Blizzard

Blizzard never rests … getting worse

Topic: reserved character names.
The unimaginative self-victimizing spineless whiners who would call reserving a character name using an idle char “passive griefing” to claim it is against the rules have won. As usual. But it might not even be directly this pathetic personality trait that was the reason. At the core, Blizzard cares about profits, and gamemasters having to manually deal with requests cost money, so now instead of acting mature and setting a standard, they cater to that mindset that is so close to their own by automating the process. And automation means it is being done. And the conditions are appalling:

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https://eu.battle.net/support/en/article/requesting-a-name-be-released-for-reuse

“Requesting a Name be Released for Reuse

We often receive requests from players to free up a character name. Customer Support will no longer assist with releasing names. Instead, names will automatically become available if the account that holds the name has remained inactive for the past two expansions.

For example, if an account has been inactive since before the Cataclysm expansion, all names on that account will be made available when the Warlords of Draenor expansion launches.

If you are an active player, there is no need to worry that your character names will be changed, even if you have been playing other characters for a while.
Updated: 27-Jul-2015
Article ID: 200790 ”

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Notice how it doesn’t say anything about character level. So if you found an awesome name that you can identify with, leveled the char to 85, got tons of achievements and rep and stuff, then stopped playing, and are now coming back to Warlords of Draenor, you might find your level 85 character has had its name taken away and given on a silver plate to a brat with a bloated sense of entitlement. Because that’s the target audience Blizzard caters to and always has. Some people just don’t understand that Blizzard doesn’t respect them, despite their best efforts to make that clear, like said case. If you are inactive for a longer time, you just don’t matter to them. Even though they lost tons of subscribers lately. They have given up and don’t expect you to return to the game anyway, so don’t be a fool and even consider it if you have any self-respect. They fully focus on the “whales” (rich and/or addicted) now. Supporting such a business has negative consequences for all of humankind and the world.

The nail in the coffin for my WoW subscription years ago was actually because of more automation and ensuing disrespect when a game master eventually talked total bullshit to me (as people usually do when reason collides with lowly motivations).

Any temptation there might have been for me to re-sub has been thoroughly averted by my self-respect. And preserving my self-respect even under severe pressure is an actual achievement.

Sidenote: RP is supposed to nourish creativity, but WoW isn’t really what role playing games used to be. People who complain that “all the good names are in use” are too stubborn to not have it 100% their way. They should just practice some creativity, which would work if the will was there.

I am probably the gold standard, because I have a hard time coming up with character names that are not unique, haha. xD

Selling your soul becomes closer to literal for businesses

Blizzard runs World of Warcraft.

They have their own website and a game forum specifically for World of Warcraft and the game’s login screen features an optional news window if something’s important.

It seems they maneuvered back a bit now (probably because of significant negative feedback), but a while ago you had to look for important info about stuff like unscheduled server offtime on Twitter. They really want people to go to Twitter. And they have Twitter integration in the game now, so I suspect marketing whoring to bring about the new world dominance.

Daybreak Gaming Company (formerly Sony Online Entertainment) runs Planetside 2. That game, too, has its own game forum, and just like in the case of World of Warcraft, you use your game login, which means that if you want to talk to the player community, there you will find the people who are actually playing the game.

Yet the go-to place for the devs to communicate with players is Reddirt. ( That was a typo I decided to keep. 😀 )

In other news, one of the big German internet providers (the privatized formerly national one in the form of the telephone company Deutsche Telekom) – T-Online – now decided to sell their own website.

Yeah, you heard right. T-Online.de. The company’s website. Where you can log in and do customer service stuff, web mail etc and where they offer their service packages, and also run it as a combined new portal. They sell it. The website that dons their name won’t be theirs anymore.

And it’s probably because of the news component, and not deciding to separate that, but keep it tied to the name, shows how highly names are valued in business, as a brand.

If this continues, selling your own grandma might soon become more than just a figure of speech.

And you know that this is all touching the topic of slavery, right?

When you are no longer in control of your own assets. When more and more that you thought is yours becomes owned.

Are you sure your name is still part of you and not just a legal person? Maybe it has been sold without your consent. (This is what happened to that German telephone company. Important things are not decided democratically here, but sufficiently indirectly to allow the plutocracy to rule over their subjects.)

Speaking of control: When businesses become so big that they consider the small stuff not lucrative enough, they dump that; leave the bread crumbs to the small businesses.

Amazon seemed to have realized that the small crumbs add up, so they decided to gain control over that, too. Can you still afford to run small online distribution without Amazon Marketplace? And Amazon gets their cut. This is the hybrid-solution of total dominance. It’s related to politics when you control and lead the dissent against you in order to crush or drown out any non-approved dissent.

Amazon might have a relatively good service for a huge corporation, but I don’t give them credit for that. Because they can easily afford it. It’s not like there’s still another big competitor like it’s so often the case when corporations wage a war and lose customer-orientation. Amazon now tries to intercept all potential competition and put them under their umbrella. They take all the benefits and reject the inconveniences. Amazon Marketplace is no benefit for small businesses because it only appears to be an advantage because it exists. It’s a bit of a mafia approach: You pay money for protection. Which would be a legit service contract if we didn’t talk about what it is that you need protection against.
This might end in what people who are afraid of socialism think is socialism but is actually a capitalism that they should be afraid of. Concentration of power is never a good idea. It has to be rooted in the people.

Encore
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Wondering why so many businesses sell out? – It’s like a 3-layer system:
1) Some created their business to sell it once it gets attactive.
2) Those who didn’t might get an offer to sell it that is attractive enough to put money before the business. (Might also be due to special circumstances like with Mojang where Notch wasn’t ready for the responsibility of a fast-growing business.)
3) Those who refused to sell might be either signaled that if they don’t sell, the potential buyer will just push them out of the market with their greater might, or this step happens without communicating that course of action to them.

