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  1. #1
    Administrator Flux's Avatar
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    I miss Bill Roper

    I don't know what spurred this thought to pop into my head, but I realized today that I missed Bill Roper as a Bliz spokesperson. He left Bliz back in 2003, as part of the "big 4" from Bliz North who went on to found Flagship Studios, etc. So it's been damn near 9 years since he was repping Blizzard games, and thus I'm sure a lot of you guys have no memory of his PRfu or media skills or rich, melodious baritone. But trust me when I say he was *the* media communications guy at Blizzard, and did the majority of their interviews for Diablo, SC1, War3, and anything else that needed talking about from the 90s up until 2003, and was FAR better at it than anyone they've had since.

    (One of the big questions many of us had when he left in 2003 was who would do media interviews for Blizzard now, since he'd been the lead guy at almost every E3, ECTS, handling dozens of interviews at every show about all things Blizzard. )

    I think most of us enjoy Jay Wilson interviews, but entirely for the info they convey. No one would confuse Jay with a trained public speaker, unless perhaps he's running a secret double switch and is actually a trained speaker playing the role of a naif in order to win audience sympathy. Many of the other Bliz devs today *seem* like decent interviews since we only really see them talking on Blizzcon panels, where they're doing prepared material they've written and rehearsed numerous times in advance, and have visuals to accompany it, thus taking a lot of pressure off their dialogue.

    Bill (and the other guys back in those less polished PR days) didn't have scripts, and did the bulk of their conversation at gaming shows, often while running a demo at the same time. Basically, they were sitting at a machine, and the interviewer would stand beside them and talk while watching them drive the char around the demo a bit.

    Sadly, the most recent memory most of you guys will have of Bill is from the HGL days, when his golden tones and PRfu lulled us into expecting great things from a game that didn't deliver on our high expectations. (For various reasons addressed in numerous postmortems.) Here's one Bill interview from the HGL days just for a taste.


    It's hard to find interviews with Bill talking about anything from the Blizzard says, since those were all way before You Tube, and largely before media presentation of video. (For instance, I interviewed him half a dozen times at E3, at Bliz North, and later at Flagship Studios, and never recorded anything but audio for my own notes.) But in a quick YT scan I did find a decent interview with him from ECTS 2000, talking about War 3.



    Perhaps fmulder or someone else with google-fu can track down some other, better examples? Bill did literally hundreds of interviews about Diablo 1 and Diablo 2 in his time at Blizzard; some decent audio/video of those must remain, likely in the vaults of IGN, GameSpy, PC Gamer, etc.... which don't seem to have been uploaded to YT, alas.



    --Flux
    The Diablo 1, 2, & 3 Wiki! (Under construction.)


  2. #2
    IncGamers Member Mackan's Avatar
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    Re: I miss Bill Roper

    Do you know what is Bill doing today, after he left Cryptic Studios?

    Never mind, found out that he is apparently vice president of Disney Interactive Media Group, Marvel franchise.



  3. #3
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    Re: I miss Bill Roper

    I liked him best for his orc and footman voices.



  4. #4
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    Re: I miss Bill Roper

    post Blizzard interview
    <****** class="restrain" title="YouTube video player" width="640" height="390" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/GbYH6sRWOuQ?wmode=opaque" frameborder="0">




  5. #5
    IncGamers Member Diab's Avatar
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    Re: I miss Bill Roper

    It's been so long that I honestly can't remember his interviews. Thanks for doing this write-up!

    Here are a few things I dug up from Gamespy:
    E3 2004: Out of Blizzard and with his new start-up company, Flagship Studios, Bill Roper talks games, technology, and creation. (text transcript)
    http://pc.gamespy.com/pc/starcraft/533035p1.html

    Bill Roper's "Benefits of Rewarding Gamers" Speech
    http://www.fileplanet.com/138395/130000/fileinfo/Bill-Roper's-

    Warcraft 3 - Press Event Q&A Movie
    http://www.fileplanet.com/57749/5000...vent-Q&A-Movie




  6. #6
    IncGamers Member z00t's Avatar
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    Re: I miss Bill Roper

    Oh I know Bill Roper, but ironically, not from the days of Diablo 2 - I only really started following game development in earnest with WarCraft 3...and that's where I got my dose of him ^____^.

    I too feel that Blizzard doesn't feel quite the same since he left. That said, both SC2 and D3 has got a 'resident fat guy' to fill in, and I think that Dustin Browder and Jay Wilson have both done a phenomenal job leading their respective games' development .

    Ironically, as bad as you may say Bill Roper's narration for the D1 promo is, it doesn't compare to the cringe-inducingness of Jay Wilson's narration for the D3 gameplay movie in its July 2008 reveal >_<.



  7. #7
    IncGamers Member Apocalypse's Avatar
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    Re: I miss Bill Roper

    what i really miss is talking to some of the devs in the chat room. you used to get a lot of activity out of them, now we all sit around waiting for a blue post and its almost always something stupid and cryptic. man those days in irc when the devs would join and just field questions, man those were the days



  8. #8
    IncGamers Member Loriku's Avatar
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    Re: I miss Bill Roper

    Quote Originally Posted by Apocalypse View Post
    what i really miss is talking to some of the devs in the chat room. you used to get a lot of activity out of them, now we all sit around waiting for a blue post and its almost always something stupid and cryptic. man those days in irc when the devs would join and just field questions, man those were the days
    The internet was a lot smaller place back then with a lot less whiney kids, Big Bill was cool at Blizz North, along with the majority of it's employess, they were down to earth and spoke frequently to fans on a level field. Unfortunately we now know everything bill touches doesnt turn to gold as since leaving Blizzard nothing has gone right, he still deserves respect though. His time has come and gone though, much like the wide interaction we used to have with developers back in the past sadly.

    Oh and FYI, Disney are really going to mess the Marvel franchise up, the films and games will suck so much :( that's why they're trying to get everything started before Disney have complete control at the end of the year. Hope they don't touch the comics or tone down deadpool! Grrr!



  9. #9
    IncGamers Member Apocalypse's Avatar
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    Re: I miss Bill Roper

    just cause of love derailing a thread, i agree that disnay getting marvel is just about the worst thing to ever happen. i see so many changes coming even though they claim they wont mess with anything. everyone says that when they buy out another company (we are seeing this with bliz now) but its never true, changes also come. maybe they will make the hulk take anger management classes and wolverine will get de-clawed



  10. #10
    IncGamers Member z00t's Avatar
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    Re: I miss Bill Roper

    Unfortunately, the relative silence on Blizzard's part is largely understandable. As Loriku said, there are soooo many whiny, entitled-feeling people on the net...it's hard to carry out the same level of back-and-forth as you could once upon a time.

    Everything you say gets dissected, or blown apart, and misinformation is spread. It's unreasonable to combat wave after wave of misinformation about your game, so instead, Blizzard chooses what they DO communicate very carefully.

    You might say that smaller game companies have much more interaction with their fans, and this is true, but that's because they're smaller companies - their fanbase doesn't generally have the same sense of selfish entitlement that attracts most casual gamers :P.



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