Monday, October 24, 2011

#Blizzcon - Initial Thoughts

Yep, I'll jump on the bandwagon here and give my thoughts. Why not? I will offer one disclaimer: since I neither attended Blizzcon nor have access to the official sites at work (where I'm writing this), I'm depending on secondhand sources for my information. If it's wrong, feel free to tell me about it in email. I'll likely be delighted to know better.  That being said, here we go.

On the Annual Pass
As I understand it, you get perks for paying for a full year of WoW.  One of those perks is a free Diablo 3 copy.  I've heard some call this "desperation."  I don't agree.  I see it as rewarding loyal customers.  I didn't plan to play Diablo 3 (I've never been into the Diablo series), but I probably will now.  And maybe I'll fall in love with the series and play future/past iterations.  Sounds like a win-win.  Plus it gives you more value for your money.  Always a good decision.

On PvE Arenas
I'm sorry.  I mean challenge dungeons and scenarios.  I already wished for this here.  My big desire is to have something that can be completed in a half hour to progress bit by bit.  Dungeon length is to variable to be enjoyable.  I want to be able to sit down with a half hour of play time and accomplish something that can help me in my casual raiding.  It seems Blizz has heard this cry.  Awesome.  Maybe they read me. :-P

On the Talent Re-revamp
Didn't we just do this?  Oh, you want a do-over, Blizz.  I get it.  Ah, hell.  Go for it.  I hear you're going to do some funny shit to warlocks.  Like making soul shards interesting (where have we heard that before).  Best of luck.  I won't say I'm overly excited.  What's to say you don't botch it again?  Still, if you get it right, it should be pretty cool.  I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt here, Blizz.  Just don't hang yourself with the rope.

Want a good look at the proposed Warlock changes?  Check out Poneria here.  I'll reserve judgement until we actually get closer.  Also, there's apparently a talent calculator already.  I'm somewhat impressed that they have this much of the next expansions already developed. 

On Pandas
I wonder how silly they'll look.  If done well... could be fun.  I love the idea of a race where you get to choose which faction to join.  People are sort of throwing the baby out with the bathwater here when it comes to Pandaria.  There are a lot of good ideas tied up in this cute and cuddly proposal.  Monk class?  Yes, please.  I don't see how pandas are any worse/better than space goats, and we got used to those.  Or at least I did. 

On Pokemon, WoW Edition
The Pokemon games remain insanely popular among some circles.  This is just another example of Blizz taking the good parts of other games and making it their own.  It's not really for me, and I'll probably never get into it... but why not?  I'm sure there will be some hardcore collectors out there.  The only issue I see: what happens during orphan week?  Orphan Thunderdome?  Or if you have two chickens?  Are we really talking Blizz sanctioned cock fights?  There's some awkwardness here, though I don't have an issue with the idea.

In something completely unrelated (and non-WoW), but I feel I want to pass on, here is a pretty controversial subject that John Patricelli (BBB) wrote about recently.  Incidentally, I'm in exactly the same position as he is.  I'm a church-going Catholic Christian.  That's my label.  But that label does not adequately reflect my beliefs.  John does a better job of that.  Just sayin'.  View at your own peril, but I thought it worth passing on.  Sometimes we all need to take a deep breath and look at the bigger picture, which is what John has always been great at doing; putting it in perspective.

But enough about that.  Enjoy your Panda Party.  I'll hold my e-tongue until some more of these details get solidified.  For now, these are my thoughts.


  1. I suspect that the humanoid vanity pets will not be eligible for battle, like they are already unusable with the pet leash. As hilarious as it would be to pit a gruntling and a squire against each other...

  2. On the Annual Pass: I think this is a business/revenue decision. I doubt Panda will be out before the end of the summer. That will make for a long dull summer where a lot of player will pull their subscriptions and wait for the x-pac. So Blizz did a marketing play buy including a pile of goodies if you sign up for a year now.

    On PvE Arenas: seems like a good idea. Now if they would only read your comments and do the PvP scenarios. =) /BreaksArmPattingSelfOnBack

    On the Talent Re-revamp: not sure but I do know I'm not all that thrilled with the 31 point lock out of other talents. Hybrids were fun to play but they effectively removed this choice. Shockadins were a blast! I'd sure like to see the option of these sorts of hybrids again. I usually play healers. I'd like to fool around with customizing them so that they can fight. Sacrifice some healing throughput for some damage.

