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World of Warcraft Interview "Responses" 436

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the it's-hard-work-printing-money dept.
A little over a month ago we asked you for your questions to send on to the World of Warcraft development team. Unfortunately, it appears that these questions were misrouted to the Blizzard PR department. Any "Answers" you read here are completely devoid of real information or insight, and instead read like press releases and FAQ-style form replies. As I am a huge fan of this game, I was really disappointed by this. We promised to print their answers, so here they are.
1.) Economic Monitoring... by nweaver
How much economic monitoring do you do? Both in-game and on the secondary market (eBay)? Have you considered working with an economist (Steven D. Levitt comes to mind, but there are dozens of others as well) to study some of these phenomenon?

Response -
We monitor the economics of the game very closely. We watch the in-game economy on a regular basis and have personnel that monitor game logs every day. When we see irregularities, we take action. This can range from exploring the account further, finding and removing exploits, or even possible suspension and bans. We also look closely at out-of-game transactions involving real-world cash for in-game items. Some of those transactions occur over eBay, some do not. But in many cases, the involved parties are warned or suspended, and some accounts are also banned.

2.) What would you have done differently? by Trespass
It's the biggest MMORPG to date in terms of number of subscribers. It's easy to guess that you've encountered challenges due to scale that no other developer has before. Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently, and when?

Response -
Oh yeah, there were definitely things we wished we could have done differently during the development of World of Warcraft. But we learned from those challenges and used that knowledge to improve the game at every opportunity. All of us at Blizzard strive to study the challenges of development and apply those lessons to our next project. It helps us to refine our development process and make each game better.

3.) Mutiple platforms by Fizzlewhiff
Blizzard is one of the few companies that distribues Windows and Mac games together on the same media. Going further, WoW allows Windows and Mac users to play together on the same realms, something which isn't done in other MMORPGS. What kind of hurdles did you have to overcome to get both Windows and Mac versions to co-exist and have you had to make any sacrifices because you were only able to do something on one platfrom and not both?

Response -
There was never any question that World of Warcraft would be co-developed for Windows and Mac users. Blizzard has always supported the Mac platform; you'll notice that even as far back as Warcraft II and Diablo we were there supporting Apple. However, with World of Warcraft, we wanted to improve that relationship further and shoot for a simultaneous release on both platforms. All of us are thrilled that we succeeded in that respect, and we're sure Mac users are happy as well. Both games are equal in every respect; there weren't any features in one version that didn't make it into the other.

4.) Balance by zaffir
What is the process the dev team goes through for balancing character classes, items, NPCs, etc.? Seemingly minor changes can have a huge effect on gameplay, how do you avoid unwanted negative effects on the overall gameplay experience with each content patch? Also, How much of an effect does feedback from the community have on this process?

Response -
As you've implied, game balance is a very difficult and challenging thing to achieve. If it were easy, every game would be perfectly balanced. Of course we know that's not the case. Our designers work very hard to try to balance the game and we know that the more feedback we get, the better our odds of achieving that elusive balance. That's why it has always been important to us to hold closed and open beta tests for all our games, a process dating back to Diablo and StarCraft. The feedback of our beta testers has always been invaluable, and that is still the case in World of Warcraft. That's also why we have Public Test Realms and why all our patches go there first: for more testing before we reveal it to the public.

5.) More dynamic universe? by Zarhan
Battlegrounds are a nice feature, but despite them, the World of Azeroth is quite static place. There have been few events - like the orphan week - but nothing big. Are you planning to introduce "events" into the gaming world that would actually shape it permanently, like in Asheron's call?

Response -
That's something we're looking into. We'd like to enhance our events and create more ongoing ones as well. Children's Week, Darkmoon Faire, and the Stranglethorn Fishing contest are all steps in that direction. Darkmoon Faire, for instance, will continue to be enhanced with new content so that players can keep coming back for new experiences. The Fishing contest is a weekly recurring event that we hope makes the Stranglethorn area more relevant for players. We can't give away too many details for what we have in store, but our goal is to always make the game world feel and act more alive.

6.) Why innovate, if you're just going to stop later? by Mirkon
World of Warcraft was the first MMORPG I gave more than a passing play. Everquest, Asheron's Call, Ultima, SW: Galaxies; none of those interested me, because I saw and read about the endless toil and trouble just to gain numbers on your character stats. WoW was different - I saw the simplicity of Diablo/II in it: easy to play, rich in content, and with a wide world to explore. But then I got to level 60, and all that ended. Now, instead of being able to do most things alone or with a small group of friends, game accomplishments take a full raid of 40 people? You need someone to plan it all out in advance, you need everyone to agree to common rules and to get along with each other; and you need everyone to be coordinated in order to defeat ridiculous enemies. With this, the challenge of the game ceases to be learning techniques and honing skills, and becomes social. The difficulty is not in playing, but in making sure everyone else is playing. Endgame is a different game, and I don't care for it. It's not the game I bought. Rather, it's the games I declined to buy in the past. Friends of mine who played Everquest and Final Fantasy XI are right at home, but I'm decidedly out of place, and don't really want to invest hours, days of my time on goals with exponentially increasing difficulty and exponentially diminishing rewards. The early game is brilliant, and playing it was a joy. Why is that so hard to retain in level 60 play?

Response -
As this question illustrates, the audience for MMORPGs and especially World of Warcraft is very wide and diverse. It is difficult to please all gamers all the time. In fact, some decisions that we make are praised by some players and then criticized by others. It's a difficult balancing act to satisfy so many needs. However, at the same time, we understand that some players just don't have the time or social circle to experience the classic 40-man raids and high-end content of an MMORPG. That's why we created and continue to create more content that can be experienced by casual gamers. Our 10-man PvP Battleground, Warsong Gulch, was a response to this need. It allows smaller groups of people to experience content that is level-neutral and still walk away with great rewards. Arathi Basin, our newest Battleground, is similar in that casual gamers without large social circles can also enjoy playing there and reap great rewards from doing so. Zul'Gurub is an example of non-PvP content that we created for smaller groups of casual players. It is a 20-man raid dungeon that isn't as much of a time commitment as Molten Core or Blackwing Lair. And further in the future, we hope to do some things in Silithus that will enable solo and 5-man groups to still have plenty of fun and questing even after they've hit the level cap.

7.) final decision process? by grungebox
Let me be up front: I don't play any MMORPG's...probably never will. I'm sure WOW is fantastic, but I generally stick to console games. Which sort of leads to my question. How in the world did the decision for a Warcraft MMORPG get made?

