This is a long article, 4782 words which have been vented here as a form of exorcism, to finally expunge my hatred towards activision/vivendi etc and their development of wow since acquisition and place it as a permanent record on the web.
if your young and puppy like and love activision blizzard no matter what they do, do not read on > you are hereby warned:
As far as im concerned the reason why bobby and that company should be boycotted to the point of their own destruction and yes that includes you – young game players who dont know any better yet, is because kotick doesn’t see the need to understand anything that is written here on this page or any other that criticises blizzard, nor any subtlety about any of the game franchises his company owns, his only goal is more money, as someone astute called failsafe said in this post
“money’s such a good medium of exchange until you lose focus on the fact that it’s a medium of exchange in favor of thinking of it as an end in itself” < said failsafe
or in my version 'if you focus purely on money you will not be able to focus on making a great game, as your attention is other than where it should be'
It's this subtlety that kotick is failing to understand when he employs people who used to work at procter and gamble selling soap powder and puts them in charge of game production and pays them a bonus for increased revenue year on year, its the same mentality of the board of apple in employing people who sold soda to run apple, which is why steve came back to rescue it at $15 a share in 1996. Ultimately you have to have an intelligent creative in charge of something creative, and one that isn't dictated to by a spreadsheet monkey for his creative direction, regardless of the financial risks involved, people can smell a lack of integrity in a game a mile off and it repulses them.
finally the behemoth is crumbling
Well it’s not a surprise that even blizzard’s completely cynical and
… literal “(panda)-ering” to the asian market, is now being rightfully perceived even by the asian market, who the game was specifically tailored to in this way (hence wow’s mmo market share loss in the asian region early this year 2013) for what it is … a cynical and purely money orientated marketing move, by people whose only concern is money, rather than the integrity of the game itself.
The Mysts of Pandaria expansion was a marketing driven play, to pander to the asian market, the ‘asian-isation’ of the expansion and the endless dumbing down of the game in general to a younger audience / the pokemon / yugi-oh generation – pet battles anyone ?, well that as well the earlier trend of dumbing down through the removal of keys and attunement to dungeons etc from the game, the decimation of the talent system, have all been marketing focus group led rather than designer creative and game integrity led.
Not many times in gaming history has a game started out life as complex openworld adult rpg and then been turned into a playmobil adventure pvp FPS for 8 year olds. And this including the fact that asian mmo markets payment style is ‘sensibly'(imo) rarely continuous monthly fee based as it was in the initial western market, generally its playtime cards etc and mobile game licences that can be played in internet cafes, unlike what they reaped from the primary initial western gaming audience, the driver for these decisions in MOP was a desire to purely garner as much money as possible from the asian market and by whatever means without regard for the consequences of the games integrity, or historical players, This will prove I think to be a terrible decision, as the integrity loss, from what can only be termed or coined as ‘design by shareholder or marketeer’ is always an abominable decision on any companies part, and usually unrecoverable from, in the long term.
Activision won’t even have a legacy of nostalgia with world of warcraft to play off of in the end, after they’ve done with this game, because they will have prostituted anything of merit in it so badly, and changed so much so radically, in the lurid pursuit of money, that when people want to play the wow of their memory, similar in some way to how it was at vanilla or burning crusade they will end up having to play it on a ‘private server’, why ? – because blizzard will have so irrevocably destroyed their own game with unending fiddling and alteration. and worse continuously modifying in fundamental ways the very character that people bothered to invest time in creating and had attachment to. As such all their and my character will represent to us in the long run, is a wasted part of our lives, I personally wont even be able to re-inhabit that character even temporarily for nostalgia’s sake, the changes to my very character have been so profound and vomit worthy.
