Sam "Samwise" Didier is the art director at Blizzard Entertainment. Among the veteran Blizzard employees, Samwise Didier has been a consistent artist for many years, and recently his style has been the artistic direction of choice for all Blizzard franchises.
Didier's greatly exaggerated physiques and vibrant, bright color palette has dictated the artistic style of Warcraft III, World of Warcraft, and even the now defunct StarCraft: Ghost. Didier has also designed and drawn many of the graphical icons found in Warcraft III and World of Warcraft, and even provided some voicework for both.
Away from Blizzard, Samwise is responsible for much of the album art of Swedish power metal band HammerFall.
"Basically, he's a WoW icon in every sense of the word." - (Mike Schramm)
Didier has a heavy fixation on pandas, which he explains in the launch episode of BlizzCast, among other things;
- "...for some reason, I decided to do like a panda guy because, actually, also like 'Samwise', 'Panda' is my nickname because I’m kind of a big hairy bear dude, but I’m not very fearsome. <Laughs> So I got the nickname “Panda.”"
An interview regarding the Chen Stormstout-Action Figure also explained that he got the nickname when his brother accidentally referred to Samwise as a panda bear while he meant polar bear;
- "Dude, you're like one of those panda bears -- you're never cold."
This random mistake is considered the beginning of the pandaren-concept. Through this personal link, Didier became responsible for the creation of the pandaren, a race originally regarded by fans — and used by Blizzard — as a "joke race", but still with legitimacy within the lore. Among other things, panda icons also appeared accompanying much of Samwise's art, and could be seen in Warcraft III as the emblem adorning night elf demon hunters' warblades. Much of the pandaren culture, dress, society, and weapons were inspired by samurai and Hong Kong martial arts films, both of which Didier greatly appreciates.
- Warcraft III - when certain paladins cast spells, they open their books to do so. Upon inspection, the interior of these books read "Sam" on a page.
- Warcraft III - an in-game cube skin unused by any unit in game has Samwise's face on all sides, named "Sammy!".
- Warcraft III - Samwise's face is used as an icon and unit model that can be accessed from World Editor. The model is a cube with his face on the faces.
- Warcraft III - Samwise's face was also used on a kobold model in the WorldEditor.
- Warcraft III - the ashes that form after the usage of the Blood Mage's Flame Strike ability has a pattern of a panda's face.
- Warcraft III and World of Warcraft - several classy items in both games have an icon depicting a scepter with a decorative "SD", likely standing for Samwise Didier.
- World of Warcraft - his face is also seen in as an icon for spells and abilities that do not have an image associated with them (see top left). For instance, several spells cast by quest givers use this icon. Since they are not "real" spells, they use this as the icon. They can be visible if you turn on "Show Enemy Spellcast Bar" and target the NPC during casting. Various GM exclusive spells also share this Icon.
- World of Warcraft - Guard Didier is named for him and makes a reference to Avenger Metz, based on Blizzard VP Chris Metzen.
- News From Outland: Crisis at Da Portal! - Made a cameo.
Sons of the Storm features galleries of several Blizzard artists, Samwise included: