Two Paths Forward – Blizzard Watch and Massively Overpowered

Just a week ago we were being hit with the official news that AOL was shutting down its “enthusiast sites” on the Joystiq domain, including Massively and WoW Insider.

But within hours of the farewell posts for both sites, plans were already in action by the form staff members of both sites to bring new versions of them to life.

The WoW Insider crew struck a lightning blow and had Blizzard Watch up and going almost right away, starting up the site with a subset of the original team while they firmed up recurring monthly financing via a Patreon campaign.  So far that campaign has passed the $13K mark and the site is coming together, though they have more work on that front.

The Massively side of the house has been more conservative.

MassivelyOverpoweredThey had a Twitter account and a podcast feed and a Google+ page and a Facebook page and a channel on Twitch up pretty quickly, but an actual web presence took a while longer.  And once they were up on the web, the presence was a placeholder for the future, not an immediate launch into coverage the way the Blizzard Watch crew went.

I am not the one doing the work or putting my neck out, but the web site and written coverage of the MMO genre is what Massively was about for me.  But I gather that they know their own demographic mix better than I, so perhaps a Twitch channel and a podcast were vital first steps.

Meanwhile, on the financing front, Massively Overpowered has decided to go with a Kickstarter campaign in order to build up a war chest to get the web site going.  They are going with a 28 day campaign that is looking to raise $50,000.  As it is explained as part of the Kickstarter pitch, they want to do this right.

To make Massively Overpowered both profitable and sustainable and replace the corporate infrastructure we’ve left behind, we need to do it the right way, all the way. We’ll be a company with legal and bookkeeping support. We’ll have a professional web designer and tech engineer. We’ll have scalable, high-traffic hosting that can handle the hit spikes you send our way. We’ll have an ad sales person who is actually a person and not an algorithm. We’ll have a website that doesn’t burn your eyes and widgets that actually work. And we’ll have writers who are actually paid what they deserve for their considerable efforts.

And there is certainly a logic to that and more of what is up on the Kickstarter page.  They want a sustainable funding plan, something that Patreaon might not deliver.  More than 2,500 people appear to be happy to kick in every month for Blizzard Watch today, but will they all be as enthusiastic six months or a year down the road.

Anyway, by the usual Wilhelm Kickstarter Tracking Metric(tm), the Massively Overpowered Kickstarter campaign looks like it will meet its goal handily having already come close to the halfway mark within the first few hours. (Watch on Kicktraq as things progress.)

So I guess I will have to keep reading for a month or more while Massively Overpowered gets their foundations set.  And, while I am not pitting one against the other, I will be interested to see how each site moves forward as things settle down and the day to day need to make money and pay bills becomes reality.

6 thoughts on “Two Paths Forward – Blizzard Watch and Massively Overpowered

  1. bhagpuss

    Thanks for the link. I pledged $25 and I think it will be the first time I’ve pledged for something and actually ended up paying, which is rather ironic considering that the thing I’m pledging for will be completely free anyway!

    I have missed Massively’s frequent updates in my Feedly every day since they stopped though so it only seems right to chip in.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Scree (@TheScree)

    I am a bit dubious as to the whole $50,000-necessary-to-launch-a-blog-platform cost. Not sure I see it. Not sure I see a need for a legal team when the site may or may not succeed. I don’t see a need for a web engineer either. All of those things are basing themselves on a successful re-launch. Are you telling me a blogging portal needs $50,000 to cover itself for an undefined period?

    I find the whole notion a bit shocking to be honest. I could have hacked together a web platform to get started within a few days for nothing. zero. I’m also positive they could have found a viable, talented web designer amongst their audience that could have lended his talents cheap to the cause.

    I guess the notion that a blogging site needs $50,000 AND ongoing donations AND advertisement revenues a bit crazy. It seems like they plan to pay their bloggers from day one. We have no idea if the Massively audience is coming for those specific writers, the genre coverage that they offered, or because it was within the wheelhouse of Joystiq to begin with. It seems an awful jump to assume that your site will be revenue generating enough to pay writers.

    What happens in a year from now when the nostalgia of Massively has faded and the gaming audience today that supports them has moved onto something else? Are they going to shutter the site because they can’t afford it? Are they just going to stop paying their bloggers?

    I guess this comment came off as far more pessimistic and cynical then I had intended…. but I guess thats why I named my own blog the Cynic Dialogues.

    Despite the above ramblings, I do wish them the best. I am not, however, going to pay for commentary on MMOs that I can simply flick to other blogs for (and far more interesting comments imo for that matter).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lafe

    How do you know they weren’t profitable? Maybe they just weren’t profitable enough for AOL. Or maybe WoWinsider was profitable but the rest of joystiq wasn’t. Regardless, given the benign (or recently not so benign) neglect that AOL has been giving the Joystiq umbrella site, who knows what the future will bring.

    (As an example, As of it’s closing, WoWinsider still had “the latest info on Mists of Pandaria” as a banner since they had no permission to change it.)


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