Online gaming god calls on his domainBill Roper, the 37-year-old vice president of Blizzard North, is a hero in online game communities around the world.
Not only is he the mastermind behind Starcraft, Diablo and Warcraft, but Mr. Roper gives characters in online games their voices. The JoongAng Daily met with him in Seoul during his five-day, four-nation Asian promotional tour to talk about his passion and visit.
What is the goal of your visit this time around?
I’ve come to show the expansion set of Warcraft III, and meet with the press as well as the gaming community. There were about one hundred people Tuesday [at a Warcraft III promotion party] about 50 professional gamers also came. We’ve also visited a lot of PC-bangs [computer game parlors] across the city.
How important is the Korean market?
Korea is an exceptionally important market for us in that we’ve had great success with our past products, and because of the explosive interest in online games. The growth rate is just fantastic in Korea, although I expect to see the same potential for growth in China. Asia in general is the No. 1 market for online games. I think this is because of how game rooms operate in both countries; the availability of games and the public enthusiasm adds to this.
Is there an overarching theme among the games you’ve developed over the years besides the epic storyline?
Starcraft, Diablo and the Warcraft series all maintain different philosophies ― bibles we call them ― but there is one thread that links them all: we try to design games that will keep people guessing about who the good and bad guys are. We are blurring the lines between good and evil.
You studied commercial music in college. How did your professional career evolve to be where it is?
Well, I’ve been playing games for as long as I can remember. My parents taught me math with cards and I have designed game rules my whole life. Then I became passionate about music and majored in commercial music like jazz, rock and pop in college. And I had done a lot of work creating music for games. A friend of mine at Blizzard suggested that I help out with the voices of game characters and that’s how I became part of the company. Joining Blizzard has been like merging two great passions in my life, games and music.
Any advice to people wanting to get into the online game industry?
You need to be really involved all of the time and have a huge passion for game development. I was always working on game variations, running game conventions and stuff most of my life.
by Choi Jie-ho