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8-09-2011 @ 9:47AM
I think it's another joke. I think Blizzard knew how the titles of its prior expansions leaked, and it wanted to salt that well once and for all. Trademark applications aren't cheap, but it isn't like Blizzard doesn't have the cash. And if it is a joke, it was well played... look at how the fanbase has feasted upon this nugget of information over the past few days. It's the ultimate middle finger to all the dataminers out there who've spoiled all of Blizzard's hard-fought surprises, and the ultimate "I told you so" from all the developers who've cautioned about laying our trust at the feet of third-party soothsayers about upcoming content.
8-09-2011 @ 9:56AM
A joke this far away from the joke holiday of the year in an economy that has them losing subscriptions? I doubt it. It's a future product. The speculation will be interesting up til the October blizzcon.
8-09-2011 @ 10:15AM
I keep thinking it's a joke too... then I run into the fact that trademarking things is not free. Then I have to ask myself, would Blizzard spend money and all this hype on a joke? Honestly, this is very similar to the reaction I remember when Cataclysm was trademarked. Some people guessed it was the name of the next expansion and that it would involve a great disaster. I even remember a few folks predicting what turned out to be right, a revamp of the of the old world. But when people were guessing this, others nerd raged. "This could never be an expansion! If Blizzard killed the old world I would quit!"But then, the Pandaren have always been a joke. And Blizzard does know how much attention people pay to things like this...The more I think about it, the less certain I am...
8-09-2011 @ 10:19AM
The problem with the joke theory is that it doesn't hold up to closer examination:We can be fairly confident that Blizzard is going to be announcing an expansion at Blizzcon. All the previous expansions were announced less than a year after the release of the previous one, and the pattern has been every two years: 2005 for BC, 2007 for LK, 2009 for Cat. That being said, Blizzard is going to have to trademark the name of the expansion beforehand. (Otherwise, they run the risk of someone else grabbing it.) They've got a little more than two months to do that now.That would mean that they went to all this trouble just fool us for a few weeks, tops.Not to mention that a fake is lose/lose for them. There have been two (entirely predictable) reactions to the announcement: excitement and anger. If it's a fake, the people who are excited about it will be disappointed and angry when that's revealed, and the people who are angry would have gotten worked up for no reason. Why would Blizzard want to generate all that ill-will?The final nail in the coffin is the media: this little bit of a leak gets people talking, gets articles out there, and generates buzz. If it's a fake, considerably less attention will be given to the "real" announcement later. (In fact, at that point, the media story is less likely to be "Hey, here's the new expansion" than "Why did Blizzard lie?") So Blizzard would be wasting a whole lot of free advertising, and making the gaming media upset they wasted energy on a fraud.Now, none of that means this is the next expansion. As Matt mentioned, it could be a digital component to the TCG game. Others have suggested that it might be some kind of iPhone game, or maybe a Facebook game. (Both areas Blizz has talked about wanting to explore.) But regardless, they're doing something with the name, and that means that Pandaria is going to be part of the lore, one way or the other.
8-09-2011 @ 10:20AM
The problem is, people said the same exact thing when the goblin / worgen masks leaked...and only then were the murloc & ogre masks added to attempt to cover it up. Before that, the same thing was said about "Cataclysm" because "it couldn't be real, WoW titles never sound like that."So, my money is on this actually being the "South Seas" expansion a lot of us have wanted to see, albeit packaged into a different name than we were expecting.I had been kind of hoping for another Legion / demon expansion in the wake of two xpacs now being set on Azeroth...but I guess I'll have to wait another few years for spacegoat lore. ;.;
8-09-2011 @ 10:46AM
"Trademark applications aren't cheap". I have no idea if this is true or not, but I read that filing for a Trademark on something you have no intention of using is illegal. It makes sense, because you wouldn't be protecting your own property, you would be preventing someone else from developing theirs.It it is true, then it certainly argues against the whole "joke" theory.Plus, I strongly agree with those who are reminding us that this is similar to the reaction that Cataclysm got. And with Daedalus' point about the ill-will Blizzard would be building up for itself if this were just a red herring.