Cata was pretty much the last straw, because of the talents smashing they did, when they took 20 talent points from every player in the game reducing them from 51 to 31, meaning you had to level to max, just to spec into two trees as you had before, for their own personal marketing ambitions to simplify the talent tree system, so as to appeal to a younger audience, which in the mysts of pandaria, they have further demolished to a dopey kind of low choice playmobil paint by numbers 3 choices per 15 levels template approach. This change alone made me want to throw up, it seems ridiculous how they thought it was reasonable behaviour on their part, to impose these character mechanics changes as they have on the player base, its like when they sell you their game they just sell you a variable, you might buy an open-world sophisticated adult RPG only to be later down the line, have the game they sold you turned into whatever audience they’re trying to market to this month ? and for what reason ? Do they actually want people to play this giant variable called wow, would be my question ? if they wanted a simpler interface, they should have done it with a skin for the younger audience. but kept the mechanics the same, its one thing to change an interface, its another thing to fuck with mechanics of a game and the player characters – on the crazy scale that blizzard have. In the marketeers pursuit of evermore audience they have managed to piss off practically all their original audience, big mistake in my opinion.
Another thing in CATA that angered me greatly was when they introduced the whole achievements thing when I logged in at the point to check cata out, the whole game seemed to have forgotten where I had been or what I had done over the previous years of play ? it was saying things like I had just discovered Ironforge ? WTF … since that was all borked, that felt like a swift kick in the balls for all the time I had put in, Ive got the feeling that unless your subscription happened to be active during that achievements transition they didn’t bother to move the tracking they had made of your discoverys and other stuff into the new acheivement system, and that you would have to login and revisit all those places for the game to register such acheivement stuff, on first logging in to cata the achievements mess and the 20 talent points missing and only capable of speccing into one tree made the whole game not worth bothering with and since then I havent logged back in. After all I paid for the play and character mechanics of vanilla wow and accepted the changes burning crusade expansion wrought, but even if you dont upgrade to WOTLK or CATA or MOP you are forced to play with the mechanics of these later games, even if you cant access the content that comes as minor benefit to those terrible changes ? they have effectively disallowed me access to and invalidated / destroyed the original game I bought, in the purchase decision I made to buy wow, expansions to the game should never have had these consequences.
And thats another thing the update system is so fucked and flunky the game now doesn’t even properly boot on my computer, as such i would have to re-download an entire installer again which would take so long and probably not work unless, I like threw away everything file wise etc, and then what ? to enter a game where the talent system is even more dumbshit modified for immature fuckwhits, the game and my character are now unrecognisable from a play perspective. Even post a minor patch in BC it might take me a day to sort out raiding addon issues sometimes, they’re is no way of sorting out the mess theyve made of my character and game now. And even when I was playing wow and raiding, blizzards constant patches (read mechanics fiddling) invalidating all addons everytime, wasted more time of mine than I would like to recall. and to think of the number of times I had to wait to play the game because of some jumbo update that was replacing a huge section of code, probably again just so as blizzard could mainly fiddle with game mechanics.
And worse as we too clearly see today companies of every shape, generally are totally incapable of admitting or recognising their mistakes and we have yet to see a company more importantly, capable by that recognition, of reversing such decisions or reverting to an original scenario, except for perhaps coke and coke zero ? and its this inability even when recognising their own failings, which activision are incapable of reversing such decisions no matter how bad they stink, this clearly reveals the unforgivable ego that is invested in every stupid decision they make, no … the only solution that companies seem to operate, is to plough on regardless and impose something worse on their customers, hoping they forget what was so right in previous arrangements.
All very sad but I predicted this end a long time ago, that when Activision have finished with world of warcraft, it will be nought more than decimated corpse of a zombie with the heavy thumbprint in its forehead, of the last idiot to have a turn at playing with it like some wretched broken personal toy he was torturing to further death.
The final expansion should be called
world of warcraft : The pursuit of money
The final final boss in the final final end game, should be squeezing-ly revealed from a blockage in Artha’s backside as bobby kotick, and the ballon like floppy shell of Artha’s shall fall to the ground like a used condom, The kotick boss should have a massive fallus on his head that he batters the entire party to death with something called – ‘infectious greed’, whilst manically laughing with a river of money running out of his own ass. As the players frantically run on a high speed conveyor belt that pushes them back into a “patch” of notes called the ‘bushes of alteration’ whose thorns constantly constantly screw their talents trees, their gear, skills, and knock a level off or 20 talent points etc and emit guffawing and farting noises as they do it. END OF GAME
The last decent version of world of warcraft was prior to the vivendi purchase ie “The Burning Crusade” even in that expansion they had set the seed like precedent of endless patch based fiddling, for the unquestioned ideology of unending tweaking, altering and changing of every aspect of the game, it was that the constant and unending changes to my character and its play mechanics that would ruin the game for me.
