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Ex-Blizzard frontman Rob Pardo shares his approach to game design

Ex-Blizzard frontman Rob Pardo shares his approach to game design

October 30, 2014 | By Alex Wawro




"I think it's really important for strategy games that offense always wins."
- Former Blizzard designer Rob Pardo explains a facet of his game design philosophy: encouraging offensive strategies makes for more interesting play.

Developers, take a minute to check out Designer Notes, a new podcast on the Idle Thumbs network hosted by veteran game designer Soren Johnson.

The inaugural episode is actually the first half of a two-part conversation he had with designer Rob Pardo, who quit his post at Blizzard Entertainment this summer after 17 years with the company.

While at Blizzard Pardo helped design (among other things) Starcraft, Warcraft 3, Starcraft II and World of Warcraft. His conversation with Johnson spans the gamut of his design career: from his formative experiences writing Dungeons & Dragons campaigns to his reflection on how the low-value units of Starcraft informed Blizzard's design of Warcraft 3, and his continuing interest in unsolved problems of real-time strategy game design.

"I always wanted to explore more co-op-type stuff in RTS campaigns, because I feel that's a huge underserved area," said Pardo, in response to a question from Johnson. "If I was making another RTS, that's what I would try to crack next: how do we do a good co-op RTS?"

Host Johnson is perhaps best known as the lead designer on Firaxis' Civilization IV; he's since founded his own indie studio, Mohawk Games, where he's developing the strategy game Offworld Trading Company. He intends to continue publishing new episodes of Designer Notes on a monthly basis, and you can catch up on the latest or subscribe to the podcast on the Idle Thumbs website.


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