Blizzard, You Rushed Battle for Azeroth

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Blizzard:

You rushed Battle for Azeroth. You’ve been rushing it since you announced it at BlizzCon in November.

The breadth and depth of the systems changes in this pre-patch were ambitious. As I consider the changes in the pre-patch, it seems this was the largest set of systems changes ever made to the game at one time. I understand that Cataclysm’s Launch re-worked the old world and re-worked all the quest lines in the old kingdoms. But this pre-patch was larger, I believe.

Systems changed in the pre-patch:
Class and Spec Changes for all Classes and Specs
Stat Squish for all Players, NPC’s, Items and Spells in the game
Loot changes for current and legacy encounters
Artifact Weapon removal
Rework of all quest lines requiring a number of Artifact Traits
Professions
Removal of First Aid as a Profession but not quests that require First Aid items
Removal of PvP Servers / Addition of War Mode
Conversion of Prestige System to the Honor System
Making Honor Gains Account Wide
New Guild Interface
Introduction of Communities in game
Introduction of New Achievements and Rewards
Removal of Full Screen (For . . . Reasons)
New User Interface
Pet Charm Currency Changes
I’m sure I missed some of the changes

Most of these changes had serious issues at pre-patch. Many of these changes still have issues, a week later.

Legion’s content rollout was amazing – one of your biggest successes. To have content rolling out on a consistent basis was probably a big boost to your confidence regarding how quickly, efficiently and effectively you can roll out new content. I think you have that down pat and look forward to the content roll out of Battle for Azeroth. Unfortunately, pre-patch is not a content update, it’s a systems update.

I imagine there should be a NASA like “Go / No Go” meeting before every major step in the launch process. And every group touching the launch should give a “Go” or “No Go” to move forward with the current launch time line. If you are having those types of meetings, then they failed you this time around. I feel like Ragnaros should have been somewhere saying, “Too Soon!” All the random Pandaren you interact with should be saying, “Slow Down!”

I thought that the Battle for Azeroth announcement at BlizzCon was very light compared to the Legion announcement at GamesCon and especially the presentation at the subsequent Blizzcon. I thought at the time, the earliest launch could happen were the Fall, if Beta started right after Blizzcon. Alpha did not start until January and Beta did not start until April. I believe all of your other Betas started at least 6 months before launch. Legion was announced at GamesCon, presented at Blizzcon, had Alpha released right after Blizzcon, Beta by the first of the year and released in September. Battle for Azeroth’s launch timeline was super compressed. And yeah, you have more people working on the game than ever before but this is also the largest set of systems changes ever made to the game.

With the number of systems changed, some bugs were to be expected, but the large number of prominent bugs in the major systems should have kept this pre-patch from being delivered. It seems many of the major systems were not even fully tested or evaluated. Specifically, the tuning of Legion Dungeons and Raids, the tuning of Mount Dropping Legacy Raids, the Profession Levelling changes, and the new Guild Interface stand out as major failings. There are probably others. I’m sure you’re working on fixing them and I’m sure you’ll eventually get them all fixed. This too, shall pass. And you’ll get back to developing the next content to be rolled out and the next expansions. We may not see this amount of systems changes to the game ever again. We will likely see a stat squish in the expansion after the next expansion (2022) along with other systems changes and class and spec redesigns. Please learn from this and use these lessons for all subsequent pre-patches.

Give yourself enough time. Plan for a long tail to the expansion. Embrace a long tail to the expansion. Give players something new to do in the tail of the expansion. Create crossover content in other games with in game WoW rewards (Primal Flamesaber, Graves, etc.). Introduce a new dungeon or raid (Ruby Sanctum). (Could the Silithis quest line have been a dungeon with replayability and sweet loot rather than a quest line?) Introduce a new brawl. (Could Seething Shore have a new Brawl associated with it?) Introduce a “Loremaster Buff” that gives you four times (or ten times) the experience in specific regions of the world (Eastern Kingdoms or Kalimdor, Outlands or Northrend, Cataclysm or Pandaria, Draenor or Broken Shore – not the whole world so people can choose to take advantage of or to not take advantage of the buff). These are just a few ideas. Don’t rush the pre-patch, again. Don’t rush the launch again. Don't make these mistakes again.

I’m counting on you and believe in you.

Neall on Medivh
Aren't you supposed to be spinning like one of those street performers with the dinner plates?
07/23/2018 05:56 PMPosted by Neall
Blizzard:

You rushed Battle for Azeroth. You’ve been rushing it since you announced it at BlizzCon in November.

The breadth and depth of the systems changes in this pre-patch were ambitious. As I consider the changes in the pre-patch, it seems this was the largest set of systems changes ever made to the game at one time. I understand that Cataclysm’s Launch re-worked the old world and re-worked all the quest lines in the old kingdoms. But this pre-patch was larger, I believe.

