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Lessons from 15 Years of 'World of Warcraft' World Building

Ely Cannon (Art Director, Blizzard Entertainment)

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core+Summits Pass, Core Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Visual Arts

Format: Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: All

This lecture will focus on world building as a primary tool for developing the relatable fantasy races and worlds for World of Warcraft. WoW relies heavily upon world building to carry the weight of establishing mood, local themes, macro story, art direction, and cultural/societal themes for the fantasy races and places represented in the game. This lecture will focus on important lessons learned over the course of the development of World of Warcraft. Each case study will include the specific issues, solutions and philosophy employed. Example case studies will be drawn from the original release of World of Warcraft along with examples from the following expansions; The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Warlords of Draenor, Legion, and Battle for Azeroth.


Antendees will have a deeper look into the development of one of the most iconic games of all time with specific focus on world building philosophy. Attendees should walk away with new and expanded knowledge about the unique issues inherent to creating a fantasy world on the scale of World of Warcraft.

Intended Audience

The audience that would most benefit from this talk are those directly involved with world building. While the examples are drawn from World of Warcraft, the issues and philosophies presented are applicable to a wide range of world building efforts including but not strictly limited to MMOs.