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:

over 2 years 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
over 2 years 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!
over 2 years 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!

over 2 years ago – Wed, Sep 19, 2018 at 12:36:18 AM

Yesterday was moving day for the campaign. Gads, I've been busy. It's 5 PM, and my only sustenance has been two cups of decaf. For whatever reason, The WoW Diary funding picked up some pace, and I'm doing everything I can to keep it going: 

  • The gracious Reddit moderators are hosting a final AMA on Reddit/WoW for me and my old lunchtime pal, Kevin Jordan (of the Staff of Jordan/Stone of Jordan fame) on Friday at 7 PM EDT. Kevin designed all the player abilities and spells, and he'll be happy to join me in answering lingering mysteries about Vanilla WoW development. Prepare you questions! 
  • Perculia of the Wowhead Clan has posted my article about my dungeons. Even though I built the spider/abom wings, I didn't list Nax, because it really was the vision of Dana Jan, my old teammate. Anyway, This is a big-time article, you'll want to check it out. 
  • If you haven't grown sick of my voice yet, Rho posted his interview with me on Realm Maintenance, and tomorrow I'll be answering fan questions, on-camera, with Chaud, of MMO-Champion. 
  • Still no progress on talking to international fulfillment houses. I'm not getting any response from the web mail forms I've tried, they don't list their phone of contact info. I guess their cash registers are too full for more business. My printer is soliciting overseas bulk quotes from UPS (so I can pay the duties instead of the backers), but some of the UPS quotes we've seen are stupid-terrible, so I'm not holding my breath. 

We finished our achievements early! I didn't think we'd reach #2 so fast. That unlocks my little Easter Egg bookmark as well as surpassing the "tree-fiddy" stretch goal of gilded lettering on the cover. The last stretch goal of spot varnishing awaits us at $400k. We'll see if we get there. 

The WoW Diary is Kickstarter's second most-funded nonfiction book, and this milestone draws our attention to #1. The Freedom Journal weighs in at $453,803 and has be the unchallenged king of the nonfiction category since its launch years ago. It has been featured on every television network and similar accreditation. Dare, I say, we pursue it's lofty perch? Is it possible game development fans could transmog The WoW Diary into that place in history? We'll know in a week.

This update marks the last six days of campaigning. Don't let your friends miss out!   

Saturday Night Twitch with ClassiCast & Kern
over 2 years ago – Mon, Sep 17, 2018 at 10:31:16 PM

Last Saturday night's Twitch stream with ClassiCast was so successful, I'm going to do it again with one of my old teammates, Mark Kern (@Grummz) next Saturday, 7 PM EST. We'll answer questions from our ClassiCast hosts and audience, and generally reminisce about making Vanilla WoW. Check our their channel and please join us! 

I've finally emailed Perculia my article containing the notes about all my dungeons this afternoon. It's long and will probably take some work for her to put it together, so I'll let you know when she squeezes it into Wowhead's news feed. 

We're about $10,000 away from being Kickstarter's second-most successful non-fiction book, and from there, less than $15,000 away from unlocking gold foil lettering on The WoW Diary cover, but it's hard to tell when that'll happen.

I've no word yet from those worldwide fulfillment houses. When my campaign ends I'll be fully into pre-press print preparation mode, I won't have time to play games with these companies. I'll try calling them tomorrow morning. /shrug

BTW, additional copies of The WoW Diary will be available after the campaign ends. When you give your address and details, you'll be able to purchase/upgrade your rewards. At least I know, through Amazon, I can ship additional copies at reduced prices to almost everywhere.