So far this week has not bee full of good news for Blizzard.
There was the 1.08 patch for Diablo III, rolled out on US servers the day before yesterday, which was touted as bringing serious improvements to the game, including changes to the surprisingly popular auction house.
Unfortunately, one side effect was the introduction of a bug that allowed players to basically create gold out of thin air… or virtual thin air… thus putting the whole in-game economy in peril. I don’t think that was the auction house fix they were looking for, and continues along with Diablo III’s somewhat hard luck tale.
Blizzard jumped right on this, once they noticed it, shutting down the auction house. They have since reported that the bug has been fixed. However, there remained the question of what to do. There was talk of a complete roll-back to a pre-patch save. However, they chose to do it the hard way, opting to manually fix each account that used the bug. I have not seen any word about people being banned for using what was obviously an exploit, but I suspect there will be some sanctions.
As of this time, the auction house on US servers remains closed, and will stay so until all current auctions expire.
The updated has been fixed and should roll out without the exploit on EU and Asian servers.
Then there was the Activision Blizzard quarterly report where, after a rise in subscribers with the release of Pandaria and then holding steady the next quarter, a drop of 1.3 million subscribers was announced for the past quarter, the subscriber base moving from 9.6 million to 8.3 million players.
As has become a standard part of these sorts of announcements, it was stated that most of the losses were in China, which have a much smaller impact on revenue, it was allowed that there were subscription losses in the west and that the company expected the subscriber base at the end of the year to be smaller than it is now.
Expect nothing new for WoW this year I guess.
Bobby Kotick was quick to point out that WoW remains one of the most successful video game franchises and, no doubt, continues to be insanely profitable.
The quarterly report is available here.
Tags: Assault on Wall Street, darkfall, MegaWars III, Stellar Emperor, Twitter
Digging into the mail bag, another reminder that I haven’t felt inspired to write about much new of late.
Darkfall: Unholy Wait
Back in September of 2012 they announced that the original Darkfall would shut down on November 15th to make room for Unholy Wars, which was slated to launch on the 20th of the same month. And then… well… the Aventurine reputation needed to be maintain. So here we are, seven months after that announcement, and the game should launch next week.
Now, the press release points out that this time was well spent, that much was learned from the beta. We shall see next week. Maybe.
Blizzard Remains Steadfast
After running out my seven free days of World of Warcraft, I remained on the fence about whether it would be worthwhile to subscribe or not. And then, ten days later, I received an email from Blizz with a subject line asking me to resubscribe to the game.
I was intrigued. I wondered if Blizz might sweeten the deal now that they had me thinking about the game. A special offer might have been enough to tip the balance.
But there was no special offer. It was just a link to the standard subscription page. Blizz isn’t at a point right now where it feels the need to anything special to get people to come back.
Twitter Pushes Advertising
Twitter has decided that I am a small business and, as such, I need to advertise on their service. So I received a whole stream of messages from them offering me a free $50 advance on my advertising.
I have not taken them up on their offer, having no idea what I would even promote.
Mega Wars IV
Crimson Leaf Games, which recreated the classic CompuServe game Mega Wars III that I poked my nose into ages ago, has taken the idea a step further and created Mega Wars IV which includes a full graphical client done in Microsoft Silverlight.
Interestingly, Stellar Emperor, the version of the game that ran on GEnie, which I have also covered, went this route in the early 90s, adding on a graphical client and updating the game, thus diverging it from what stated off as its twin, Mega Wars III.
Populist Wish Fulfillment
I keep getting press releases around a film titled Assault on Wall Street. The synopsis for the picture is:
Jim is an average New Yorker living a peaceful life with a well paying job and a loving family. Suddenly, everything changes when the economy crashes causing Jim to lose his job, home and wife. Filled with anger and rage, Jim snaps and goes to extreme lengths to seek revenge for the life taken from him.
The poster shows the star, Dominic Purcell a pistol in one hand, a combat rifle in the other, with bullet riddled NYPD cars and SWAT teams deploying in the background.
