Quote of the Day

The most succinct summation of my thoughts on the World of Warcraft player-gouging news:

Since people who actually form their own groups are likely to be the more social players anyway, Blizzard effectively will be going the opposite way from Valve and charging the people who most want and are able to build social networks for their friends.


To get up to speed in one corner Blizzard who wants to charge people to play with friends in different servers, and in the other corner Valve who wants to give more free-benefits to those that are more socially influential. N.B. players are also charged a subscription for accessing Blizzard’s servers; what extras that subscription is paying for any more, I am not sure.


20 thoughts on “Quote of the Day”

  1. I’m looking forward to Diablo 3. I will already have to deal with Battle.net crap and I am worried about other “premium services” and shitty ideas they come up with.

    Third corner: ArenaNet / Guild Wars (2). OK, they are in league with the eastern devils from Korea ™, also known as NCsoft. But Guild Wars offered me the best game and the best bang for the buck so far. I hope they don’t go crazy with social networking, player tracking, privacy and the by now almost usual crap in Guild Wars 2.

    1. Recent GW2 interviews indicate they are really hard at work right now on their social aspects of the game so I hope that we will hear news in early summer. I feel that Rift’s attempts (some good, some bad, some mediocre) at using social networking provided a lot of good evidence of what works and what doesn’t.

      That being said I have a hearty feeling that GW2’s bang for the buck will be *at least* equivalent to the entertainment value of GW1.

    2. Tasha at Attached to Keyboard wrote an interested article about a week ago about her thoughts on the “Sharding” of the GW2 servers and her fears over the whole “friends on another server” problem.

      My heart tells me ANet will be working on some crafty way around it, but my head says it’s an incredibly tricky situation.

      ANet’s WvWvW PvP format means that different “shards” will be pitted against each other. However, if you want to play with a friend who is on another shard shouldn’t you (by ANet’s philosophy) be able to jump over and play with them – but then doesn’t that undermine the rivaly between the shards? Swings and roundabouts!

      1. Well they say they want to make it easy for players to jump from shard to shard in order to join a friend, but not to keep jumping around to keep following whoever’s currently winning WvW matches. So that sounds to me like moving once in a while will be simple, comparable to the current district system, but there will be time limits or some other limit on how often you can do it. It seems likely to be pretty straightforward.

        1. What I understood from ANet (and I can be wrong) – that PvE jump between shards would be easy and PvP (or rather – WvW) shard choice will be permanent. If You want to play PvE – You can do it with friends no matter how far You live. If You want to jump for Guild PvP – still possible. If You go WvW – You’re be split to Your “districts”. But do not quote me – it’s only what I catch between lines ;)

      2. Well nobody knows how lenient they will be with switching worlds but I would say it would be stupid to seriously limit people just because of one pvp mode.

      3. Screw rivalry, that BS only produces flame and infantile behavior. I already had my share of this in the whole Kurzick vs. Luxon thingy in Guild Wars: Factions. And of course there are other games, too. No, thanks.

        Friendly competition’s much better. Can be pretty heated, too, but without the whole Kurdick-and-Suxxon-kind-of-thing crap.

  2. I think it shows they care more about money.

    I think they are slowly moving to a modified F2P like LotRO, but they don’t want to call it that or a “cash shop” because they don’t want to scare away the part of the player base that is against such models. But it looks to me like they are moving in this direction. At one time, they would just implement features and items or you maybe had to earn them in-game. Soon you will just buy them.

  3. Well, this is, for me, the moment at which WoW jumped the shark. They’re already getting a fairly massive amount of money from me on a yearly basis, compared to F2P or single-player games. I can live with not getting sparkle ponies included with that. But not getting core social functionality? Yeah, thanks, I’mma go play City of Heroes or something else that values my loyalty.

  4. If they had never told me this feature existed I would continue along on my life with merely the vague wish that servers weren’t such hard barriers for friendship. Now that they’ve not only announced its existence but as a premium feature I am frothing with rage. In a game already so unfriendly towards social activities they deem this a ‘premium feature?’ Charge people for transfers, for renames, for sparkle ponies. Don’t charge people to maintain friendships.

    What a bunch of crap.

  5. No matter the amount that is ridiculous. I am glad that I am far over WoW. Another reason for WoW players to give up the charade. Guild Wars 2 is looking better and better :D

    What is Blizzard thinking really? Do they need more money? For gods sakes they could go Free to play and still not worry about money. What is there big deal with money? Why charge players to be social. This obviously is for those anti-social WoW players who spend 24 hours on the game by themselves and never actually participating in social activities unless absolutely necessary. What is next for Blizzard, charging to form raid groups? Bullshit is still bullshit no matter what expensive color you paint it.

  6. whoa… after reading the details on this little fiasco I have to say, Shark = Jumped.

