Skip to Content

WoW Insider has the latest on the Mists of Pandaria!

Posts with tag business

Businesses look to games for leadership development strategy

boss strat
Leadership development is one of those corporate buzzwords that gets thrown around enough to make my eyes glaze over and my mind wander. Large businesses have complex organizational hierarchies and are always looking for ways to make themselves and their employees perform more efficiently. I have heard many a raid leader detail just how their experience organizing boss takedowns has translated into positive management skills in their workplace. Considering this, it's really not a big surprise that businesses are finally starting to look toward the system of rewards and achievements that many games employ in order to promote engagement and interactivity in leadership training programs.

A recent Forbes article outlines the way a specific organization, NTT Data, is using gaming strategies to implement management training courses. Their "global head of gamification," Naureen Meraj, had the idea to make a game that put the trainees into a series of simulated leadership scenarios, and track their progress. Similarly, Deloitte's Leadership Academy tracks its participants' progress using a mission or quest format, awarding badges (achievements), and maintains leaderboards so that "players" can compare their own achievements to others.

According to their own metrics, the programs have been wildly successful so far, which seems to signify a promising outlook for the gamification of certain business strategies. What do you think? Would you be more interested in professional training if it adopted certain features of your favorite games, such as WoW? Or do you want to keep your work and hobbies firmly separated?

Filed under: News items

Bobby Kotick is one of the highest-paid CEOs in the U.S.

Activision Blizzard head honcho Bobby Kotick was one of the highest-paid CEOs in America last year, Bloomberg reports. Earning $64.9 million -- $55.9 million in of it in stock which he'll vest over the next 5 years, so he isn't just pocketing all of it in cash -- puts Kotick behind Oracle's Larry Ellison, America's top-paid CEO, who earned $96.2 million in 2012. Looking to other game industry execs, Kotick's nearest comparison would be EA's former CEO John Riccitiello, who resigned in March, but made $9.5 million in 2012.

So why the pay raise, an eight-fold increase over Kotick's $8.33 million salary in 2011? It's part of Kotick's new employment contract, which included big bonuses tied to corporate performance. If Activision Blizzard continues to do well, Kotick will keep earning big dollars -- if he hits the highest performance targets, he could be making even more this year.

[Update: Clarified Kotick's stock vesting]

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

How World of Warcraft could save your business

I don't know about you, but I sure am feeling validated after watching John Seely Brown explain why he'd rather hire a WoW leader over a generic MBA. While his bold claim might sound cheesy to those of us in the know, his logic presents the same, sound argument we've been making for ages.

Essentially, everything about building a guild, succeeding in WoW, and accomplishing anything in the game mirrors corporate challenges. Build a group structure, measure, adjust, and incorporate thousands of new ideas every day. Brown even quotes a favorite gamer line: "If I ain't learning, it ain't fun."

While this is probably an old argument for most of us around here, this will be a favorite video to bust out for new job interviews in the future.

Filed under: News items

Milling cast time reduced to one second

There have been reports in the blogosphere that there was an undocumented reduction to the milling cast time in patch 3.3.3. It used to be two very long, agonizing seconds for a scribe to turn herbs into pigments, and is reportedly going twice as fast: a blazing speed of one mill per second.

This is a huge deal to anyone who uses inscription to make money. Milling herbs into ink is one of those tasks that limits your production capabilities, and can't legally be done while afk. In fact, the milling grind time (four clicks, and until now, eight seconds per stack of herbs) is one of the reasons I rarely advocate new auctioneers getting into selling glyphs. In addition to generally overcrowded marketplaces and auction house campers, it's a business that requires almost super-human patience.

This will probably make the glyph market even more crowded, as the amount of unhealthy AH camping you can do with a finite amount of playtime just went up by a fair bit.

[Thanks to Wolfgang Staudt on flickr for the image]


Patch 3.3.3 brings about small but noteworthy changes to the World of Warcraft. From a faster CoT, to putting those old Frozen Orbs to better use, to changes to the auction house -- there's several things all WoW players need to know. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3.3 will keep you up to date!