Response -
Well, we hope that you'll try out the game. You might be pleasantly surprised. World of Warcraft was designed to be easy and inviting for non-traditional MMORPG players to try. It has an intuitive interface, stylized and familiar settings, and very easy-to-accomplish quests for the casual gamer. As for why we decided to make World of Warcraft in the first place, well, many of us loved playing MMORPGs and we wanted to make one that had all the features we wanted to see and experience ourselves. Since no one else was making the exact MMORPG we wanted to play, we decided to design it ourselves.

8.) What are you doing to curb farming and ebaying? by Amich
I've noticed that "bot"'d characters programmed to do nothing but farm money and items has become a growing problem in WoW. Farming bots can frequently be spotted in the game, and I have evern personally recieved in-game mail spam advertizing mmobay.com . What do you plan to do to curb this issue that is eating away at the economy and atmosphere of your realms?

Response -
We have a zero-tolerance policy against the sale of World of Warcraft items on eBay and similar activities. We investigate such allegations very seriously and those accounts that are indeed guilty of exploits or selling of in-game items for real-world cash suffer disciplinary action within the game. We have various steps we sometimes take in dealing with such issues, but trust us when we say we don't tolerate actions that destroy the economy of the game.

9.) More solo endgame content? by Anonymous Coward
I played WoW since closed beta, and bought it the day it came out. In about 3 months, I made it to level 60. But... then my interest in the game sort of ended. I didn't care about high end raids, or about any PvP content. Elite content was more of a hassle for me than it was fun and exciting. I eventually cancelled my account. So, my question is, are there any plans for more solo content for the endgame? I understand the concept of a MMORPG is to interact with others, but I don't want to have NOTHING to do if I can only play for an hour and want to do something alone.

Response -
We touched on this in the earlier question, but yes, we know that some gamers want more casual content that can be experienced in short periods of time. Many of our quests are designed to be accomplished in short bursts, and that goes from low-level to high-level quests. In future patches, you'll see more casual content that continues along this philosophy.

10.) Developer blogging as done in Linux, MS groups by Sleepy
I loved the Warcraft games so much that I could never play WoW (major time sink! :-) My question is, would your company encourage, allocate time for and generally nudge willing developers to blog? If anyone's worried about bad postings and replies to the blog, a good example to look at is the Microsoft IE7 bloggers. A public blog seems to have influenced Microsoft into fixing IE7 to a degree more than initally planned, which is a Good Thing for many. A theory is their developers wanted to do the right thing, and the blog helped support that.

Response -
We care deeply about our community and definitely want to keep our World of Warcraft gamers updated, but the development and refinement of our games take first priority. However, we do our best to keep the community up to date with regular updates such as the World of Warcraft "Battle Plan," as well as interviews with various news organizations such as this one. Every company has a different way of reaching out to the community and we feel that the World of Warcraft community site is a great way to keep gamers up to date and informed about every aspect of World of Warcraft. The forums are also a great place for gamers to express their opinions and give feedback about the game.

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World of Warcraft Interview "Responses"

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  • Arrghhh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday September 22, 2005 @02:50PM (#13623566) Homepage Journal

    My pancreas is going to explode from all that sugar! PR people that treat the customers as morons should be unemployed.
    • Re:Arrghhh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Pantero Blanco (792776) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:01PM (#13623699)
      I'm not completely sure if he was being sarcastic about them being rerouted to the PR department or not. I could see that actually happening, but I figure it's much more likely the developers were worried about saying something they weren't supposed to, and Taco's comparing them to PR people.
      • Re:Arrghhh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:03PM (#13623718) Homepage Journal
        Yeah, it sure sounds like either a PR person or developers' replies by consensus. No one out on a limb or adding any flavour to the replies.
        • Re:Arrghhh (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Meagermanx (768421) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @05:19PM (#13624895)
          Heck, a lot of the questions weren't even answered!

          "Did you leave anything out for compatability?"
          Yes, there are Mac and PC versions. They both feature the same content.

          "What do you wish you had done differently with the design of this game?"
          Yes, designing games is a hard and challenging process, and we learn new things from each one we design.

          Those aren't answers. Send the questions back.
      • Re:Arrghhh (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Surt (22457) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:26PM (#13623904) Homepage Journal
        Blizzard has a pretty strict policy about routing public communications through the PR department. Though I no longer work there and don't know for sure, I would feel confident betting $1000 that PR was involved in generating and sanitizing these answers (and i'm pretty poor, so that would be a big bet for me).
        • Re:Arrghhh (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Krach42 (227798) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @06:27PM (#13625501) Homepage Journal
          I almost can't doubt that it went through the PR wash. The answers are bland, unresponsive and sometimes not even related to the question.

          I mean, the one were they respond, "Oh, please try our game; we're sure you'll be pleasently surprised."

          Only marketingdroids talk like that.

          This is singularly the worst interview I've ever read. It's like an interview with a mural on a brickwall. No insight, just the same facade that you've already seen before. No DEPTH.

          I wish companies would realize that when you get an interview list from Slashdot we don't want more dribble that we could read anywhere; we want real answers. *REAL ANSWERS PEOPLE*.

          I'm just disgusted at these responses.
        • Re:Arrghhh (Score:5, Funny)

          by Xetrov (267777) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @07:35PM (#13625920)
          (and i'm pretty poor, so that would be a big bet for me).

          Perhaps you should've kept your job there?
    • by Sialagogue (246874) <sialagogueNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday September 22, 2005 @04:20PM (#13624402)

      Dear WOW "Development Team" --

      On behalf of the entire Slashdot Community, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to so carefully craft responses to our questions. It's thoughtful respondents like you that make our workday such a pleasure.

      It's with some dismay, however, that I can anticipate that certain members of our community may choose not to respect some simple guidelines that we have established to make this board a fun and informative place for everyone. They are likely to accuse you of being a "marketing droid" or a "PR hack" or a "community-college intern" or having "screwed your way to the middle" or being "functionally retarded" or having "your head up your ass" or your "hand down your pants" or having "your other hand up your boss's ass" or various other unpleasant and discourteous phrases for implying that your responses were less than substantive.

      Please be assured that our Moderation System(tm) is designed to specifically addresses many of these users, and simply because you may see a few of these discourteous posts with "+5 Insightful" does not mean we are not working very hard behind the scenes to make sure that this is a fair and objective forum for all involved.

      Again, thank you so much for taking the time to respond. We look forward to hearing from you again in the future.

