Remember the good, old days? – Why does it matter?

Pausing the Happy Thoughts for a moment today, and hoping for a constructive discussion.

Thank you so much in advance for getting involved 🙂


 

Remember back when you would play a video game, and that would be it?

You wouldn´t even know, who made it, you only cared, if it was good.

You didn´t connect and discuss with people online. You didn´t hear news of the company behind the game. All you were interested in was if the game provided you with the entertainment you expected.

 

I can still remember playing The Lost Vikings 20 years ago – yet it was only a few years ago, that I discovered, who was behind the game.

 

 

Those days are gone.

What happened?

Is is “just” the arrival of internet (and social media), or did we change, too?

Is it mostly us as gamers or the world around us?

Perhaps it is the level of greed, that plays a larger role now, when it comes to the reputation of a company. Yet, we would be kidding ourselves, if we didn´t admit, that of course they are here to make money. It´s not just about making games for “fun”. Still, gaming companies need to adapt and stay updated.

So why does it matter to us now?

I would appreciate to get your view and thoughts on it.

 


 

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It´s not often, that Chris Metzen gets involved in discussing the state of Blizzard anymore.

 

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Player Segmentation

 

As for Blizzard, Activision, World of Warcraft: I fear, that what we witness in these times is, that the player segment, that gets the most focus no longer are those, who cherish the Warcraft franchise. We do not bring in enough cash.

I have played World of Warcraft for over 14 years, since I was 22 years old. I never did try Warcraft, but naturally, I have a different “connection” to Blizzard, than a 15 year old who just arrived to the game would have. I knew Blizzard before Activision arrived. I belong to the player segment, who cherish the Warcraft franchise.

 

Is the cost of pleasing our kind too high?

 

What are we asking for? Are we impossible to please, do we play too little?

Does a company really has to rely on microtransactions to make it work today?

Why is a game of good quality, a finished game, no longer the goal?

Was that not what Blizzard was known for?

Is there any Blizzard left?

I imagine, that the average age of purchasing microtransactions is probably closer to 15 than 50 too.

 


 

I hate how the cynical part of me imagines, that all the mentioned developer-power Blizzard wants to add to their team, after they laid off 800 people, will go straight to their mobile games.

Because we all have phones, don´t we?

 

What´s the deal?

Will those of us, who are long time-fans be forgotten, out with the old, in with the new?

Will we have to settle for Classic, and Warcraft Remastered? Is that the explanation behind the timing and reason for those? Because surely it is not the plan to add microtransactions to them?

 


 

 

The loss of a good corporate image

 

I keep circling back, to what Blizzard admitted earlier;

that “they want to improve their communication with their passionate player base.”

Yet going through this post makes it difficult to see, how laying off people, that help them do just that, will help to achieve the goal of better communication. Building a solid reputation as a Community Manager can take years.

One could argue, that, after all, it´s better to have a stronger, more finished game (hiring more developers), instead of communicating.

 

Perhaps the goal is to get rid of communication all together, since the success of it – apparently – cannot be measured?

 

Perhaps times were better, back when players had no “need” for updates and communication –  or even more so, had no way of keeping updated, no place to come together.

No place to discuss their class – if you like it, great, if not, move onto another game. No “expectations”, that your voice can have an impact, that it can help change things. Perhaps those timers were simpler, easier. Just accept it or move on.

 

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I miss Alunaria the Gullible. Where is the hiding?

Do I need to blog through this, for her to come out again?

If only I didn´t care. After all, the less I care, the more happy I am?

 

Blizzard. You matter to us. We want you to succeed.

 

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“For Ythisens”

These are grim times for the gaming industry.

I went to bed yesterday preparing to wake up to the news of Activision “cutting costs”. I hoped for a maximum of 200 employees, I feared 700. It’s 775.

But, for when I tried to reassure myself, that better times would be ahead for the game, for the company…

Do you want to know which thought popped into my head?

 

“Well, at least they will keep people like Ythisens around”.

 


 

 

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If you are not someone, who visits the WoW forums, Ythisens is (was…) a very beloved Community Manager. He was welcomed into the community in 2017,  and he was the kind of person, who gave us hope. Always active, respectful, and blunt – a mix of qualities that are not easy to come by.

So wakening up to the news, that even Ythisens have been laid off, leaves me with little ability to defend these actions. With little hope.

 

“Building your way up to the reputation and respect Ythisens had is no easy task.”

 

Laying off someone like Ythisens at a time where we now more than ever need clear communication is nothing short of bizarre. I cannot help but fear, that this is a very clear sign, a symbol, of what is to come. And I struggle to remain hopeful for the game, because of that.

 


 

But despite it all, I am still as naive as can be, and I will at least make an attempt to have this desicion revoked.

I know there are so many employees that have lost their job overnight, and it´s not like Ythisens, is the only one I care about, please believe me.

But for me, he was the shimmer of hope, a shining star, always there with a spot on response. Actively communication with the player base.

Fighting for him to get his position back, is a symbol of not accepting the way, things have changed. Despite how foolish and unfruitful it may be.

 

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Ythisens being laid off is such a clear statement, and I will not have it, until I have done what I can to change things around.

A part of me wonders, if this is just a cruel trick. Laying off someone Activision knows, that the community actively will recognize and miss deeply, then revoking the decision and come out looking like heroes.

Gosh. Look at how quickly hope and naivity can turn into speculation and pessimism. Press on!


 

But enough about that, for now. That was not the intention of this post.

So, for you, Ythisens…

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To everyone else who have been laid off, despite no personal note to you, please know, that my thoughts are with you, just as they are with Ythisens.

Thank you for all that you contributed with to enrich the company, we once knew.

 

“Do you want to show your support?

Bring out your Zao, Calfling of Niuzao today and rename it Ythisens.

It´s the least we can do, for all who just lost their job.

Let your voice be heard.”

 

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Other posts on the subject

 

The Ancient Gaming Noob

Venture Beat

Ars Technica

Misdirections

Game Informer

Deez Wurds

The Scruffy Druid

Blizzard Watch

Fanbyte- Jordan Mallory

Massively OP 1 and 2

MMO Fallout

Zephirah´s Adventure

Kaylriene

Unidentified Signal Source

Contains Moderate Peril

Variety

Parallel Context