So, yeah, gun violence. I guess that takes Occupy Wall Street up a notch. Let’s go kill the 1%!
Given that the only name I recognize in the cast is Eric Roberts, and that they are sending press releases to random gaming blogs, I am going to guess they couldn’t get any funding from those in the 1%.
World of Tanks Rolls On
Wargaming.net is very good about sending out regular press releases. Two big things they have coming up are the World of Tanks 8.5 update, which includes more German tanks, redone maps, and changes to what non-premium accounts can do. There is a preview over at The Mittani.
And then there is World of Tanks Blitz.
This is Wargaming.net’s attempt to bring World of Tanks to mobile platforms. Featuring 7 vs. 7 battles, I will be interested to see how they translate their Windows shooter to that mobile world.
April Fools at Blizzard – 2013 April 1, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, Diablo III, entertainment, World of Warcraft.
Tags: April Fools
April Fools at Blizzard this year is either less ambitious or more subtle than before.
Or I am missing something.
He has some new and amusing dialog and I guess is part of the tradition now. And if you go down the right conversational path, the one where you talk about sports, you can watch him try on various hats.
But I have to wonder, how many people even remember Clippy, of which Crabby is a parody.
But other than that, all I could spot was some disagreement as to when the Noblegarden event was taking place, with it either being March 31 through April 6 or April 24 through May 1. That must be funny in some way I am not getting.
The Diablo III site seems to be completely free of April Foolery, unless that thread asking Is This Game Good Yet? is some sort wry commentary. But if it wry commentary you want, there is better to be had, pointed at juicier targets. And then there is the great Diablo III non-joke from GDC.
And over at the StarCraft II site there is a somewhat predictable April Fools joke.
The Warhound was a unit slated to be part of the Terran forces in the Heart of the Swarm expansion for StarCraft II. However, it was found to be too powerful and was removed during beta.
But today’s announcement says it is back, but they have a plan to cure the balance issue.
- The Warhound has been added for Terran because robots are cool and the art is amazing
- The Warhound has been added for Zerg to remain competitive with Terran.
- The Warhound has been added for Protoss to keep Protoss players from whining about them on the forums.
There is also a Dev Q&A page about the Warhound that answers questions like why their isn’t a female Warhound as well as linking to its background story page. But at least they did something. Almost as much fun as a space cockroach.
A check of the European versions of the sites showed similar entries all around.
So did I miss something? Are they holding out for a mid-day US/evening EU reveal? Is this a year of subtle humor? Or did a busy 2012, in which they did not even have time for BlizzCon, keep Blizzard from going as far with April Fools as they have in the past?
The following links will bring you to past coverage of Blizzard April Foolery as a comparison:
Addendum – April Fools in some other online games:
Blizzard Blindsided by Diablo III Auction House Popularity March 29, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, Diablo III, entertainment.
Tags: auction house
While the auction houses reduced the fraud and effectively killed grey-market transactions between players and item- and gold-farming companies that hurt the online Diablo II community, Blizzard did not expect players to use them on the scale that they started to as soon as the game launched. Almost every player uses one or the other, according to Wilson, and nearly half use them regularly.
GameInformer article on Jay Wilson’s GDC 2013 Presentation
Two comments on this.
The second is, what do you mean you did not expect it? Have you guys actually played the game?
The itemization that I experienced was such that nearly every single equipment drop I got was not only many levels below being useful for my character, but also many levels below the monsters dropping it. Unlike Diablo and Diablo II, where gear you had to grow into was relatively common, I never got a drop like that in Diablo III.
So I went right to the auction house to sell the useless lower level gear in order to buy gear closer to my level. And I assumed that this was all part of the master plan to make people use the auction house. I got that sense almost right away that low level drops were all part of the scheme to prime the AH pump. He says right there that nearly every player uses the auction house at some point. The strategy totally worked!
Now they are saying that it wasn’t intentional?
I cannot tell if I should be skeptical or flabbergasted.
In the article, he said they are working on a plan to fix the auction house problem.