      -- The Slashdot "Developer Team"

    • specifically of the typ of thing noted here:

      For World of Warcraft users, The Register ( http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/09/21/wow_virtu a l_plague [theregister.co.uk] ) reports that "When Blizzard introduced the God of Blood - Hakkar to his mates - in a new World of Warcraft scenario called Zul'Gurub, little did it know it was summoning up the online equivalent of Ebola or AIDS. According to a posting on WoW fansite Shacknews, anyone who ends up in a fusticuffs-style confrontation with Hakkar will be attacked with a magic

    • Re:Arrghhh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jcenters (570494) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @05:36PM (#13625041) Homepage
      The funny part is that the CMs have been deleting references to this article on the WoW boards:

      This used to be a thread discussing the interview. [worldofwarcraft.com]

  • Right now (Score:5, Funny)

    by Approaching.sanity (889047) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @02:51PM (#13623578) Homepage
    That is one bitter Taco.
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @02:52PM (#13623595)

    Spot the one response written by a PR flunky...3...2...1...Time's up!

    Q: What would you have done differently?

    A: ...we learned from those challenges and used that knowledge to improve the game at every opportunity. All of us at Blizzard strive to study the challenges of development and apply those lessons to our next project. It helps us to refine our development process and make each game better.

    So...the answer is NOTHING?

  • Heh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pantero Blanco (792776) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @02:53PM (#13623600)
    Kinda reminds me of something I'd see on G4 instead of Slashdot, but that's what you gotta expect from PR. Way to go, bureaucracy.
  • by Erioll (229536) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @02:53PM (#13623605)
    Any "Answers" you read here are completely devoid of real information or insight, and instead read like press releases and FAQ-style form replies.

    Truer words were never spoken. This whole thing is just more of the same: we don't want you talking to the developers, ever.
    • They're probably worried that either 1. the developers will say something to embarrass them or 2. the developers will say something violating their non-disclosure agreements. Maybe both, I can't know for sure.
      • by Erioll (229536) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:01PM (#13623702)
        Or 3. Developer Celebrity. They had a number jump ship to NCSoft for Guild Wars. And they were people that some knew their names, and thus caused some waves about "true spirit of blizzard", etc. I don't know if it's true at all, but keeping them seperate completely takes this problem away.

        Or 4. This keeps decisions from needing to be justified. With much questioning you can always say "the developers must have their reasons" rather than them being vetted by the community at large. It also helps them justify the snail's pace of fixing classes (1 talent revamp PER patch? wtf?).
        • by poindextrose (640377) <sliderule@gmail . c om> on Thursday September 22, 2005 @04:22PM (#13624421) Homepage
          Or 4. This keeps decisions from needing to be justified. With much questioning you can always say "the developers must have their reasons" rather than them being vetted by the community at large. It also helps them justify the snail's pace of fixing classes (1 talent revamp PER patch? wtf?).

          Better than EQ's simultaneous nerf-and-buff patches?

          MMORPGs aside, since when is changing multiple variables simultaneously when working towards a balance a good thing? AFAICT, the best way to acheive balance is changing things very slowly and in small steps. Think about:

          Oh my, this scale doesn't balance. I'll just take a bunch of stuff from one side and put it on the other.... Wait, it still doesn't balance, I should now move stuff from this side to that side.

          Vs.

          Oh my, this scale doesn't balance. I'll gradually add small peices to the lighter side until the scale balances.

          Now think about the fact that you have 8 races, each with different racial abilities (which should be balanced), 2 factions (which should be balanced) with characters from each playing as 8 different classes per faction (which should all, of course, be balanced). Add tradeskills and mix.

          That's a multidimensional scale you're now trying to balance, with weight requiring distribution evenly across all facets. If that scale moves too far in ANY direction, you'll have every player with that Race/Class combo complaining in the forums you've provided them to communicate with you with. Granted, that's what it's there for, but can you see why there is scrutiny over every change?

          Now, what if during one of your touted multi-class-talent-revamp-patches, someone finds a problem (x' class totally sucks compared to y' class)? What do you change? How do you find the imbalance you've introduced? Nerfing y' back towards y will only anger the players who were just pleased with you. Buffing x' classes towards x'' may cause almost all other players to be angry with you (where are my buffs?).

          Perhaps you're just upset your class hasn't got a good improvement in a while. One thing that must be understood is that the reason for class upgrades is to bring those classes towards being balanced with respect to the others. They're improving with respect to, but not surpassing the remainder of the classes (by very much).

          I can certainly understand the pain of another class' upgrade, as the recent Hunter revamp makes simple earthly creatures far surpass the demons that I summon from the nether realm, and the tradeskill-likeness that is my summoning procedure (except that you can't outright buy soul shards) goes unchanged. I try not to complain, except by masking it as part of an argumentative statement as part of a totally unrelated argument on a tech news site, because I know that Blizzard is working on it, and doing a damned fine job of it.

          As to the arguments that Blizzard hasn't answered anything and is failing to expose their developers to PR pressure, I ask you: is it a part of their job description? This is why they have a PR department in the first place. So that programmers can program, making some of the featureset requested by the community. Making it very well, one might add. Now you're expecting them to stop working on the next patch with all the big and little features you've asked for and explain their decisions to you? Are you suggesting replacing the PR department, whose job it is to relate with the public (read: you) , and use programmers' time to answer questions when they could easily be working hard to try to make the game better?

          Oh, wait.... this is Slashdot. Nevermind.
          • by An Onerous Coward (222037) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @06:46PM (#13625614) Homepage
            Okay. Class balancing is hard work. They're workin' hard. We get it.

            But regarding the end of your post: the PR department isn't doing its job, unless "its job" is "keep the developers from saying something embarrassing or stupid," rather than "help the public relate to this company, and give the company a good public face."

            As you said, this is Slashdot. Home of the geek, the troll, the antisocial, the borderline psychopath, the epic flamewar, and the rare computer genius. We're not looking for bland chatter about how great a company Blizzard is. We want to hear about the nitty gritty of the development process. We want to hear about the failed practical joke that resulted in a server fire 72 hours before they went live*. We want to hear the developers tell about how this one algorithm tweak saved their collective butts when all seemed doomed. We want to be regaled with the tales of blood, sweat, and courage by the steely-eyed code warriors we all aspire to become. We want to slap them on their backs and buy them beer.

            These "answers" show that the PR Department at Blizzard is either too incompetent or too risk averse to interface with its audience in a way that will speak to that audience. Unchain some developers from their desks, let them spill some of Blizzard's less critical secrets, and keep the cattle prod on hand if they breathe a word about The Goat Incident. But for grandma's sake, let us hear something that sounds genuine.

