The World of Warcraft Diary

Created by John Staats

If you missed Kickstarter's most-funded nonfiction book in history, you can order it here! The WoW Diary was written by the game's first level designer and covers the story behind making Vanilla WoW. With over 130 behind-the-scenes images and 336 full-color pages, it is the must-have book about game development.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Things Learned
15 days ago – Fri, Mar 08, 2019 at 12:01:12 AM

You Guys Rock

When I'm juggling things (more on this below) it's easy to forget all the good vibes I'm getting from you guys. Yesterday it dawned on my that I never related in my updates how helpful, informative, and supporting my backers have been. You guys are truly terrific people and I'd like to thank you. Your emails are filled with encouragement and appreciation, and I've not yet reflected this in these updates. Even the presale customers (who are waiting for their books too) have been 100% understanding. 

The response to yesterday's update was more of the same, and the aggregate feedback paints the first picture of what's happening with the mystery behind international shipping...and I'd like to share that with you today. 

EU Shipping

EU Superbackers have told me that it's not unusual for Kickstarter rewards to take a few months to get from the USA to Eastern European and Scandinavia countries. Because we Kickstarter creators aren't using our own propriety fulfillment channel, we might be receiving a more vigorous customs inspection. That might just be a tinfoil hat theory, but it sounds plausible. Someone from Cracow confirmed he waited 4 months for a Kickstarter card game to arrive from America. His research showed the package spent 6 weeks inside the Polish local mail service before arriving at his address. 

Maybe I was naive to expect a 2-month delivery window. Some lucky ducks get their rewards early but many don't. The good news and the bad news is the same: while your packages aren't lost, they're just going to take a lot longer to be delivered. 

I've learned a lot since yesterday. You can still email me about your undelivered package, but it's probably not necessary. ;)

Preorders, Amazon, and You

One of the aforementioned balls I was juggling was communicating with presale customers. They are the post-Kickstarter purchasers who ordered their books through the Backerkit presale store at thewowdiary.com, and there's a growing (and understandable) confusion with my updates. Many think I'm asking them to email me about undelivered packages. I can't tell the difference between backers and presale customers until I lookup their account profile, so there's a growing amount of confusion that has me concerned. 

While we're waiting for worldwide shipments, I'd like to avoid future confusion by unifying everyone into one delivery channel, Amazon. It's faster and it's the only way I can provide tracking (yay!) for backers who'll need replacement books for whatever reason. 

  • I'll set-up my Amazon Seller Account to receive inventory and my printer will prepare the shipments.
  • My printer will engage a shipping company to delivery books to an Amazon fulfillment center.
  • Amazon will need to propagate the inventory to overseas fulfillment centers.

I don't know how long this will take but I think I'll get the ball rolling in a couple weeks. Having not sold on Amazon before, I'm not 100% sure this is a reasonable plan until I hear back from their customer support. I'm hoping I'll be able to 1) quickly replace missing or damaged Kickstarter rewards, 2) fulfill my presale orders, and 3) sell standard editions of The WoW Diary

If anyone has thoughts on the matter, I'm all ears! Post comments below or email me at john@whenitsready.com

Thanks!

Shipping Problems and Solutions
16 days ago – Thu, Mar 07, 2019 at 12:06:54 AM

Hi Gang. If you're already enjoying The WoW Diary, you can ignore this message. 

This update is only about delivering the original Kickstarter rewards. PRESALE orders haven't shipped yet. If you ordered after the Kickstarter please sit tight. I'll ship your books after Kickstarter backers are taken care of.   ;)

Ah, yes, shipping!  While some overseas customers complained about shipping prices, some warned me I wasn't charging enough! I now know why. 

I've finally received word back from my printer's rep how IMEX works, and she describes the process in unflattering terms. Basically, IMEX only delivers to each nation's mail system. The packages become part of "an ocean of other mail sacks..." so there's no possible way to trace their whereabouts. So why did I use IMEX in the first place?  The company that had originally agreed to distribute our overseas rewards stopped returning messages during the holidays. Since our packages were ready to ship, I fell back to IMEX, my printer's worldwide partner. My printer uses IMEX regularly, but never to so many individual addresses. 

The only other shipping options were to pay $60-72 for each overseas package which I obviously couldn't afford (and STILL didn't offer tracking) or use our good friends at Amazon. I passed on Amazon because other Kickstarter creators and ex-Amazon workers warned me that the company's rough treatment of packages would surely damage our inventory. At the time, it seemed Amazon was our worst option, but I'm beginning to suspect that was not the case.  

What to do. If your package hasn't arrived yet... 

It seems like some overseas Kickstarter packages were either lost or delayed. I'm especially concerned about packages to Poland because, so far, I've had no confirmation that any package has been delivered there. If you haven't received your Kickstarter reward, please send an email to john@whenitsready.com to give me an idea how many backers are without their rewards. If anyone received their package recently (this week, etc.), it would helpful if you could post a comment below that it has arrived. (If you haven't got the book yet, please use email.) 

Sending replacement packages is the right thing to do if the original reward was lost...but if these packages were only delayed that means backers will need to return it back (which is expensive). Replacing books that are only delayed could also deplete my replacement copies of the Kickstarter Edition, depending on how many packages are errant. Our other option is to wait longer (which isn't acceptable because it's been so long already). 

