Continuing the conversation around the potential upcoming changes, here are my observations about some of what I’m hearing/seeing in the community.
Many people have been playing this game, maybe not steadily, but for the better part of 5 years. It might be time to take a break. The beauty of this game is you can stop your subscription at anytime and your account will not be deleted, you won’t lose any of the progress on your characters, and you can come back anytime you want. None of what is occurring with the game is worth the emotional distress that seems to come out sometimes. It might be possible that like in many relationships, you need to have a little vacation in order to come back fresh and reenergized. Most of your friends will be here when you get back and we will welcome you back with open arms. We will miss you, but we will understand completely. If we don’t, then we are not that good of friends are we?
I do hope, however, that someone at Blizzard is noting the passion that so many people are expressing. This passion is a great thing whether it is positive or negative because the worst thing that can happen to any enterprise is the on-set of apathy. Passion means that you care. I believe that if Blizzard is smart they can utilize that passion to improve its games and insure its continued profitable existence.
Blizzard is allowing for player developed content in StarCraft II. Is there a way they could allow some members of the community to develop content (dungeons/raids) for WOW? Would players be interested in this? Would there be a way to do this without it looking like Blizzard was getting off the hook for content development?
What about community focused controls on the game environment? By this I mean, are there community wide solutions that could be put in place for the players to effectively police the game other than hitting the report button (for which we get no feedback that something actually happened) when we notice behavior that is detrimental to our experience? (Solutions that wouldn’t lead to player on player abuse)
These seem to me like ideas that would/could capitalize on the passion that many have for the game. What other ideas are out there to constructively use the passion the game generates?
Other Peoples’ Money
It is easy to tell other people how to spend their money, but in general it is not the best practice. Frequently, we hear about how much money Blizzard is making off of WOW, but I think most of us are confusing “Gross” with “Net”. We may be able to make a semi-educated guess as to the amount of money WOW Generates (Gross) in a month/year. (I think you should immediately cut you estimate in half, if you start with 11 million x $15/month for a variety of reasons) We do not know what their expenses are and we don’t consider what other development WOW is funding inside of Blizzard (see – StarCraft II, Diablo III, and the new MMO).
“They’re making $100 million a month and we should be seeing more”. I think you should reconsider this line of thinking. It may be more constructive to consider if you are getting your $15/month of value from the game (IMO), because this is the only area you have control over. If you don’t think you are getting $15 worth of value there is a logical solution. If you are getting $15/month worth of value, but something coming down the line might change that, I think trying to get into the PTR and the Cataclysm Beta would be a perfect opportunity for you to express your concerns to the developers, as in both area’s they are seeking your input and would be more inclined to listen to you, while on the community forums they are more inclined to ignore you unless you are particularly articulate. This is not to say that if you have another forum (blog/podcast) for venting your frustration you shouldn’t do so. It’s yours and that is what it is for, but don’t be upset if some of us respond to your frustrations by trying to explain how our perspective differs from yours. We like you and don’t want you to leave the community or else we wouldn’t listen or read.
Currently, I get more entertainment value per dollar via WOW than any other avenue. When you consider that I could go out with friends for one night and spend the following – $15/local hamburger joint to build “base” for the evening, $25/handshake with bartender to ensure that I have the opportunity to pay $15/cocktail (x5or6) in a timely manner during the evening, $15/late night dive to make sure that I have enough grease in the system (grease is very important by the way) before making my way back home with a $25/cab ride. That totals more than $150 for about 5/6 hours of “fun”. I didn’t include the wonderful hangover that I would have the next day, as how can you really price that? (Yes I am a light weight – only 5 or 6 drinks) Value is a personal thing and where you find value depends on your situation. I think when you start saying somebody else is making too much money or they should spend their resources in a different manner, you are creating a situation that will ultimately be very frustrating to you as you have no control over them and they are likely to do things differently than you would want them to. Spending more time focusing on what you have control over will ultimately lead to greater satisfaction in general.
How many of you still pay for a home phone, but 99.99% of your telephonic communications are via your mobile phone? How many of you pay $40 – $100/month on cable/satellite television when there are only a couple of shows you really care to watch?
I would like this to be an opening of a larger conversation. If you happened upon this, please leave a comment and let me know what you think.