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Author Topic: What if WoW was not made by Blizzard?  (Read 3363 times)
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solarisgax
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« on: January 18, 2005, 10:01:12 PM »

I cannot help but wonder: what if World of Warcraft was not made by Blizzard?

What if another developer made the game you play?

Would you still have loved it as much?

WoW is a well-made game.  It is smooth, fun, and quite addictive.  However, the quality alone does not warrant its current success.

I am reasonably sure that some other developers could have made a very similar game given the material.

The question then, is it the material?  Is it the name "Blizzard"?  Or is it simply a good game?

Could SoE or Cryptic or a multitude of other developers have made a similar quality game if given the same Warcraft material?
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Andy22
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2005, 10:41:41 PM »

Sorry but I disagree. I could care less who made this game and the fact that Blizzrd made it mattered none to me. I have been waiting for an online rpg experience this good since I left UO some 5 years ago. No other MMORPG has grabbed like this one and even at level 26 I still smile nearly every time I play. They just do so many things right and make the whole experience enjoyable. This coming from someone who had never played any of the Warcraft games.
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Byrns
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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2005, 10:57:27 PM »

If it wasn't made by Blizzard and it didn't have the name Warcraft, I doubt they would've sold half as many copies.
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EngineNo9
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« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2005, 11:17:21 PM »

I agree with Andy22, the game is so fun that it doesn't really matter who made it to me or if it has the Warcraft background.  Hell, I didn't even like playing Warcraft 3 so that wasn't a big draw to me.  The high quality art direction, fun gameplay, ability to solo and the minimized downtime are what made me play the game longer than a trial in beta.  

Of course the Blizzard and Warcraft names helped them sell many more copies because of the much higher visibility of those brands, but I think the game stands on it's own very well (despite the server problems and whatnot).
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Biyobi
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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2005, 11:17:54 PM »

I had a big long argument all thought out, but it boiled down to this:  if just having a name was enough then Star Wars Galaxies would be the number one game.

Blizzard has a track record of quality products and has justly earned their rewards.  I feel that WoW is a continuation of that trend.
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EngineNo9
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2005, 11:21:10 PM »

Quote from: "Biyobi"
I had a big long argument all thought out, but it boiled down to this:  if just having a name was enough then Star Wars Galaxies would be the number one game.


WORD.  Sony, Verant, Star Wars...that should have been a license to print money but numerous things obviously cut that down.
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Exodor
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2005, 11:23:22 PM »

I've never played a Warcraft game before, and I have no loyalty to Blizzard.  I play WoW because it's a fun, addictive game, not because of the backstory or the developer.
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Byrns
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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2005, 11:28:41 PM »

Quote from: "EngineNo9"
Quote from: "Biyobi"
I had a big long argument all thought out, but it boiled down to this:  if just having a name was enough then Star Wars Galaxies would be the number one game.


WORD.  Sony, Verant, Star Wars...that should have been a license to print money but numerous things obviously cut that down.


Yeah but how many copies did Star Wars sell initially? It was only afterwards that people discovered it was crap.

From what I hear WoW is superior to Star Wars at launch. (Since I've not played WoW yet.)
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RedJak
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« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2005, 11:29:06 PM »

Well for me it was a couple factors.

1) I was playing Warcraft 3 at the time I first tried it so seeing the models and chracters with the storyline hooked me intially.  So you could say Blizzard yes but if WC3 was made by someone else then no.

2) I was signing up for every free beta that Fileplanet was hosting and WoW was one on the list.  Once I tried it I was really hooked for a few days then backed off but by the time of the final stress test I was caught along with some of my friends.

I do think the fact that it was Blizzard did help me sell it intially to my friends but the gameplay made them junkies like me.
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« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2005, 11:44:53 PM »

Every Blizzard game has reeked with quality and polish.  So, yeah, I bought it because it was a Blizzard game.   :wink:
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Butterknife
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« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2005, 11:53:46 PM »

I also bought it because it was a Blizzard game.  I have no doubt that they sold more copies because it is a Blizzard game.

