A bizarre notion: What's Blizzard up to...?

General Discussion
A friend of mine messaged me in a huff a couple of hours ago to tell me that flying wouldn't make a comeback in 6.2... or, allegedly, ever again. we discussed the topic at length, along with several of the very perplexing design choices that Blizzard has implemented throughout WoD (Mostly involving Garrisons and the general lack of lvl 100 content, but I won't bore anyone with the details since they've been discussed to death many times over) Before he left to get to work, he ended the conversation with "I just can't believe all of this. It's almost as if they're TRYING to make WoW worse, or something."

I didn't have time to respond, but I thought about his words for some time. It's almost as if they're TRYING to make WoW worse, or something. It's almost as if they're TRYING to make WoW worse, or something. It's almost as if they're TRYING to make WoW worse, or something. Why was I so fixated on those words? That's when it hit me: what if it's not just an angry gamer's dramatic hyperbole? What if- and please, bear with me here- Blizzard is, in reality, TRYING to make WoW worse, or something?

I'm going to use flying as an example here, since that seems to be the hottest topic of debate at the moment. When Blizzard originally announced that flying would not be possible in WoD, the vocal opinion was mostly positive. Just think of all the things no flying could have brought to WoD- A return to world PVP! People interacting with one another throughout Draenor! Fun, cool areas to explore! It sounded too good to be true- and it seemed like it was, since Blizzard announced soon after these reactions that flying would, eventually, make its comeback within the expansion's lifetime. Many of the people who had previously expressed their excitement changed their opinion to one of disappointment.

It's been many months since then, and that attitude has shifted dramatically. The launch hype has died off entirely and people have recognized that the world is as barren as it's ever been, the exploration elements are lacking (everyone who wanted to find the treasures/rare mobs/etc has already found them) and- let's be honest here- with Battlegrounds, Raid Finders and isolated Garrisons, there was never any chance of player interaction in the world, let alone any chance of world PVP, EVER making its grand return. People have finally realized that there really isn't anything keeping Blizzard from re-implementing flying, and it is at THIS critical moment that they come out and say that they've changed their minds AGAIN. Leading to even more disappointment, as people here have seen today.

It's not a stretch to say that Blizzard is trying to disappoint their playerbase at this point, but why? Why would they keep doing this? Why, just after it was revealed that LITERALLY ONE MILLION SUBSCRIBERS PER MONTH, ON AVERAGE, HAVE CANCELLED THEIR SUBSCRIPTIONS IN 2015'S FIRST QUARTER, would Blizzard come out and declare, at Polygon of all places, that they were still consciously making design choices which would disappoint so many people? What could Blizzard possibly have to gain from driving people away from World of Warcraft?

Well... they may have a lot to gain, actually.

World of Warcraft is an enormous online game. Enormous online games require a LOT of time and effort simply to keep them working, and that doesn't even factor in the addition of new content. If WoW were to plummet in popularity, Blizzard would have the perfect excuse to shift the bulk of their developers to projects such as Overwatch, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm- projects which (with the possible exception of Overwatch) require MUCH less time, effort and money to keep running, and have a considerably larger potential profit margin. This presents a problem for them, however- WoW is something that can't be swept under the rug. So much has been poured into it that killing it off outright just isn't a possibility... but if people were to stop caring about WoW, what's to keep Blizzard from moving away from it?

Perhaps I'm just being paranoid. Perhaps Blizzard isn't out to destroy their own crown jewel for the sake of easier cash from cheaper games. One thing is clear though: This all makes a LOT more sense than "Blizzard sincerely thought that selfies and twitter integration would actually be enough for a full patch" because let's face it they'd have to be medically braindead for that to be the case.
With the simplified Diablo 3 on consoles (for now) and the rumors of Overwatch being developed for tablet support, would it be too much of a stretch to suggest that Blizzard is working their way towards pulling a Konami and moving entirely to the mobile market sometime later this decade?
illuminati
/tinfoil hat
+1

I personally think it will be brought back in an expansion or two, why?....Someone trying to save their job and/or to make a big infusion of cash.

There is an end game to this and it involves $$$ signs....at the customers expense.

