If World of Warcraft
is credited with a smooth initial launch, that's only because time tends to smooth over the growing pains that come with every MMO. Blizzard
co-founder Frank Pearce
was quite up-front with the studio's stumbles in 2004 as WoW
launched to unprecedented demand; he's admitted that Blizzard execs "grossly underestimated" how many people wanted to play the game, forcing the company to cease shipping boxes to stores while tech was improved to deal with the influx.
"I don't think we had any idea what we were getting ourselves into," Pearce said
at the recent DICE
executive summit. The studio quickly ramped up from its 500-employee taskforce to 4,700 people in 11 cities across the world.
Pearce also addressed the issue of addiction in MMOs, saying that Blizzard "think[s] about it all of the time. If there's something that you're really passionate about, whether it's video games, a book, a TV series [or something else]... we have to consume it in moderation."