This I gotta see.
[Related: Green Armadillo and Player Motivation]
Wrapping Up My Seven Days of Azeroth March 25, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, entertainment, World of Warcraft.
Tags: Northern Stranglethorn, Stranglethorn Vale, Western Plaguelands
I wrote some about my return to the comforts of Azeroth last week, but I still had a couple more days in which to play. So I spent a bit of time wrapping up the zone now known as Northern Stranglethorn Vale.
I finished up all the quests from the rebel camp and the Nesignwary compound, the latter earning me the Green Hills of Stranglethorn achievement. However, with achievements shared across characters, I technically had it already.
I am not sure about how I feel on the achievement sharing change. On the one hand I am happy enough not feeling like I should repeat some of them or being able to divide up the burden between among characters. On the other hand, each characters story is mixed in with the others.
After those two quest hubs, there is a third down at the south end of the zone where I got in the remaining few quests for the zone achievement.
That is one I did not have before.
I actually stuck around for one final quest, Be Raptor.
That was kind of a cute one. You take control of a small raptor who has to escape from Zul’Gurub. I am not generally fond of quests that make you be somebody other than your character, but this one was simple enough. You have to get through a couple stages of evading to escape. But if you fail, you only go back to the start of a given stage rather than the whole thing again. I eventually escaped and collected a bit of upgraded equipment. You get some nice blue equipment as choices.
At that point I was done with Northern Stranglethorn and needed a new place to go. The quest givers handed me a quest to head south into the cape, which is the southern half of what was once Stranglethorn Vale. However, given how far ahead of the zone I managed to get in levels, I thought I had better seek something closer to my level.
So I headed back to Stormwind to see what the big board had to say.
More after the cut.
Is Your WoW Knowledge Hardcore Enough? March 24, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, entertainment, World of Warcraft.
Tags: Trivial Pursuit
The fact that they are going to make a World of Warcraft version of Trivial Pursuit pulls me in several directions.
The first is, how mainstream is WoW now?
Ages ago I did a post about signs that would indicate that it was becoming so… and some have come to pass. There was a WoW related question on Jeopardy. (Who was Leroy Jenkins?) There was already a WoW version of Monopoly.
There hasn’t been a cartoon made about it yet, but that will likely come if the movie turns out to be a success.
On the other hand, I was getting the vibe… completely unsubstantiated… that perhaps WoW’s cultural influence might be waning. I credit this to the failure to create a loveable Pikachu-like spokes-thing for the franchise.
But with a movie still under way and pandas still running rampant, maybe its influence could still expand.
The second is, what kind of questions will they have?
Fortunately, they have the categories laid out already. They are Geography, Player Characters, Lore, Loot, Villains, and Encounters.
There seems, to me, to be a lot of potential overlap in Player Characters, Lore, Villains, and Encounters. I would probably be okay with Geography, but the rest…
And, finally, who would you play with?
This is some seriously arcane trivia we’re talking about here. 600 question worth. I can see my daughter and I sitting around and missing question after question on this, even after years of exposure to the game. (Unlike, say, a Star Wars version of Trivial Pursuit, which I think we would rock, because the one thing the LEGO Star Wars game teach you is trivia.)
Anyway, it is “Quick Play” version of Trivial Pursuit… whatever that means… it is coming out in September, and it suitable for 2 to 36 players ages 12 and up according to the press blurb. And it comes with baby murloc player tokens. That might be the best bit right there.
The Seductive Comfort of Azeroth March 22, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, entertainment, World of Warcraft.
Tags: Hemet Nesingwary, Northern Stranglethorn, Stranglethorn Vale
Blizzard sent me a note at some point early last week inviting me to come back to World of Warcraft for seven days, free of charge. As is my wont, I set WoW to patch, just in case I decided to take them up on this offer. After all, what else is my computer going to do all night alone?
The offer is apparently good for anybody with an account that has been inactive since last month at some point and lasts through April 2nd of this year.