            * Note: This is a hypothetical incident. Please, Blizzard, call off your demon lawyer horde.
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:33PM (#13623956)
      I don't understand why Blizzard is so opposed to any sort of real, technical response to questions. Other MMORPGs have done that and it's worked fine. DAoC was a very successful MMORPG (and is still around, acitve, and profitable, though fairly small) and they did it all the time. Someone would ask a question about game mechanic X, PR person would find out the programmer responsable, send an e-mail, and print the response. In that way the PR people still made sure nothing secret leaked, and that everything looked good (proper spelling and so on), but you got real responses.

      I fail to see why Blizzard has such a problem with that. It also seems somewhat counter productive. Humans like reasons, they like to know why. Reasons don't always satisfy them, but it'll at least satisfy some people, and is often better than nothign for the rest.

      When the server cluster I play on was having massive problems I really wanted to know why. I suppose there's no rational reason, it's not like it'd get fixed faster or I could help them or anything, but I had a need to be told what was wrong. I was mad that the response was just "we have a problem and are looking at it." Well ok, WHAT is the problem? Tell me, it'll make me feel better.
      • by garylian (870843) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @04:22PM (#13624423)
        In some ways, Blizzard is smart to give as little technical information it can, and in others, it is dumb.

        Let's face it, the average bnet kid is a complete jerk. If you give them even the smallest tidbit of information, they go crazy because you didn't release the source code, let them attend development meeting, and be in charge of product design. And this makes up a large portion of their player base. I mean, have you *read* their forums???? A more idiotic group of complainers hasn't been found.

        Having said that, many of their best spoken critics could be silenced with a few, well spoken responses. Blizzard won't give them, though, because of the flames they take from the masses.

        Blizzard's forums are a wreck, because they refuse to clean them up. If they deleted off-topic posts, flames, and the like from their General forum ad naseum, maybe things would get better. Because they don't, their forum mods end up playing tag with a ton of nutcase windbags. Posts blow off the front page of their General forum in less than 5 minutes in many cases, and then you get no response, unless you /bump yourself, which is a punishable offense. They still haven't learned how to run a forum for an MMO.

        In a nutshell, the response that Blizzard gave here was a very watered down version of things they have let their forum mods share with the public.

        Why harder hitting questions, like why does it take months between patches, and the like, were left off, and these questions were included, is curious. Heck, EQ2 is patched almost daily, yet Blizzard still leaves bugs in place for as long as it can get away with. The amount of bugs in each release clearly indicate that their Q/A process is a joke. And many problems found on the Test Server are left in the release, because they don't want to go back and fix them. Important things like this were ignored for the questions that got asked?

        The questions that *were* posed to Blizzard have all been answered in their forums, for the most part. We weren't going to learn anything new, especially when 2 of the questions (1 and 8) were essentially the same. Hello, economy and farming questions go hand in hand!

        The fact that the results of this were lame is partly related to the poor choices of questions asked. The rest of it is that Blizzard is a bunch of weenies.

        Me, I've gone back to playing CoH, and having fun again. That, and monkeying around in the CoV beta.
      • If, for example, the answer was

        "We had a major hard drive crash over here, and IBM is being super slow about replacing our RAID array. We went down to best buy and grabbed a couple fujitsu drives to try and get things up and running for now, but that's just not working out. We have a complete backup of everything, so as soon as IBM gets back to us, we'll be good to go."

        then you might feel better. If, on the other hand, the answer was

        "Steve and Jake were eating pizza and kick
    • Looks like Blizzard doesn't like people talking about this, because the thread regarding this on their official forum [worldofwarcraft.com] has been deleted as well.
  • bleh on PR. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GoNINzo (32266) <GoNINzo@y a h oo.com> on Thursday September 22, 2005 @02:53PM (#13623608) Homepage Journal
    Can we resubmit these to get it routed to a technical person? Or possibly make requests on the Forums to get the real answers? This is just useless, but exactly what you'd expect out of blizzard. At least on the forums, you sometimes get a real answer of 'yeah, that's a bug, I don't see it getting fixed anytime soon, so stop doing it.'
    • Re:bleh on PR. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Surt (22457) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:10PM (#13623777) Homepage Journal
      I assure you, more than enough devs at blizzard read slashdot. Most of the team will have seen this article, and many are surely irritated. Some may have even been consulted about answers, and are probably upset by the sanitization that has gone on. But that said, none will post here because Blizzard can be pretty draconian with its devs, and they fire people for smaller stuff than that.
  • If I submitted a question and after a lot of time read this, well, I'd be quite p'ed off... :-/
  • by brouski (827510) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @02:54PM (#13623617)
    Were you specifically promised a response by the development team when this Q/A was arranged?

    This has been a long-standing problem in the WoW community, the "ivory tower" approach (or lack of approach) that the developers have taken to the common gamer.

    Compare that to a game like City of Heroes where the developers post on a daily basis.

    • I remember back in the days before starcraft was out, you could see in depth comments on the forums from devs. I guess I can assume that is ancient history now.

      I seem to recall there were instances where the devs said things they shouldn't have and I would not be surprised if they clamped down on them at some point. The fansites would collect and put full analyses up of any post with an official [blizzard] tag next to it.
    • by Surt (22457) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:06PM (#13623748) Homepage Journal
      As an aside, I can assure you it is not the dev team's fault. I used to work at blizzard north, and there was a pretty strict policy on never talking about anything in public without permission. With Blizzard South, the policies are even stricter and more draconian, and they fire people on a more regular basis to keep the devs in line.

    • by RubberChainsaw (669667) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:36PM (#13623992)
      "Compare that to a game like City of Heroes where the developers post on a daily basis."

      This is a very good sentence because it shows how unimportant the developer response actually is. WoW is the best mmog on the market (numberwise), and their developers don't interact with the community. Therefor we can conclude that public interaction is unnecessary to having a successful mmog. This make perfect sense. Having a good game with entertaining and easily accessible gameplay is more important than having some developers that spend time posting to a forums that only 5-15%(*) of their players actually read.

      (*)This data is based on my own games forums viewership.