First I'm going to give backers a chance to email me. I need to know how many people are actually missing their Kickstarter rewards. If you've already emailed me, you don't need to do this, I've already got your name and order noted on my handy, yellow legal pad. If there are enough backers who're missing rewards, I'm likely going to use Amazon for replacements, as it's the only service that offers anything in terms of tracking. 

Thanks for being patient, guys!  

Shipped
about 2 months ago – Wed, Feb 06, 2019 at 01:52:00 AM

Don't Panic! I've finally marked all orders as shipped. The Backerkit UI doesn't make the distinction between orders shipped and fulfilled (I consider this to be when backers have their rewards), but I as long as we know the difference then that's what counts. The status of "shipped" simply means your book has left the warehouse. I wouldn't even guess that half of them are in the hands of backers, but they are all en route. 

Today I sent to my printer's delivery department the second list of backers who needed replacement rewards. These were the late payers, anyone whose books were damaged, and for Americans who never received their copies. The first batch of replacements are shipping tomorrow (or so says my printer), so it's taking 2 weeks for them to prepare, label, and order a truck to pickup new deliveries.    :(

  • If you're in the US and haven't received your reward, please email john@whenitsready.com and I'll look into your order. (EDIT: If you haven't received your books, you might be in the replacement batches, especially if you were late to pay or input your address.)
  • If you're not in the US and haven't received your reward, please be patient. 

There's gathering evidence that IMEX (my printer's overseas shipper) partners up with countless other services that delivers locally around the globe. I never knew that's how they worked, but it makes sense. What I don't understand is why some deliveries are taking longer than others to the same region, but there it is. 

This image has saved so many people from slicing their cover I'm posting it again!
This image has saved so many people from slicing their cover I'm posting it again!

Happy Travels and Playtesting

Yesterday I returned from my first vacation in 2 years. Over the weekend, I visited some friends in Orange County, including a few peeps I know from my Blizzard days. They playtested my dungeon game for 2 1/2 hours, and for the first time the basic gameplay really clicked. "Johnny boy, I think you've got a hit on your hands," was one of their parting comments. My favorite moment was when someone said, "This really feels like a boss fight!" It was a loud, exciting, collaborative experience, and a player (who showed up late) was able to pick up the dice and learn as we played without slowing things down. Intuitive game mechanics were one of my goals, so that was another positive takeaway. I told the playtesters repeatedly that I had enough feedback, and that we could play another game, but each time they preferred to test more of my prototype. It's far too early to claim that this board game is addictive (my friends were probably just being nice), but it's reassuring to know it is, at least, measuring up to the high-standard of "fun." 

Amazon

A lot of people are asking about Amazon sales. My Kickstarter backers aren't the only people waiting for worldwide deliveries. I've been holding back in putting my book on Amazon until all my backers get their rewards. It's only fair. People who've purchased presale copies are asking me when I'll be able to deliver post-Kickstarter books...and the answer is a familiar one: The Kickstarter rewards will arrive whenever they arrive. There's little I can do to speed up or predict delivery. It's just a matter of waiting.

EU Deliveries are finally Trickling in...
2 months ago – Wed, Jan 16, 2019 at 01:50:20 AM

My Own Delivery (The Amazon Edition) arrived today
My Own Delivery (The Amazon Edition) arrived today

I received a skid of Amazon editions of The WoW Diary this morning! After huffing and puffing the 2000 lb pallet up the driveway, the delivery driver and I finally eased it into my garage. Without the spot varnish, chances are it won't stink up my garage too much, but don't worry, I'm holding off all sales of the standard edition until overseas backers receive their rewards. 

On that note, we have received our first sightings for EU deliveries! Arrivals should include a combination of first edition and showcase rewards. US deliveries were spread over several weeks, so I imagine EU arrivals won't be grouped together any better, but we'll see. This is my first time shipping thousands of packages through gigantic shipping companies, so it's a learning experience for me too. There is no word on Aussie or other worldwide shipping, so just sit tight and scan the horizon. ;)

If you live in the EU, I'm guessing you'll see your own white, cardboard wraps sometime in January...maybe early February. That reminds me, I want to add one last bit about opening said packages. People are damaging the covers by plunging a knife (even a dull steak knife like I'm using below) into the package cover. I've already complained to my printer about this issue, but since these arrows are already in flight, I thought I'd touch on the subject one more time. I can replace books that are damaged, but overseas returns will cost us both a lot in postage. Please be careful! 

Here's how to open the packaging without damaging the cover.
Here's how to open the packaging without damaging the cover.

I think that does it for now. Enjoy your books, and have a great week.

The Gears Slowly Turn
2 months ago – Wed, Jan 09, 2019 at 11:07:46 PM

Just a short update, for anyone who hasn't gotten the word, Be careful using a knife to open packages! A few people have accidentally cut into their book opening the wrapped cardboard. Maybe try a pair of scissors.

I'm learning that fulfillment is like watching a huge ice block melt. It seems like nothing is happening, and you can't do anything to speed up the process. Eventually, it runs it's course. 

Our first Canadian backer has received their rewards this morning! American deliveries are still being made (weeks later, for whatever reason). That leaves us with overseas packages. Overseas shipments went out around Christmas for "about a 3-week delivery" but the holidays have *wrecked* that estimate, so I'm guessing the "3 weeks" starts after January 2nd... which means overseas packages will arrive the last week of January...but what do I know about shipping? Right? That's my best guess.  ;)

If you have any problems, email me at john@whenitsready.com. 

Cheers!