That patched, I went on with my normal routine until Sunday afternoon, when I hit what Douglas Adams referred to as “the long dark tea time of the soul.”
I had cleaned up a bit around the house. I had successfully gotten my daughter outside for a bit of sunlight and exercise. I had completed stage one of the spring cleaning plan for my office, which determined that there was, in fact, a solid surface beneath all of those papers on my desk. I had taken all the baths and shot all the tanks that one usefully could. Now I was pottering around, looking for something to do.
Or, more specifically, a game to play. I had an hour or two of calm and quiet. I just wanted to get absorbed and carried off for a bit. Some immersion was called for. Generally swinging a sword does that for me.
The problem was that, as far as fantasy MMORPGs went, I was facing road blocks of one sort or another all over.
The level 15+ zones in Guild Wars 2 haven’t been cutting it. My enthusiasm there is waning quickly.
In Rift I have found no real passion for the Storm Legion zones. I couldn’t tell you why. I enjoyed 1-50, but 51-60 just isn’t capturing me. Even after the previous nights adventures, I had no interest in getting to level 52. It feels like a grind.
In the various versions of Norrath my characters are all looking for new routes forward, which means work not play.
And… well… you know where this is heading. But what happened when I went there?
More after the cut.
Looking Back at 2012 – Highs and Lows December 26, 2012Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, Diablo III, entertainment, EVE Online, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Rift, Sony Online Entertainment, Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Tags: 2012, EverQuest Online Adventures, Steam
Every year I try to come up with a list of highs and lows for the year. You can go back and read my 2010 and 2011 editions if you so desire. I often complain about the same things year after year. As for 2012, this is what I recall.
Free to Play
- Another pile of games went from subscription to free to play as a default business model. If you are a fan, you have lots of options now.
- Free to play continues to offer the best “free trial” option for games.
- Clearly the dominant business model to the extent that being free to play no long bestows any sort of competitive advantage as it did back when DDO and LOTRO made the transition. Merely going free to play will not save your game.
- Being a primary source of income, with revenue targets to achieve, the in-game cash shop becomes a major focus of free to play games. Increasingly, it is players who buy from the cash shop who matter most, even in games like EQII that push you to become a subscriber. Subscribing removes some annoyances and restrictions, but you are still pushed to buy from the cash shop. They even hand you a bit of their RMT currency every month in order to prime the pump.
- An early justification for cash shops and RMT currency was the idea of selling thing to players that could not be paid for via credit card due to transaction fees. The idea was that players would be offered many inexpensive items that they would buy en masse. Instead, items that cost less than $5.00, or one third of a months subscription, seem to be the tiny minority of items available… at least at the generally understood value of the RMT currency.
- The vicious circle of discounting the RMT currency to drive people to purchase it, followed by cash shop discounts to soak up the ensuing currency glut may be emerging.
- Some players seem to think they can get something for nothing. They cheer when a game goes free to play, but then get upset when the inevitable reality emerges. There is no such thing as free.
- The pleasant Middle-earth charm of LOTRO can still be found.
- The Riders of Rohan expansion has received much praise.
- Still one of the few F2P MMOs that lets you earn their cash shop currency in-game.
- Have I mentioned their music system lately? Why hasn’t anybody shamelessly ripped this off?
- Not actually playing LOTRO, there is little chance I will see any of that cool new Rohan content… well, ever.
- The heady days of F2P success have clearly worn off, and Turbine’s WB overlords have been cracking the revenue whip. So we have the despoilment of Middle-earth moving forward in the cash shop.
- Really one of the great passive-aggressive community relations fiascos occurred when Turbine asked for comments on their awful hobby-horse idea with the caveat that they didn’t want to hear anything negative. That sort of thing never turns out badly.
- And the F2P divide continues. You can be a fan of the game, but unless you are buying stuff from the cash shop, you don’t mean anything. And so some long time fans of the game seem to be moving on. Eru wept!
Sony Online Entertainment
- EverQuest still going 13 years in and now has parcel delivery through the mail, more zones, five new levels, and hotbars that look like they are now from this century.
