Mikes Rant – Does Blizzard Hate Their Fans?
Mike Sanders / 2 years ago
Mikes Rant 24
So, the dust is settling over Blizzcon 2018 and I think it’s fairly safe to say that based on the majority of the announcements, fans are not happy. I certainly know that on the whole, I’m not best pleased! That isn’t entirely unusual in most situations, but I don’t believe I’m the only one here who thinks that Blizzard has really let the fans down at this year’s event!
Don’t get me wrong, there are a few announcements I’m really looking forward. In terms of the event in its entirety though, I think their reputation has taken something of a big hit. Why? Well, it’s almost as if Blizzard just doesn’t want to make the fans happy anymore!
In order to vent some of my frustrations, let’s look at the trainwreck that was Blizzcon 2018 and see why I’m so riled up and where Blizzard went right and wrong!
For months leading up to the event, Blizzard made it very clear that we could expect some big news in terms of the Diablo franchise. For many, myself included, we assumed that this would mean the official announcement of Diablo 4 or, at the very least, some further details on the Diablo 2 Remaster. It has, after all, been quite some time since Diablo 3 released (overlooking the DLC) and as such, the timing seemed perfect for such an announcement.
We didn’t get it though! – Instead, we got the announcement of Diablo Immortal. An upcoming mobile game. A bloody mobile game!
Now, while the concept of Diablo on mobile devices isn’t terrible, you do not see masses of people clamouring for this to happen. If you were to give fans the choice, they’d pick either Diablo 4 or Diablo 2 remastered every day of the week. A new Diablo game is great, however, a new Diablo game on mobile devices is not! Particularly since more than a few people are making comparisons to a game that currently exists and that the ‘new’ Diablo game is merely a polished reskin.
Bait And Switch!
Teasing us for months about Diablo news only to announce a mobile release is pretty pathetic. It certainly went down like a lead balloon with those in attendance. Check out the video below. People actually booed when the announcement was made and their retort of ‘you have mobile devices right?’ only served to aggravate fans further. It came across as overly defensive as if the announcer knew it was a bad idea!
I call bait and switch on Blizzard here. They teased us about a new game and ultimately, they’re just delivering a mobile port of a (very likely) pre-existing game that no one was asking for in the first place! We eagerly await the confirmation that it will be free-to-play with masses of microtransactions!
World of Warcraft Classic is a mixed bag of news. Firstly, I’ll start with the positives, we know it’ll release in Summer 2019 and from the early access releases, the game does, so far, look really excellent. That is, however, where my positivity for this title ends. Although no specific announcement was made in terms of how it would be delivered, Blizzard did confirm that it would be ‘free’ to any WoW subscriber. In other words, anyone who plays the most recent iteration of the game and by proxy pays the current subscription price. This is a major and fundamental issue for me!
We have known that Blizzard was working on a WoW Classic game for just over a year now. Throughout that entire time though I have continually made one point. Namely, that it can be a huge success for Blizzard if they get the pricing system right.
The main reason I stopped playing World of Warcraft was that, for the monthly subscription price, I wasn’t seeing value for money any more. Particularly after they increased the cost to £9.99 a month. From every indication we have seen from Blizzcon, WoW classic is going to form a part of that standard £9.99 a month subscription. In other words, if you want to access it, you’re not going to get it at a lower rate or even, as per Guild Wars 2, at a standard one-off price!
Not Confirmed… But…
Now, there is every chance that this will not be the final system they implement. You never know, they might actually think about this for a second! If they don’t though and do bundle it as part of the current subscription, I can’t help but feel that this is a major error on Blizzard’s part.
As above, the whole reason most people left WoW was because of the price. Remember, at present WoW only has about a third of the subscribers it had at its peak! How on Earth are you going to lure people back to WoW Classic by maintaining that paywall? A paywall that led many to leave!
For £5.99 a month for sole access to WoW Classic, I probably would’ve signed up. For £39.99 as a one-off purchase price, again, I’d have probably done it. If it’s going to cost £9.99 a month though? Blizzard can whistle!
One Silver Lining
Of all the bad news that came out of Blizzcon 2018, there was one silver lining. Warcraft 3 Reforged was officially revealed! Yes, again, like WoW Classic we have known about this for over a year now, but to see further details on it was fantastic. So what did we learn?
Well, we do know that the lore has been retconned a little. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, this is where a pre-existing piece of a confirmed story is re-written generally to fall in line with changes that occurred since. Based on all the WoW expansion packs, this isn’t unusual and actually might make more than a little sense. You can, of course, take that as you will, but what we do also know is that the game will release at some point in 2019! Yep, it’s not that far away at all!
Better still, if you early order the game, it is available for what I consider to be a very reasonable price of £24.99. Of course, more expensive options are available, but only if you want some fancy skins.
While this is great news, how sad is it though that out of the entire event, these details on a 15+-year-old remaster was the best Blizzard had to offer the fans?
Blizzard – Why Do You Hate Us?
On the whole, I think Blizzcon 2018 was pretty bad. There was very little from the entire event that I felt did anything to enhance peoples opinion of the company. I mean, what did we get really? We got a Diablo game that no one wanted and the more than likely confirmation that WoW Classic will be set in their current subscription package! As above, the only thing that seemed showered in positivity was the Warcraft 3 remaster!
Put simply, if it wasn’t for the details on Warcraft 3 Reforged, I’d have considered the entire event a disaster! Both in terms of the announcements and the way Blizzard did it!
I bet, however, there are more than a few people out there who feel deeply betrayed by Blizzard here. Particularly those who spent money to either personally attend the event specifically for some big announcements or even those who spend their money on the virtual ticket.
It’s not all doom and gloom, but how did Blizzard go so wrong here? Is this just a sign that Blizzard is turning into EA in terms of how it treats it’s most loyal fans?
I suppose the real question is, if this is the best they had to offer, why do they hate us so much?…
Mikes Rant is an opinion piece and for the best part, it’s safe to assume that his opinion may not reflect that of eTeknix as a whole. We are, however, considering research into liability insurance for his mouth.
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