On MMOs in General

March 16, 2009

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.


A Quick Rant on PvP in WoW

March 15, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

A long time ago a video was made and posted on youtube that was just over 30 seconds long. It made a simplistic depiction of WoW PvP combat using the analogy of Rock, Paper, Scissors. If you haven’t seen it, you should… right now. Go watch.

Or watch it here:

The reference I make here is to the traditional mechanic of balancing something in a game. The reason that PvP is currently (in this author’s opinion) unenjoyable is that Rogues are capable of beating every class in the game without much effort at all (except for possibly other rogues or mages). I’ve heard people attempt to argue this point with me by saying, “Trinket out of the kidney shot and you’ll be fine.”

The truth is that you WON’T be fine because a smart rogue will just blind you and resume his rotation. You die and you didn’t once get to play your character.

I would like to make it clear that Blizzard has fucked up pretty bad with the DK changes for this patch. Not because there are a lot of class nerfs, or changes to skills that cause us to lose damage, or little things changing like the duration on diseases… no. Blizzard fucked up this patch because they forgot that Death Knights are a hero class.

In an earlier post I made a reference to Star Wars Galaxies and how Jedi were what a hero class is supposed to be: difficult to obtain and beyond the scope of balance. Death Knights are NOT that class. We have been homogenized down to work exactly the same as every other melee DPS class. We have had defining talents removed from our trees. We have been changed to such an extent that now there is no such thing as an Unholy DK tank (unless he has > 59% avoidance unbuffed) any more, and Blood is almost to the same state (a 30 second Last Stand w/ bonus healing on a 1 minute CD is too good to invalidate blood as a tanking spec).

If Blizzard doesn’t get their act straight in the next 4 months, I quit. I’m making that publically known right now. I will most likely change all my account info and sell, or give away, my account. This is utterly ridiculous.

-Surazc Out