No matter what side of the debate people fall, they all should be very cautious and skeptical about how this was handled. Next time it might be something they actually care about...
I have two theories for why they'd try to ruin our fun, one is crazy, the other is insane. I shall cheerfully share both, but keep in mind before you call the nice fellows in the white coats that I'm not serious about either. Okay, here goes:

1. They are trying to scatter WoW players to the four winds in hopes of picking us up later for a new MMO because nothing new they could come up with would draw in millions like WoW and they'd rather lose us for awhile to the competition than never have another chance at a mega-million player hit again.

2. The rich and powerful of the world have demanded an end to immersive MMOs because it's suc,king away their McSlave labor force and they want people back in the real world serving up McFrappe's for profit, not lost in WoW land having fun for $15 a month. So they've been told to make WoW more like real life: tedious, slow, with few choices, and unrewarding.

In reality though, I just think people in general are stupid and that's the real reason behind these decisions.
My theory: WoW is no longer their cash cow. They've realized they can create titles that require less resources to make and maintain, and that return greater profit. They're shifting the design in WoW to accommodate shrinking the team behind maintaining it.
I have to admit, just today I mentioned to my sister that it doesn't seem like Blizzard is putting its best effort into WoW anymore. And I'm what a lot of folks like to call "Fan Boy". I play the game and find ways to enjoy myself even when it's not optimal. I can't see why they've altered their vision for WoW, but it seems like that's definitely the case.

I didn't "grow up" with this game. I came to it as an adult. I've enjoyed my time in Azeroth, but it's not my whole world. I don't really play any other Blizzard games. I did Hearthstone for the mount and I tried out my free Diablo III when they gave it to me. Haven't done either since. If they think I'll remain a customer when WoW is gone, they're wrong.

I can't believe Blizzard would deliberately sabotage their biggest game in an attempt to get players to move on to other games. But I can believe they might put it on the back burner and slowly let it die.
05/22/2015 06:00 PMPosted by Scruffybones
1. They are trying to scatter WoW players to the four winds in hopes of picking us up later for a new MMO because nothing new they could come up with would draw in millions like WoW and they'd rather lose us for awhile to the competition than never have another chance at a mega-million player hit again.


If Titan's development hadn't fizzled out I would consider this as a possibility.

2. The rich and powerful of the world have demanded an end to immersive MMOs because it's suc,king away their McSlave labor force and they want people back in the real world serving up McFrappe's for profit, not lost in WoW land having fun for $15 a month. So they've been told to make WoW more like real life: tedious, slow, with few choices, and unrewarding.


WoW was always tedious, slow, and unrewarding. Perhaps even moreso than real life. But it also had a charm to it, and its community, that's been lost as the community grows further and further apart, until it's gotten to the point where the people left playing spend their days decorating their personal solitary confinement cells.

In reality though, I just think people in general are stupid and that's the real reason behind these decisions.


Contrary to popular opinion, there is a limit to human stupidity, and 6.1 went way past that limit.
Whatever the reason, the ship has sailed away now. WoW as we knew it, the greatest game ever, is dead.
05/22/2015 06:04 PMPosted by Snarfblat
My theory: WoW is no longer their cash cow. They've realized they can create titles that require less resources to make and maintain, and that return greater profit. They're shifting the design in WoW to accommodate shrinking the team behind maintaining it.


That's a pretty decent summary.
I don't think they are trying to make it worse... For the purpose of making it worse or failing. If they wanted to stop making wow, then they just would.

I do think they may be experimenting, trying to be as efficient as possible without completely crippling wow. Basically, eliminating flying saves art teams time. They can start work on the next expansion faster. Garrisons give a daily grind without using as much of the quest design team. They can start on the next expansion. Funneling pve into various raid difficulties means more people raid, so perhaps less other end game pve is needed. Pvp is about player battles, perhaps setting choices don't matter. Each of these design choices seem to be testing boundaries with the goal to efficiently produce more expansions at a higher rate, while maintaining a sizable player base.