That being said, the game is fun -- regardless of who made it.  It wouldn't have done as well, but it would still be equally fun.  It being a Blizzard product doesn't imbue it with any magical fun that wouldn't be there if the same game came from a different developer, in my mind.
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« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2005, 12:56:33 AM »

I was initially interested in it because it was a Blizzard game, who I have always found to be primarily interested in making a great game, rather than milking the cash cow.  Sure, they make a lot of money, but that is a byproduct of making great games (they are being justly rewarded by the marketplace).

As has been stated, Warcraft wasnt enough of a pull just to sell boxes, and neither, I *think*, is Blizzard alone.  Star Wars, however, was another matter, since Blizzard is really only a 'face' among gamers, whereas Star Wars has a more universal appeal (at least in America).  You can also say 'The Matrix' should have a more universal appeal, but Im thinking that property wont translate too well into a popular game experience (or even possibly a good one), which may in part be due to WoW being the current king of the hill.
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SuperHiro
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« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2005, 07:00:06 AM »

If this was the exact same game, without any Warcraft or Blizzard connotations... word of mouth would have made it a success... and it'd be a challenger with CoH and EQ2 for best current MMORPG.

But it wouldn't have sucked in all these casual and first-time people.
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RPGHero
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« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2005, 12:37:18 PM »

Of course Blizzard could have prevented a lot of these problems by just putting an absolute pop cap on servers that was much lower than they have currently set.  You think 4 hour waits was bad, how about if had to wait for 12?  The fact is that I think Blizzard was too nice.  
Yeah, I realize you want to play on the same server as your friends, tough @#$%.  Blizzards job is to make sure the game runs as smoothly as possible, not to make sure you have a ready-made online support group.  Move to a lower pop server and start again.  Sure people would have been mad, but the fact is that it would have blown over and people wouldn't be complaining now about how they have so much time invested in the characters and they want their characters moved.  I assume that Blizzard actually didn't do this to save money on servers and they thought things would get better through some optimizations.
I think the server migration is probably the best way to go.  FFXI has done this for awhile and the system seems to be working well.  People complaining about moving their whole guilds is kind of BS.  Really strong guildies will move, others will decide they have better friends elsewhere.  I find its rare for people to leave a guild, most will just stick around unless they get a much better offer, this forces the issue.
I'm on a medium crappy server and to be honest, I might consider moving.  I'll see how they handle it.
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« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2005, 02:14:07 PM »

If a game came out that was this much fun, I wouldn't care who made it.

It's the game that counts in the end, not the developer behind it. Look at City of Heroes - they came out of the blue and made a game that started a large change (IMHO) in how MMO's play. It's about having fun right from the start, not 25 levels in.

Among many, many other things.
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Gedd
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« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2005, 02:21:52 PM »

I honestly find myself wishing more and more that Cryptic *had* made WoW.  Blizzard's done a fantastic job in crafting this game, but the communication between developers and players is absolutely horrendous.  

If you've spent any time looking over at the CoH official boards, you'd see an almost perfect example of how it should work.  Here's why:

1.  Statesman (head CoH honcho) routinely runs ideas by players, lets them know what he's thinking, makes modifications to his plans based on player feedback, and answers questions about stuff behind the curtain on a regular basis.

2.  Other devs post there pretty frequently also, answering questions, and responding to suggestions.

3.  Patch notes for even the most minor of fixes are posted before they go on the test server, or in the event of a hotfix, before being pushed to live.  Now the occasional "stealth" change does escape the patch notes from time to time, but I think that's sort of inevitable in these games.

4.  When players find a serious problem, the devs and community managers are usually right there.  Look how long it took Tyren to post a response to the tab targeting issue.