8-09-2011 @ 11:54AM
- "Trademarking things you don't intend to use is illegal." Who said they didn't intend to use it? There are many, MANY things that are trademarked that do not end up as flagship brands.- "The media buzz would be too negative" and "Lose/lose because the people who are excited would become angry and the people who are angry would become angrier" and "at that point, the media story is less likely to be "Hey, here's the new expansion" than "Why did Blizzard lie?") So Blizzard would be wasting a whole lot of free advertising, and making the gaming media upset they wasted energy on a fraud."This isn't an announcement, or even a representation. Blizzard filed a trademark application. Any conclusions we lept to were our own doing. In other words, his isn't a media buzz Blizzard started (wink); this was a buzz over a form of "data mining". Blizzard would much rather have control over when information is released about upcoming products than some minor backlash people might feel over a rumor they could easily distance themselves from having started. They could always fall back and point out that they never announced *anything* - others speculated about what the filing meant; Blizzard represented nothing. Corporations plant false leads to drum up attention all the time - a few weeks of speculation about what the expansion might be, some free market analysis on how people react to the panderan concept - these are all good things for Blizzard. Besides, when was the last time Blizzard did *anything* based on how they felt their playerbase would react?This filing might be exactly what everyone suspects. In fact, I would say it is definitely more likely than not. I am merely cautioning that Blizzard seems to hint at panderans whenever they are feeling pranky, and it would be a great way to shut down the announcement spoilers if they decided to go that route. It makes perfect sense for Blizzard to want their next expansion to be the result of a controlled "burst" of emotion at a time when they very well may be facing their biggest challenge to WoW yet - SWTOR.
8-09-2011 @ 12:28PM
Well, which is it? Is it a joke, a "middle-finger"? Or is it "something they intend to use"? It can't be both.
8-09-2011 @ 12:56PM
@Aranyszin:It's not an announcement, but after Cataclysm, Blizzard had to know that people would pick up on it right away, so it is tantamount to leaking a tiny piece of information.As far as trying to control the information that's getting out there, there are a lot of better ways to do that. First and foremost: just not saying anything. Then, there are the ones Blizzard has been known to use in the past: serious sanctions for employees leaking information, cease and desist letters, etc. Plus, if they did want to leak false information, there are a lot better ways to do it. A few anonymous words to a blogger, some leaked concept art, something like that. If they really wanted to see how people would react, wouldn't they leak something that actually told us more about it than just a title? What kind of market research is that? "We didn't let them try it, we didn't tell them anything about it, we didn't give them any information about the product at all, but we gave them the name and they hated it, so obviously the whole idea is flawed."Besides, there's still the big question of the gaming press, and keeping up good will with them. Deliberately putting a false lead out there for them to follow, then refusing to say anything about it pretty much guarantees that when the real story comes out, every article is going to have a paragraph about the deception. Why would they want that distraction at a time they want all the focus on their new features?No, I can believe that it's not the next expansion; it could easily be something else. (In fact, Pandaria seems like the kind of thing they'd want to explore in a smaller environment, like a Facebook game...) However, I absolutely cannot accept that it might be a deliberate fake that they don't intend to do anything with. It just has so many ways to blow up in their faces, and the benefits of it are nonexistent.
8-09-2011 @ 12:57PM
@ RoninWhy can't it be both? It could be a joke ("middle-finger" to thedata-miners would be in the same vein) that they know will generatepress for the game at a time with SWTOR is being ramped up while atthe same time giving them a plausible out to say that they never"intended" to announce anything (the actual anticipated effect doesnot have to be the same as the official "intended" effect). And nomatter WHAT it is (whether a complex joke or something that actuallyis a step toward the real name of the next expansion) you can becertain that Blizzard's PR and marketing departments are observingevery comment made on any website they can locate because, all pressis good press (whether intended or not).There is absolutely nothing that prevents them from intentionallyplanting something that they know will (or likely will) be interpreteda certain way with the intention of throwing us off the trail,breaking the market's habit of trying to peek under the wrapper orjust safely testing the concept in such a way that they can completelyback away from it later.It would not surprise me at all if they wanted to set up a false lead(intended) and chose Panderans as the false lead to set up justbecause they thought it might be funny. And anyone who is putting outopinions that "they couldn't / wouldn't / shouldn't do that" hasabsolutely no way of knowing it, even if they turn out to be right.They are, at the moment, the #1 MMO in the world, and have billions inthe bank to prove it. Trust me. They have a better idea of what theyare doing than we do.
8-09-2011 @ 1:03PM
@Daedalus Yes, there are better ways of controlling information. However, there are certain things they cannot control. A big one is what someone else pointed out on this forum: they have to trademark the names of their expansions, and trademark apps are public information. As such, it's very difficult to keep such things a secret. What you CAN do is set up a few false leads to throw the market off (like movie makers who film "Captain America" under a secret name like "A Day by the Lake"). If "Mists of Panderia" turns out to not be the next expansion's name, the playerbase will take future "scoops" about trademark applications with suspicion, and Blizzard has more control over how much buzz they can generate on their upcoming titles. Is this 100% accurate or effective? No. Is it risky? Not terribly. It would even be a little clever. All I'm saying here is, that's another explanation for what this could be. And anyone saying "Nope, this is how they did it before, so now we know 100% that this is the name of the next expansion - let the speculation begin!" is not as sure as they think they are. If Blizzard plants a false lead or two, those uncertanties widen.
