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1-21-2012 @ 7:12AM
Of course Blizzard can't add more people to get a give raid out quicker, but I see no valid development reason they couldn't add more people to get multiple raids out quicker. The same would apply to many different independent systems. A new dungeon is relatively independent of other things in the game world.If Blizzard hides behind this excuse they are being fairly dishonest.The issue of hiring local talent is probably a more serious one, if they are still located in southern California as I recall. Many talented people would never move there, in large part due to cost of living issues. The same would be true of anyone located in Silicon Valley. Some really good people are already there, but it is economically very difficult to move there, especially for the lower level positions.That still doesn't justify the glacial pace of development on this cash cow for them. As with all companies, they are trying to put as little as they must so they have more money for other things the company is doing (including for shareholders, if they pay a dividend), but that always runs the risk of too little innovation.
1-21-2012 @ 4:00PM
"Many talented people would never move there, in large part due to cost of living issues."I think this is the big issue for Blizzard's hiring process, especially since according to glassdoor.com and similar sites (caveat: lots of disgruntled employees) the pay can be a little low.
1-21-2012 @ 10:40PM
I believe many game companies have gotten away with paying low salaries in the past because so many people desperately want to work at a game company. I doubt this is ultimately good in the long run, but they will have to figure that out.I might be more interested if they opened an office in North Texas. :)
1-22-2012 @ 1:53AM
The mythical man month is actually a bit more complicated than has been presented here. It's not just about training up new people, though that's one of the ways it's primarily talked about due to the fact that it's most tempting to try and throw people at a problem when you're running late and want to meet a deadline. The mythical man month is also about things like overhead. Time to communicate, time for meetings, time to establish and maintain relationships etc. When you have one person on a team, that person can dedicate all their time to the task at hand, they are as close to 100% effective as any person can get. Add a second person and that person now has to communicate with the first person which not only takes time away and makes them less effective than the guy in the one person team, but also makes the first person less effective as well. This continues on and on with each person you add having to communicate with everyone else up until the point where you have enough people that the additional communication burden caused by adding one more person is greater than the contribution that person can make.True, from a programming point of view, raids and dungeons are relatively separate, but they all have to fit together. They need to reflect the story that is being told. They need to match the overarching design and art themes of the patch or expansion. They need to take into account any changes to spells or abilities or any new spells or abilities. They need to be sufficiently different from one another that the player base isn't bored(imagine your favorite instance ever, then imagine that every other instance in that tier had been exactly the same and tell me you would have enjoyed it as much). They need to have loot tables which fit the instance, but also fit with all the other instances and the badge gear.All of this requires significant communication, which means meetings, and anyone who has attended a large meeting knows that they don't work very well. Blizzard has relatively small teams because that's the way it's done and for good reason. Even Microsoft who are probably one of the bigger development firms in terms of employees doesn't actually have particularly large individual teams, and they have huge issues with problems caused by lack of communication and cooperation between teams.Essentially speaking, Blizzard could increase their development team by an order of magnitude, but 1) they'd probably only double or maybe triple their output and 2) the quality of that output would be far lower
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