- EverQuest Mac got a call from the governor while on death row, so lives for a while longer.
- Planetside 2 launched! That is a massive shooter!
- Vanguard is alive and free to play and getting content updates! And Brad McQuaid is back working on it.
- The Krono experiment will make for an interesting change to watch.
- Vague promises of a more sandbox-like EverQuest game in EverQuest Next in hopes of breaking the “me too” MMO mold where everything is basically based on EverQuest. Sounds interesting, but we’re a long way from reality.
- They screwed up Station Cash valuation through heavy discounting and cash shop blanket discounts to the point of requiring SOE to stop selling expansions and gold subscriptions for Station Cash. This in turn puts more pressure on the cash shop people to sell a couple of useful items and piles of cosmetic crap. Meanwhile, the triple Station Cash sales continue because, of course, they have trained us to hold out for that.
- SOEmote. Science experiments are cool and all, but SOE is starting to accumulate a few too many such things in its basement. Voice control, Station Launcher, will SOEmote join these on the scrap heap eventually?
- EverQuest Online Adventures fell by the wayside.
- Didn’t SOE already have a sandbox-like game in SWG? The word is that Lucas was behind NGE and the closure, but SOE still has blood on its hands.
- The EverQuest time locked progression servers seem to be dying from neglect, which is ironic because every player on those servers is a subscriber. That is a requirement. So I guess we see where a server full of subscribers ranks in the free to play world?
- No major player revolt provoking crises. There is always some drama and things to piss off players, like the inventory changes. But there was nothing that came anywhere close to the uproar when flying in space was set aside in favor of space Barbies with the Incarna expansion.
- Really some cool new features in this year’s EVE expansions.
- A year in null sec was a whole new experience for me.
- With no crisis to rise to, the EVE Online CSM went back to being just a marketing tool. I can see no tangible benefit to players from CSM7. Roll on galactic student council.
- DUST 514? Have you heard of it? Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you while you were playing PlanetSide 2.
- So, yeah, null sec. The wars are over. What now?
- WoW still has more players than any other subscription MMO you play… not that there are many of those left.
- WoW remains immensely profitable.
- Mists of Pandaria shipped, putting WoW back over the 10 million players mark.
- Diablo III shipped at last, and sold a lot of boxes, both real and virtual.
- Pretty much done with WoW for now.
- No StarCraft II expansion yet.
- Diablo III shipped about five years too late.
- Customer support dickishness around the ability to shut off future payments when you signed up for the Annual Pass. You can be a dick about many things, but when you start refusing to stop billing credit cards, you have crossed a line.
- The Blizz obsession with hacks and cheating turned Diablo III into an “always online” experience that lead to the Error 37 fiasco and much complaining about things like server downtime and patch days.
- The Diablo III auction house, a clear reaction to the illicit RMT that happened in Diablo II and WoW, managed to kill off the “item hunt” part of the game for some.
- The level based difficulty of Diablo III meant having to play through the whole game in normal mode just to ramp up some challenge. Some people will be happy to play through the game four times with each character. I am not one of those people.
- Stark failure to plan for more content once Diablo III was played out.
- Titan? Hello?
- Rift continued to evolve and add features to keep players active.
- Rift launched an expansion, the classic “next move” for a successful MMORPG, that added more content, new styles of quests, and player housing.
- Trion managed to keep to the subscription model for Rift, thus avoiding the ruination of immersion that cash shops inevitably bring.
- The instance group made it through all the pre-expansion instances in Rift.
- I managed to get a level 50 character of each of the four classes before the Storm Legion expansion launched.
- Declining subscriptions, soft server merges, lots of “WoW did it first” additions. They have spun the server merges as a “good” thing and have gotten all of the servers into clusters for warfronts and the like. But less people means less subscription money.
- Layoffs. Not sure yet what this impacts, but it clearly isn’t a sign of sunshine and lollipops.