Filed under: News items, Economy

The 9 revenues drop by 94% after losing WoW

Former World of Warcraft distributor in China The9 recently reported on their third quarter revenues which showed a massive 94% drop Year Over Year. Their revenues were posted at $3.7 million, a significant drop from their second quarter revenue which was pegged at $42.2 million (while they still held the license). Last year, The9 reported revenues of $59.8 million.

Although The 9 downplays the loss, pointing to notable growth in their other licenses, such as FIFA Online 2 and Granado Espada, the impact of losing the publishing rights to Blizzard's phenomenal MMOG was more than apparent. World of Warcraft has a tumultuous history in China, with The9 losing the rights to rival Netease back in June, with rumors swirling about the change as early as April of this year.

World of Warcraft is currently in the middle of a power struggle between two Chinese government agencies, resulting in the suspension of the game. Players in mainland China have reportedly not had access to the game in months and there were numerous delays to the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, putting the future of World of Warcraft in the country, as well as its potential millions of dollars in profits, in question.

[via Massively]

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Economy

Giving up on conquering WoW

Backhand of Justice has an interesting post up about something we've considered for a long time: who will overtake World of Warcraft. Way back before this year started, game developers were challenged to come up with an MMO that could take on WoW's influence and popularity, and while there have certainly been some interesting MMOs announced and released (Star Wars: The Old Republic, which isn't out yet, and Aion, which is, are probably most in the forefront at the moment), it just hasn't happened. WoW is still the juggernaut it's been for almost the full five years, and with Cataclysm coming in 2010, that doesn't appear to be changing anytime soon.

So now, two months from the end of 2009, let's just say it: it's not possible. World of Warcraft is an aberration, an extremely well-made game that happened to be in just the right time and place (the casual game explosion, the adoption of MMOs and subscription model gaming, the "mainstreaming" of fantasy/sci-fi geekiness) to become an uber megahit. In short, game developers simply can't recreate WoW, at least not on purpose. As BoJ says, that doesn't mean they can't try -- there are certainly lots of original and interesting games and MMOs out there, and it's completely possible to be an MMO that isn't WoW-sized and be successful. But as for the actual question of beating WoW and its worldwide audience, game developers have pretty much moved on.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

Online gaming up in the US

Our economy may still be pretty much in the gutter, but one industry is still going strong. If you glanced at what site you were reading this on and guessed "online gaming," congrats! You win a gold star. Here you go: .

Anyway, according to this industry report featured on GameSpot, online gaming overall (including MMOs, in turn including WoW) was up 22% year-over-year in May 2009. 87.1 million people were estimated to game online in the USA, an impressive 28% of our estimated total population.

Of course, a huge chunk of this is browser-based games (think Bejeweled or Yahoo! Games). WoW is apparently the 21st most popular "online locale," clocking in at 2.2 million US visitors. Still, I'd say 21st isn't bad for a game with a subscription fee; 2.2 million players at $15 a month is $33 million a month (assuming the each have exactly one account). The next-closest MMO, according to this report, is RuneScape, at 202,000 players. Really? Aren't there other MMOs with more than that?

Anyway, online gaming, like online everything else, is on the rise. Single-player, localized games are starting to feel positively quaint, although I still think Chrono Trigger is the best computer RPG of all time.

Filed under: Ranking, News items

Blizzard gets an F at the Better Business Bureau

Looks like quite a few of those players who threatened to complain about Blizzard ended up doing so: over on the local Better Business Bureau website for Blizzard's region, our favorite game developer has earned an F. The BBB says that they've been given this rating "for reasons such as that they have failed to respond to complaints, their advertising is grossly misleading, they are not in compliance with the law's licensing or registration requirements, their complaints contain especially serious allegations, or the company's industry is known for its fraudulent business practices." Ouch. We don't really know that any of those things are true about Blizzard's way of doing business, but there are certainly many people on the forums every day who claim that the first two especially are major issues.

Personally, I'm as big a critic of Blizzard as anyone when I think that there's something to complain about, but this rating hardly seems justified -- even if the BBB has received tens of thousands of complaints, that's still just a small portion of the playerbase. And despite the occasional downtime and various class nerfs, they hardly deserve an F rating, especially when a company that many people really do have issues with is riding along with an A rating. The BBB page also says that Blizzard's mass bannings have been a factor in many complaints -- there is probably no distinction made (or that can be made) in terms of complaints between people who have broken the ToS and people who have not.