This chain can be broken by courage, resolve and skill. You gotta be smart enough to, when losing in a shitty game, step out of the game and create your own rules. It’s all mostly just a mind game anyway. The good thing about out-of-the-box thinking is that then you no longer live in a box. 😉

The problem with World of Warcraft in one anecdote

They introduced profession daily quests, I think with Cataclysm. One of the fishing daily quests required you to swim in the waters of Stormwind Harbor and collect crawfish from traps on the sea floor.
And there were sharks. Highlevel sharks, so if you weren’t level-maxed, their aggro range was especially high.
And this was so much fun. Few things get your blood pumping in that way. (Another example would be covert enemy city infiltration.) Because there was an actual risk, requiring you to pay attention. The sharks had that habit of approaching just when you weren’t looking, from the somewhat murky water. It was a constant sense of danger and you’d look around nervously all the time, trying to not stay at one spot for too long or getting cornered. And this was OK, since you had been given a buff that increases swim speed and gives water breathing. So the challenge was just to stay away from the sharks.

And apparently some OCD babies whined that this hassle interfers with their mindnumbing daily quest routine. And Blizzard does what they always do … cave to them. Probably based on the business dictate to appeal to the lowest common denominator, for profit maximization.

So the sharks got nerfed to level 15 … which of course felt pathetic, disheartening.

Sharks should never be the target of pity. It’s just wrong.

And the water there is also crystal-clear now.
Oh and did I mention the comfort of the water breathing buff that you automatically get when accepting the quest so that you don’t even have to buy potions if you want to be lazy? How this further takes the appeal out of alchemy? Well, the potions AND the buff are pretty much pointless now, since at this point, breath time of characters has been increased to an insane THREE minutes! Unmodified by whether you swim or fight or get hit or anything. As long as you don’t stay submerged for more than 3 minutes, you’re fine. And then, if you still don’t catch a breath and let that extremely long timer run out, you get ANOTHER warning in the form of health loss every two seconds, so that it takes another 12 seconds of health loss before you actually die.

As mentioned in the title, this is just one of many possible exemplary cases that show what kind of mindset ruins the sprit, the magic, of World of Warcraft.

Bug made WoW quest better

WoW is so bad these days that a bug actually made a quest more fun (oldschool).

http://www.wowhead.com/quest=24707

This quest is a nod to Don Quixote. You assist Maximillian and eventually face a huge dinosaur, and you two flee horseback and have to defeat the ‘dragon’ by throwing rocks at it (and occasionally stomp-stunning it to gain some distance), each of which reduced its health by maybe 0.1%. It fit the whole absurd theme of the quest chain so much, how it took minutes of riding around, aggroing all kinds of bystanding wildlife, and eventually killing a huge t-rex by throwing hundreds, maybe even thousands of tiny rocks at it. It’s almost a parody of the whole boss battle mechanics in WoW where you hit often huge bosses with your tiny weapons until they die.

I shared my excitement about this quest with my guildmates, because that quest felt so oldschool, so unconventional, so immersive, making you a part of an odd experience so totally not like the dull streamlined and idiot-proof quest design pattern one usually encounters in WoW.
And then my guildmates asked why I didn’t just throw armor pieces. And I was like: “Huh? What armor pieces?”. They told me Maximillian should have given me some armor pieces to throw at the beast, which would have reduced its health by a big chunk. But I couldn’t remember anything like that.

So back then I wondered: Could I really have overlooked it; missed the moment where Max activated the armor-throw option for me? I doubted that, so I assumed that at the early time when I did the quest, Blizzard might not have added that option and added it later. I thought it was lame of them to massively nerf the fun out of that quest.

Now I read the comments on that website and realize… it was just a common bug that made the armor-throw not work. It was unintended.
But it was a lot more fun. (Although the impatient whiney babies that Blizzard attracts with the game who want everything fed on a silver spoon and shun any type of effort would disagree.)
When I later tried the quest again, I had the armor-throw option, and it filled me with a feeling of disappointment. As if I had been given a quest completion coupon that I simply had to redeem at a machine. It took the spirit out of the quest.

And this is one of hundreds of examples of how Blizzard kills the game’s soul. (Which was never remarkably strong, but the creative designers clearly try to put their passion into the game to the degree they’re allowed to do.)

If you wanted me to concisely summarize what I think is wrong with WoW, I would say: WoW is absolutely not like indie games. That’s what’s wrong.

Game time tokens are translating two-class society into the game realm

The game time token (as used with the name PLEX in EVE Online, and the idea having been announced for World of Warcraft) is another feature with metagaming aspects. Another thing that translates the dominant business mentality into the game. People with good income can buy wealthy-status ingame and with it fund the continued play of those who are ‘poor’ in RL but got lots of time, and they’re working for ingame currency and then burning it up just to be able to continue playing, which of course pleases the business, but puts the non-wealthy player in a dependency relation not unlike wage slavery. After all, they’re spending a considerable amount of time with just making sure they can continue playing. And this more direct tie-in with real money value will likely also rot people’s motivations even more, like guild leveling did by creating guild ad spamming. It creates a survivalist and greedy atmosphere.
It is a two-class society in the making. The rich are benefitting off the poor.
After EVE Online with its players spending much time ship-spinning in the hangar, doing their regular business transactions, World of Warcraft now has something quite similar with garrisons. And after EVE Online’s PLEX, World of Warcraft will adopt yet another feature from them. World of Warcraft is getting increasingly inspired by the one MMO that is more rotten than itself. Which was to be expected when you understand the whole problem complex. For Blizzard there is only one direction. Business pressures dictate them onto a course that has passed the point of no return long ago, and they willingly subjected themselves to those masters.