Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Games Entertainment

World of Warcraft Interview "Responses" 436

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 . 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.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

World of Warcraft Interview "Responses"

Comments Filter:
  • Arrghhh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by grub ( 11606 ) <> 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.
  • 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 ) <> 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: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.
  • by toad3k ( 882007 ) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:01PM (#13623704)
    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.
  • On Topic/Off Topic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TrippTDF ( 513419 ) <> 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.

  • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <> on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:10PM (#13623780) Homepage Journal
    No, not that "C word", this one: 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.

    PR people are taught never to use the word problem, except when referring to a competitor's products and services. When your own company has a problem, it's a "challenge," usually one that gives you an "opportunity" to continue to "innovate" or be creative.

  • by Jumbo Jimbo ( 828571 ) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:10PM (#13623782)
    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 article: " Some answers have gotten so bad that you can't read them without getting covered in bullcrap (and anyone less than like level 50 nearly immediately drowns in it). GM's even tried quarantining marketing bots in certain areas, but they kept escaping the quarantine and spreading their nonsense."

  • 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.
  • by Andr0s ( 824479 ) <> on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:12PM (#13623803)
    I'd dare say /. did the right thing... this 'interview' paints a certain, not too impressive, image of Blizzard. Purpose of interviews is not always simply to get correct and informative answers to questions you ask - more often than not, interview is interviewer's tool to paint a portrait of interviewee. How will the target respond is more important than what he will say. will his responses be lethargic, enthusiastic, agressive or premeditated tells readers a lot about interviewee's personality, even if it leaves questions themselves unanswered. Thus, may I suggest that - while we'd love to actually see real answers to those questions - /. did owe us the posting of Blizzard's 'answers' to the questions...
  • by Rubel ( 121009 ) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:15PM (#13623826) Journal
    What did you expect? This is a company that ignores ALL customer feedback on their own forums

    The Mac division gives great support, even talking and giving support on forums like Inside Mac Games.
  • 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.

  • 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).
  • by cnkeller ( 181482 ) <> on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:29PM (#13623928) Homepage
    The Mac division gives great support, even talking and giving support on forums like Inside Mac Games.

    I'll second this. I've gotten great support from one of the mac developers at Blizzard on everything from mac specific bugs (always seem to get fixed in the next release while they give me a work around) to how to tweak the settings to take advantage of the less-than-optimal-drivers for our video boards.

  • Re:bleh on PR. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mattOzan ( 165392 ) < vispuslo@mat[ ] ['toz' in gap]> on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:31PM (#13623947) Homepage Journal
    Doesn't Anonymous Coward work for Blizzard? I don't see why he can't speak up...
  • 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 Neeth ( 887729 ) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:33PM (#13623965) Homepage
    Does anyone want to give away their WoW stuff?
  • 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.

  • Re:Get a life people (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jamsessionjay ( 802511 ) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @03:43PM (#13624056)
    No, I think we should be allowed to criticize them. Slashdot, a popular nerd/tech news site sent in a request to answer some interview questions from readers. At some point in the Blizzard business cycle, someone decided that these questions can only be answered by the PR department, instead of the developers that they were aimed at. And I think it was painfully obvious who these questions were for. Complaining about people criticizing someone who didn't answer their questions? Hell, I'd be pissed off too. Answers such as this show how little respect the company has for the community.
    Its just a video game!
    Well now you're just trolling...
  • 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 Omnifarious ( 11933 ) * <> on Thursday September 22, 2005 @04:21PM (#13624415) Homepage Journal

    Well, actually, given the way they treated the 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.

  • by poindextrose ( 640377 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <eluredils>> 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.


    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 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.
  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @05:33PM (#13625016) Journal
    specifically of the typ of thing noted here:

    For World of Warcraft users, The Register ( l_plague [] ) 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 spell called Corrupted Blood. It's a nasty one. There's little the victim can do to resist it, and it should do sufficient damage to wipe them out." ... "the contagion continues to spread from non-player characters to non-player character and anyone else entering the game."

    Sound like they would be perfect for this, as test subjects.....

  • 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. []

  • by Hackie_Chan ( 678203 ) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @05:37PM (#13625050)
    Looks like Blizzard doesn't like people talking about this, because the thread regarding this on their official forum [] has been deleted as well.
  • by Krach42 ( 227798 ) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @06:32PM (#13625530) Homepage Journal
    God, and in every company I've worked for they've told us to "own the problem". Meaning, if you make a mistake, stand up, admit it, and take the punches like a man, and get it fixed.

    Now, WTF can't the company themselves do that? I mean, every company talks all this crap all the time about "be a better person", and "make moral decisions". But they're always acting like stupid braindead immoral idiots.

    It's frustrating that they expect us to take responsibility, then don't themselves. They just use semantic tricks to wiggle out of responsibility.
  • Re:The Irony (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mollymoo ( 202721 ) on Thursday September 22, 2005 @06:43PM (#13625596) Journal
    Did anyone else find it ironic that, by having their PR professionals handle the questions instead of the engineers, the interview resulted in terrible PR for Blizzard?


  • 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?

  • Re: Why Not? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ThePuceGuardian ( 898399 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @12:23AM (#13627024)
    *ahem* The average age of the *PERSON WHOSE NAME IS ON THE CREDIT CARD* is 32. I might believe that..

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson