Are they losing sight

02.v6213

It’s a bit hard to miss such an imposing statue in front of your company headquarters.

  • Think Globally
  • Lead Responsibly
  • Play Nice, Play Fair
  • Every Voice Matters
  • Gameplay First
  • Commit To Quality
  • Learn & Grow
  • Embrace Your Inner Geek

And yet I wonder if years of coming in the employee entrances, some things have been forgotten in the rush to create product, meet schedules and release dates.  Focus on the bottom line, over the finished product.  Having the vision for a finished product, holding off as long as possible, but in the end, dates need to be met, just run with it.

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I think a lot of the core values hold true.  I do feel as a whole the World of Warcraft franchise is The Most Epic Experience… Ever.  If one was to pick it up today and play from start to finish I don’t think there is any one of us that would disagree, that as a whole it is what they set out to do.  The problem has arisen at what happens when you push and rush the players to get to the end, and the end is not the same as the journey they had to get there.  Perhaps the change in focus, to get as many people in to raiding the end game, if we give them steps to ease the journey, allow them to get to where we want them to be, if we give them more opportunities to get in to the final battles, they will all participate.  And maybe for many people that is exactly what they want.  A short cut to the end of the book, to the final encounters in the game.  No more spending months leveling, learning your class, becoming familiar with working together as a large group.  Lets start you out where the last expansion left off, don’t worry about that other 10 years of the game, you can always go back and do that when you have nothing else to do.  I do find it ironic that some of those that decry having to level takes to long, give me an easier way to get to cap so I can raid, will also cry foul at ways for those that took the long route to get there asking for help.  For me personally?  I think you will be doing a huge disservice to what I am guessing at your hopes of millions of new subscribers once the movie comes out.  Even if we see a 50% jump in subs, 2.5 million new players will log in and grab that fresh 100 boost, and will get slapped down hard when they realize they have no clue what the game is about.  Oh certainly some will try out brand new level 1 characters, but quickly they will come to the conclusion that getting from 1 to 100 as a new player is going to take time.  When I started mid Wrath I did not want to jump ahead, all of this game was fascinating and wonderful to explore.  I spent months working to 80.  Never did I wish for a boost to get to the end, because that was the end.  I think you have given the means for veteran players to jump ahead faster if they desire to with all of the BoA gear.  There should be a middle ground, an agreeable compromise between those looking to get to the end on Alt #16, and the new player wanting to know where do I get all those cool mounts everyone has.  The newer players should be given a chance to advance quickly if that is what they choose, but they should also be given the tools to learn how to play their class before dropping them in to near max level content in a set of Blue Gear.

Think Globally, well yeah, they have that covered and then some to be certain.  World of Warcraft is played globally, and credit should be given for creating a game that has global appeal.

Lead Responsibly?  Well that is a whole kettle of fish I do not want to delve into.  I will just leave it at, they do try.

Play Nice, Play fair.  Hmmm, I do feel that there are a great many players that do, those that don’t just seem to be more prevalent because they behave so badly, or yell the loudest.  The vast majority of us, just log in every day and do what we do.  I do wish there were more resources available to report some of the toxic behavior.  And maybe even more ways to acknowledge or reward players that try to do right by others day in and day out.

Every voice matters.  Well here, the impression I have, is that for the most part, is that they don’t.  And I will borrow a statement from Greg Street here,

Show empathy. Chances are the players are engaging because your game is important to them. Their idea or suggestion may be ridiculous. It might ruin the game. That doesn’t matter. You still need to put yourself in their shoes and understand *why* they are saying what they are saying. This can be as simple as acknowledging that the player is upset. Being upset is a totally valid way for them to feel! Players are often better at detecting problems than they are at suggesting solutions. Try and understand the problems they are trying to solve. But at the same time, don’t dismiss or belittle their suggestions, even if they aren’t feasible.

http://gamasutra.com/blogs/GregStreet/20150821/251887/Eight_tactics_for_engaging_with_players_on_social_media.php

