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:

How NOT to order more copies
4 months ago – Wed, Sep 26, 2018 at 12:09:48 AM

A change of plan. 

Kickstarter backers should not order additional books at the preorder web page. 

Backers should wait for email surveys to arrive around October 9th in order to receive reduced shipping costs (in some areas). If you order more stuff at the preorder web page, it'll be treated as a separate order and you'll not save on shipping. 

That's it. We did it. Thanks to the many, many people who helped me. I especially want to thank: Mark Kern, Gerald King III, Danger Dolan, Perculia, Chaud, and everyone at Blizzard including all my old teammates who helped me Alexander Brazie, Bo Bell, Kevin Jordan, Sam Lantinga, and David Ray. Other Blizzard peeps who especially helped were Shane Dabiri, J Allen Brack, Eric Dodds, Cory Jones, Kevin Crook, Daniel Kohler...and there's more behind-the-scenes helpers, that's how things get done. I want to thank Jacob Way and Travis McIntire for additional help with PR and my Kickstarter. Thanks to many wonderful shows interviewed me and brought The WoW Diary to the public. 

Three hours left!
4 months ago – Tue, Sep 25, 2018 at 10:34:27 PM

The World of Warcraft Diary Kickstarter will be done in just a couple hours. What a wild ride it has been! I've learned so much. Not just about campaigning and promotional stuff, but about WoW from all my old teammates I've been in contact with...and believe it or not, the fans. Reading questions from all the AMAs brings to light how different the perception of game development is from my memories on Team 2. People generally assumed that there was a higher degree of planning. Over and over again, I debunked this theory. Creating an MMO is a process of sustained improvisation and iteration. 

It sounds familiar. My Kickstarter campaign began on the premise of soliciting YouTube shows with promises of fresh new secrets! Although I reached a few, 95% of the hosts proved to be either too difficult to reach or too steadfast in their format to do interviews or reviews. I was scrambling throughout the Kickstarter, taking suggestions as fast as they came in...achievements, upgrades, stretch goals, live chats, AMAs, and even the quotes that I've been Tweeting every day came at someone else's suggestion. The idea for printing two versions (a limited Golden Kickstarter version and a regular version), came midway through the campaign from conversations with my printer.

Answering questions proved to be the most fun--although I nearly cancelled my first AMA when it looked like, at first, that Reddit posters were ambivalent to the idea of reminiscing about Vanilla WoW, and hostile to blatant promotion. I went into the first AMA with the feeling of dread, like I was climbing a scaffold; to be jeered and trolled (remember, my first Kickstarter failed utterly). But the actual event was so freaking cool!!! The AMAs got even more fun when I brought in old teammates whom with I recently chatted. I enjoyed it so much, the book seemed more like an excuse to talk about development, and these events reassure me that I'd made the right choice in writing a book that was foremost educational. Connecting the dots in the AMAs brought joy to me and everyone who participated, and that makes me think people will love the book itself.

More improvisation lies ahead. Paper delivery is a big question mark. Making delivery by the holidays is another. Until I get a better count of copies, I won't have quotes for overseas fulfillment houses. But that's all on my end. The backers job is mostly done. I'll give you guys a window to see how things are going as I move forward into production phase, but for now, everyone can relax. This Kickstarter has laid to rest the biggest question mark of all...will people want The WoW Diary? 

12 hours left, and what happens next
4 months ago – Tue, Sep 25, 2018 at 12:29:27 AM

I've spent the day configuring Backerkit's option for post-campaign preorder page. In it prices, rewards, and delivery are the same except:

  • You Will Be Able to Order Multiple Copies 
    Shipping for a second, third, fourth will be less (depending on where you are). 
  • EU Backers May Use PayPal instead of Credit Cards
    I've gotten many messages asking about this so I got Backerkit to enable it as a payment option today. 

