On MMOs in General

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

One of the biggest challenges that exist for MMO games is the fact that your Box sales (copies of the game) will never make you as much money as would your monthly subscriptions.

Blizzard has overcome this problem by producing a record number of 14+ MILLION subscriptions to the game worldwide. At the average rate of $14.99 per month Blizzard is making $209,860,000 A MONTH. That’s revenue of approximately $2,518,320,000 every year. Two and a half BILLION dollars a year.

Blizzard is not hurting for money, and the costs on keeping servers stable and running (which they don’t do a very good job of) is sub $10 million a year.

So why is the game taking a turn for the worse? Why are the classes losing their distinctions and more of the “devoted” fans leaving the game and yet blizzard is turning a blind eye? It’s the money!

You see, when you make a $2.5B yearly gross revenue for doing basically nothing, you are disinclined to change the game in a way that would cause people to be either frustrated or confused. As only 5-10% of the game’s population actually cares about the way their class works and not just the numbers they put out, Blizzard is free to do whatever they want with their game as long as it maintains mass appeal and is easy enough for anyone to feel like they are a champion.

Add to these facts the idea that Blizzard is primed to release Diablo 3… they want you to stop playing. They want you to go and buy D3 and forget about your monthly recurring subscription for a while. Re-read that last sentence real quick: Blizzard wants you to stop playing WoW and buy Diablo 3. It means more money for them if you forget to cancel and let your recurring subscription run for 2 months without playing.

After all that is said and done, Starcraft 2 comes out… a release for which they want the exact same effect.

Then you have the second generation WoW… You see where this is going I hope.

This is the problem with a game studio that has other active franchises developing an MMORPG. They, the studio, do not want you to stop playing their other games because this leads to people in that company who have domain over the IP (intellectual property) leaving and forming their own company. This, in turn, removes potential revenue from the big studio. To justify keeping those people from going out and stealing all that money they have to keep them onboard to develop their franchise, and for THAT to happen, people MUST play those games.

I think Blizzard is screwing up their game on purpose. I think this is a marketing strategy designed to keep us all from walking out the door and leaving blizzard with a mere shell of a $2.5B/Year gross income.

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2 Responses to On MMOs in General

  1. Rochmoninoff says:

    Interesting conspiracy theory.

    But wise man say:
    Never attribute to malicious intent what can be explained by simple incompetence.

    I think that Blizzard, and by Blizzard I mean Ghostcrawler, have backed themselves into a corner from which there is no escape.

    Case in point:
    I play a rogue.
    Rogues rely on massive burst to survive because they are fragile.
    So after watching season 5, Blizzard decides burst is out of control and they must nerf rogues (and DKs, and Mages, and Hunters etc etc).
    This does bad things to any DPS class.
    But to a fragile class it’s game breaking.
    Much QQ when I ready Ghostcrawler’s long explainer on how 3.1 would not fix rogues:
    http://blue.mmo-champion.com/28/15673099518-hfbs-bleed-requirement-is-seriously-staying.html

    And not only is the game getting unmanagably complicated, but customer expectations keep rising.
    Suppose 1% of your player base is really really unhappy.
    If you’re running a typical MMO with 500K playing it. 1% is 5000 people.
    And only say 1% of those are going to find a way to get in your face and complain. Thats 50 people.
    Customer service can handle it!
    If you’re running WoW with 11M playing, 1% of 1% is 1,100 people. Over 1000 people chasing you around night and day making your life a living hell.

    You bet they’re going to make nice safe carebear choices. In effect we won’t let them do anything else.

  2. Surazc says:

    Rochmoninoff:

    Firstly, nice choice of name given the backing of your reply.

    Second: The thing that annoys me most about rogues is not the burst damage but the chain control. I don’t care if I get bursted down in PvP. If there’s 4 people shooting me, I expect to die quickly. The issue which frustrates me the most is when there is simply ONE person on me and I’m unable to play the game for 15 seconds.

    In my PVP setup I have just under 22K health and 620 resilience. My armor sits at 16K (~48% physical reduction) and a rogue can still kill me before I have a chance to act if they explode out of stealth.

    I understand that PVP balance issues will follow over into PvE and vice-versa… but stunlocking players is just a little bit silly.

    At least it WOULD be if it weren’t for the fact that rogues are so squishy. I think placing all the rogue goodies (Kidney Shot, Cheap Shot, Gouge, etc.) on the same DR, albeit a longer curve DR, would balance out the control mechanic nicely for the control issue.

    For your point on Blizzard’s choice for carebare choices:

    I am not forcing blizzard to make nice safe carebare choices. I would rather the company test a radical idea and revert back to the previous itteration of the game rather than have them not make what could potentially be a nice change simply out of fear.

    On this point: Why nerf a change if it’s too good? Why not just reverse the alteration and then gather community feedback? GC seems to make the point that the only option they have is the beat-to-death mechanic of the nerf-bat and we should all know that simply is NOT true.

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