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9-11-2009 @ 6:07AM
I agree that Blizzard has pretty much made their own bed in the way they manage their fan base. As a developer of standalone games I think Blizzard's philosophy works very well, however as an MMO developer, I think it leaves a lot to be desired. I think the biggest thing they have to overcome is the 'hey, it's our game, so we're going to do what we want'. This is entirely true... however... if you're talking about a standalone game you look at some reviews and gameplay videos, maybe find a demo and fiddle with it, and then decide if you like it. You're getting one thing and you can decide if what the designer did is something you like. An MMO is constantly changing, you don't just buy it, you have a relationship with the developer, and if they start making updates that you don't like, they risk alienating the customers they brought in.If you design and market a standalone game and someone doesn't like it you shrug it off, compile some user surveys and figure out how to make your next title... but you don't wake up one day and say 'tokens instead of gear drops!' and all of a sudden you change the game for everyone who bought it... however this is exactly what happens with an MMO. Any time the devs release any update they can change any aspect of the game, so you don't really buy a game, what you buy is much more like an 'entertainment contract'.This is why Blizz's policy of 'it's our game, suck it' doesn't seem to fit WoW to me. It isn't their game, they're developing new content for us, it isn't set, it isn't in some signed, sealed, shrink-wrapped package that isn't going to change. They are constantly changing it to deliver new content to us to keep us buying it. We aren't buying WoW, we're buying their development of WoW (i.e. the subscription).Incidentally, that's also why I'm firing Blizz. I don't think they're developing WoW correctly, they don't care, so I'm not paying them any more. As far as I'm concerned, now it's their game, they can do whatever they want with it because I'm no longer paying them to develop it.
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