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:

Things You May Not Care About
over 2 years 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
over 2 years 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!
over 2 years 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. 

2 New Stretch Goals, multiple copies
over 2 years ago – Tue, Sep 11, 2018 at 12:22:32 AM

As we near our $300,000 stretch goal, the Golden Kickstarter Edition is becoming a likelihood. Soon every backer of the printed edition will own a much rarer book. After talking to my printer, I'm satisfied that adding two more stretch goals won't delay our December completion estimate. I'm trying to get The WoW Diary to you for the holidays, but I can't make promises. I've been on press before, and things happen. 

The two new stretch goals are: 

  • Gold foil lettering on the spine and cover - when your guests ask why yours is different, you can tell them that you possess a Kickstarter edition of The WoW Diary. Subsequently, you'll bask in their envy. This unlocks at $350,000. 
  • Spot varnishing - to make the pictures pop. This is especially cool, but it's hard to describe (and very few books can afford to use it). It let's me add shiny accents to images and layouts. The "ghosted" spot varnishes will add depth to the design. This effect costs between $4-5 to each copy. If we unlock it at $400,000, everyone gets it for free. 

I am still trying to save on shipping costs for international backers who order multiple copies. After the Kickstarter, you will get emails directing you the campaign surveys, where you will give your address details. In these surveys you'll get the chance to order additional copies, of which, I want to supply lower shipping prices. My printer is still looking at lowering the base price, but so far it's not looking great. He told me some services are quoting him ridiculous prices to mail (over $100 per copy!). 

I'm trying to work it out that I pay all EU taxes on imports, but that requires an EU partner that I can trust to redistribute packages within the EU (after I ship the books there, in bulk). I don't know if involving a third party (which I've never worked with) is worth the risk of saving you 10% in duty fees. 

The following is a clip from tonight's live chat. A lot more people showed up, but unfortunately I had to clip off the last 30 minutes because of an annoying high-pitched sound (you can hear it in the clipped off closing comments). I'm sorry for the sudden ending, but I'm not a sound engineer. :P We'll possibly do another live chat on my Discord server next Saturday. 

3rd, Live Chat tomorrow at 7 PM EDT
over 2 years ago – Sun, Sep 09, 2018 at 09:27:06 PM

We are the third most-funded non-fiction book on Kickstarter history! We're also 80% to the #2 position ($337,000 raised), so it's well within our trajectory.

For the audio-curious, permit me to point you to The Starting Zone. They recently uploaded their interview with me and it's a very well-run podcast. Jason and Spencer were fun and easy to talk to. If you have the time, I recommend them. Honestly, I must say all the podcasts I've been on, feel very polished. There's a list of them on my homepage if you're curious, and we frequently cover material that's not in The WoW Diary.

I've been writing out a script for YouTube commercials and hired a voice-over actor to read it. As much as you guys love hearing my voice, I thought a professional voiceactor was the way to go. After I post this update, I will return to Photoshop, to make art for next week's Wowhead article (as I listen to the Patriots and Eagles replay last year's Superbowl encounter on Sirius/XM). 

Lastly, I'm doing another live chat Monday (tomorrow) at 7 PM EDT on my Discord server. See you there!