To me the changes that really made this apparent to me, was removing conditional statements in macro’s, which in my opinion were an efficiency aid to advanced gameplay, only really utilised by the max level long term raid player, and the removal of conditional macro capability was an open admission to the player, they didn’t want intelligent players to benefit from using their intelligence, who after much time and effort worked out ways of streamlining some of their minor “very repetitive” decisional gameplay nuances, so that one could concentrate on the ‘story’ and ‘questing’ and ‘roleplaying’ rather than wanting people to concentrate on the mechanics of pressing the right button at the right moment again and again and again to just grind away moronically million of mobs and collect millions of quest items in the most repetitive fashion, with ‘twitch reaction based’ stressful hours of grindy grinding. Conditional Macros were at most a ‘convenience’ they were in know way were a ‘I win button’ or damaging to the game overall or an inhibition to other players play style, they were a valued addition that helped rebalance play a tiny bit back toward things that matter – story etc.
Driving a car is only made pleasurable and safe by the controls becoming unconscious and 2nd nature, and similarly immersing yourself in a roleplaying game is only really pleasurable when the controls are second nature, and the modification made to remove conditional macros wasn’t an attempt to add more complexity and steps to operating those controls and make the reward more focussed on button pushing, all because blizzard suddenly decided simple decisional based scaled lifetap macros or ranged based macros were somehow deemed as too easy or immoral or cheating even ? when they had been perfectly accepted since the inception of the game many years earlier ? ie the original designers conceived it as an improvement to the game to add a facility for players to tailor into macros with their own discovery and effort some of the more obvious and dull repetitive gameplay enjoying destroying decisions, and were in fact something that helped the player concentrate on roleplay and immersion certainly in raid level gameplay where the number of decisions a player was having to make to be successful was already at the point that might be called overload, this conditional macro removal patch, was indicative that they were moving more towards twitch based gameplay and that pvp was what they wanted to encourage. This and other vast changes in CATA mechanics, when they just, clean removed 20 talent points from every player, so they only way they could spec into two talent trees and get back to normal was to level to the max, just to again stand where they once previously stood talents wise ? was enough for me.
I distinctly remember the days when I was happy with my macro setup and the day later when they had made those macros defunct, BC expansion I think and that was a turning point for me when I realised that wow as a game and all its rules, I had played by since the beginning, were completely and continuously destroyable and modified at the whim of the developer at any moment without consideration to the gamer who was part of the societal democracy in the world of the game that it being a social game, the users made great, and that any share or say I thought I had as a player was patently non existent. And when I broached the idea that these changes were altering fundamental aspects of the game mechanics, as sold to other wow players, they fell into two main camps.
The I love blizz cock group … theyre game is mana to me in any form and i will deal with whatever they do and lap it up, yum yum yummy, these are the same kind of people who thing the world is improving just because the date increments forward.
Those who would always accept what blizzard would do to the game, no matter what it was, ie they were prepared to play a game on which all the founding rules of the game, could be modified at any time, initially the majority, those who I would class as masochist’s, who would strangely accuse anyone who stood up to blizzard as being a QQ’er.
And the WTF I like to play games where all the rules aren’t changing all the time as we go along group, certainly those rules that relate to characters play Mechanics … WTF BLizz
And those other players initially in the minority, who saw the implicated – ‘writing on the wall’ of what these changes would cumulatively do and mean damage wise to the game long term, like me, they who objected to the kind of game mechanics changes, blizzard would seemingly be prepared to unlimitedly visit, upon the player, basically the sane person, who if … he plays a game, likes the majority of the major rules to remain consistent throughout the game, especially those that directly modify the players character! ie you have freedom to tune the environment tune the bosses and mobs, but dont fuck with the players character, unless its new skills tuning or a dire necessity, ie things beyond a certain age of use are considered solid, now foundational parts of play and not up for grabs modification wise.
