Seeing all of the Heroes of the Storm tweets this morning sent my mind on an odd tangent.
I am sure there are a few, but not many that may remember this.
Good ole Dunkin Donuts. They were awesome. And I do stress the word “were”. You see way back when, you went to Dunkin’s for Donuts and Coffee. They had regular and decaf, you could also get tea, if you liked tea. But pretty much that was it. The coffee flowed continuously, pot after pot, if was never full long. Getting 2 Donuts and a Large coffee was almost a ritual for many in the morning. You did your routine everyday, and on weekends you might splurge and buy a dozen.
Ok, I am sure many are going, so what does this have to do with WoW.
A few years ago there was this upstart company called Starbucks, they sold coffee too, and other things, with fancy names, and soon, more and more places opened, more chains of stores offering coffee, and breakfast sandwiches, and lunch items, and frozen drinks, and flavored coffee’s. They tried to adapt. They started offering more variety, more choices. They stopped brewing pots of coffee, started brewing large containers to free up time for employees to do things faster, they started baking donuts off site and delivering them early in the morning, they let quality slip in an effort to compete with all of these upstarts. The coffee now tastes burned, the donuts not as fresh later in the morning, the selection is so elaborate it takes longer to choose what you want, and people like myself that were patrons for much of our lives, have moved on.
And that is part and parcel what I think may be partially happening with WoW. They had the formula mostly right, it was straight forward, had a few options, but was fairly simple in it’s complexity. As they added more and more features to WoW over the year to appease even more people’s changing taste, more and more Games to the company portfolio, they may have brought in some new customers, but as their focus becomes more diverse, and more choices are available to those of us that play, we become disenfranchised, we don’t know what we want to work on, not only with WoW, but Startcraft, and Diablo, and Hearthstone, now Heroes of the Storm, soon Overwatch, the amount of things to choose from is probably welcome to some, but for many that just want a really good cup of coffee reasonably priced, and a good donut everyday, all of this choice, of pretty good things, does not satisfy the desire for 1 really good thing.
If I could offer one word of advice to those at Blizzard looking to grow and expand. Don’t do it to compete or outdo competition, don’t fall into the do it faster and cheaper trap. It will eventually start to show. Like any consumer, we are hard to please, but when we find something we love, we stick with it, when it loses that appeal we came to love, we will test other things, until one day we find something better. Keep your focus on making a great core product. Don’t try to offer 8 million different things to 8 million players. Keep it simple, make it with the quality you expect it to have, do try to listen when we tell you that the brand of coffee bean you are using has an off taste. It may seem fine to you, but you are not the consumer buying every day.
Stay true to your roots. It is what got you started on this incredible journey.