Systems changed in the pre-patch:
Class and Spec Changes for all Classes and Specs
Stat Squish for all Players, NPC’s, Items and Spells in the game
Loot changes for current and legacy encounters
Artifact Weapon removal
Rework of all quest lines requiring a number of Artifact Traits
Professions
Removal of First Aid as a Profession but not quests that require First Aid items
Removal of PvP Servers / Addition of War Mode
Conversion of Prestige System to the Honor System
Making Honor Gains Account Wide
New Guild Interface
Introduction of Communities in game
Introduction of New Achievements and Rewards
Removal of Full Screen (For . . . Reasons)
New User Interface
Pet Charm Currency Changes
I’m sure I missed some of the changes

Most of these changes had serious issues at pre-patch. Many of these changes still have issues, a week later.

Legion’s content rollout was amazing – one of your biggest successes. To have content rolling out on a consistent basis was probably a big boost to your confidence regarding how quickly, efficiently and effectively you can roll out new content. I think you have that down pat and look forward to the content roll out of Battle for Azeroth. Unfortunately, pre-patch is not a content update, it’s a systems update.

I imagine there should be a NASA like “Go / No Go” meeting before every major step in the launch process. And every group touching the launch should give a “Go” or “No Go” to move forward with the current launch time line. If you are having those types of meetings, then they failed you this time around. I feel like Ragnaros should have been somewhere saying, “Too Soon!” All the random Pandaren you interact with should be saying, “Slow Down!”

I thought that the Battle for Azeroth announcement at BlizzCon was very light compared to the Legion announcement at GamesCon and especially the presentation at the subsequent Blizzcon. I thought at the time, the earliest launch could happen were the Fall, if Beta started right after Blizzcon. Alpha did not start until January and Beta did not start until April. I believe all of your other Betas started at least 6 months before launch. Legion was announced at GamesCon, presented at Blizzcon, had Alpha released right after Blizzcon, Beta by the first of the year and released in September. Battle for Azeroth’s launch timeline was super compressed. And yeah, you have more people working on the game than ever before but this is also the largest set of systems changes ever made to the game.

With the number of systems changed, some bugs were to be expected, but the large number of prominent bugs in the major systems should have kept this pre-patch from being delivered. It seems many of the major systems were not even fully tested or evaluated. Specifically, the tuning of Legion Dungeons and Raids, the tuning of Mount Dropping Legacy Raids, the Profession Levelling changes, and the new Guild Interface stand out as major failings. There are probably others. I’m sure you’re working on fixing them and I’m sure you’ll eventually get them all fixed. This too, shall pass. And you’ll get back to developing the next content to be rolled out and the next expansions. We may not see this amount of systems changes to the game ever again. We will likely see a stat squish in the expansion after the next expansion (2020) along with other systems changes and class and spec redesigns. Please learn from this and use these lessons for all subsequent pre-patches.

Give yourself enough time. Plan for a long tail to the expansion. Embrace a long tail to the expansion. Give players something new to do in the tail of the expansion. Create crossover content in other games with in game WoW rewards (Primal Flamesaber, Graves, etc.). Introduce a new dungeon or raid (Ruby Sanctum). (Could the Silithis quest line have been a dungeon with replayability and sweet loot rather than a quest line?) Introduce a new brawl. (Could Seething Shore have a new Brawl associate with it?) Introduce a “Loremaster Buff” that gives you four times (or ten times) the experience in specific regions of the world (Eastern Kingdoms or Kalimdor, Outlands or Northrend, Cataclysm or Pandaria, Draenor or Broken Shore – not the whole world so people can choose to take advantage of or to not take advantage of the buff). These are just a few ideas. Don’t rush the pre-patch, again. Don’t rush the launch again. Don't make these mistakes again.

I’m counting on you and believe in you.

Neall on Medivh


Oh no no no
07/23/2018 05:59 PMPosted by Dliver
Aren't you supposed to be spinning like one of those street performers with the dinner plates?
Greens can disagree and are encouraged to. They just have to actually constructively post.
Although this happens most of the time during Pre-Patch. It doesn't mean it's acceptable.

Although I do NOT think BFA itself is rushed. I do believe the Pre-Patch was.
I expect more than doom and gloom and pessimism from an MVP.

Prepatches always have bugs. Most things have already been smoothed and worked out.

Yes, there are problems, but to decry and entire expansion and prepatch as a mistake is below your station. Be better.
07/23/2018 05:56 PMPosted by Neall
I feel like Ragnaros should have been somewhere saying, “Too Soon!” All the random Pandaren you interact with should be saying, “Slow Down!”


The voices... they're stuck in my head for life.
Huge wall of text, wtb short version that will actually be read
07/23/2018 06:01 PMPosted by Vercalis
I expect more than doom and gloom and pessimism from an MVP.

Prepatches always have bugs. Most things have already been smoothed and worked out.

