Four Intelligent Critiques Of Blizzard

It’s a valuable role for the blogosphere surrounding any subject, from politics to MMOs – to speak truth to power. And today, some of the best-known thinkers in the MMOsphere are giving intelligent, constructive, and accurate critique to Blizzard.

Of course, Blizzard get a lot of things right – as WoW and Diablo 3’s massive popularity show. But that’s not to say there aren’t some things they could be doing better:

  • Anne Stickney at WoW Insider tackles the problem of female characters in WoW, and doesn’t pull her punches as she demonstrates how few independent, interesting characters are currently active in WoW lore“it’s not that women don’t exist in the Warcraft universe — they’re all over the place, honestly. It’s that there is only a handful worth of them that have enough character development and story to warrant dedicating a column to them.”
  • Bravetank didn’t intend her post to be a critique, I think, but her description of the ennui she’s feeling at max level is both interesting and telling“So what should I do then? Just grit my teeth & get on with it? But I can’t!!! (I’m saying this in the whiniest tone imaginable by the way.) Surely gritting my teeth is not what this game is about? Surely that’s not what I pay good money for?”
  • Chris at Game By Night writes in passionate opposition to Blizzard’s (since repealed) 72-hour quarantine for new Diablo players“It is morally dubious for a company to take your money for a full product — as the $60 price point would imply — and then give you something less and limited. “
  • And Kurn writes a really interesting, thoughtful post looking at the ways in which the WoW playerbase is not given access to good information on how to play their game“Our poor mage friend, whose sad, sad armory started this two-thousand word post, might not be such a tragic, ignorant soul, if only Blizzard had bothered to tell him that he doesn’t need spirit. Yet, they don’t tell him that. They don’t even tell him he needs hit rating (although the hit chance/miss chance table is certainly a step in the right direction).”

AS a guide writer, I couldn’t agree more with Kurn. The fact that our guides are so popular is a testament to just how much of WoW’s basic system of mechanics isn’t clearly explained. Indeed, the commentary on our paladin tank caps article alone – where many, many players thank us profusely for explaining how a vital part of the game works – makes me wonder why Blizzard want WoW’s basic mechanics to be so obfuscated.

Do you think these criticisms of Blizzard are fair?

Read more →

WoW LGBT Pride, EULAs and Personal Stories

And finally for the week, a selection of interesting posts that didn’t fit into the main day’s topics!

  • The Lorehound brings news of an LGBT/Gay Pride event happening on the WoW Proudmoore server tomorrow Saturday June 16th – very cool.
  • Doone at T.R. Redskies looks at the several lawsuits Blizzard are facing over Diablo 3’s online problems, and asks if Blizzard have really gone too far this time“Games isn’t going to be the industry that reverses history on DRM. It will simply crash and burn on it like the others did while we, the gamers, get crap products and poor service. And as is the case with Diablo 3, we may not even get that.”
  • Vrykerion has a simple, pictorial response to anyone saying that SWTOR needs its outfits to look more like classic Star Wars“Yea. Operation after operation to get what amounts to roughly the same outfit over and over with varying shades of brown or black.”
  • And Dulfy writes a lengthy piece with a lot of useful info on the difference in storytelling styles between SWTOR and Guild Wars 2’s “Personal Stories”“GW2’s story is not exactly predefined. All the characters get a chance to fight the main antagonist at the end but how you arrive at that is molded by the choices you made at character creation and the choices you make later on as you journey further into the story. Put it another way, you can take two human Mesmers and there is a good chance that they each have a totally different personal story. “

See you all next week, and enjoy!

Enjoyed today’s posts? Please consider sharing them with others!

Read more →

DRM, Writing, and a clue toward MoP’s release?

Some fascinating links have come down the wire today – including a hint of MoP’s release date! Read on…

  • Tales of the Rampant Coyote looks at restrictive DRM in light of not just Diablo 3, but all the titles that have released with it – and asks is it really worth the hassle and unintended consequences?“But I’m a retro-gamer, and I still dust off older games and play them from time to time. Every time I do, I think, “If these games had modern DRM protections on them, I could not do this. This game would be completely lost to me, and lost to history.””
  • Talking of unintended consequences – Redbeard at Parallel Context wonders if Blizzard’s million-player beta will result in burnout on Mists of Pandaria before the expansion even comes out“Think about it: people will have effectively been playing MoP since April 2012. Those of us not in the beta won’t get to try it out for several months (or later); while MoP will be fresh for us, it’ll be old hat for the testers.”
  • And talking of MoP – The Godmother, at ALT:Ernative, has been following the beta closely – and she thinks we have a solid clue when the expansion will release“As was pointed out on the World of Warcraft sub-Reddit, Brewfest begins September 20th. These items are clearly Pandaran ready. This could be a fairly decent indicator therefore that we’ll get the Expansion before this holiday hits, which is likely to mean once the dust settles on New Tristram we can expect some fairly major movement on the stuff we’ve not yet seen. “
  • And finally, not talking of World PvP at all – the Grumpy Elf thinks that WoW needs World PvP back, and has been thinking about how to achieve that“For the high military in major cities offer some sort of reward. Do not make the bodies need to be looted, just make it so when it is killed the gold goes directly into your bag so to speak. Perhaps have it based off the number of people used in the group. “

Have a great weekend!

Read more →