5.  Cryptic isn't afraid to give a rough estimate of when the next patch is due, or to hint at features that will most likely be included in that patch.  The Bliz community team claims they can't speculate about patch dates or content because they might be wrong...well if that happens you just amend your statement.  I don't get the fear of a potential player backlash just because a patch might miss the estimated date by a week or two.

The flip side of this is that I sort of doubt Cryptic could've put together a game like WoW.  CoH is a fantastic game, but I wouldn't be surprised if Bliz had twice the development team and experience of Cryptic.

And don't get me wrong, I've loved WoW since I first started playing in closed beta, and I've had a pretty stable experience once we got past the first week.  But they need to pull out the roadblocks between the devs and the players and stop relying on the CMs to be some sort of liaison.  It takes far too long and the information isn't flowing like it should.
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Charlatan
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« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2005, 03:08:31 PM »

Gedd I think at least part of these communication issues stem from the fact that Blizzard is a much larger organization than Cryptic.

I've been involved in software projects where it was 4 of 5 of us, and a manager. We could make weekly updates and post them on the web for downloading as "in development" - our QA was minimal ("it built - ship it!") and we produced our own documentation. When we found bugs we fixed them - we read bug reports from users and acted on them. If there was a new feature we thought was neat, we put it in.

Once the project got bigger, we got artists, managers of managers, project managers, product managers, etc - and all of a sudden we had to throw the bugs through a database for sorting, collating, evaluating. New ideas came down from the product manager who gave them to the project manager who gave them to us. If the idea was stupid... well, too bad. We had an official QA department who tested stuff, so we had to start automated builds and the whole process of working toward an official release date. When it was ready we had to clear it through corporate QA/release management who put it on the web page, which was then professionally produced.

As a result, we went from maybe 4 or 5 releases a year, with weekly updates, to 2 releases a year, with maybe an update every 3 months.

That's the difference I see here: the Blizzard devs can't speak for what's going on because they are not in control of the release, the bugs being discussed on the boards have to be categorized, evaluated, prioritized, etc. The release is dependent on the bugs being fixed, the code passing QA, and the release management being happy with it and/or putting up the patch notes. IMHO there is so much process, they can't give meaningful estimates.

That's my take on it, anyway.
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Gedd
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« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2005, 03:27:17 PM »

I hear ya Charl, and to some degree, I agree with you.  It still seems to me that there's gotta be someone in each organization that's at the top of various sectors, and a WoW head honcho overseeing the whole thing.   In your real life example, I think even a half hour of effort from the product manager and some of the project managers would be incredibly helpful.  I know those folks are busy, but for the sake of opening up the channels some I'd think they could spare 30 minutes every couple of days to give some sort of update or answer some questions collected by the CMs.  It would make a huge difference on how the community perceives the dev team.

I'll also add to my original list that Bliz really needs to get a test server up and running very soon.  They'd probably actually need two, one for each ruleset, but it'd be a huge help in preventing some of the issues we've seen.
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SuperHiro
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« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2005, 10:18:17 PM »

Yeah Blizzard really needs a test server.  Their internal QA isn't cutting the mustard.

I think the communication "issues" are a result of the quality of posters on Blizzard's forums rather than any size/organizational issues.  

Statesman can post the stuff he does because CoH has an incredibly mature customer base.  Sure, there's a lot of whining, but there's enough solid posters to make tolerating them worthwhile.  Not so with Blizzard and it's world famous battle.net ghetto.  God, and they just released the game in Korea too *shudder*.

I'd be interested in demographical information.
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morlac
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« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2005, 10:46:18 PM »

Quote from: "SuperHiro"
Yeah Blizzard really needs a test server.  Their internal QA isn't cutting the mustard.

I think the communication "issues" are a result of the quality of posters on Blizzard's forums rather than any size/organizational issues.  

Statesman can post the stuff he does because CoH has an incredibly mature customer base.  Sure, there's a lot of whining, but there's enough solid posters to make tolerating them worthwhile.  Not so with Blizzard and it's world famous battle.net ghetto.  God, and they just released the game in Korea too *shudder*.