Another element that began to creep into the game and ruin was power levellers and alts, guilds began to be ruined by people who would have 5 max level alts and offer them up at every raid, one of the guilds banned alt membership, yet other guilds didn’t see the issue, the issue is if raid spots are hard to get then someone who has power levelled 5 alts to max can claim a spot more often and take higher percentage of loot via DKP or whatever system is used by being able to offer various classes versus someone who has one main. To me as a moderate role player the idea of alts reduced the sense of immersion same as describing the character in levels on the talent table ( sadly no longer tree) as they do in MOP, wow is not COD or MW, its a roleplaying game, but people started to play the damn thing like a high speed pinball machine, you cut all the dialog, forget all the story and explanation and exploration and you shortcut to the action bit, quests are merely an irritation in the way of levelling in these power levellers minds, there should of been some way to limit alts and same guild membership, anyway I know towards the end of BC power levelling and alts had become a staple that was ruining immersion in the game, i would have conversation with people and all they were doing in game was rushing as fast as possible to level another alt, and rush being the operative word, and the infection of them perceiving the game as some kind mechanism they were trying to beat as fast as possible was vicariously damaging my game experience, as they would often be asking for you to take them through places etc on alts. And those same people were able through spending way too much time in game to garner the best spots in most raiding with these alts might well try to disenfranchise you from a raid spot with an alt not because they were more powerful they would just fill some form of class imbalance, I didnt even find I could take other people seriously when they were on their alts compared there mains, people mains were the players in my vision of the world, and if you had alts they should in my opinion develop separate friend sets to have any sense of realism.
If wow at end game collapse were to be open sourced, which is the best solution it would be best to go back to the burning crusade / WOTLK game mechanics / code base, as post that was when the unforgivable damage was done ie CATA was the real catastrophy, and evolve the game to handle the new design content of the later expansions from their subtracting the cata content that involved modifying the old world appearance and players existing talents, but played under burning crusades / WOTLK game mechanics and talent system, then at least the game would be recognisable and have some adult integrity, and find a way with in games time switching/phasing to have both old raid dungeons and new versions playable ie ZG 40 man and heroic 5 man ZG in the same game. and putting conditional macros back in and apologise to the addon community by undoing the unnecessary 2.0 lua addon changes, designed to cripple addon developers.
Blizzard killed wow, by not limiting the remit of their own changes to the players characters mechanics, all they needed to really do was add content ? expansion is one thing, making every aspect of the games mechanics they’re personal plaything was an arrogance too far, theyre issue … was that they wanted to change the rules by which people were playing continuously and unendingly, under the bullshit excuse of so called ‘balance’, but in reality if your balancing never ends and you never actually reach balance then it’s effectively just having a rule book that is nothing more than a pile of variables attached to levers that blizzard can alter at anytime and without warning and lets face it tinkering/playing with game mechanics variables, is allot easier than making content ?
wow became a game of poker in which anytime you the player look like your winning or working something out, the house changes the rules mid game to fuck you up or slow you down or lobotomise the brain of your character in a really cynical way, so that any understanding or knowledge you bother to garner about the game or even your characters abilitys are nullified or invalidated.
Also balancing a boss fights / the pve game should only be implemented by fiddling with mob mechanics, the only time you need to ‘balance’ player skill talents and mechanics is when those skills and talents are brand new, there should never have been such constant alteration to the foundations of the character talents / mechanics 3 months post their introduction on the beta grid let alone in the live game, but blizzard never restricted themselves / limited their fiddling with the players character mechanics, hence implicitly destroying the players sense of ownership or identity of the character, I will never again play an mmo, whereby the character is not my property and portable from the game itself, as wow has proven to me the time investment was effectively pointless and worthless, even sadly just from a nostalgia perspective alone.
They also tried to make the game, all things to all people, which is an obvious mistake in my opinion ie the game was heavily conflicted, ie the pvp focus and e-sports element was given even weighting with the original pve rpg aspect – WRONG yes pvp was in the game from the beginning but it was very much a side aspect, now pvp pretty much dictates the game as most people use pvp token EPICS as a shortcut to get boss raid gear, but having said that they have now tried to segregate gear to deal with the tokens for epics element, but have ballsed that up also to the extent that certain gear mainly pve awarded gear is useless in pvp, but pvp gear is useful in pve, which is effectively a swift kick in the balls to the original pve raider and big stroke of the cock to the pvp brigade.