RiseEnd of Nations seems doomed. But I couldn’t play it in any case as it refused to run because I have my default text scaled to 120% in Windows, or so said the error message, and I am not going to reset that every time I want to play a game.
- Cash shop interface is already in Rift, foretelling a transition to eyesore mounts and ugly cosmetic gear… though, honestly, I am not sure I could tell the difference in Rift.
World of Tanks
- The physics revamp was a huge improvement for the game in my opinion. Power slide that TD down a hill!
- Free to play that can actually be free without being oppressive.
- Made gold ammo available for standard credits.
- Got bit by that NA/EU divide.
- In the end, it is just a shooter dressed up in vehicles. I will get bored of the same maps and the same tactics in every game sooner or later.
- Lots of big sales.
- Still a reasonable way to buy games and keep them updated.
- Has basically trained me never to buy a game until it is at least 50% off of list price.
- Even with heavy discounts, I have pretty much stopped buying because I don’t really need any more games.
- I need to delete some of the games I have on my system because there are too many updates downloading.
- Came home to find the internet down, which meant I could not play any of my games on Steam once I booted up my computer.
- I still don’t see why anybody would buy or download an MMO from Steam. I don’t want to log in and start Steam just to turn around and log in and start the MMO, which will then patch itself.
- GuildWars 2 shipped at last.
- Torchlight II shipped at last! And it is pretty good.
- Star Wars: The Old Republic actually has an expansion planned.
- Kickstarter seems to be getting people excited about games.
- As is typical, the Guild Wars 2 fanboys remain pretty much blind to any faults.
- Torchlight II still isn’t Diablo II. But expecting that it would be was probably too much.
- SWTOR basically slammed the door on the subscription model’s dick, while introducing some new noxious ways to implement free to play.
- City of Heroes gets the axe based on opportunity cost. It was making money, just not enough money.
- Glitch fails to get the quirky/greedy balance right, has to close. I never played it, but I hope something was learned.
- Most Kickstarter projects don’t make their funding goal, and apparently most that do make it find that they have underestimated the money they really needed or the time it was going to take to get the project done. Sometimes things are delayed because the funding went way past the goal and the developer decided to add in all sorts of new things, as with Steve Jackson Games and their Ultimate Edition of O.G.R.E., but that seems to be the exception. Of the six projects I have backed, two failed to meet goal while three of the other four are way behind schedule. (Go Defense Grid team!) I am not saying that Kickstarter is a bad thing, but you have to go in with your eyes open. It is less Wall Street and more “The Producers” than you might expect.
- Streaming. I completely fail to get that whole fad. Why would I want to sit in front of my computer just to watch somebody else play a game? And really, most of us aren’t as witty and amusing as we think we are. I’ll just actually PLAY a game, thank you.
Well, that was all I could come up with. But sitting at the end of the year looking back, I am sure I missed or forgot some key items.
What else should be on the list of highs and lows for 2012?
Blizzard Relents, Lets Me Cancel WoW Early October 22, 2012Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, entertainment, World of Warcraft.
Tags: Annual Pass, Customer Service
Not that they bothered to mention this change of heart to me directly or anything.
Previously I mentioned how serious Blizz seemed to be about keeping their Annual Pass subscribers from cancelling their accounts, even those who had already paid in full months before. Like me.
Then there was the customer support run-around, where official representatives of Blizzard repeatedly told me that they were not in anyway refusing a request to cease charging my credit card, while clearly and unambiguously refusing to cease charging my credit card. Sometimes in the very same run-on sentence.
This mattered to me because I happened to have a very short window of time between when the annual pass would expire and when the subscription would renew and my credit card would be charged again.
The only assurance I received was that if I somehow got charged, I could contact them for a refund.
Of course, when a group of people who have no power and/or inclination to deviate from company policy tell you that they will happily violate the stated policy of the organization at some later date (Blizzard explicitly says “No Refunds” in its billing FAQ), I do not think one can be blamed for any skepticism that might result.
All of this was enough that Green Armadillo wrote a public service announcement over at his blog on the subject.
