WoW was announced at a 2001 Trade Show with art assets shown. Blizzard claims development started in 1999 but I couldn't find any kind of documentation beyond a blurb on their website. The trade show was in September '01 with enough done that they felt they could show something to shareholders and investors, but I suppose you could assume they whipped that up in the months prior rather than 2 years prior. But let's say Blizzard is lying and work didn't start till the day after the trade show it was still over 3 years from announcement to release.
I remember that trade show, actually...I feel older all of a sudden.
Anyway, it makes far more sense for Blizzard to begin developing technical assets following Diablo 2, rather than Tides of Darkness because that's where Blizzard got their first REAL experience in managing a large online game.
And they did pretty well with it, given the new ground they were breaking.
A pity they decided to stop trusting the fans that made Diablo 2 retail-worthy as far as 2011, and decided playing keep-away with PC players was the best business philosophy.
I would like Wings of Liberty a lot more if I could consistently PLAY the other half of the damn game, or at LANs as I have their other products for the better part of a decade.
But my internet connection won't permit it, and they hate LAN now because...I have no fucking idea.
Three years of no new titles, while maintaining Battle.net at their own expense. I agree they were pretty sure they were going to have a hit on their hands, but they admit they had no idea how big it would be so fast. I started playing day one and a lot of my friends couldn't play for two months because you couldn't find the box on shelves.
Dude, after Warcraft 3, EVERYONE knew that WoW was destined for greatness.
I'd go out on a limb and say that the timing of Vivendi Universal's acquisition of Blizzard was no accident; they knew Blizzard had a golden goose and capitalized.
As for the Overmind rant, you are confusing the acquisition of new information with a retcon. Unless I missed a piece of information that is contradictory to what came before. You might not like the development of the Zerg story, but it's internally consistent once you get the history dumps from WoL and HotS.
I didn't play Heart of the Swarm, because by that point, Blizzard was firmly on my shitlist.
So I'll take your word for that. But the rest of the continuity, well, I'm a fucking nerd about. So forgive the length here.
The continuity might be technically consistent, but it's an incredibly stupid concept and one I wish Blizzard would stop pulling every time they need to introduce a new Big Bad Faction to replace the old one.
The way the Zerg were written, from Day 1, from the instruction booklet throughout all of Starcraft 1 (and Brood War), was as ruthless killing machines lead by a clever entity who outgrew its creators constraints and devoured them strictly for more power.
They were clearly designed from the ground up to be the sci-fi Plague Monster, the game's Faceless Swarm of Bad Guys, the literal antithesis of the races with free-thinking entities. And it worked! The Zerg were legitimately intimidating, creepy, and well...alien.
(and they're coming for us Earthlings; the Infested Terrans are zombies in everything but name)
The Overmind's attitude, in action and from his own perspective, showed ABSOLUTELY NO SIGNS OF LAMENT for what he was doing throughout Starcraft 1. Rather, it was the opposite. He was eager, pleased, almost giddy with anticipation upon invading Aiur. What was presented was a retcon of its entire personality, if not its actions.
We saw none of the Overmind's regret, because it obviously wasn't supposed to exist in the first place, and anything else is just an excuse for Blizzard's obvious ass-pull.
(The "My Xelnaga programming doesn't get passed down to Kerrigan" thing raises FAR more questions than it answers.
If he was capable of engineering Kerrigan as an exception, then why wasn't he capable of doing that for, say, ANYONE ELSE?)
There was no need to write the Zerg as anything but a force of nature waiting to be exploited, because that's what they are. First by the Overmind, then by the UED, then by Kerrigan. Making them sympathetic is unnecessary, even for the new plot with the Satan stand in.
And it's not the first time Blizzard has done this; it's actually the THIRD TIME.
The first time was the Orcs in WC3, and then Sylvana's Undead faction in TFT.
Hilariously, WC3 twists are nested, since the Undead served as the Burning Legion's replacement for Orcs as the new Big Faceless Badguys. "The evil faction is now sympathetic" only gets more ridiculous each time they do it.
Sorry mate; I don't buy it anymore.