I meant to write this post when Illidan was launched a couple of weeks ago but illness, as so often has been the case in the last few months, got in the way. I’m finally getting round to it today. Better late than never!
I’ve been a Warcraft player since the very first Real Time Strategy Game and an enthusiastic World of Warcraft player for about nine years. When Sarah Peed from Del Rey got in touch early last year to ask if I was interested in writing a tie-in novel for Blizzard, I was intrigued, to say the least. When it was revealed that this was to be about Illidan, I could not refuse. I came into WoW at the height of the Burning Crusade, and the Betrayer has always been my favourite character. There have been periods of my life when I have put in more hours at WoW in a week than most people put into their full-time jobs. Now was my chance to explain to my long suffering wife that this was all *research*, no matter what it might have looked like at the time.
What happened next was a bit boggling. A meeting with Blizzard was suggested. Would I like to visit their campus in Irvine and discuss the project? Indeed, I would. My memory now becomes a montage of photographing NonDisclosure Agreements and emailing them, getting tickets, running through large airports to make tight connections and taking ages to make contact with the shuttle driver at LAX. It was a shock to the system going from cold Europe to sunny California, but I suspect my body could do with more shocks like that. That was Day One.
Day Two saw me in Blizzard’s offices talking with Sarah, James Waugh, Michael Bybee and a whole bunch of other people whose names I was too jetlagged to remember or write down. (My apologies to them all!) I was filled in on details of the project we now know as LEGION, told about Demon Hunters, discussed many aspects of the Burning Legion, and much more. This all has a hallucinatory quality to it now. I was zoning in and out due to jetlag but boy, was I excited. There was a lot of big dark cosmic stuff to come as the Burning Legion’s new masterplan unfolded, and a huge revamp of what we know about Illidan to be revealed. All this and Demon Hunters too!
At the time, things were very much a work in progress on the gaming side. The Big Picture looked solid but thousands and thousands of smaller details needed to be tweaked and optimised. Mostly the meeting was about filling me in on what was going to be happening, asking me how I thought I would tackle it, discussing where we would go from here. I also got a chance to wander around the campus and have photo ops with some big names. (See the pictures below).
Then it was time to load up with Blizzard merchandise— WoW plushies for the kids, reference books, a WoW 10th Anniversary bag and it was back on a plane to Europe. I was in the US just under 48 hours. The whole thing took on a hallucinatory did that really happen? tone and I had to figure out how to write the book. More on that next week.
I found this lying around in Blizzard’s offices. Wonder what it does, I thought, before going on a rampage.
And this is me picking a fight with someone I shouldn’t. Well, you know what Scotsmen are like.
Here I am showing proper respect to Illidan himself. I have the feeling he is not too impressed judging by the expression on his face.
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