At its first panel at the New York Comic Con 2012, Blizzard Entertainment Publishing’s featured not one, but two New York Times bestselling authors, World of Warcraft senior writer, Micky Neilson and voice director, Michael Stackpole. Joining them was WoW lead quest designer, Dave Kosak who spoke about how the novels interact with the game components. With Neilson as acting moderator, Blizzard talked about the upcoming WoW novel, Shadows of the Horde, written by panel guest Michael Stackpole. The novel will prominently feature Vol-Jin, (chieftain of the Darkspear Tribe) who will undergo a lot of “soul-searching” and character development. The novel will integrate with the 5.1 patch for WoW: Mists of Panderia.
The panelists discussed the philosophy of publishing novels to accompany the MMORPG. Micky Neilson explained that there are “things that novels can do, that games can’t.” Dave Kosak further emphasized that integrating the game and novel properties are an “ongoing experiment” that Blizzard hopes will help to further expand and develop the Blizzard universe for players that are interested in immersing themselves in this world. While World of Warcraft is a role-playing game and the story certainly plays a key role in the game, WoW was built with gameplay in mind first and foremost. The novelizations help to balance the gameplay and story elements of WoW to address players according to their interests.
As the discussion went on, Michael Stackpole relished about the joys of writing for a video game franchise; “I kind of have a gaming background… Because I write for a living and I don’t have a boss to tell me to work, I actually avoided, consciously, World of Warcraft because I knew I would get no work done… But, when we started talking, they were very generous and sent me everything….” He explains, “Then I had the marvelous excuse to take a month to play World of Warcraft, knowing it was research. So I could justify that, and the IRS will pay me back, which is even better.” Sounds like the best writing gig ever!
The novel has a tentative release date for April 2013.
Asia is a freelance writer and avid gamer at Girl Gamer Vogue.