At any rate, even if the F rating is there, it obviously has very little effect on Blizzard's business -- how many of you ran to check the rating before you decided to subscribe to World of Warcraft? It seems like a few customers (who may or may not have broken the rules to begin with) have ruined Blizzard's reputation with the BBB, but it's fairly apparent that the BBB doesn't hold much sway among Blizzard's customers anyway.

[Thanks ThisURLNotFound!]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Activision passes on PC Gaming Alliance membership

It could be pretty easily argued that Blizzard is one of the biggest PC gaming development houses in the business today -- they consistently own both the sales charts and the playtime stats in terms of PC gaming. But Activision-Blizzard has quietly confirmed that they've passed on a membership to the PC Gaming Alliance, a group that claims to be "the authoritative voice on PC gaming worldwide." Activision, for their part, says that they just couldn't justify the membership fee, and this isn't the first industry group that they've snubbed: they famously left the ESA and their big yearly conference at E3 last year.

The PCGA claims that this isn't a big setback -- despite this and a few other losses, they say their numbers have grown, and they cite a few other big still-members, including Microsoft, Nvidia, and Intel. But given how much of an influence Activsion-Blizzard is in PC gaming, it's hard to say you're the "authoritative voice" of the platform when you don't have any formal connection to the biggest developer/publisher in the industry.

What does this mean to us players? Probably nothing right now -- the PCGA is right: the loss of Activision probably won't affect their work at all. But Blizzard, for better or worse, is being steered by Activision away from the industry at large. Right now, with events like BlizzCon and a huge reputation of their own, they don't need to be tied into these industry groups. But that may not always be the case.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, BlizzCon

Forum post of the day: Serious business decisions

WoW has changed considerably over the years, often for the better and sometimes for the worse. Better and worse are, of course, a matter of perspective. Slovotsky of Turalyon is getting fed up with people complaining about the easing of raids. He's confident that Blizzard made the choice to lower the difficulty on raids because more of the player base can now have a chance to experience them. He disagrees that casual players have ruined the game. Familiarity may also lead to boredom. Some of the guilds that have progressed through Naxx have already done so either in the Pre-BC era or on the PTR.

As some pointed out, Blizzard is a for-profit business. The company's job is to sell a product, not to rule with a heavy hand or coddle the incompetent. The switch to an inclusive raiding environment was most likely a marketing decision. Caydence of Draka drove this point home, to rebut the argument that players will quit WoW because it's easier. It is simply a better business decision for Blizzard to alienate the "hardcore" players who make up a small minority. She suggested that the subscriber base has grown with each ease in difficulty.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Raiding, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

Officers' Quarters: Allow me to rebut

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

There's only so much a blogger can take before he has to set the record straight! Two of my August columns -- and, oddly enough, even some columns I wrote back in January -- all managed to stir up a bit of controversy last month. Some of my readers made very good points, some were flat out wrong, and some grossly misunderstood my intent. I'd like to address them one by one.

First up is Auz from the excellent blog ChickGM.com. She respectfully disagreed -- albeit vehemently! -- about my columns from early in the year about what to look for in a potential officer and what types of people to avoid promoting. Here's what she had to say about my criteria in a nutshell:

Don't create strict rules or boxes for your leadership. Some of the best leadership is done outside of conventional thinking and wisdom. To quote myself; "If you do what everyone else is doing, you'll end up where everyone else is."

Read more →

Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: Padding your resume

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

I'm not sure how, because I usually avoid the topic around "civilians," but the subject of Warcraft came up a few weeks ago as I was speaking with a co-worker in my department. I don't mean my glamorous position blogging for WoW Insider that has made me a globally recognized household name -- in this case, I'm talking about my corporate, Clark Kent job. When you talk about the Lich King there, people think it's some kind of organic fast-food restaurant.

During this conversation I started talking about my role as a guild leader. While I was explaining it, I realized just how much of this role I've applied to situations in my office life. Wouldn't a company value this type of training? The author of this week's e-mail asks just how to present your guild leadership experience to a potential employer.