      :)
    • by Rycross (836649) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:47PM (#13624096)
      To be fair, the few times the developers have tried to come out of their ivory towers and address the community, they have largely been met with insults and belligerence. The CMs have to deal with every day. I honestly don't blame the developers.
  • by linzeal (197905) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @02:54PM (#13623619) Homepage Journal
    I am totally underwhelmed by the evolving storyline WOW is putting out. It would be nice if the entire game had the depth of a 300 page novel but sadly it doesn't. After a string of missions from any of the racial leaders there is a little more than finding an item here or there with a shoddy backstory.
  • About as useless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nonuttin (851992) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @02:56PM (#13623641)
    as an ashtray on a motorcycle. What a shame they could get real answers to some great questions.
    • by shayne321 (106803) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @04:33PM (#13624551) Homepage Journal
      Hmm, this is giving me a new patent idea.. A PR template for technical interviews!

      Q: How did your team accomplish X?
      Q: What would you do differently regarding X?
      Q: What did you learn from implementing X?
      Q: When will you support X?
      Q: What research did you do on X?

      A: What a great question! Thank you for inquiring about X. We care deeply about X. As any project evolves developers must spend much time dealing with X and balancing it with Y. We think in this project we have achieved the best balance between X and Y. We look to make even more improvements in our next product, which we encourage you to try. Thank you for contacting our company with such a lovely question. We value your input!

  • Ack! (Score:5, Informative)

    by daeley (126313) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @02:56PM (#13623647) Homepage
    This is a paragraph with absolutely no meaning. It's like cotton candy minus the spun sugar, good taste, and positive childhood associations: i.e., stinky carny air.

    We care deeply about our community and definitely want to keep our World of Warcraft gamers updated, but the development and refinement of our games take first priority.

    This is meaningless, but we have to pretend to care so you will keep giving us money.

    However, we do our best to keep the community up to date with regular updates such as the World of Warcraft "Battle Plan," as well as interviews with various news organizations such as this one.

    Our marketing drones send marketing blurbs to marketing-friendly news outlets, where they give us free publicity.

    Every company has a different way of reaching out to the community and we feel that the World of Warcraft community site is a great way to keep gamers up to date and informed about every aspect of World of Warcraft.

    The website is a place we can funnel the people who give us money so they can help each other out and save us on tech support costs.

    The forums are also a great place for gamers to express their opinions and give feedback about the game.

    Not that we will pay attention to it. But feel free to post away!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 22, 2005 @02:56PM (#13623649)
    Understanding how their responses would be perceived (read: very negatively) is not as important as how their responses would be received by their bosses.

    It's the same problem with HR people - they don't care about employees, they care about their bosses.

    It's ------ up, basically.
  • GNU/Linux? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JonJ (907502) <jon.jahren@gmail.com> on Thursday September 22, 2005 @02:57PM (#13623650)
    I saw several questions in the last topic about support for GNU/Linux, were they included when you gave them your questions? Or did they simply ignore them?
    • Re:GNU/Linux? (Score:3, Insightful)

      People who give answers like these probably don't even know what Linux is, or only know about it by name and figure that it has too little marketshare to bother with.
    • Re:GNU/Linux? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by truesaer (135079)
      Lets just get realistic....the market for Mac is iffy, the market for Linux is nil. Linux is not a realistic desktop market that can justify spending a lot of money.
    • Re:GNU/Linux? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rycross (836649) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:28PM (#13623921)
      Its because that question has been asked over and over ad nauseum, and the answer is always the same. Its always "Linux doesn't have enough of a marketshare in the gamer market to justify a port." And this is almost always met with indignation and argument by Linux fans. Then the Windows fans usually come in and start flamewars.

      So in short. Its already been asked, and answered, and its really not worth asking again.
  • The only people who have time to respond to things like this in software development are those who have no meaningful duties. They justify their positions by doing inane crap like this.
  • Eliza (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 22, 2005 @02:58PM (#13623673)
    These guys couldn't pass a Turing test. Eliza could do a better job at answering these questions.

    Actually, let's try that:

    Q: Blizzard is one of the few companies that distribues Windows and Mac games together on the same media. Going further, WoW allows Windows and Mac users to play together on the same realms, something which isn't done in other MMORPGS. What kind of hurdles did you have to overcome to get both Windows and Mac versions to co-exist and have you had to make any sacrifices because you were only able to do something on one platfrom and not both?

    A: Is it because distribues windows and mac games together on the same
    media going further wow allows windows and mac users to play together
    on the same realms something which is not done in other mmorpgs what
    kind of hurdles did I have to overcome to get both windows and mac
    versions to co exist and have I had to make any sacrifices because I
    was only able to do something on one platfrom and not both that you
    came to me?

    I think Emacs' doctor has a future in PR!
  • by Rhalin (791665) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @02:59PM (#13623683)
    Come on guys, I'd expect this kind of PR slush from Electronic Arts, but Blizzard? You've got a user base that really loves the work you do, and a chance to answer some of thier more technical questions and make them even happier with you and your games, and you just toss it right out the window.

    Way to go.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:00PM (#13623686)
    worst. interview. ever.
  • by Godeke (32895) * on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:00PM (#13623689)
    I thought at first that the story summary was a bit harsh, but it is pretty clear that Marketing neutered the answers and produced a press release instead of an interview. I commend /. for following through with the promise to publish even though the answers were so sycophantic that it made me wince more than once. I guess that's what happens when you have millions of subscribers: you can't say anything even mildly interesting for fear of creating a target for discontent.
    • by Ythan (525808)
      I guess that's what happens when you have millions of subscribers: you can't say anything even mildly interesting for fear of creating a target for discontent. And yet they seemed to accomplish just that.
  • Blizzard of Poo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Andr0s (824479) <dunkelzahn@rocketmail.com> on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:00PM (#13623696)
    What can I say? I'm massively dissapointed. I've been fan of Blizzard, and especially Warcraft franchise, since Warcraft 1... and it more than slightly annoys me to see the company which always seemed to care about its player base visibly more than most other companies suddenly finds it necessary to answer both the most basic and quite intriguiung questions related to their best-selling game with a load of cookie-cut, soulless and rather empty phrases instead of honest, insightful answers that'd show us Blizzard still consists of people who -enjoy- creating games.

    Yes, I play on WoW. And while the game, in itself, is quite awesome (though not, by any stretch of imagination, flawless or perfect), I am increasingly annoyed and dissapointed by the kind of feedback players receive for Blizzard representatives on all levels of game - from in-game issues and assistance requests sent to GMs, through many querries directed to Bliz Forums CMs, all the way to requests for assistance regarding account and payment issues. I find it hard to believe that any company that reached its current cult status purely through great products it created by listening to its fans and customers can make such a sudden and radical turn for the worse in the ways it communicates with those same fans who helped it grow into what it is now.

