Author: Warcraft 3 almost had six playable races

In our last two chats with David Craddock about his upcoming Blizzard book Stay Awhile and Listen, the author has given us stories about Diablo 2 hardcore mode and details on Blizzard North's early desire to create a sports division. Today, we get a bit more meat on the Warcraft series. We know that Warcraft was meant to have a medieval setting, but what if the sequel had gone in a totally different direction? "After releasing WarCraft: Orcs & Humans, Blizzard Entertainment's parent company pressured Blizzard president Allen Adham to get another game on store shelves," Craddock said. "A sequel to WarCraft seemed a natural next step, but there was deliberation over the setting and time period. One camp wanted a direct sequel--another battle between Orcs and humans in a medieval time and place. But another camp wanted to do something different. They proposed pitting the Orcs against modern-day humans piloting jets and other advanced weaponry in a fantasy-versus-science showdown. Stu Rose and Ron Millar, two of Blizzard's designers, united their efforts and squashed that idea, arguing that a bigger and better WarCraft wouldn't be quite so jarring." We know how Warcraft 2 turned out when it was released in 1995, and after its success (and that of the expansion Beyond the Dark Portal in 1996), Blizzard focused on StarCraft. It wasn't until after StarCraft was released that work on Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos began.

WarCraft 3 ended up adding two new playable races. It almost added four.

"After shipping StarCraft, Blizzard's ace team of strategy game makers returned to WarCraft to devise another row between the Orcs and humans, plus two new factions: night elves, and the undead," Craddock said. "Originally, Blizzard conceived six races. The fifth was the Burning Legion, an ancient race of demons that invaded Azeroth early on in the game. Deciding on a sixth race was like a game of roulette, with the development ball stopping on various ideas. One such race was the goblins, a mischievous and devil-may-care band of green-skinned warriors who had thrown in with the Orc Horde during WarCraft II's events. Early plans for a fleshed-out race of goblins in WarCraft III played up the kamikaze mentality of the goblin with designs such as a catapult that flung units across the map. Ambition gave way to reality when six and even five races proved too difficult for Blizzard to balance. Goblins and the Burning Legion hung around in the game, but not in the form of fully playable factions." Future stories from Craddock will include behind-the-scenes details on the Diablo games, StarCraft, the Warcraft series and World of Warcraft. Craddock and Shacknews will also bring you a week of book coverage during the week of October 29, featuring an in-depth interview with the author and a full chapter from his book.
Author David Craddock has been working on his book about Blizzard Entertainment since mid-2008. Entitled Stay Awhile and Listen, the unauthorized book talks to nearly 80 former employees, including those who used to work at Blizzard, Condor (later Blizzard North), and Silicon & Synapse (Blizzard's original name when it was founded), as well as people who had regular dealings with Blizzard head honchos Mike Morhaime and Allen Adham. Shacknews is pleased to offer a steady stream of stories from the book each Monday leading up to October 29. The book launches early next year. and will be published by Digital Monument Press.