And that was pretty much the state of things a little over a month and a half ago.
Something must have changed since then.
I went to check my WoW account yesterday, just to make sure that the times and dates hadn’t altered for whatever reason. Everything seemed about the same.
However, the cancel button was no longer grayed out. So I clicked it. And I was brought to the standard “OMG, is there something we can do?” set of options that indicates that you are trying to do that thing that Blizz hates; cancelling your subscription.
Of course, they want to assure you that if anything is wrong that you can call customer service. I won’t discount their ability to fix some problems, despite my recent experience, but they cannot fix my problem. The second option in their survey summed it up about right.
The game used to be fun, but isn’t as fun anymore.
That about pegs it.
Then there was a further list.
Account compromise came up again. That seems to worry Blizz. In fact, that looks like a pretty good list of WoW problems, which is what you would expect the customer service group to generate. The closest item I could find to my own reason was simply running out of things to do.
That is not really true. There were always plenty of things to do, I just felt no joy in doing them. But you have to pick something, and that was pretty close.
Of course, it carries on, looking for more details. I like this second list, because it reflects some of the deeper reasons that Blizzard realizes people quit over. This list seems to focus a lot on changes to the game around class, talent trees, and equipment.
WoW competitors like Trion would do well to understand this list that Blizzard created. Don’t be doing things like Patch 1.11 very often, as it appears to drive people from your game.
I chose the second item about the direction development. A lot of people are happy with the game, but my own desires no long seem to be on the agenda. Such is life when you fall outside of the first standard deviation of the bell curve. And that was about it.
They did want to know how likely I was to come back. I won’t say never, but right now there are a lot of other games I would play before I went back to WoW.
Then there was a request to be able to contact me about future changes to the game. I said okay to that.
And, finally, I was give a 255 character window in which to add any additional comments. I decided not to waste it on a quip like “Contact me? Like you contacted me about changes to your Annual Pass cancellation policy?” Instead I pointed at SOE and their attempts to farm nostalgia with the progression servers and asked why they couldn’t do the same.
So, my comment was probably still wasted, but not in an angry way. I doubt Blizzard will ever formally do anything like a classic server. Going backwards is not a Blizzard trait.
One more button and I was done.
Subscribed no more. The account will run out Tuesday morning and that will be it for now.
Feel free to speculate in the comments about how likely I am to return.
In the mean time, I still have my daughter’s account to cancel. Due to bad alignment, it still has another 1 month billing cycle to charge before the annual commitment is paid off.
The Nostalgic Call of the Emerald Dream October 8, 2012Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, entertainment, World of Warcraft.
Tags: Emerald Dream, Nostalgia, Not Without Ethical Questions, Private Servers
Nostalgia is such a powerful factor that I am surprised more companies do not cash in on it. And it isn’t just a small scale, eBay sort of thing, though heaven knows that nostalgia keeps eBay humming. VW introduced a rounded version of the Golf, slapped the Beetle name on it and, hey pretso, money. BMW revived the Mini as its own car line and shows no signs of faltering.
And likewise, in video games, the industry is now old enough (and things have now changed enough) for people to be nostalgic for older games. Thus we get iOS apps done in 8-bit art styles, while the big successes on Kickstarter are pushes to remake classics like Wasteland. And then there is Wizardry Online.
And in MMOs, some companies have picked up the power of nostalgia.
Five years ago, when EverQuest had turned eight years old, SOE introduced the idea of a “progression server” that would start with classic content and then unlock expansions as the content was mastered. While for some the whole thing went by too quickly… make something look like a race and people will go their fastest to be “first”… it was successful enough that SOE rolled out the same idea again with the Fippy Darkpaw server, adding in minimum time and voting components to slow things down a bit. SOE currently owns the MMO nostalgia crown.
And, as we stand here in 2012, another popular MMO is just about 8 years old and has been changed drastically by expansions, leaving a gulf between those of us who enjoyed the old but are not enthusiastic about the new.
I speak, of course, about World of Warcraft. More after the cut…