    On Pandas: I can't wait to kill me some panda!

    On Pokemon, WoW Edition: meh. I can only guess that they looked at the age demographics of the player base and decided this was a good idea.

    I will roll a monk. A panda monk? Probably not. I usually play healers so I'll give it a try.

  3. Yep... not all that far off my own thoughts. I may give a panda a try. /shrug.

  4. One thing I hope they address is the number of character slots. Right now you get 10 slots on 5 servers for a total of 50. I'm an altoholic and on my main's server I have one of each class so I've used all my slots. The only way I'll be able to roll a monk is if one of them either gets deleted or transferred. I'd rather not do either of those.
    One thing I did read that Blizz was considering was keeping the 50 toon cap but removing the number you can keep on one server. That would work fine for me. It would even let me return some of back-burner projects to my main's server and thus the guild.
    The only problem I see with this is that popular servers will get overloaded.

  5. Never believe that a company is giving you something just because you were a loyal customer. They are in the business to make money plain and simple. The marketing ploys (buy one get one free) aren't done to lose money and this offer is no exception.

    Trust me they ran the numbers and projections and think giving away a few things will actually result in MORE income then not doing it. So my guess is Mop 5.0 won't be out till October and getting 4-5 months of subscriptions means more to the bottom line then a free copy of D3.

  6. @TKC - A valid point. One I don't have to worry about because I have only perhaps 10 toons scattered across random servers. Only 4 on my main server.

    @Good - Well, I never believe it's that simple. But I also believe it is often more complex than a numbers game too. In this case, I think the choice was two-fold. First, by giving away D3 free, they're getting more exposure for that game. If more people are hooked, then there's more revenue potential there for microtransactions and back titles.

    Second, it provides a conveniently stable flow of income while at the same time giving them press exposure. Even more than that, it gives them something to say if folks complain about stuff not coming out quick enough (go play your free D3). So, from this angle, it's also a strategic PR move.

    I certainly think they believe it's to their benefit, but I don't always believe that means it's NOT to our benefit as well. Sometimes, things can be a win-win. I've seen a lot of folks predicting that this is simply a mechanism to "take advantage" of us, and I just don't agree. Not everything has to have a nefarious purpose.

    I didn't really go into that depth in the article above, opting for the simpler route, so it's a great comment. I just wanted to share my deeper thoughts.

  7. Ever since Blizz stopped posting subscriber numbers in 2009 we can only guess at things. But they have their internal numbers. they know how long people play per month, how many toons they have, what subscription methods people use.

    They also know how long people stay away and what reason they gave for comming back. All of us are individuals but together we are data. This is how polling works.

    So as an individual we might kill DW in May and keep playing or we might have quit till MoP comes out. They have TBC and Wrath numbers to help them. So it comes down to statistics for them. Yes there is a gamble in that a player that was going to buy D3 AND always plays WOW is going to make out.

    But if their internal numbers showedd that this was the majority and not the exception they would never offer this deal. What complicates it is D3 costs us $60 but Blizz only makes a part of that (maybe half). So that gives them some leaway to make offers. And this is where it might be a win-win, but make no mistake there are losers which in this case are the other retailers of D3.

  8. Or Blizz could pull a page from Netflix, split up battlenet and charge you separately for each game account and raise the price while they are at it. Because that is just doing wonders for Netflix! /sarc

    I think I have about 20 toons spread across three realms.

  9. @Good - I didn't think of the retailers at all. Good point.

    @TKizzleCizzle - Ha. These are Netflix jokes. :-)

  10. Blizz took away from retailers with Cataclysm when they offered the digital download. I promptly canceled my Amazon order, when I knew I could start playing immediately at midnight with the digital download version. I already had the code on my PC, just needed to restart the client.

  11. @Elk - On the flip side, I like digital downloads, which pretty much take away from retailers no matter who the developer is. It's sad because it likely means the end of video game specialty stores (if everything goes digital), but it should provide a savings and send more money directly to the dev... which can mean more money to develop or cheaper prices. I'm of the mind that cutting out the middle man isn't really all that bad, though there are downsides.