Holly Longdale, who made a name for herself through Classic, is now a familiar developer to WoW fans. He is a veteran of the games industry and an expert in the MMORPG genre for 18 years. He has mastered the MMO and RPG genres, not only as a designer for Disney Studios, EverQuest, and EverQuest 2, but also as a general producer.
She said she enjoyed WoW from the beta while watching Warcraft become an RPG, and joined Blizzard in 2020 and blended Zul’Gurub and Ahn’Qiraj Gateway into classics. It is said that he usually spends time exploring the depths of the WoW world such as Kalimdor, Outland, and Northrend.
The number of players around the world who prefer fast or short and bold single plate genres continues to increase. While the MMORPG continues to be negatively evaluated as ‘keeping up with the times’, WoW Classic’s global box office is turning back the times in a good way, and the third home run Wrath of the Rich King is about to be released.
Q. As the general producer responsible for WoW and Classic, please introduce 2.6 years since you joined Blizzard.
He joined the company after telecommunications took off in the US as a senior producer. I started with the classic team, and at the time of joining the company, I took on the role of producer. To be precise, he joined the company five months after the release of Classic, and is also directing Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. After John Height took over as general manager of WoW, the WoW team grew and he had to hire a senior producer. I took this position after appealing my experience playing WoW since the beta in 2004.
Q. Unlike expansion packs that create new things, the classic team that revives the legacy of the past can be compared to archeology digging up relics. With what philosophy and goals did you develop the classics? Is there any part that reflects the insight that revitalized the experience of developing EverQuest for nearly 10 years?
It was a great trip. I’ve learned a lot from starting classics and releasing classics Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King. I shared the experience I had accumulated working on the EverQuest and Nostalgia servers, and it was definitely helpful. Archeology seems like a very good match. A further improvement is the recent classic. In the latest expansion packs like Shadowlands, there are many improvements and improvements, so we made it possible to bring them in. In fact, the current Classic has three times the capacity of previous Wrath of the Lich King servers.
In addition, we try to provide a better experience through technical improvements. The original classic was based on no change, but from the Burning Crusade, it was changed a bit. Classic itself is what the community wants. If the community wants to improve, I think that’s the right direction too. In the future, if the user wants it, we will change it carefully. It will listen to what the community wants while still keeping the original feel.
Q. The position and scale of the expansion pack was well known through interviews with several developers, but the known information about the classic is very limited. I wonder how big the team developing Classic is. Also, the department or omnipresence seems to be very different from the expansion pack team because it is very important to renovate the old building. What difference does it make?
The size of the team cannot be specified for security reasons, but the structure is definitely different. Like the archeology mentioned earlier, it is important to look at as much as possible through the process of excavating existing artefacts, to revive them, and improve them. The main task of the classic development team is to view and compare game materials as art and create them in a modern engine.
A different ability to work than usual is required. For example, in the Classics team there is a job called Technical Design. It is produced in such a way that the original art or code of the past is grafted onto the modern engine. Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King compares if there is any difference compared to the build at the time, and if there is any discomfort even if something is changed. The task of the classic development team is a development process that allows for this unique and exclusive experience.
Q. I understand that many people have been added to the WoW development department, including the acquisition of Proletariat Studio. What changes have you made?
It was a very large-scale acquisition that was split into the East and West of the United States, so we’re still trying to figure out how to move forward. The ultimate goal is to improve the development process for users. As the size of the team has grown, the perspective on the future seems to have changed. We’re in the process of changing our perspective, re-examining feedback, and figuring out what we can do as a big development team with one vision, as we have an opportunity to put in more content. If you melt into the WoW team as one body, you’ll be able to deliver better quality content faster than before.
Q. Now I want to ask you about the personal part. For Korean fans, the name was known through the classics. I know you’ve worked at Disney and Daybreak Games in the past, but I’m curious to see how that experience affected your career as an executive producer for WoW Classic.
All of my work backgrounds helped bring me to the WoW Classic team. I fell in love with this genre when I first encountered MMORPGs in 1999. EverQuest had such an impact that it changed my life, and the experience of bringing the community together was the most impressive. We worked with the aim of creating a fantasy world that the development team and the players wanted. Also, the games I worked on and played were all very useful.
It’s a game we made as a developer, but when it’s released, it becomes a game for gamers. We only provided space, but what makes the game alive are the players who enjoy new experiences, meet connections and enjoy. These experiences have had a huge impact on my current workplace and the classics.
Q. Blizzard developers, who developed Warcraft and WoW in the past, know that EverQuest has had a big influence. If EverQuest is the father of RPGs, then WoW can be considered its successor.
Everquest has had a huge impact on people’s lives, and I think it’s because it’s a 3D adventure that you can immerse yourself in with your friends and keep talking about it. Many members of the design team from when I was on the design team around 2003-2004 came to the WoW team. Even within the MMO genre, I interact with people from other studios, and the people I used to interact with often become members of the same team.
The big point of WoW is that it improved accessibility based on the fact that you can experience and share fun experiences with friends that EverQuest was trying to convey. It’s easier to meet friends than before, and it’s easier to start together. Because of these points, as a result, it became a game that represents an MMO. Going on adventures with friends and building unforgettable experiences is what an MMO is all about, and I think this may be the reason why WoW cements its position within the MMO genre.
C. As game genres diversify, the number of users who enjoy MMORPGs is decreasing. The scale of the game being developed is also decreasing. Therefore, competitiveness in the market is important. In that sense, where should WoW, including RPGs, go?
Wow, fortunately, it was a huge success in the MMO genre. In a way, you can think of WoW as taking the MMO genre to the next level. We will continue to strive to pursue developments on this scale. Developers are also aware of changes in the world or changes in the game industry and genre, but personally, I am more excited about the future. The WoW team will not stop here and will continue to work tirelessly to develop further. We may not be able to reach the ultimate game, the ultimate ideal, but we intend to pursue it with all our might.
Q. It’s a classic that has already been successful and proved that ‘masterpieces are forever’, but on the contrary, there are many Warcraft fans who don’t even start. It is because they fear that the memories of the past, which they do not find even though they can meet their first love, will be damaged. The logic is that memories should be left as memories. What do you think about this?
We are trying our best to reach people who have played WoW or Warcraft but haven’t touched Classic yet. The development team will not be going anywhere, so the classic and live servers will continue to be developed. I think our role and aim is to prepare as much space as possible where you can come back whenever you remember.