    { Durmitor/Hermann, Alliance side of Terenas (US) Server}
  • Well, Blizzard just sucked it up there. Thanks for "delivering timely information to most accurately convey the concern that Blizzard has for its loyal customers".
  • On Topic/Off Topic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TrippTDF (513419) <hiland.gmail@com> on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:04PM (#13623735)
    I've got one more day to go at my para-corporate job as a Project Manager.

    When I've been asked for my opinion, I try to give an answer with some substance to it, something that can be discussed and built on. However, I find that more often than not, people are looking for answers like the ones we see above, where literally NOTHING is being said. It makes me mad that people would rather have nothing said to them but said well than nothing at all.

  • Yuck. (Score:2, Insightful)

    That was a crap sandwich. It would have been less insulting if they had just not bothered to respond.
  • If I remember, the previous story on Slashdot was like this, about a strange plague on WoW???

    ringbarer writes "News is coming in that the lands of Azeroth have become infected with a deadly plague which the developers never intended to spread. Originating from the new P'R instance, the plague has spread from marektng bot to marketing bot via 'consultants'. Entire teams are being rendered incpable of independent thought and expression, yet players are surprisingly finding this rather predicatable!" From the

  • by Chitlenz (184283) <chitlenzNO@SPAMchitlenz.com> on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:10PM (#13623783) Homepage
    They *used* to be such a cool company, really cutting the edge in gameplay mechanics even when they lagged behind on graphics. WOW is a great game, with tons of eye candy. Unfortunately, it's a great game by a company that's now owned by some mindless,faceless multinational corporation (Vivendi Universal).

    The upside of this is that Rome must fall, and the recent exedous of Blizzard's devs has already started to erode away the machine, in this instance. Witness Guild wars, which had several refugees from the Diablo team on board, there's another new one too that sprang up from a WOW team exedous in the last month.

    Vivendi just doesn't get that the players can tell when the people making the games are having fun doing it. I cannot imagine that this kind of 're-routing' can be good for morale among the people who matter at Blizzard, i.e the people responsible for actually CREATING the products.

    PR Department, pfft.

    That's insulting.

    -chitlenz
    • Well, actually, given the way they treated the battle.net clone, this can only really be expected. I saw legions of people on here rabidly defending Blizzard because they made such fantastic stuff when that story first broke. It was the beginning of the end. That was the point at which Blizzard started seeing their customers as the enemy and the other.

  • That'd be relevant if a WSG match had run since the patch went live. I haven't seen one on Llane when I've been /whoing, and from what the queue tells me (admitedly in the 20-29 bracket, I just started a month ago and have alt-itis) there hasn't been one period.
  • by Trespass (225077) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:11PM (#13623795) Homepage
    They've got a license to print money, for the time being. It would have been nice to have an answer to my question about what they would have done differently, but I suspect anyone that knows is NDA'ed out the ass.

    World of Warcraft was a rare treat for me: It's the first MMORPG I've played, and I got into the industry last year working on a MMORPG that'll be out next year. It's nice to see what works and what doesn't while having some power to make a potentially better game.

    I suspect they really wish they could have ramped up for the number of players better and faster. That may be a limit imposed by their suppliers of server and network hardware. Sure, they're the biggest game, but how many players they lost because their realms were overloaded is open to speculation. I suspect their numbers will fade in a year or so, depending on what they can do to keep people interested and what the competition is like.

    It's all well and good to insult Blizzard for their czarist relationship with their players, but realize that their are things to learn from them anyhow.
  • ...but also just plain wrong on occasion.

    Our 10-man PvP Battleground, Warsong Gulch, was a response to this need. It allows smaller groups of people to experience content that is level-neutral and still walk away with great rewards.

    I'm sure that was the original intent for Warsong Gulch. The sad truth is that the people most likely to take full advantage of WSG are, again, people in large guilds who get together 10-man teams and farm it for honor and rep.

    Ironically, the 40-man Alterac Valley can be a bett
  • and I feel like I won the prize for best use of time on slashdot
  • by Achoi77 (669484) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:22PM (#13623879)
    What terribly long winded questions! Here's a condensed version.

    (questions snipped for brevity, apologies if any questions were mangled. Also, please read it with a grain of salt *smirk*)

    1) Question: How much economic monitoring do you do? Both in-game and on the secondary market (eBay)? Have you considered working with an economist (Steven D. Levitt comes to mind, but there are dozens of others as well) to study some of these phenomenon?

    Response: We ban bots. I've banned 3 myself today.

    2) Question: ..It's easy to guess that you've encountered challenges due to scale that no other developer has before. Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently, and when?

    Response: Why yes, there are things we wished we would have done differently...wha.. is this a two part question?.. Brain.. hurts!

    3) Question: ..What kind of hurdles did you have to overcome to get both Windows and Mac versions to co-exist and have you had to make any sacrifices because you were only able to do something on one platfrom and not both?

    Response: We made a windows AND a mac version. That means, if you have a mac, you can install it, and play it! Without a PC!

    4) Question: What is the process the dev team goes through for balancing character classes, items, NPCs, etc.?..

    Response: It's very difficult. Otherwise it wouldn't be easy. Ppl complain all the time. Stop bitching.

    5) Question: ..Are you planning to introduce "events" into the gaming world that would actually shape it permanently, like in Asheron's call?

    Response: We made it so you can run around and fight stuff. It's awesome.

    6) Question: ..The early game is brilliant, and playing it was a joy. Why is that so hard to retain in level 60 play?

    Response: Dungeons are cool. You can crawl thru them with 39 of your friends. It's awesome.

    7) Question: Let me be up front: I don't play any MMORPG's...probably never will. I'm sure WOW is fantastic, but I generally stick to console games. Which sort of leads to my question. How in the world did the decision for a Warcraft MMORPG get made?

    Response: Please play World of Warcraft. It's pretty awesome.

    8) Question: Farming bots can frequently be spotted in the game, and I have evern personally recieved in-game mail spam advertizing mmobay.com . What do you plan to do to curb this issue that is eating away at the economy and atmosphere of your realms?

    Response: Dood, we answered this questions 7 questions ago. RTFA plz.

    9) Question: ...So, my question is, are there any plans for more solo content for the endgame?

    Response: Dungeons are cool. You can crawl thru them with 39 of your friends. It's awesome.