Note: I do not agree with a number of decisions this expansion in regards to end game, but this is the most logical conclusion I could draw.
Yeah, they don't want to invest in mmo's anymore. Man, I hope they choke on their stupid little micro-transaction games. What a crummy way to treat the best gaming community that has ever existed. The WoW community has done free work for Blizzard for a decade, making machinima, comics, add-ons, videos and all that, promoting and enhancing the game. And this is the company's response.
05/22/2015 06:11 PMPosted by Soleia
I don't think they are trying to make it worse... For the purpose of making it worse or failing. If they wanted to stop making wow, then they just would.


If they did this people would stop supporting their games entirely. The goal is (allegedly) to get people to stop supporting WoW- just WoW.

To accomplish that, they would have to be a lot more subtle.
05/22/2015 06:04 PMPosted by Snarfblat
My theory: WoW is no longer their cash cow. They've realized they can create titles that require less resources to make and maintain, and that return greater profit. They're shifting the design in WoW to accommodate shrinking the team behind maintaining it.


There's probably some truth to it, but I suspect there's more to it than that.

Personally, I think the problems started with Mists of Pandaria. Not directly, mind you, but indirectly. Pandaria was *huge*. Filled to the brim and overflowing with things for players to see and do. And that expansion required an equally massive numbers of hours to create. It should have been an expansion utopia. However, the reception was generally mild. And sadly, there's no two ways about what follows that sort of set up when it comes to a business.

They (being the developers on WoW) banked big time on Mists of Pandaria, and that bet crashed and burned. Not horrifically, mind you, but bad enough. It failed to engage the number of players over the long term in the way they expected. The returns failed to justify the expense, in other words. And Warlords of Draenor is what you get when suits come in to clean up the mess. It's a stripped-down, paired-back, hollow mess of an expansion, replete with curtains intended to blind us to how minimalist it really is.

Except most of us have seen and been through legitimate expansions. We're not blinded by those curtains. We see right through them. So those 3 million subscribers WoD added turned right back around and walked out. And frankly, were it not for the Token, I'd be right there with them.

And that should be a cautionary tale of "sticking to your vision" when that vision is probably contrary to what you've established as your brand or, more specifically, to what your customers have to come to expect and remain customers to receive. Sort of like what the current WoW development team is doing now...
05/22/2015 06:12 PMPosted by Spinster
Yeah, they don't want to invest in mmo's anymore. Man, I hope they choke on their stupid little micro-transaction games.


I wonder if this is the cause of Project Titan's 'death', and the restructuring of many of its assets into Overwatch (as Blizzard themselves have said)

What a crummy way to treat the best gaming community that has ever existed. The WoW community has done free work for Blizzard for a decade, making machinima, comics, add-ons, videos and all that, promoting and enhancing the game.


Regardless of whether or not Blizzard really is up to some behind the scenes shenanigans, this part is certainly true.
Still here for now but I know with certainty if the next expac is at all similar to WOD, I wont be a "transient" player, I will be a former player and WOW is the only Blizzard game I play, if I leave, chances are very high that no matter what they release in 3 yrs, 5 yrs, 10 yrs etc, I wont be in it, I am getting to dang old to start anew.
The topic of this entire thread was discussed by my partner and I a month ago. I don't think this is a loony theory at all. This is what the era of microtransactions, prepurchasing and the simpletons who buy them is bringing-- game development focused on profit (that no longer requires great content)

Why develop a complex, highly engaging game that requires a lot of maintenance when you can develop a quick, somewhat finished game, hype it up to rake in pre-orders, and then sell the additional content required that should have been included in the first place?

Ofcourse, this is filled with my own personal thoughts (like pre-orders being the ultimate juicer within capitalist marketing strategies), but it is a logical observation.
I highly doubt Blizzard is trying to end a game that rakes in, at minimum, a hundred million bucks in subscriber fees alone (15 times 6.9 million).
Have you read their audited financial statements, particularly the comments and outlooks section. WOW hasn't been their only cash cow for awhile. At this point, if their capital costs to maintain the game at this level, without an expanding subscriber base, are high enough, it makes business sense to cut them/re-allocate them with confidence that there is a certain brand loyalty that will maintain a decent customer base regardless.

If the brand is stagnating (as in sub numbers remain predictably cyclical), they will want to invest in something with upward potential.

Or maybe i'm just nuts... i've been called worst.

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