The preorder page will offer Kickstarter rewards until after the Backerkit surveys are emailed, about 2-3 weeks after the Kickstarter ends. All backers will have had ample opportunity to order their rewards. After the 2-3 weeks is over, I'll switch my wares to Amazon versions of The WoW Diary (nary a spot varnish or gilded touch!). 

From there it'll be printing, printing, printing. I have my first conference call with the printer's production spokesperson this Wednesday, and I'll get a better idea about their schedules and paper delivery. The fact that so many copies are ordered late makes things difficult for them to purchase enough paper in advance (without any funds). We're doing everything possible to get this delivered by the holidays, but the tariff war paper scarcity is beyond my control.

G'night, folks.

The Last Day
4 months ago – Mon, Sep 24, 2018 at 09:32:03 PM

With 24 hours left in the campaign, The WoW Diary Kickstarter is drawing to a close. 

I'm currently waiting for information from Backerkit to get answers about a post-campaign pre-order page, to see if it accepts PayPal. I'm still waiting for some shipping shipping details: There are many little things to iron out, and my printer needs to go through them one-by-one to avoid "surprise" shipping costs. Shipping charges are staying fixed, as I have yet to even seen a quote, let alone sign anything. At least I can say, my EU backers will NOT be charged delivery taxes or fees. These overseas fulfillment houses say I will, at least, be able to take care of shipping duties.

Yesterday, I received congratulations from the previous #1 holder in nonfiction. I'm still so amazed we became top in the category; it just doesn't seem real. Reaching the half-million mark and surpassing 7,000 backers this morning was just the frosting on the cake. To my new backers, I say, "Welcome to the party!"

If you know anyone who would like to like to get a Golden Kickstarter edition, please let them know, there's only a day left. At close to the same price, it's going to be much rarer than the Amazon version, I would hate to hear if anyone didn't get a chance to own one. Just send them a direct message with the URL and it'll direct them to the Kickstarter. 

It's also not too late to upgrade your order to the signed Showcase Edition. I finally got around to mocking-up the supplemental book with the case. 

Thank you, so much, and don't forget to tell your friends before the day is over!

4 months ago – Sun, Sep 23, 2018 at 11:11:55 PM

Today, the book that found only 298 backers in its first Kickstarter campaign took first place in its category.

Last night was a special discussion about making Vanilla WoW with the project's shipping team lead, Mark Kern, and the guys from ClassiCast. In it, I learned how Mark used Mike Morhaime's own trick in "making things feel heavy" by printing out the petition to pitch Classic WoW to Blizzard. Upon learned this, I suggested the petitions would make a historic addition to the Blizzard museum (a waiting room by the company's lobby), because everything associated with computer games was digital file, and there's remarkably few tangible things associated to development. 

That's why I took this picture a couple years ago. Even after it had gone through a number of revisions, I felt printing out my manuscript to The WoW Diary was important to read, on paper. I find it easier to find mistakes that way, and it harkened back to my days in graphic design, when everything I worked on was printed. Here I am, holding the 7th revision, the first printed copy of my book. Like a nerd, I chose courier as my typeface. 

The life of an author: Stubble, stretch pants, and slippers.
The life of an author: Stubble, stretch pants, and slippers.

If you see only one interview, you'll want to listen to last night's walk down memory lane with Mark Kern and ClassiCast. Mark has been crucial to this book. After my disastrous first campaign, I had the mistaken impression that I'd overvalued the appeal of game development as a literary topic; that there simply wasn't a market big enough to support a printed book on the subject. Mark found me, picked me up, dusted me off, and pointed me in the right direction. I wrote about it in an article about how I pitched the book to Blizzard. Before anyone asks, I'll include this essay in the supplemental booklet included in the Showcase Edition. It's a good one. 

Last night I did my campaign's last promotional AMA on Reddit/wow with my old teammates Kevin Jordan and David Ray. David was wacked-out on meds but his answers were just as lucid as Kevin's, as they both provided more insight into making WoW that I could have ever done alone. Honestly, I learned so much from reading their posts, I can't even begin to summarize. Check it out and see why I haven't had time to post updates about it!