    10) Question: would your company encourage, allocate time for and generally nudge willing developers to blog? If anyone's worried about bad postings and replies to the blog, a good example to look at is the Microsoft IE7 bloggers. A public blog seems to have influenced Microsoft into fixing IE7 to a degree more than initally planned, which is a Good Thing for many. A theory is their developers wanted to do the right thing, and the blog helped support that.

    Response: Use the forums plz, kthxbye.

  • by nweaver (113078) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:23PM (#13623884) Homepage
    1.) Economic Monitoring... by nweaver
    How much economic monitoring do you do? Both in-game and on the secondary market (eBay)? Have you considered working with an economist (Steven D. Levitt comes to mind, but there are dozens of others as well) to study some of these phenomenon?


    Response -
    We monitor the economics of the game very closely. We watch the in-game economy on a regular basis and have personnel that monitor game logs every day. When we see irregularities, we take action. This can range from exploring the account further, finding and removing exploits, or even possible suspension and bans. We also look closely at out-of-game transactions involving real-world cash for in-game items. Some of those transactions occur over eBay, some do not. But in many cases, the involved parties are warned or suspended, and some accounts are also banned.


    Marketing droid just didn't get it. I'm interested in ACADEMIC modeling. EG, Star Wars galaxies has published interesting flows. People have done economic models of Evercrack's secondary market trying to estimate the GDP assuming a convertable currency. And Freakonomics is a GOOD BOOK damnit.

    Stupid marketing droid. Needs to have his memory core wiped and reprogrammed over at Hammerhead.

    • "Marketing droid just didn't get it. I'm interested in ACADEMIC modeling. "

      They're not really concerned what you're interested in, since people interested in academic modeling of game economies represent a tiny, tiny fraction of WoW's market.

      I'm sure they'd rather devote resources to analyzing and improving the things that the other 99% of players wished were improved upon.

      Functional economics still matter -- but the academic, not so important.
  • You've once again ran the name of Blizzard through the mud. Hundreds of thousands of people(potential customers) are seeing how frustrated your customers are getting with you. Not a good way for potential customers to be introduced to the game. And now even more your customers are even more irritated than they were before. Get your act together.
  • by Mr. Grimm (599800) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:24PM (#13623895)
    They obviously use bots to answer questions while not at the computer, a clear violation of the EULA.
  • I work for a banking firm, and although I'm not a great SQL guy, I know within about an hour I could find damn near every gold seller with a page or two long query. They don't give a crap or they would have devoted a few thousand dollars to buy up some gold online, and then do a transaction search off of those sellers accounts to find who had purchased gold, who the sellers were gettin gold from, etc.
  • Really, if they don't want people selling their games on ebay, then perhaps they should rethink their business model.

    Specifically, instead of selling the game in stores, make it freely available for anyone to download. Free. No charge. Maybe even give away actual CD's too... just like AOL CD's.

    Of course, as you have to actually pay money to the company to play the game online anyways, it doesn't seem to me that this approach would leave them out of pocket any real serious amounts of money.

    Or maybe

  • by Henry V .009 (518000) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:27PM (#13623915) Journal
    Message to the Blizzard PR dept:

    You fail it! The bad PR generated by these bland answers is 100 times worse than anything that you could have gotten with sincere answers. I'm not buying WoW until those responsible are sacked.
  • by kafka47 (801886) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:42PM (#13624051) Homepage
    I noted that almost every response completely ignored the question and instead, plonked down the most pat and predictable "answer" that merely served as a placeholder for a "buy our game" message. Not like the /. editors didn't warn us though - their disappointment was very apparent. It felt like I was speaking with my manager, lol. Cmon Blizz! You can do better!
  • Solo != Casual (Score:3, Insightful)

    by umbrellasd (876984) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:57PM (#13624191)
    I'm probably a "hardcore" gamer. I average about 4 hours a night after work and various other activities. One thing I see in the responses here is this idea that people that want to be able to go out and do things on their own are casual gamers. That is untrue. There are certainly such people that have only an hour here or there and cannot commit to a 40 person raid. But I think there are many people, and I am definitely one of them, that will set aside a day on the weekend just to go out on my own and run quests for an entire area and explore. In fact, I often find myself going out and buying RPGs to play instead of WoW because I just enjoy the quiet time to myself where I can accomplish some things and experience a nice story and environment.

    I think several of the questions here were speaking to this. When I hit 60, why isn't there something exciting for me to do on my own? Why are there no new places for me to discover that require some real skill and determination but not 20 to 40 other people as an escort. Anyway, I think the responses to these questions indicate a lack of understanding of a not-so-small component of the playerbase and I know it is one of the reasons I suspended my WoW account for half a year and I know it is likely the reason I will do so again when the next nice MMORPG comes out with a new solo experience that lasts for 40 or 60 or X levels.

    (I should add that I do play the raid content and the BGs and I know what they offer and they can be enjoyable. For whatever reason, I personally gravitate toward doing that as a "special" occasion and prefer going out alone most of the time. Maybe it's because gaming is decompression from 8 hours of interacting with all kinds of people, :-))

    I don't think Blizzard gets this.

  • by wfolta (603698) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @04:02PM (#13624236)
    I've leveled two chars to 60 (first a Shaman, then a Warlock) and had a reasonable time. Spent too much time pushing for that next level, but I figured that once I had a level 60 char, I could cut it down to an hour or two on some days and maybe 3 or 4 on a weekend -- something like most people's TV watching.

    Unfortunately, WoW has simply taken EQ and done it better. And it appears that the original designers -- brilliant all -- have all left the company or have slept too close to pods from outer space or something. Instead, the developers are currently thrashing around and not really accomplishing anything beyond setting us up for an expansion.

    Test realms? Please! No bugs are fixed in response to these realms. The 1.6 patch broke more Warlock features than it added or fixed, and every one of these new bugs were well-documented in the test realm forums. And the new highest-end content was so broken it took two hotfixes to get it to work. No, test realms are to generate enough buzz that people will wait another month before canceling their account.

    High-end content for casual players? Notice how they mentioned "quests". Quests are only applicable to chars that are leveling, with the possible exception of Warlock/Paladin quests for their epic mounts. Other than that, you need a large guild that can guarantee 40 people attending a raid. Some of us cannot be there at some raid times (in my guild's case, set too early in the evening for me to make it from work), so as the questioner asked: what about content that a level 60 can do solo or with 1 friend in an hour or two?

    No such content. How about content that may take many hours but can be worked on an hour or two at a time? Nope. Of course, there is grinding/farming, mind-numbing to raise cash for some purchase, but that's not enjoyable and the item bought requires some kind of outlet to be valued, not just using it to do more grinding.