    Blizzard is essentially saying, “c’mon… you’ve been bending over and taking it for so long this little bit more won’t matter… will it? Just tuck those ankles behind your ears and grit your teeth ya wimps.”

    I am completely blown away at the unmitigated gall of whoever gave the greenlight for this… that is one ruthless s.o.b. and I sure hope I get a chance to run across them some day in a post-apocalyptic road warrior world… just so I can properly say hi…

  7. I assume that they are afraid if they turn it on for free, that server transfers will drop because people won’t have to transfer as much. Perhaps they make more money off server transfers than we realize?

    Though really, if it were free I think it might increase server transfers. If you have character on another server and want to help out some friends. After playing so much, one or the other will be tempted to just transfer over so you can group in the regular world.

  8. This is such a dishonest post to compare and contrast Blizzard to something Gabe Newell said that has NOTHING to do with what Valve is actually going to do. They’re not rewarding social behavior, he just is spouting off a fun theory.

    Furthermore, making cross-realm dungeon forming a premium service doesn’t penalize socialness, it adds a new option for people who how haven’t or can’t form adequate social groups on their home realm. The people who are truly social can always find people on any realm to play with.

    The compare/contrast between Valve and WoW is even more BS because TF2 gets a far larger percent of its profits from microtransactions than WoW does. If you don’t consider the service to be “worth” the monthly fee then whether or not there is a new premium service shouldn’t factor into it. They can add premium services all they want; unless they take something core and essential out and charge you for it, I see no reason to rage.

    1. You must be reading different posts. I don’t ready anything about rage or penalizing social players.

      The only thing I disagree with is this:

      “If you don’t consider the service to be “worth” the monthly fee then whether or not there is a new premium service shouldn’t factor into it.”

      The existence of premium services DIRECTLY affects the value of a subscription because there is always the question of whether the customer feels those premium services should be included in the subscription. People don’t view their MMO subscriptions in a bubble ignoring all premium services and microtransactions to decide the value of their subscription.

      1. The “rage” mention was directed at other commentors, but what you did was contrast Blizzard with Valve by saying that the former charges extra for a new “social” feature while the latter “wants” to give social players free time. But that contrast is absurd since Valve will never really do anything of the sort.

        As far as premium services affecting subscriptions, it is only in an indirect way. MMO customers expect that their subscription fee is going towards a game that is evolving and improving. If a game is stagnant because new features are premium only, then that is a problem. If the game improves *and* they add premium features, then that is not a problem. Dungeon queuing with people on other realms gives you no advantage in the game, even less than the minimal ones given by mobile AHs and purchasing mounts that work on all characters. So singling that out as a reason why the monthly fee is bad is very odd.

    2. By creating a LFD Premium service they’re removing a section of the LFD playerbase from the general pool. I wrote recently predicting that Premium players of dps classes will take tanks and healers out of the general pool.

      For the Premium players it makes sense to form an instant group with a tank you know to be good. For the tanks it makes sense to accept an invite rather than risk a random pug.

      If the queues for casual dpsers hit 2 hours simply because they haven’t upped their sub to include the premium I’d say that has a pretty major impact on their gameplay.

      1. “For the Premium players it makes sense to form an instant group with a tank you know to be good. For the tanks it makes sense to accept an invite rather than risk a random pug.”

        Unless you can think of a reason why MORE tanks would be using the premium service than other roles would, it would not affect queue times at all. If fewer people are using the dungeon finder, then it would stand to reason to change everything in equal proportion, which would not change queue times at all.

        Suggesting that queues might increase by OVER FOUR TIMES because of this is completely absurd, I see no reason why they would be affected at all. The Call to Arms satchel would have a much much larger impact on queue behaviors (I always queue to tank randoms now, while I never did before) than this ever would, whether positive or negative.

        1. OK let me explain.

          A dps player paying a premium gets to invite people to group with him. It will always make sense to friend every half-decent tank and try them all rather than queue because if you get a tank you get an instant group.

          A tank logging on and getting 3 invites is always better off accepting rather than declining and then queuing for randoms. He has met the people and found them acceptable. That raises the level of the dps who send him invites above the level of random pug strangers.

          I would also argue that if people are selected to play on a team they give a better effort than if they join by default.

          Because it is so strongly in the interests of both parties to use the new system and because tanks and healers will get to ride free a proportion of the dps will siphon off most of the competent tanks and healers. In fact the only tanks left in the system will be:
          – tanks who would rather group with strangers than friends enough that they will decline the easy option (click accept) to take a slightly less intuitive option (decline then queue)
          – horrible/new tanks that no one wants to be friends with.
          – good tanks who have not yet been talent spotted by premium dps players.

          Do you really think this won’t increase queues? Or that Call To Arms will still have a noticeable impact once the current crop of tanks have the pets and mounts they want?

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