Jun 24th 2011 12:00AM I cant help but wonder if the forsaken light use questions were prompted by that amazing short story that was a runner up in Blizzards last contest. Even if they weren't, the questions reminded me of that great story, and its cool to see that the concepts in the story are validated by lore.
Jun 23rd 2011 2:22PM I see this as a definite improvement to the game. Some people may choose not to use it, just as some people choose to not look at online references and strategy. In my mind, there is rarely a downside to making information more accessible.
Jun 17th 2011 2:21PM I've been playing some Champions Online recently, and it's pretty fun for a free to play game. The customization is amazing, although a lot of the power choices are behind a pay wall, and the gameplay is fast and fun. I played in the beta and its fun to see the changes, plus you can pay for as much content as you want.
Jun 16th 2011 8:12PM This is a very interesting article, and it makes me wish I had an inscription character. Do you have any tips for someone starting off in the alchemy market? Obviously it is a different market but a lot of the herb related tricks still apply I presume.
Jun 16th 2011 3:55AM I'm proud to be a shaman again.
May 31st 2011 10:06PM The collector in me wants to level my hunter to get the new pets. Luckily that part of my brain is too busy sorting dust particles to influence me much.
May 26th 2011 4:38PM The depravity of some people continues to amaze me. This is exactly the reason that I think people need to be made more aware of the real consequences of gold buying. The only way to reduce this kind of traffic without international legal intervention is to reduce the demand on our side, and if people knew that gold sellers get their supply from hacked accounts and forced labor I imagine a large number of prospective gold buyers would think twice about their purchase. If only this issue was mainstream enough to warrant some kind of awareness increasing program like the advertisements against other third world labor atrocities and piracy.
May 21st 2011 4:02PM My God did I really write all that?
In other news, this is what happens the day after a major project that has eaten all of your time for 6 months ends and you find yourself with a lot of creative energy and no structured place to spend it.
May 21st 2011 3:20AM I think it is very important when commenting on this matter, especially considering the sparsity of information we have at our disposal, to maintain perspective and moderation. While it is true that no one wants to pay more for this game, it is also true that many are willing to do so. The point is, people are willing to pay for extra features, and so as a company looking to expand and turn a profit, Blizzard has an obligation to its shareholders to explore micro transactions as a payment strategy. Up until now they have done this with minimal backlash from the community, as all of the things available for purchase have been purely cosmetic features. Pets and mounts provide no significant gameplay advantage, nor do they cause me to enjoy the game less for not buying them.
The cross server dungeon finder, however, is very much a feature that impacts gameplay, accessibility, and enjoyment for subscribers. Many people feel that core features, as well as expansions to those features, should be included as a part of the monthly subscription fee. Given the fact that groups are already created across servers, it seems that there is no additional cost to Blizzard for cross server groups that would directly justify the extra charge. If there was some technical limitation that made this feature significantly more costly, an argument could be made that paying for the feature is necessary in order to support the growth of the game, but this does not appear to be the case. Of course this is purely conjecture, as Blizzard has not released any technical details for the system or rational behind the charge.
Details and specifics aside, for many people the principle behind the decision and the implications it has for the company are most concerning. Until this point, people who do not support micro transactions can simply choose not to purchase the optional cosmetic items with no impact on their gameplay. At this point, however, it becomes detrimental to one's game experience to choose not to pay the additional fee. This feature appears fairly minor, and few would claim that it is the most important new feature of the game, however, it does represent the first time when two people could have different access to features and content because one is paying more money for the game. Many arguments take this point too far; is it ethical, moral, legal, or a sound business strategy to use micro transactions for gameplay features? Of course, and Blizzard as a company is certainly not turning into a money gobbling rider of the slippery slope, they have always placed gameplay above all else in their game design. In addition, it is unlikely that they are going to start charging for endgame content or item upgrades or things of that nature. Blizzard has shown far too much respect for competitive endgame content to risk loosing their audience due to micro transactions, and the game is almost definitely not going to die out because of this.
On the other hand, this is a significant step for the company, and one that many disagree with. For many players, five man content has become a great place to play with friends in a less time consuming and competitive environment than raids and pvp. Five man dungeons have become the content that everyone can experience at their own pace, and many players use these dungeons as stress free ways to play the game with friends and guild mates. For these people, cross server groups would be a significant improvement to their gameplay experience, and for them Blizzard is withholding a major feature due to increased price.
In the past, when faced with controversial decisions, Blizzard is better than most companies at listening to community response and adapting to fit the needs of their customers. After all, they want us to continue subscribing, and the best way for them to do that is to make the game as accessible and enjoyable as possible. Any time a major controversy surfaces around the game, it generates negative feelings in the community and can have an impact on their sales. This is not to say that the people claiming to be quiting in disgust are contributing valuably to the discussion, but rather that the atmosphere of the community at large is very important for player retention and sales, and Blizzard recognizes this. I expect to see much more detailed communication between the players and developers, and when they do offer more information I trust that, as in the past, they will address our concerns. That is why I think it is vital that people voice their opinions and offer their constructive comments about the premium service and the micro transaction policy as a whole. Blizzard has shown us that they are willing to listen, but we must provide them with coherent arguments and observations for them to listen to. In other words, the people flaming the forums and ranting on blogs are not doing as much good for their cause as they would hope.
In response to the article itself, while I understand that it can be difficult to find examples of all viewpoints of a topic, perhaps in controversial situations like this some mention of the other point of view could be made in order to clarify that it is not included due to the material available, not due to bias or favoritism.
Oh, and thanks for the Duck Tales nostalgia injection.