I do feel that they listen to those that are playing the game in the manner they feel they have designed it.  They listen to the people interested in pursuing eSports, competing in all of their games.  They listen to those that theory craft classes and play at the highest levels.  The focus is more towards the very best, because it is a level of play they hope all of us want to aspire to.  But I do feel that a great many of us really don’t want to anymore.  Certainly we all aspire to be the best we can, but are we willing to commit to the amount of time necessary to reach the level the game is designed for.  Maybe there was a time in the first years we played where we pushed ourselves, when we would come home from work or school and log in while we ate dinner, we worked to get to the end, to be a part of a successful guild, or found a group to play the end game.  But eventually, it catches up with all of us, we get older, we get married, get jobs, have kids, find ourselves spending less time doing other parts of the game that without realizing it we actually liked.  We start cutting out portions to focus on the end, until we reach a point where the end even requires to much time in order to keep pace with everyone else.  And then we either leave the game completely, or we just say the end game can nick off, and try to remember all that we had done in the past that gave us enjoyment.  Exploring, reading the stories, searching, being adventurers.  And that is missing for many now.  Everyone wants to be the hero, to fight the bad guys, to save the day, but being the hero all the time gets dull.  Just my thoughts.

Game Play first.  I wonder if we are playing the game, or if we are being led towards a goal in the most efficient way possible.  And if we try to do other things, we are encouraged to play the game as they feel it should be played.  Hey look, you can get a Orange Legendary thing, all you have to do is run a few raids, maybe complete a few quests, it’s not all that hard.  See lots of people are doing it, come on now, One of us, One, Of, USsssss.  You wants the Precious.  🙂  And I think that may be a frustrating part on both sides, they design a game to be played in a certain manner, and when we don’t want to, and complain there is nothing to do, I am sure many a table has been flipped.  There have been more times in these last 2 expansions that I have felt I was performing a job, rather than playing a game.  So something is missing there if that is how people feel.

Commit to Quality.  This is a tough call.  I am sure they have set standards, it has always been maintained, we will release it when it’s ready.  But I think there were a few extenuating circumstances with this expansion.  Maybe it was a change in course from swapping Legion for Warlords, maybe training of all the new hires took longer, maybe there were internal software hurdles we know nothing about.  Overall, the expansion is decent.  Not their best work certainly, but when you try to plan things 2 years out, inevitably there will be changes to what excites players, change in focus, and certainly issues with the content you are creating.  At the end of the day, they are a company answerable to those that have invested money in them, that do not want to hear we are delayed because it is only 95% there.  We need to polish that last 5%.

Learn to Grow.  While I think this may mean different things to many, I do feel they are learning to grow, they know that Warcraft cannot go on forever.  They have created new titles, rolled them all into one feature, your Battlenet account.  Easy access to all games for one monthly fee.  It is great on paper.  But to me the flaw is the impression that WoW is now the 800 pound elephant in the corner demanding attention, that no one really wants to admit is still around.  It’s the puppy that grew into the Great Dane that requires a lot of attention and upkeep for little reward.  The fact they have tried to encourage players to try new title by linking them in to the new games is a novel marketing approach, but has it’s own drawback, when people find they like the new game more and leave WoW.  Maybe it’s not an issue since they are still a part of Battlenet.  But as newer games are released and interest there rises, it falls here.  And at some point those of us that like it fine just here will look around and see how many are gone, and we will just leave altogether.  Maybe it does not matter.  Maybe all that matters is there are 20 million B-Net subs.

Embrace your Inner geek.  Sadly I think like all of us, they are getting older.  They have homes, families, have been doing this for 20 years?  Many are in their 40’s, some may be talking to financial advisers planning for they day they retire.  As you get older, and have families, children, mortgages, and start looking at what is health insurance going to cost me when I’m retired, there is a change to your outlook.  You start looking at those crazy purchases, buying the 30 inch monitor to play games, paying for a new gaming computer every few years, and maybe you loose a little of that Inner Geek, the kid in all of us gets moved to the corner because real life is more prevalent.  I can see the little kid in them when they do crazy stupid things like the Chopper contest.  They were not adults then, they were little kids having fun.  At Blizzcon and other conventions, you can see that spark.  I think maybe being cooped up in the big building day in, day out, that spark may be smothered with budget meetings, and stock holder conference calls, and all of those dreaded adult things we all deal with.

 

If I could suggest, maybe once a month, grab some super soakers, put on some shorts, run around this statue, and just be a kid again.  Regain that passion you all had years ago, when you first saw that line waiting to buy the first expansion.

 

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