It's not easy to be the GM/officer/leader in a successful guild, regardless of how you define 'successful.' We work hard to keep drama at a minimum, create an environment where our members are comfortable and having fun, recruit new folks, 'fire' bad seeds among many other duties and obligations. All while developing our own toons, often to be on par with the best of the rest.

To me, that sounds like a great resume builder for the real world. Employers are looking for that kind of leadership, discipline, and knowledge.

Read more →

Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Five tips to minimize raiding downtime

I'm a rather avid raider, putting in a solid 20 hours a week on my Warrior. One of the major things about the time spent raiding is that it can be very precious. There is only so much time that 24 other people, plus appropriate class substitutions, can be available each week. It's critical that the time spent raiding is used well.

Unfortunately, using raiding time well is about as much of a challenge as is downing Illidan. In preparation for this article, I've spent the past three weeks keeping track of the down time in raids. We raid Sunday through Thursday nights, from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. We experience a downtime of about 51 minutes for each raid, which is about 20% of the time. Down time is defined as the time that my character is standing still, not attacking, not moving, and not being MDed to.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I'm not really sure.

Tip #1: Chain pulling

Personally, I do my best at the main tank to chain pull and push the trash through as fast as possible. This works out 99% of the time, however the 1% of the time it doesn't work out can grind the raid to a halt. Case and point: The trash to Supremus isn't too bad, and is a lot of packs where the MT, OT, and Pally tank each have some mobs to tank. There are also some ranged dragons that the Warlocks tank. These pulls can go very fast, and are very predictable. Pulling slowly we can do this in about 40 minutes, while chain pulling each group, we can push through in 15.

Tip #2: Fully self buffed, all the time

It doesn't take much to buff yourself. Every class has some buff they can apply to themselves, be it food buffs, spell buffs, or shouts. The key here is that you can find a minute or two to always buff at least yourself, if not others. Although, it might not always be possible to buff others as you're going along - and that's okay with most raid leaders for trash pulls.

Read more →

Filed under: Tips, Raiding

Europe approves of the Activizzard merger

Regardless of whatever you think of the big Activizzard merger and what it might mean for World of Warcraft (I don't believe it'll hurt a thing, but think what you will), it's going to happen. It's literally official now, as European Union officials have finally approved the merger after several weeks of deliberating on the issue.

Approval by the European Commission was necessary because Vivendi (the owner of Blizzard and now the buyer of Activision, if you haven't been keeping up with all this) is a French media company, and therefore subject to EU business laws and antitrust concerns. Officials were mulling over the merger because of fears that Vivendi's ownership of Universal Music Group would give Activision Blizzard an unfair advantage in licensing music for games like Guitar Hero.

They finally decided that it's not a threat to the health of the market, and approved the merger. So there it is. It's done. The government can't save you now; Activision Blizzard is your new master. I tremble in terror before the fictional (yet somehow inevitable) Bard class and its l33t Guitar Hero skillz!

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Rob Pardo to speak at the 2008 Game Developers Conference

The 2008 Game Developers Conference is underway in San Francisco right now, and this means there should be quite a bit of gaming news and juicy bites to report on in the next few days. Blizzard's own Rob Pardo is there as a featured speaker, participating in a panel on the future of MMORPGs and giving a talk on Blizzard's approach to multiplayer gaming design. Hopefully that means we might even get a few pieces of new information about Warcraft and the expansion, or even beyond.

Our colleagues at Massively will be watching the whole conference closely, as will we, and we'll be sure to keep you up to date if Blizzard drops any bombshells of the Lich King variety or otherwise.

And speaking of conference news, Gamespot's posted more video coverage of the DICE 08 Summit, including Blizzard's presentation, which you can watch here.

Filed under: Events, Blizzard, News items

WoW Insider Show 

Subscribe via  iTunes for our latest show.

Hot Topics


 

Upcoming Events


Around Azeroth

Around Azeroth

Featured Galleries

It came from the Blog: Occupy Orgrimmar
Midsummer Flamefest 2013
Running of the Orphans 2013
World of Warcraft Tattoos
HearthStone Sample Cards
HearthStone Concept Art
Yaks
It came from the Blog: Lunar Lunacy 2013
Art of Blizzard Gallery Opening

 

Categories