Yes, there are problems, but to decry and entire expansion and prepatch as a mistake is below your station. Be better.
They're not saying the whole thing is a mistake. They're saying Blizzard tried to roll out too much too quickly and a lot of it wasn't even properly tested.

Blizzard flew through their testing phase like a whirlwind, were overly ambitious, and there's now a lot of pretty severe bugs or rushed changes that affect everything from actually playing the game to how the game looks. More than we've seen in pre patch than the last few expansions.
Iunno. I felt like my class change this time was very small.

Maybe that's just how it is for disc priests though.
Believing that most of the developers have a great deal of say in when/how an expansion is launched is naive. The major shareholders, board members, and business leaders are the ones who make these types of calls in any publicly-traded company (unless, of course, the developers are also these same people!).

For reasons we do not know (and cannot know without insider knowledge), they estimated that the financial gain of releasing BFA at this time was higher than delaying it. They likely also estimated that any potential loss of subscribers due to early bugs would be either: A, temporary; B, not enough to cancel out the positive cash flow of releasing the expansion now.

So, while you can say, "Oh Blizzard, please take your time and release games later when they're perfect" all day long, that completely ignores the real and infinitely more pressing financial concerns of the company at large. The only way the company will change its policy is if, and only if, the drawbacks to releasing games "early" (in whoever's opinion that is) are more financially deleterious than any positives from releasing "early."

EDIT: By the way, I am an investment analyst and I have "retired" early due to my own investments, primarily in publicly-traded companies (and some land). Suffice to say, I understand how corporate governance functions, and if for some reason someone doubts the above---well, that person is wrong and clueless. Also, just for disclosure, I do own shares of Activision-Blizzard.
Damn good read with a lot of great points.

Love your enthusiasm for the game.
07/23/2018 06:02 PMPosted by Furrballs
Huge wall of text, wtb short version that will actually be read


BfA, and more specifically the prepatch, was rushed and didnt have enough content to justify the issues.

OP wants more end of expansion filler content and a slower dev cycle.
07/23/2018 06:01 PMPosted by Vercalis
I expect more than doom and gloom and pessimism from an MVP.

Prepatches always have bugs. Most things have already been smoothed and worked out.

Yes, there are problems, but to decry and entire expansion and prepatch as a mistake is below your station. Be better.


It only alpha
It only beta
It only pre patch
It only live
It only first patch
It only second patch
It only third patch
It only Final patch

Repeat...
07/23/2018 05:59 PMPosted by Dliver
Aren't you supposed to be spinning like one of those street performers with the dinner plates?

not everyone is a zombie and has opinions.. what a shocker huh?

old content blows my mind here (aside from the facts on slow leveling) feedback was ACTUALLY given and they just ignored it.

also the lack of current content quick fixes despite being on farm for months now, it's a now a progression thing due to how things are really unexpected and bugs can happen (another sign of no testing or ignoring feedback)

it's unacceptable, I don't give two rats about trolls using the "entitled" word constantly, if they accept this it's on them.. not me.

the scaling went really wrong, from doing millions to hit 9-12k top was absolute bad.. sure I can understand big numbers can get ridiculous but was going back to wotlk end damage wise to go back? we're going back to cata-mop levels damage wise again.. and the cycle repeats.
07/23/2018 06:02 PMPosted by Azerite
The voices... they're stuck in my head for life.

LIFE IS TO BE SAVORED

PANDAREN NEVER GOING AWAY
07/23/2018 05:56 PMPosted by Neall
I feel like Ragnaros should have been somewhere saying, “Too Soon!” All the random Pandaren you interact with should be saying, “Slow Down!”


The voices... they're stuck in my head for life.

07/23/2018 06:01 PMPosted by Vercalis
Yes, there are problems, but to decry and entire expansion and prepatch as a mistake is below your station. Be better.


Also, honestly this. Pre-patch was buggy. Yes. It's having some issues. The game is generally playable still though, and things are getting fixed quickly.

I wouldn't ever expect everything to be fixed the second it's discovered, and there's still about three weeks until the official launch of the expansion, plenty of time to continue fixing anything that could still be wrong - and in the end that is a tiny drop in the bucket of time that is WoW.

A few weeks of a few issues that eventually gets fixed is honestly not a giant huge problem.

Edit: I swear I hit the edit button on my first post, not reply. Whatever.
I've honestly felt the pace they've been pushing content was unrealistic going forward. While I enjoy continuous content it also needs to be quality. I don't mind waiting s month or two longer for as polished product. I think every beta tester spoke that it wasn't ready. Let's hope managers insisting faster content don't sink the ship.
07/23/2018 06:03 PMPosted by Snowfox
Maybe that's just how it is for disc priests though.

Well disc was spoiled in beta, which is kind of fair because Legion 7.0 wasn't kind to the spec. But disc isn't representative of most classes.

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