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:

12 hours left, and what happens next
6 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
6 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!

6 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!

Turning it up to 11
6 months ago – Fri, Sep 21, 2018 at 10:11:52 PM

 $400,000. We did it. 

With less than 4 days left in the campaign, the Kickstarter version of The WoW Diary got much better with the funding of the Spot Varnish Stretch Goal. The following images are examples of spot varnish applications. I'll be using it to punch out images and give my layouts more dimension. Because it is prohibitively expensive, so it will not be used in the Amazon version of my book. 

Spot varnish on white, "ghosted" images.
Spot varnish on white, "ghosted" images.
Spot varnish on black.
Spot varnish on black.

The Tweets, posts, adverts, and emails have been sent. The ravens have been released. My Kickstarter's last promotional AMA on Reddit/wow is tonight with game designer Kevin Jordan (one of Team 2's three game designers who shaped Vanilla WoW, who created nearly every character spell and ability) and programmer David Ray (ex-NASA engineer who co-wrote the database, wowedit, and the godtool for the GM staff). If you have any questions, please post them on Reddit!

We are over 90% the way to becoming Kickstarter's most funded nonfiction book. If there's anyone you know who might appreciate the Kickstarter version of The WoW Diary, let them know soon! 

The FAQs are back!
6 months ago – Thu, Sep 20, 2018 at 01:07:43 AM

I finally created a FAQ. I apologize for my negligence.

My printer warned me that it would be hard to get paper. In order to speed things along, they are ordering paper without a down payment. This is unusual, so I appreciate their trust. There are industry-wide delays in delivering paper, so, to a measure, the estimate for a December delivery is at the mercy of the Gods of Chaos. Nevertheless, I've a phone next Wednesday to set the pre-press electronic files in motion. This thing is happening!

On Friday at 7 PM EDT, I will be joined by senior tools and database programmer David Ray and class designer Kevin Jordan at Reddit/WoW for one final AMA about making Vanilla WoW. David used to work at NASA (space shuttle blueprints) and Kevin was one of three early designers who pointed Vanilla WoW into it's near-perfect trajectory. This is going to be a fun one. Come join us at r/wow.

Saturday at 7-7:30 PM EDT I will be streaming with the ClassiCast crew and Mark Kern to reminisce about the original game. Will be taking questions (#ClassiCast) from Twitter and reminiscing about the good old days. 

As I write this we are at 84% to becoming Kickstarter's highest-funded nonfiction book, 4% higher than we were 24 hours ago. #1 is going to be close!