    How about PvP? As far as I can tell, they're trying to create a fourth-rate Unreal Tournament 2004. I'd hope for a third-rate or even second-rate, but they're not even close. PvP boils down to zerg-fests and the computer spec required to not be zerged AND lagged is probably 2x or 3x what UT2004 requires. (Not to mention that an RPG has many intrinsic factors that will keep PvP from being as balanced as Halo, UT2004, etc.)

    And did we mention no Blizzard-written voice chat? UT2004 includes it, so it's a lowest-common-denominator. WoW depends on vent, teamspeak, etc, which fragments voice comms. (Or in the case of Macs, eliminates it.)

    Anyhow, I'm bored out of my skull now and thee last three times I've logged in I've been unable to get together a party to tackle the items I have left to tackle. If this continues for another week, I'll probably have to reluctantly cancel my account.

    It feels like a horrible waste to throw away such cool chars. It's like I have the Batmobile and several of his gadgets but the power sources are all dead and I either have to pay for storage for them until maybe someday we discover how it's powered or just junk them. It's more fun to read Theorycraft and rumors on Blizzard's site than to enter the game. Sad, really.
  • by Petersko (564140) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @04:27PM (#13624469)
    A few million people play this game. Many of them are obsessed by it, and are extremely argumentative and vocal.

    Did you expect something along the lines of specific flaw admissions or real technical discussions?

    Anything they said will be seized upon by all sorts of aggravated pinheads. If they mention a technical issue, a couple thousand know-it-alls will chime in with ridiculous high-level responses claiming it's not a problem, and that Blizzard is just incompetent. In fact, any real discussion is going to result in nothing but lost time and face on their part, because everybody seems to think they know better.

    In the end, the PR approach is simply the best way to handle this type of situation.
  • by Hackie_Chan (678203) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @04:28PM (#13624488)
    Worldofwar.net let it's forum goers [worldofwar.net] do the exact same thing as CmdrTaco did with Slashdot. It was even promoted it as a "developer interview"!

    The responses brought back? A bunch of saggy PR responses that contained nothing out of any value at all [worldofwar.net]. Basically worth nobody's time if you were already up to date with the WoW community happenings. I don't even think the developers even read the questions. Even many of the most devoted Blizzard-fans were displeased [worldofwar.net], as voiced on their forum.

    If Blizzard's going to continue to do these things as an effort of trying to garner publicity and please their audience, at least treat the people with dignity. Because, as we're seeing now, it's biting back -- and this is completely justified. The honesty of the Slashdot community, especially CmdrTaco, amazes me. There's plenty of websites who would find that they even responded sufficient enough to be pleased with their PR-tunneled answers.
  • What the crap? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Robotron23 (832528) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @04:38PM (#13624582) Homepage
    I'm sure a good proportion of slashdot was enthused about this interview, and all we got back was a huge friggin' depository of PR crap. After initial bemusement from reading the first couple of questions...you scroll down and realize they are ALL of similar length, ALL regimented, ALL inane babble, and most importantly lacking in any substance whatsoever.

    The question is though, were there any devs there to answer questions in the first place? Or did the editors just acquire some internal blizzard address and send our questions straight to the Class D marketing droids? I'd feel more comfortable knowing that at least somebody at Blizzard wanted to answer our queries.

    A point a lot of dudes have been making is that there were some defections of devs to NCsoft/ArenaNet, who recently released Guild Wars. Now, every single WEEK the Guild Wars homepage links to informative and seriously written answers to questions directly from the userbase. Compare that to Blizzard who take over a month to pull a few paragraphs of nothingness out of their overly large marketing department. For shame, this is hands down the worst "interview" slashdot has ever received back.
  • by stlhawkeye (868951) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @06:30PM (#13625517) Homepage Journal
    Translated:

    Q. How much do you monitor the economics?
    A. We monitor it.

    Q. What would you have done differently?
    A. We learned a lot!

    Q. What challenges were involved with simultaneous development of the game for both Mac and Windows?
    A. We released the game on Mac and Windows at the same time!

    Q. What is the process for achieving class balance?
    A. It's hard.

    Q. Are there going to be events like in Asheron's Call that really impact the game?
    A. You can go fishing! Every week!

    Q. The game is boring at 60 if you don't know 15-40 people to play with, how are you doing to deal with it?
    A. By adding new content that requires 15-40 people to enjoy.

    Q. I don't play your game, but I'm curious about what made you decide to make it?
    A. PLAY OUR GAME! PLAY IT YOU WILL LIKE IT! PLAY IT! IT HAS TONS OF FEATURES FOR YOU! YOU WILL LOVE IT! YOU WILL MARRY IT! YOU WILL SLEEP WITH THE BOX UNDER YOUR PILLOW! YOU WILL FORNICATE WITH THE INSTRUCTION MANUAL! YOU WILL FRAME THE CDs AND HANG THEM ON THE WALL! THE UI IS AWESOME! THE QUESTS ARE EASY, IT'S TOTALLY FOR THE CASUAL GAMER JUST LIKE YOU, IGNORE ALL THESE OTHER QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW YOU NEED A SOCIAL CIRCLE LARGER THAN THE POPULATION OF WYOMING TO FINISH BLACKWING LAIR! THEY'RE JUST BITTER! PLAY IT! PLAY IT! PLAY IT PLAY IT PLAY IT PLAY IT PLAY IT.

    Oh, and we made it cuz we wanted to.

    Q. What are you doing to deal with farming and boting?
    A. Making it against the rules and saying loudly and frequently in public that it's against the rules. Nobody breaks the rules when you repeat them loudly and frequently. Don't farm or bot. Vote Quimby.

    Q. I don't want to PvP or Raid, and the game is dull at 60 for me. Now what?
    A. Tough shit, most people love it. Roll an alt and keep paying your monthly fee until some unpaid intern slops together some bullshit you might like.

    Q. Why don't you let the developers blog, it helps a lot?
    A. We think it's far more useful to set up forums for you to read, in which you can be insulted and accused of being a stupid, immature 12 year old by people who are stupid, immature 13 years old.

  • Hey CmdrTaco (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dachannien (617929) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @08:45PM (#13626256)
    Not that CmdrTaco will be any more likely to answer a question from the unwashed masses than the Blizzard devs are, but one of the things being argued about on the official WoW forums is whether there was an actual agreement between Blizzard and Slashdot that indicated that Blizzard would have developers answer the questions rather than just whoever. Was there actually such an agreement that Blizzard reneged on, or was it just a big misunderstanding?

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