8-09-2011 @ 1:44PM
@Aranyszin:"Is it risky? Not terribly."Couldn't disagree with you more on that. There are just so many ways this could blow up in their faces, as I've already mentioned. Fomenting rabid hate about something they don't intend to do, enraging Pandaren fans who feel like they were lead on, the press making sure every future leak or whisper is qualified with "but of course, Blizzard has been known to lie about this stuff," the real announcement getting overshadowed by reporting on the fan reaction to being fooled; the list goes on.And to what end? If they are truly worried about people picking out the real info from trademarks and want to control when the buzz starts, why not just wait and file the trademark when they're ready for people to start talking about it? I can't think of a single thing they'd get by having a fake filing that they couldn't accomplish better through a far less risky means.I'm 100% with you on this not meaning anything about the next expansion; all I'm saying is that the false lead idea makes zero sense. Blizzard filed it because they intend to do something with it; the only question is what.
8-09-2011 @ 2:23PM
@Daedalus"Fomenting rabid hate about something they don't intend to do, enraging Pandaren fans who feel like they were lead on, the press making sure every future leak or whisper is qualified with 'but of course, Blizzard has been known to lie about this stuff,' the real announcement getting overshadowed by reporting on the fan reaction to being fooled; the list goes on."I respect your input on this. You've kept it intelligent and thoughtful. I just disagree with you on this concept. I don't think its (that) risky because, although we (really, all of us in the player base, as well as the editors of the various major fansites) are treating it as one, this ISN'T an announcement. Of anything. Blizzard could perfectly plausibly and with 100% (okay, 87%) sincerity point out 100% accurately that they didn't announce, hint or infer ANYTHING. They filed a trademark application. What that means, could mean, should mean or has meant in the past is irrelevant; they didn't *say* it meant anything. If we get angry, they can rightfully disclaim any responsibility. "Panderans? Who said Panderans? We never said Panderans. We never even said Panderia. We just reserved it because .. we [insert plausible explanation here: "heard someone was writing a book / video game / documentary" "were kicking around the idea for a kid's console game" etc]. Of course we'll suspect it's bunk. Some people will INSIST it's bunk. But it will get no traction. No more traction than any other conspiracy theory about Blizzard (see, i.e., "favors the Horde" "caters to casuals" "caves to qq" ad nausium). The fansites would *never* use a caveat about "Blizzard has been known to lie about this stuff" because... they wouldn't have lied. What they *would* have to say is "But we've been known to misinterpret this stuff / been wrong about speculating based on this kind of information in the past" which may... emphasis on may ... be exactly what Blizzard wants them to have to say. Just my $.02.
8-09-2011 @ 4:14PM
Aranyszin, it could be _either_ a joke _or_ something they registered because they intend to use it. It cannot be both things at the same time.Support for it being a joke is extremely weak, so you back-pedaled on that only enough to take some pressure off. But that's the only option you've actually presented an argument for. Fine. I just happen to think you're wrong, and that the evidence doesn't support your position. But only time will tell.
8-10-2011 @ 1:41AM
@RoninRonin. First, you misinterpreted my comment about "who said they don't intend to use it?" That was intended to point out that the notion of it being "illegal" to register a trademark they don't intend to use is rather funny; all Blizzard would have to say is "who said we don't intend to use it?" then slap it on a comic or something. My point - there - was that I doubt seriously that Blizzard would be _remotely_ concerned about "breaking the law" by registering a trademark they don't intend to use... immediately.Second. I didn't backpedal off anything. I *suppose* I should have opened with "I think it could easily be a joke" instead of saying "I think it's a joke" to avoid being held to the card by overly literal trollish types. For you to say it has to be a joke OR have a purpose is myopic to a laughable degree. To further clarify my point - Blizzard is sophisticated enough to do something with a very specific purpose and still have it be a joke (note all the easter eggs they include in their game - both a joke and serious business). The intended purpose could be to throw off "dataminers" and the joke could be choosing to use a panderan reference instead of something more plausible (i.e. "The Emerald Dream"). For you to say my "joke" theory is "extremely weak" is equally laughable, considering that half the fansites covering WoW have written multiple articles on how Mists of Panderia is the next expansion based on nothing more than a trademark filing. I don't view my theory as being any "weaker" than that. Nor do I view the fact you disagree as particularly compelling.
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