on a degree, which is not to say that school doesn’t matter. Going to a good school where you can develop your talent is very useful. But the talent is what is being looked at with the resume and hiring process. An education is noteworthy, but a good portfolio is where it is at. Also, projects that display initiative during school are very important: senor projects, outside work, theses, etc..  **

Q: How do you get into audio development?

A: Build a portfolio to submit with a resume. To gain experience you can offer your musical services for free on some projects, just to get your work out there.

Q: Where do you start without software experience or any specific degree?

A: Find a skill and an area to work in, and develop your skill. Go into the industry at the bottom and work your way up. This kind of experience is crucial, especially if you have your sights set on something like director of animation or game designer, where you would need to be very familiar with all the parts of the process.

Q: For someone who is interested in programming, what are your thoughts on mods and the Lua language?

A: Blizzard loves to see mods (WoW, WIII, or other games) from programmers who are interested in games programming. It displays their ability to complete a project and their proficiency with the tools used for those games. As for Lua, it is a high performance scripting language. The high performance was the deciding factor, we needed a language that was fast, fast, fast. Also, it easily integrates to C++.

Q: What is the internship program like at Blizzard?

A: First of all, they are not making coffee and washing execs cars. They get put to work right away on live projects, that are important to the overall process. The internships are twelve weeks long over the summer. The program should start taking applications in October with a January 31st deadline for summer 2010. The internship program is available to college students from any college or university.

++ at this point one of the panelists makes a side note:  People hate hiring, so make the hiring process as easy as possible. Do things with the products they are producing. As an example, if you are applying to Blizzard as a programmer write a WoW mod. It displays that you will be able to get the job done once you are hired. Skip the flowery nonsense in the objectives portion of your resume, just write the exact position you want.

Q: How separated are the financial and operations side of Blizzard from the game development part? I do not hear much talk about getting into that side of things.

A: They are pretty separated because business is business and is not that involved with the games necessarily. Getting these jobs at Blizzard is more difficult because there aren’t as many of them, and people do not leave them very often. Although that part of the business is somewhat separated, a love for games is a big bonus when trying to get hired for one of those types of positions.

Q: I am looking to start from the bottom and work my way up? How do I go about that?

A: Start in Quality Assurance, it is a good place to get acquainted with the game development process. Do your job well and then learn beyond your job. Be clear about your intention to develop, and find a company that encourages it.

Q: Is a game specific degree more valuable to getting hired?

A: Most of the schools offering these degrees are new and their effectiveness in turning out competent workers is not entirely proven. And no degree will make up for lack of talent. So the most important thing such a program can do is spend more time allowing you to develop your talent. You still need to take initiative and develop thoroughly a very specific talent you want to have, because even a game specific degree is usually a broad education, and depth is what is needed.

Q: What is the path to become a game (or game systems) designer?

A: There is no specific place these people are hired from. The skill set for the job must be developed and this is usually done by working up from lower positions in the process.

Q: How do you get into the story-telling part of game development?

A: A love for creative writing is essential. Also, time spent developing a skill for creative writing. Spend time writing quests, or quest packs to develop a talent for writing that is specific to gaming. Practice at any kind of writing will be helpful to this skill.

Q: What is the best way to break in with an already developed skill set that comes from entirely different industry? Like analytic development and data visualizations in the medical industry.

A: Come talk to us after the panel [it pretty much sounded like this guy just got hired lol]

Q: What skill set are you looking for in concept artists?

A: Painting style, but inking or charcoal would be fine also. Photoshop, or corel painter. What medium is used isn’t quite as important as the ability to produce art that fits in with what is being developed in the company. Quite often story-board artists and such work as a team, they have to be able to produce with the same vision in mind.

Q: For hiring programmers, what consideration for mod programming and reverse engineering is there?

A: There is great consideration for these endeavors. The ability to write modifications is part of the development process. Having done those things creates a talent for the debugging process as well. We hired one of the guys who hacked the Xbox J

Themes I saw in the panel:

–Put together a strong portfolio specific to the job (or internship) you are applying for

–A strong portfolio contains finished projects: a complete game modification, a fully developed character, a completed animated segment, a complete game (even if it uses stick figures).

–Apply often, it isn’t the easiest industry to get a job in, be determined.

–Be willing to work your way up in a company, especially if you are not entirely sure which part of the development process appeals to you most.

–A college degree is good, but nothing is more important than talent and the initiative to develop it.


World of Warcraft: Cataclysm and a New Beginning

August 29, 2009

by Angie Quidim

Blizzard announced at Blizzcon the next expansion of the World of Warcraft series called Cataclysm.  The new expansion will include numerous amount of changes for the current denizens of Azeroth as well as some new allies for both Horde and Alliance.  Below is a trailer of the long awaited expansion

Some of the details of the expansion are

 Two New Playable Races:Adventure as the cursed Worgen with the Alliance or the resourceful Goblins with the Horde.

