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:

I'm Emailing Survey's Tomorrow
5 months ago – Sun, Oct 14, 2018 at 01:43:36 AM

I apologize if things have been quiet, but I've been busy. 

Old news: My EU PayPal backers were finally able to order a copy in Backerkit's Preorder Store. If you were waiting for credit card alternatives, your wait is over. 

New News: Tomorrow you can finally give me mailing addresses (and order extra copies). My backend experience has been less than ideal, but the short story is: We're running almost a week behind schedule in emailing surveys. 

Why the slip in schedule? A couple reasons. I'm told bigger campaigns take a few days longer to get money, so I didn't get funds until Thursday. That meant I wasn't able to pay until Backerkit (who handles the surveys) until late Friday. I was advised to wait until Monday because Backerkit doesn't provide customer support on weekends and many people lose track of their emails over the weekends. So we lost another couple of days. 

I'm emailing surveys late Sunday night. When the bulk of the surveys have been completed (a week later?), I can deliver electronic rewards, the eBook and the PDF. 

What have I been doing while all this back-end Backerkit stuff has been going on? 

  • I inputted and double-checked the final proofreading edits.
  • I added the hot foil gold template to the cover of the book.
  • I created designs for the the gold end sheet (inside the cover). They are ready to print.
  • I implemented the spot-UV treatment throughout the book, so The WoW Diary is ready for printer proofs. 
  • I formatted the eBook. 
  • The bookmarks are mostly prepped to print, I've minor tweaks left. 
  • The Showcase Edition's supplemental booklet also received one last round of professional proofreading. The editors tweaks are in and double-checked. I also did the layouts and it is now ready to print. 
  • The printer wasn't able to give me a template for the Showcase Edition's slipcase until late night Friday, so I'll be working on that early next week. 

That's it. I'll be on-press early in the day October 29th. And I'll take lots of pictures!

Speaking of pictures, I threw together a little mock-up of the Showcase Edition's supplemental booklet. Swanky, eh? (click for a larger image)
Speaking of pictures, I threw together a little mock-up of the Showcase Edition's supplemental booklet. Swanky, eh? (click for a larger image)

Surveys next week
6 months ago – Sun, Oct 07, 2018 at 11:12:39 PM

Things are pretty much on target for post-campaign production. My printer's best guess is that books will ship in mid-December, but its impossible to know when exactly. I still can't say that the rewards will arrive before Christmas, although it's looking unlikely for international backers. 

I'm still waiting for Kickstarter funds, which should within the next couple weeks, after which I'll be able to email surveys (for your address information), followed by electronic versions of The WoW Diary

I've been busy with prepress file preparation. I've a little extra work for the spot-UV coating but nothing I can't handle. The printer and I are meeting eye-to-eye on everything, and so far, there are no surprises aside from the scarcity/cost/delays involved in buying high-quality paper. I've scheduled a flight/car/hotel for my late October through November on-press presence, so everything is moving along as planned. 

I've been contacted by someone about distributing The WoW Diary in retail outlets, but I wasn't prepared for the conversation. I have no idea how much distributors charge publishers for books! If anyone has any insight into this, I'd appreciate some words of wisdom...I'm not spending any time researching this myself because I'm too focused on the Kickstarter rewards but I'd never turn away advice. 

PayPal works on my Preorder Page
6 months ago – Thu, Sep 27, 2018 at 12:01:28 AM

My preorders page is now accepting PayPal. Sorry for the confusion, it was mistakenly toggled off my account, so now my EU backers can order without credit cards. Do not order there if you've already backed this project, backers will receive an email in a couple weeks asking for their address and if the want to add copies to their order (with reduced shipping in many areas). 

I did the layouts for supplemental booklet last night. It's cooler and longer than I thought it would be (40 pages). If you didn't spring for a Showcase Edition, you'll get an opportunity to upgrade your pledge when the email surveys are sent in a couple weeks. 

I'm working on the pre-press files for the production of the book, bookmark, slipcase, and packaging today. Tomorrow I'll be getting the last proofreading markups. After talking to the printer's staff this morning, they think my specs are achievable, and I'll be printing in late October through November...all assuming paper is ready. I'm booking a flight and hotel (near the printer) today, so this is getting real. 

Hopefully this will be the last update for a while, I've all my work scheduled through October. Wish me luck! 

How NOT to order more copies
6 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!
6 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?