I was listening to the Game By Night MMO podcast the other day (vacation put me behind on many podcasts), where I learned about a new World of Warcraft add-on, AVR (Augmented Virtual Reality). AVR is an add-on that further simplifies the complex cat herding of raids by allowing a raid leader to mark locations in-game. Then everybody in game will see in their client the spot that the raid leader marked regardless of where their characters are standing. The big hooplah is that this add-on stupifies the raid puzzles to a ridiculous degree. I think this is a tad subjective considering the amount of “required” raiding add-ons, but I can see how this might be one of the straws that broke the camels back.
Anyway, Blizzard is breaking AVR in the next patch by removing camera coordinates or something. Yet, the damage was done. The add-on was created, used, publicized, and will now die in an explosive death. What if Blizzard could have preemptively stopped or limited AVR?
I must attest that I was listening to Game By Night on my iPod Touch while playing a bought app that plays Kenken. The idea was practically staring me in the face. Why not monetize add-ons officially through an Apple App store knock-off? Take a bit of the ease of the Curse client, the business model for iPhone/iPod apps, and Apple’s review process, and I think it could be a winner for World of Warcraft.
Blizzard could protect their raid difficulty by refusing add-ons that break whatever systems they have in place, but also protect customers by only allowing quality add-ons. Blizzard and the add-on developer can make a bit of cash. The developer can use this cash as more incentive to create a higher quality add-on. Blizzard can use the cash to hire people for the review process and hopefully also profit. And, players will have an official [easier] route to further customize their game as they wish.
There are downsides of course. The obvious is that players are currently getting a free service that would become a paid service, but honestly I think this is the weakest argument against this idea considering how much money players will spend in addition to the monthly fee. I would definitely pay for the convenience of having an official, supported route if I played an add-on heavy MMO. The bigger downside, in my mind, is the absorption of add-ons into the official game. Blizzard have taken add-ons, or at least the ideas behind them, and simply incorporated them in to the game so no add-on was required for the feature. With an add-on store there is less incentive to add these “free” features to the vanilla game. However, it is their game to begin with. They can incorporate, destroy add-ons on a whim anyway… so nothing is really different.
I definitely think that the positives outweigh the negatives in the end. By having an official route for add-ons the population aware of add-ons will only grow giving more feedback and money to both the add-on developer and Blizzard. The quality of add-ons would increase across the board, and touchy issues such as the life and death of the AVR add-on could be avoided. I doubt this will happen in World of Warcraft, but I think as MMOs become more monetized through various means, this might be somewhere in the future of the add-on market.
dimpa-size your meal