Aug 23rd 2008 4:38AM Your analogy doesn't really suit R-a-F particularly well. You shouldn't embrace everything new and call it "progress" just because it happens to benefit yourself. Especially when there's obviously better solutions easily within reach.
If I were to follow your line of thought, I would have to make my friends buy new cars in order to make gas pumps work at triple speed.
Aug 23rd 2008 4:26AM I leave it to the readers of WoW Insider to make their own decisions based on the arguments presented here =)
Aug 22nd 2008 5:07PM @Blayed: Actually, Blizzard were rather surprised at how popular WoW became. Now they sit firmly on the throne of MMORPG gaming. When it comes to making money, they have been hugely successful. So, what people are puzzled about is why they're resorting to desperate marketing schemes like R-a-F.
Aug 22nd 2008 4:27PM @Bitter: Information gathering doesn't alter the game mechanics directly, like R-a-F does. Neither does Blizzard set any limitations on who's able to access information.
@Chuddy: Blizzard already established these principles, I happen to agree with them. R-a-F goes against Blizzards own philosophy.
If Blizzard provided something similar to all players without any strings attached, it would be an excellent feature imo.
Aug 22nd 2008 2:39PM The major flaw about Recruit-a-Friend is that it's giving people gameplay rewards for actions performed outside of the gameplay. This is breaking an important principle in MMO gaming. It should never happen. Only what players do in the game, should affect what happens to your character in the game. Especially when it comes to basic gameplay mechanics like xp and leveling. Blizzard knows this very well, and that's some of the reason they have taken an aggressive stance against various forms of cheating, like hacks, account trading, gold and item trading (RMT), botting, powerleveling and so on.
Not only is R-a-F a powerleveling service provided by Blizzard, but it's also additionally flawed by having various strings attached to it that makes it unusable by a lot of the players.
The most obvious problem is that if you do not have anyone to recruit, you're left out. If you don't have the hardware or money to multibox, you're left out. If you come from a country like Denmark, where this kind of scheme is illegal, you're left out.
This is the second basic MMO gaming principle that Blizzard violates by using the R-a-F ploy. They are effectively discriminating players by doling out xp and levels for only a select part of their customer base.
Some of you are saying, "Yeah, but it's for a greater good. They are facilitating players, so that they can catch up with the other players". Well, I agree with you. There should be an option to skip leveling, since there's not enough players in the starting areas to make our time there enjoyable. And with those who are able to use R-a-F leveling up in a jiffy, it will be even more empty and boring.
Some seem to totally disregard the fact that R-a-F is an extremely poor solution to the problem. There's a lot of other options that could facilitate *everybody* in the same way, instead of just catering to those who provide Blizzard with extra income.
Now, some of you might say "Well, Blizzard are all about making money. If you don't like it, you can play something else". That's true. They are free to do whatever they want with their own game. They're free to degrade the game, sell out and disgrace themselves if they want to. But, remember that a large part of Blizzard's success and henceforth a large part of what makes them so great is that they always have been all about putting *good and fair gameplay* in front of gaining monetary wealth. This has always been Blizzards official development strategy. They have been proud about it, and not afraid to use it as a selling point. A standpoint that has gained them a lot of respect amongst their fans.
US CM Belfaire posted on the subject before R-a-F came in effect, i.e. Blizzard's official stance on the subject:
"We want all players to be on equal footing, regardless of income and livelihood. You say that because it's open to everybody, that it won't give one player an advantage, but this is patently false. While we do offer paid services, these are technical or vanity services as opposed to services which offer a real and true advantage in the game, like RMT gold buying would."
Recent interview with Paul Sams, the "Chief Operating Officer" of Blizzard Entertainment. In it, he explained a bit about Blizzard's way of dealing with business models:
"At Blizzard, the business model doesn't come until late in the game. We focus on what the experience is, what the gameplay is and what the overall kind of feature set is before we start talking about what the business model is. I know there is a lot of speculation, but candidly, we just don't know yet.
I think a lot of businesspeople would say "oh well, the important stuff is how we generate profit and revenue". But, our feeling is that's secondary. We need to focus on what the experience is, make sure that the gameplay is right, and then we wrap a business model around that."
So, why have Blizzard launched R-a-F? Honestly, I don't know. But I do know that there is dissent amongst the people at Blizzard about this. Unfortunately, they are bound to silence as employees. Some bullheaded businesspeople have probably forced this decision, and now they are testing the water while at the same time stealing potential customers from the new MMOs like WAR. How do you think that will affect the evolution of MMORPG gaming for us as gamers?
So, yeah... Before you start blindly defending R-a-F, just remember that it *could* have been fashioned in a way that would facilitate *all* players and without breaking these fundamental principles. There's no need to go into tunnel-vision mode.
What will be next?
Aug 12th 2008 10:09AM I feel sorry for the people who buy a new account, only to find out that because they were not recruited, they have in reality bought a class 'B' product.
They will miss out on the chance of socializing and cooperating with the players who level three times faster than themselves, because they have the class 'A' account. When taken into account that this game is largely about cooperation and socializing, this represents a degradation of what is a large part of their game experience.
Giving select individuals advantages over other players because of situations happening outside of the game is breaking a fundamental principle of MMO gaming. Blizzard have until now had a leading role in demonstrating fairness and sensibility towards other forms of breaking this principle, such as RMT, aka gold selling, botting, hacking, account trading and powerleveling services.
They have been firm and outspoken on this policy, and they should be proud about that. However, this all came to an abrupt halt when they launched this marketing campaign and effectively broke this very crucial principle themselves.
This is obviously an extremely low-brow move from Blizzard. They are literally selling the soul of MMO gaming in order to milk the market, and prevent their newly arriving competitors to establish a user-base.
It is a pity that so few players actually take time to use their brains and realize that this represents a paradigm-shift in MMO-gaming.
What will be next?
Aug 10th 2008 9:00AM Sounds to me like the typical judgemental "female canine".