Tuesday, July 27, 2010

XP for Nothing, and the Clicks for Free

(with apologies to Dire Straits)

So, this post at PPI kind of exemplifies a common trend recently (and by no means unique – I'm not singling anyone out!), namely giving Blizz grief over how little new content is coming in Cataclysm.

In Meta's Navy past, they had a saying: "a bitching sailor is a happy sailor", meaning that if were were down to grumping over petty stuff, we must be in pretty good shape over all.  Conversely, when we got quiet, the Chief knew something was really wrong, and he started poking around.

I think it must be that way with bloggers, too. I can't really imagine that, given how much CATA fulfills requests I've seen made year over year could really be making them unhappy.

You get WoW 2.0 for free

For years, a new pretty toy MMO comes out and as a single organism, the WoW community sighs at how pretty it is, and mutters that one thing they really would like to see is an updated WoW, like they did with Guild Wars 2 or EQ 2. Basically looking for WoW 2.0, right?

Well, that's essentially what we're getting. WoW 2.0 has better graphics, refurbished old world content, you can fly in it, class issues being addressed, annoying quest chains eliminated or updated, and so forth.

And you get that before the expansion ships,even. For free. As long as you keep paying your subscription, you get all this for no additional fee. You won't need to install Cataclysm.

You get to keep your stuff

A major issue I have always had with sequels, expansions, etc, is that you usually can't import your saved characters. Sure, in the case of Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate 2, you need to have your stuff stripped and all, but it would be nice to be able to retain your toons and not have to rebuild them all over again, assuming you had one you were fond of.  RPGs are especially notorious for this.

But guess what? This time around, WoW 2.0 lets you keep all your stuff! Well, anything that isn't targeted specifically for elimination, at least. So that's pretty spiffy!

Everything old is new again

You don't have to buy the expansion to experience the new leveling game. They really, really have gone to a lot of trouble to clean things up, make things work better, and add new and interesting content to the game. For free! 

If you're not adverse to spoilers, have a look at this overview of the new leveling experience in Stranglethorn. Not only have things been improved for the player, but there is a lot of new lore material there. Zul Gurub! Pirates! What's not to like?  You want to experience the new leveling game? Roll up a human Hunter and have at it. For free! You don't need a worgen or goblin for that.

And, oh, by the way, it's tons of new content, never seen before. All for free.

But wait, there's more!

All that, plus the new stuff. Quite frankly, I'm surprised they added as much as they did considering all the work they put into the old content. But there you go. New zones, new raids, new bosses, even a sub-continent of sorts, only underwater.

Don't worry about Blizz

One of the more … interesting … justifications for the naysaying has been that the sayer of the nays in question is merely "expressing great concern for WoW's future."  What if this kills the game? What if people hate it and run away in droves?  Oh teh noz!

It always astounds me how some anonymous blogger takes it upon him or herself to play Armchair CEO. And yet he/she eschews games like EVE, where you CAN be a CEO and still shoot stuff – go figure!

Where was I? Oh, yeah, armchair CEOs. Well, what can I say? You either accept that the business analysts at Blizzard and the designers of said most popular game in the world know their business, or you don't.  I think it's ludicrous to suggest they don't, myself.

"But what about the RealID fiasco, knucklehead?"  Well, what about it? You think they blew it, don't you? That they screwed up, got caught at it, and relented. You think we won and they lost? And yet they have said flat out that RealID will continue forward in its current form. There will be no changes. They have plans for that, and they have had for years – anyone remember when they started going after bnetd battle.net servers a few years ago? Starting to make sense now? They didn't lose anything except a little bit of face, and Morhaime schmoozed enough to get most of that back.

And what of burnout? The fear is that the new content won't be enough. Well, suppose it isn't. I imagine a lot of burnouts will go straight to Starcraft II. "Oooo, stop throwing money at us, it hurts lol!"

So, really, don't fret for widdle ole blizz. I think they'll be just fine.  Them and their lawyers.

No, I think it's looking pretty good.

I'm going to have to branch out to another server so I can enjoy some leveling goodness, I think.  There's gnomes and worgen, just for starters. Me and Jas will get to go raiding in new places. We'll get to see Grim Batol! So much to do!

I will be sad when we hit the end of it. I wonder how fast they can turn it around.

They're laying the foundation for at least another half dozen expansions, they tell us. Will that take 12 years to complete? That's a hella revenue base!  I suggest that they have big plans for that sort of gold mine.

Now, be cool.

Again, I want to emphasize that I'm not picking on anyone in particular. Ixo just got the gears going and helped gel it all into one amphorous blob, now presented.  I emphasize this again since there seem to be a lot of thin skins out there lately, and I don't know where it'll express next.