I also distinctly remember at the end of burning crusade when trying to keep raid selection worthy for high end game dungeons, that I ended up being forced to pvp to get pvp epics for certain slots that put me in contention for end game raiding party selection in my guild, so I could get the pve gear that meant I wouldn’t need the pvp gear, but from a pure damage and survival perspective the pvp gear in certain slots was better to win through in the damage stakes as a dps’er to win raid selection initially, such that I could in the end, get the better pve gear through raiding. This was a perverse situation that effectively forced me to play pvp seriously even though i didn’t wish to or enjoy it, just so I could raid ? after all I originally selected a rpg pve server not a pvp one ?
And worse quite early on, they completely eroded the traditional RPG canon of ‘player inter dependance’, by making it so almost every class could do everything heal tank or dps etc or that some races were so multipurpose as to invalidate the need to select any other – a party of draenai shamans or night elf druids for example being able to take on anything in game, without need of other races or players ? These trends have steadily eroded team play. With Warlocks purpose being almost completely eroded by shadow priests and dungeons finders etc. Thieves ie rogues with a stabby weapons totally dominating all other dps classes in boss fights and also pvp, unless you were one of the very few classes to have evasive abilities or something that could interrupt stunlock ? imagine you can summon demons from other dimensions but a human grifter to be found in a pub with a flippin dagger, can bring you down ? and thieves can be invisible in broad daylight continuously – thats bullshit rpg lore. Oh and Blizzards preponderance to give Horde better racial traits by far for pvp, bah the list goes on. and a race of cow warriors ? minotaurs maybe – but cows ! this game had little rpg integrity.
Also the fact that I was trapped on US servers due to initially creating a character on a US trial, when EU trials did not exist, and by the time you reach end game content and it becomes apparent that raiding US raid times is damaging real UK time, and with lord knows how many days of play time above 100 full days in your character, and still they refused to implement the facility to transfer a character between US and EU regions, meaning end game content and raid times were actually screwing up my real life. well F**K activision BLizzard is all I thought. The amount of money they were making at that time and they would take zero notice of subscribers feedback, especially on an issue that was impacting real life in such a way, it was the extreme arrogance that portrayed their real evil, and why when they’re downfall comes, I will be happily jumping up and down on their grave.
especially when you consider that every move they make seems to be cynically money orientated.
WOTLK was mainly a harmless expansion – damage wise death knights etc it was more of the same without much more degradation, but cataclysm christ almighty its one thing to expand a landscape it’s another thing to totally bastardise and fuck over a well cherished environment, that as time went on if it had remained unaltered would provide a solid base/cache of nostalgia for returning players, no they had to rip all that up too ? see the word “expansion” traditionally, implies adding to / additional stuff in my opinion it does not imply the altering of all that already exists that would be a revamp or a rebuid, nor does it ever imply the removal of stuff completely? Zul’Gurub being one case in point ? why would you remove a part of a game to the extent that when it comes to nostalgia, you wont even be able to go back to it, it has as a creative act literally been destroyed from existence ? who will be able to experience ZG 40 man or MC 40 man now ?
Take another activision created, form of cynicism, ‘skylanders’ which was another completely cynical form of marketing manipulation to get young children to take £281.70 from their parents pockets with emotional blackmail to 100% a single game. Especially as a lot of the 32 characters in the game were sold with in-game advertorial promos for each character, to make them appear as appealing as possible to young minds. If a kid who buys skylanders completes the game by spending the minimum £89.94 then he has done well to avoid the brainwashing and learnt at an early age, a very good lesson in cynical manipulation through marketing to exploit parents wallets through their children. Only Activision could have thought up a way to take an ordinary game break it up into 32 pieces, and sell each part to kids through toys, sadly I think Disney will follow this route with a whole range of new star wars toys once they bastardize the last three films into a massive vehicle from which to launch the worlds most cynical and expansive merchandise assault on the public in history. After all they have to make they’re money and some back on the GDP of a medium sized country they foolishly paid George Lucas, which wille effectively mean the franchise will be prostituted out, and the integrity of the films will way at the back of the list in terms of priority.
and I don’t QQ about this stuff … I take a bat to the face of my enemy’s verbally, be a masochist if you wish. These words will remain here in a clear and more unaltered form, for longer than any part of the world of warcraft’s game mechanics ever has.