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:

6 months 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
6 months 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.

Things You May Not Care About
6 months ago – Sun, Sep 16, 2018 at 12:56:40 AM

I've sent a volley of emails to worldwide fulfillment houses to see if I can reduce the shipping cost, or, if possible, pay for EU import taxes. (I can't do this with Amazon.) If my printer's fulfillment affiliate is dragging their feet, then maybe I can get the ball rolling on that front. 

I did a Twitch show tonight on ClassiCast (I'll give you the YouTube link when I get it) and was contacted by an Ohio student, who was encouraged by my appearance to work hard in their first semester in Kent State (my alma mater). THAT is why I wrote The WoW Diary (at least, one of the reasons), becoming a game dev is accessible. It's not easy, but it's accessible. 

I've made roads into YouTube audiences, it looks like 48% of viewers are watching my 30 second commercial past the "click-through" point, which is supposed to be good (normally, they say 15-18% is the best advertisers can hope for), but who know if that's what they tell all their sponsors. I don't have an ad budget, so I'll have to wait until my book is on Amazon to do this. As backers, do you care about this? Probably not. 

I also made progress with my Backerkit post-campaign looks like you can order additional copies, but I'm not 100% sure I can reduce shipping for a second book until I hear back from these overseas fulfillment houses. 

We're closer to hitting #2 for all-time highest-funded non-fiction book ($319k/$336k). It'll probably be a few more days until we reach it. If you could give your friends a share to, it would help. Thank ya, kindly!

Achievement Endgame
6 months ago – Thu, Sep 13, 2018 at 07:35:26 PM

Two huge strides were made with achievements. The first was catching my mistake with looking at the wrong number on my MailChimp account. My email list had grown to almost 1200 names, which instantly unlocks 60 achievement points. Getting to 1000 names was so important to me because I'll need some prospective backers for my boss fight, dungeon-based board game. I won't be riding Blizzard's coattails on my next Kickstarter, so this will give me a potential player base. I'm really excited about it, and I can't wait to share the's really nothing like you've ever seen before. If you haven't registered to receive previews of my next project, go to and click on the big sign up button. I promise I won't spam you! 

The second major stride in achievements was a sudden influx of Twitter followers. For some reason, I've gotten over 400 new followers (@JohnStaats_WIR) and I have no idea where they came from. I received lots of updates yesterday, but have been too tired to process what's been happening. The new followers have been sharing my quotes from the book #WoWDiaryQuotes, and in doing so, it pushed us past our Twitter achievements for 200 retweets!  I suspect it might be the AMA on Reddit but I didn't get this many followers after the first one, so I don't know what to think. 

Yesterday's AMA also put us over the top for upvotes on Reddit, giving us another 10 points.

These 80 achievement points has been a huge swing, and it looks like we're clocking in for the #2 position by the end of the campaign, which awards 80 more points, pushing us to 300 achievement points, and the goal for the Kickstarter bookmark. (We'll  possibly score on 5,000 backers but that's probably another endgame event.) Facebook shares remain stagnant and it's looking like we're not hitting 600,000 views on YouTube (we're 85% there but stuck at 510k).  

We're 91% the way there in reaching the 80-point achievement for #2 all-time non-fiction most-funded book on Kickstarter, so the bookmark achievement is looking very promising

 Even so, guys I would appreciate a quick share from the top of the campaign page. Thanks! 

Golden Edition of Kickstarter Unlocked!
6 months ago – Wed, Sep 12, 2018 at 10:44:07 PM

With $300,000 raised we are getting a rarer version of The WoW Diary. I apologize for the late update, but I cannot exaggerate how busy I've been these past few days. 

I wrote the script and hired a VO actor Monday, put the commercial together yesterday, and today I've been working with Google's tech people to kick off an ad campaign to reach YouTube viewers. Alas, it has been stymied by Google's policy prohibiting links to Kickstarter (for whatever reason). It's frustrating that I'm still unable to penetrate that audience. 

My 30 second YouTube spot

I made a little headway into the behind-the-scenes rigging of my campaign to Backerkit's post-campaign surveys. I also began putting together the companion piece for the Showcase Edition. The back-front cover looks pretty cool so far. Before anyone asks, these won't be sold separately because I don't want to trivialize the reward of backers who've purchased the Showcase Edition. All its articles will be available online for free.  

Today's AMA on Reddit/classicwow went wonderfully. After 6 hours of constant typing, my hands are dead, and I'll be answering more questions there tomorrow. It was SO good to do this with old teammates, it really makes for a fascinating read (at least I think so). I would have asked more ex-devs but I didn't want to overwhelm the Reddit mods, who've generously set everything up--thank you guys! 

  • Bo Bell (Hapy00) created zones such as Loch Modan, Duskwood, Moonglade, Thousand Needles, Silverpine Forest, and Durotar. He helped on other zones with other exterior level designers (they all did). He worked in QA for almost two years before moving onto WoW, testing Diablo, Starcraft, and Diablo II. 
  •  Alexander Brazie (Xelnath) was a monster, dungeon, and raid designer who joined the company soon after the game launched. He worked on event design, monster design, spawning, boss fight design, pet battles, and overhauling warlock spells. 
  • Sam Lantinga (slouken) was a lead gameplay engineer on WoW. In addition to creating the WoW UI addon system, he worked on spells, AI, and gameplay systems like phasing and battlegrounds.

A special thanks to Perculia of Wowhead, she's been helping with promotions throughout my campaign. I still owe her an article on all my Vanilla WoW dungeons, it'll be out next week (Tuesday, I think?). Tomorrow I will continue to fight the good fight.