Posts Tagged ‘wow’

So, like probably everyone else, I’m playing Starcraft 2.

And, like probably every other WoW guild out there, people are drying up at a phenomenal rate.

I’m left to wonder, is the only thing that can steal playtime away from WoW, another Blizzard game? Well, to be fair you see this quite often when a new, quality triple A game on the PC is released. Usually it’s a Bioware game stealing some of the thunder – Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age… this time, it’s a Blizzard game, and Starcraft 2 is, with little doubt in my mind, going to cause a pretty sharp drop in WoW players online concurrently for quite some time. Depending how many of them embrace online play, the drop may be more permanent and significant.

The biggest threat, then, to World of Warcraft seems to me won’t necessarily be another MMO, but simply another quality multiplayer PC game. And very specifically, Diablo 3. D3 will offer much of the simple pick up and play co-operative gameplay that WoW offers in it’s current badge-farming heroic intancing, which I’d guess makes up a good bulk of what people do in the game at the level cap. Sure raiding happens too, but is it the real focus of WoW gamers? Most of us spend more time gearing for raids than actually raiding. And, sure, PVP is a fun enough distraction, but BG’s are something to do in short bursts, and arenas are the domain of a very small minority of WoW’s subscriber base.

Personally I think Starcraft 2 might offer superior PVP multiplayer gameplay within a ‘massive’ environment, and Diablo3 will scratch the itch that the other half has, in co-operative dungeon crawling. As much as Blizzard mentions it doesn’t see SC2 and D3 as competition to WoW… I really think they are.

How does starcraft 2 itself play, I might hear you ask. My initial impressions are highly favourable. This game exudes polish in a quantity I don’t think I have seen before. The closest would be to liken it to Mass Effect 2 in terms of sheer quality of design. The engine itself is spectacular, the gameplay is classic Starcraft, and the higher focus on exposition and storyline between missions is superb. Hard to say if this is the best game ever, I don’t think it’s perfect, but it’s damn near. If you have a PC, this is simply a must buy, whether you’re an RTS fan or not so much.


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Blizzard regains it’s sanity

And so, once more, all is right with the world.


Hello everyone,

I’d like to take some time to speak with all of you regarding our desire to make the Blizzard forums a better place for players to discuss our games. We’ve been constantly monitoring the feedback you’ve given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums. As a result of those discussions, we’ve decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums.

It’s important to note that we still remain committed to improving our forums. Our efforts are driven 100% by the desire to find ways to make our community areas more welcoming for players and encourage more constructive conversations about our games. We will still move forward with new forum features such as conversation threading, the ability to rate posts up or down, improved search functionality, and more. However, when we launch the new StarCraft II forums that include these new features, you will be posting by your StarCraft II Battle.net character name + character code, not your real name. The upgraded World of Warcraft forums with these new features will launch close to the release of Cataclysm, and also will not require your real name.

I want to make sure it’s clear that our plans for the forums are completely separate from our plans for the optional in-game Real ID system now live with World of Warcraft and launching soon with StarCraft II. We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make Battle.net a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games. And of course, you’ll still be able to keep your relationships at the anonymous, character level if you so choose when you communicate with other players in game. Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on Battle.net to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature.

In closing, I want to point out that our connection with our community has always been and will always be extremely important to us. We strongly believe that Every Voice Matters, ( http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/about/mission.html ) and we feel fortunate to have a community that cares so passionately about our games. We will always appreciate the feedback and support of our players, which has been a key to Blizzard’s success from the beginning.

Mike Morhaime
CEO & Cofounder
Blizzard Entertainment

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In a related anecdote : New Facebook Signups Plummets

Thinking back the privacy brouhaha around Facebook earlier last month, is this merely coincidence?

Facebook have gone from being kinda cool and open, to being thought of as scumbags and criminals.

Do you think you can survive the same, ActiBlizzard? Do you really think you’re bigger than your community, your customers?

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The big deal right now within the WoWosphere (that’s totally a new word I just invented) is your RealID being attached to any forum posts you make on the official forums. This isn’t live yet, but it will be in a few weeks time for Starcraft 2, and it will be in place for the launch of Cataclysm.

Like about 95% of the rest of the WoW populace who’ve commented about this, I think it’s a really, really bad idea.

For one, I think ActivisionBlizzard have allowed themselves to become a victim of their own hubris. Sure, WoW is the most popular MMO in the world. But is it really the game that everyone plays? The game for the masses? I’m not quite so sure really. I still think the bulk of the WoW playing populace are, well, seasoned¬†gamers. There may be a lot of people for whom WoW is there first ever game but I think that number is pretty slim, and always will be. WoW is astill a pretty hardcore experience. There’s a lot fo grinding, and raiding is still severely complicated. This isn’t Farmville, Kotick. No matter how much you want it to be.

And that means that most of WoW’s populace are probably at least somewhat tech savvy internet veterans, and they value their privacy. Furthermore, consider the people who use your forums. Chances are they do so right now exactly because these forums allow them a modicum of anonymity. And while this can be used for nefarious purposes – trolling, flamewars, etc – anonymity is also great at getting valuable, intelligent people to come out of their shells.¬†To stick their neck out.

Will they be sticking theirs out after this change goes through? Odds are, no. Will flaming and trolling still happen? Odds are, yes. Anonymity may turn otherwise normal people into trolls, but here’s the thing : Real trolls don’t care. Real trolls troll because, well, they have shitty personalities. That’s just baked in. Casting aside the veil of internet secrecy isn’t going to change that.

I haven’t come this close to cancelling my ‘subsrciption (ie not buying any more game cards) in a while. It’s not even so much about the forums, since I rarely post there, and could probably get by never visiting them ever again. The problem is, it highlights a disregard for the wishes of it’s clientele that appears to have been growing within Blizzard, suspiciously ever since the Activision merger.

So I won’t lie. I would quit right now if it weren’t for the contacts I’ve built up within the game. And Blizzard knows that. Hence RealID in the first place. But here’s the thing – you can’t copyright someone else’s name. And once I have my cadre, my crew, its’ actually quite easy to walk away, and take them with me.

Especially if they feel the same way I do.

And I’m betting right now that most of them are.

You’ve just crossed a terrible threshold, Blizzard. Like Arthas, in your blind zeal pursuing one single goal, you’ve lost sight of what really mattered in the first place. And you have, in the process, become the enemy.
What hubris. What irony.

There’s no coming back from that.

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