Increased Level Cap: Advance to level 85 and earn new abilities, tap into new talents, and progress through the path system, a new way for players to customize characters.

Classic Zones Remade: Quest to level 60 as you never have before. Familiar zones across the original continents of Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms have been reforged by the cataclysm and updated with new quests and content.

Flying Mounts in Azeroth: Explore Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms from a whole new perspective.

Guild Advancement: Progress as a guild to earn guild levels and guild achievements.

New High-Level Content:Explore newly opened parts of the world, including Uldum, Grim Batol, and the great sunken city of Vashj’ir beneath the sea, and enjoy even more high-level raid content than in previous expansions.

New PvP Zone & Rated Battlegrounds: Take on PvP objectives and daily quests on Tol Barad Island, a new Wintergrasp-like zone, and wage war in all-new rated Battlegrounds.

Archaeology: Master a new secondary profession to unearth valuable artifacts and earn unique rewards.

New Race and Class Combinations: Explore Azeroth as a gnome priest, blood elf warrior, or one of the other never-before-available race and class combinations.

Stay tuned for more information on the newest wow expansion.

Blizzcon Announces New Playable Race for Diablo 3

August 21, 2009

by Norman Canseco

Today during the opening ceremonies, Blizzard announced yet another playable race in the Diablo 3 game.  Blizzard VP Chris Metzen announced the rumored Monk  with much excitement and a kick ass cinematic.

The monk returns with amped up area of effects and devastating moves combining elements of physical combat and spellcasting.  There were lots of explosions and enough blood to make a vampire gush with delight. See  below:

More details to follow

Blizzard presents Diablo 3 Sneak peek

August 21, 2009

Blizzard has provided its users with a quick QnA on Diablo 3.
BlizzCon 2009 is right around the corner, featuring — among many other things — hands-on demos of Blizzard games in development, including Diablo III. In this Q&A, Diablo III Game Director Jay Wilson talks about what players can expect to see in this year’s demo and what players should look out for when battling the hordes of the Burning Hells.

One of the ways that Diablo III improves upon the previous games is by providing more complex and challenging monster behaviors. Are there any monsters in the demo that showcase this?

When they’re checking out the demo, players will see quite a few instances of monsters working together against the players, and that’s one good example how we’re making things more interesting and exciting this time around.

Sand Wasps, for example, shoot slow-moving projectiles at you from a distance. Their shots are easy to dodge and individual Wasps are easy kills, but in large groups they can quickly fill up the screen with their tiny bolts of hurt. If you’re fighting against other, more powerful monsters, Sand Wasp swarms will force you to keep moving, giving the other monsters more time to do damage.

Then we have the Dune Dervish, which is much more powerful on its own. Dervishes are big, strong monsters who usually just float around the desert, but once they spot you they will start spinning really fast, causing a lot of damage to any players near them and reflecting all the players’ projectiles  that head their way. A Dune Dervish breaks up the regular play rhythm by forcing you to back off for a moment  until he’s done flailing around, at which point he’s a lot less dangerous.

Having a few monsters that shake up the rhythm like that every once in a while is important because it makes playing through large areas or dungeons a lot more interesting and dynamic .

Diablo III will present players with dynamic, interactive environments and set pieces such as crumbling walls or collapsing bridges. What kind of cool stuff should players look out for in the BlizzCon demo?

There are about a dozen randomized events that players can stumble upon in the demo. We like to do some foreshadowing, dropping some clues about what’s waiting for players a little ahead of time, but with randomized environments that’s not always possible. We do have a lot of cool scripted sequences in the demo though. To give you an example, in one of these encounters you’ll find a man in the desert who’s trying to warn you of Dune Threshers in the area…mere moments before one of the creatures bursts through the sand and devours him.

There is also another fun sequence where you’re in this underground dungeon that’s starting to collapse, so you have to make your way out in time — but there is a lot of treasure down there, so you have to make a call whether you want to risk getting crushed for some sweet loot or play it safe and pass on some potentially awesome treasure.

In terms of quests, there is a main quest and 12 to 18 side quests in this demo, which is a lot. There’s also a storyline in there that ties into a piece of lore you can find on the Diablo III website, “Encounter with Burrowing Death.” I think players who read the piece will get a kick out of finding this story in the demo.

Do players have the choice of either playing solo or with others in the demo? How will the single-player and multiplayer experience differ in the Diablo III demo?

Players will have the choice between going it alone or teaming up with others. Single-player gives you the chance to experience the game at your own pace…to stop and smell the blood, so to speak. When players play together with friends, most tend to proceed at a much brisker pace. There are also obviously some balancing differences. In multiplayer, monsters have more health, drop fewer health globes, and hit a little harder. And, of course, we drop loot per player, so if you see some great gear on the ground, it’s yours. You don’t have to worry about stealing it from your teammates.

Things can get frantic in multiplayer, but I hope players will see in the demo that we’re aiming for an experience that feels truly cooperative. We don’t want players to disperse and go off on their own. We want them to stick together and have each other’s backs. The demo now includes our current version of the in-game map, which has hint arrows that should make it easy for people to find each other.

Another thing to note is how we’re handling death in multiplayer.  If one of your party members falls, you can use a resurrection potion to bring them back to life right there, but you may want to wait until the area is clear of monsters. Resurrecting another player takes a few seconds, during which you’re defenseless. This saves your friend needless run time and keeps the action moving.

Each of Diablo III’s character classes has its own unique playstyle, and the barbarian, witch doctor, and wizard have picked up a lot of new tricks since last BlizzCon. What are some cool new spells and abilities that players should try out?

First up, the barbarian has a new ability called Revenge. Whenever the barbarian takes damage, he has a chance to be able to use the Revenge skill, which will inflict area-effect damage on nearby monsters and restore some health to the barbarian. This ability is extremely effective once you’re in the thick of battle, as it lets you dish out and recover damage all at once. It lets you stay at the very front lines, drenched in blood and completely surrounded by screaming hordes of enemies — just the way barbarians like it.

We’ve added a lot of control abilities to the wizard’s bag of tricks. You can slow down enemies with Frost Nova, push them back with Wave of Force, distract them with illusionary mirror images, or cover yourself in impenetrable rock with Stoneskin.

The newest witch doctor ability let you summon spiders from a zombie corpse in the ground. The witch doctor can also haunt enemies, creating a wandering ghost that sucks the life from all those pesky demon types.

Part of the excitement of playing Diablo comes from the constant hunt for more and better items. Should players keep an eye on item drops in the BlizzCon demo, or will characters already come with excellent gear? Are there any “must have” drops to look out for?

The item-hunting and gearing-up game of Diablo III is hard to reproduce within the demo’s limited timespan. That being said, we accelerated the drop rate for the demo, so hopefully players will at least get a good feel for what the loot aspect of the game will be like.

This demo also features the new group loot system that I’d mentioned earlier. The way it works is really simple: If you see something drop, it’s yours. Every player gets their own version of the loot drops, so you’ll never see someone else’s stuff, unless a player decides to drop an item themselves.

As far as hunting for upgrades is concerned, the characters will start off with pretty good gear, but there are definitely going to be some really nice replacements to be found throughout. Players should focus on rare items, which are the ones whose names appear in yellow, as these will definitely be upgrades. Also, if an item is neither white nor blue nor yellow, you absolutely, positively want to pick that up, because that means you’ve found something super-rare.

Of course, there’s one white item in this demo that is very special indeed…you’ll know it when you see it.

What are you discussing in the Diablo III panels at BlizzCon? Will players learn things from the panels that they won’t find in the demo?

I think Diablo players will get the most out of BlizzCon by going to the panels and checking out the demo. They complement each other very well; I think you’ll be able to get more out of the panels if you can see the game in context, and I’m sure there are some things in the demo that we won’t have time to cover in-depth in the panels.

This also ties into our general philosophy for this year’s demo. Last year we showed a complete, self-contained setting where players were dropped into a dungeon, fought through it, and took down a boss in the end. This time, we want to present a slice of gameplay — here’s a large area with quests, hordes of cool new monsters, scripted events, random encounters, and lots of loot. It’s much more open-ended than last year’s demo, and I believe this will give players a good idea of where we currently are with the game.

Blizzcon 2009 Announced!!

February 26, 2009

Blizzard  Entertainment® gaming celebration to return to Anaheim Convention Center on August 21-22  

IRVINE, Calif. – February 17, 2008 – Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced plans for its fourth BlizzCon® gaming convention, to be held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California on Friday, August 21 and Saturday, August 22. BlizzCon is a celebration of the global player communities surrounding Blizzard Entertainment®’s Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® universes. In response to the festival’s increasing popularity, this year’s event has been expanded from three convention halls to four.

“We’ve been amazed by the incredible response to each of our previous BlizzCon events,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We’re pleased to be bringing the convention back to Anaheim this year, and we look forward to this new opportunity to meet Blizzard gamers from around the world.”

BlizzCon will offer a wide variety of activities throughout the two-day event. In addition to serving as a gathering place for Blizzard Entertainment gaming communities, attendees will be able to enjoy:


  • Hands-on play time with upcoming Blizzard Entertainment games
  • Discussion panels with Blizzard Entertainment developers
  • Competitive and casual tournaments for players to showcase their talents
  • Community contests with great prizes
  • Commemorative merchandise based on Blizzard Entertainment’s game universes
  • A silent auction
  • More exciting activities and attractions to be announced

Further details, including ticket availability and pricing, will be announced on the official BlizzCon website,, as the event draws closer