Should Blizzard Listen to it’s playerbase?

Published May 26, 2016 by Apate

As with all articles the views written by me are my own opinions and do not necessarily share the views of other LoW admins.

 

Well let’s begin:

Today I ask a question,  should Blizzard listen to the vocal community and design their games around them, or have some communication with the community and design the games they want?  The reason for the question comes from the article below.

Back in the late Autumn of 2013 Blizzard held it’s Blizzcon event.  Everyone was all excited waiting for what would be announced as the next expansion and they announced Warlords of Draenor to fanfare.  OK it is Blizzcon so it is Blizzard fans there.  But the biggest roar of approval was when Blizzard announced there would be no dailies.  The biggest cheer, the biggest approval was that one announcement.

Now why did I pick on this one announcement.  Because from the start of MOP the most vocal of the WoW fan base was screaming for dailies to be removed.  Not just toned down but outright removed.  Players demanded, Blizzard gave the players what they think the players wanted. A more streamlined approach to get you into raids.  What happened, the players responded with displeasure.  The players got what they thought they wanted an experience in which they didn’t have dailies which forced them to go out and repeat the same stuff over and over. But then they realized they don’t.

Now let’s talk about raids.  What did the players seemingly want.  Like said in previous paragraph people wanted to be fast tracked into raids.  Which happened.  Then people logically disliked having to bench people so Blizzard for most difficulties issued a flex system.  Brilliant, actually this was one issue that didn’t really get complaints.  But like most stopped clocks they are right once (or twice if 12 hour clock) a day.  The players decided to take shots at what was in MoP Heroic and LFR for different reasons.

Firstly let’s look at LFR and what issues people had.  Some were saying they were “forced” into playing it when they didn’t want to.  So Blizzard listening to the vocal player base for WoD removed not only tier but also good trinkets.  But to balance it out made LFR super easy for most people.

Now many could argue that Blizzard could have just kept the difficulty level without the tier/trinkets but they miss out on one important issue.  Without LFR raid participation is exceedingly low number.  2% Entered Vanilla Nax. 1% Finished Sunwell, slightly more saw 10man normal Lich King.  Now like it or not Blizzard has investors who need to be pleased as well as the fans.  Those low numbers have investors asking designers why would you waste our money in making these instances?  So Blizzard made LFR, a que in style raiding level difficulty, which got more people entering and seeing raids.  The only other solution would have been make Arthas, Illidan, Archimonde, Kil’Jaeden, Kel’Thuzad etc open world bosses which in the end become zerg fests, laggy and essentially having their mechanics beaten by sheer numbers alone, that option just would not work.  In short LFR from a business stand point can not go away, the vocal player base demanded it to be “optional.”.  Blizz gave the vocal player base what they wanted and again it upset people.  LFR became a useless zerg fest with no rewards (Though legion is supposedly rectifying this)

Now onto the cutting edge part of the raiding scene.  Old 10/25m heroic vs 20 mythic.  Lets harken back to days of old.  Days where we were all in the lands of the south, sitting in the Vale.  Hearing about the exploits of Method,  Paragon and others.  Then when others went into heroic we found a major problem.  10 and 25 man raids were not even close to balanced in difficulty.  If anything 25 man was a lot more forgiving than 10 man.  Players called on Blizzard to fix this.  But in the grand scheme of things you can not balance two separate raid size.  So 14 months (not days or weeks) before the opening of Highmaul in Blizzcon 2013,  Blizzard announced to the world the Mythic difficulty.  A difficulty that was for cutting edge raiders, a difficulty with one set size (another thing certain players were vocal about.) so the fights can be tuned as close to perfect as possible.  To allow more intense mechanics without worrying if it would be too hard/easy for a certain raid size.

Yes guilds had to adapt. Some did others did not, but that is how things are, but there was enough time, over a year to plan and build up.  Blizzard heard the call and they responded.  Twenty was the size they chose because it was a nice medium of not too small or too large in their PoV and would allow 1 person of as many classes as possible.  A true level playing fields for anyone wanting to do the cutting edge difficulty.  Which is fair enough, highest difficulty.  Biggest compromises, biggest effort, biggest rewards.  Also Blizzard from the outset said it was not for everyone.

Now to world PVP and the no flying issue.  Ever since BC a vocal group have begged, pleaded and demanded the removal of flying.  Perhaps this was the biggest decision that split the community down the middle.  Those that wanted flying removed also wanted a world PVP environment.  What did the vocals get Ashran and no flying until 6.2.1.  Then outside of Ashran no real world PVP happened.  It seemed the vocals got what they thought they wanted.

Now this is NOT a view on the execution of the ideas.  Blizzard did make missteps but the ideas themselves and do have a lot of the blame on themselves.  But who else has a share of the blame?  You the vocal community from MoP, those that demanded LFR have lesser rewards and become super easy, you that wanted no dailies and fall straight into raids, you that didn’t like flying and wanted no one else to fly while you kept on the ground.  WoD was the expansion built up with your complaints in mind.  To those that complained then about all of the above and complained about how WoD turned out I guess I only have one thing to say. You thought you wanted it, but you didn’t.

~Apate

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