I'd be interested in demographical information.
'

LOL!  City of Heros is a game about superheros, its customer base is not incredibly mature.  Besides, what do obnoxious posters have to do with somone in the "know" posting usefull patch/balancing/content info?  Why is there less whining on COH boards?  Maybe because Cryptic has been up front and  willing to share info with its customers from the begining.  Its a totally different customer service philsophy.
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Butterknife
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« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2005, 10:56:09 PM »

I'd have to side with morlac on this one.  I can't see why the City of Heroes players would be made up of more mature people, or even a greater ratio of mature people, than the World of Warcraft players.
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ChrisGwinn
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« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2005, 10:56:22 PM »

I played an awful lot of CoH for a while.  And I was consistently surprised by how mature and pleasant the people playing were.
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Gedd
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« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2005, 02:53:34 PM »

I think WoW probably has a much higher percentage of vocal, immature folks, so I can see the point, but that still shouldn't be a hindrance to the devs posting more info.  You simply either ignore them, delete the posts, or start the bannings to thin the herd.

I will note that CoH has its share of whiners that mucked up the dev threads as well, but they were pretty much ignored.
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« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2005, 04:12:24 PM »

Quote from: "warning"
Every Blizzard game has reeked with quality and polish.  So, yeah, I bought it because it was a Blizzard game.   :wink:


Ooh, you've got the EXACT same 2 pennies I have. Same year and EVERYTHING. slywink
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« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2005, 05:30:12 PM »

Quote from: "solarisgax"


I am reasonably sure that some other developers could have made a very similar game given the material.

The question then, is it the material?  Is it the name "Blizzard"?  Or is it simply a good game?



You could say that about any succesful developer. That fact is another developer couldn't do it because....well no one has untill WoW came along(at least thats the opinion of the games current fans) your opinion may differ. Does Blizzard get more attention that many devs? Yea but they have earned that by the games they have released.
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« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2005, 06:22:50 AM »

I've played a few bajillion games over my lifetime and no I am NOT exagerating.

I played Anarchy Online and liked it a lot... I played it for 2 or 3 months before I had to stop for a while and make sure my grades didnt suffer and when I got back the thrill was sort of gone.  I liked a lot about it, grinding wasnt half bad, you could get levels faurly quickly in a good group.  Once you got a decent name for yourself, as soona s you logged someone was iming you for a group.  You could just make yourself feel uber, which I love.  But there wasnt much in the way of feeling like you made a difference in the whole scheme of life.

I played Neocrom, and well, it felt like a AO clone.  They had some nice things, but not enough storyline to make me stay involved.

I played Asherons Call 2, and liked how the story continued as you completed quests.  I like walking around and seeing deserted towns that had once been inhabited but run over by monsters.  I hated no shops, but I liked how crafting worked.  Still, youd play it, and finish a quest and be like: thats it?  I have to kill haw many bajillion more thigns to level?  Man this isnt worht it.  And thus I left

I played City of Hero's.  I spent HOURS making characters and just playign with thier looks, trying to perfect them.  I liked how each character played differently.  I'd run around and ocmpelte quest, I'd group up and I leveled and every time I leveled I felt even huger.  but,.. I slowly got more and more bored as i played it.  I would probably have played it for another 2 or 3 months if it wasnt my friends account and I couldnt change the settings to make it mine, so I could pay to keep playing.  But I kow I would have quit by now...  grinding irritates me so.

I played Final Fantasy 11... I liked running around and killign things for money and reputation.  I loved chaining mobs in a good group, I think my record was 8 or 10... it might have been 12.  I HATED how wehn I was 27, the next closest english speaking person on my sever was like 20.  And spending countless hours trying to find groups with people who didnt speak english.  I hated spending 6 hours to do a chochobo quest.  I didnt like spending 45 minutes+ to go from one place to the enxt travelling.  I loved how as the storyline progressed, you felt more and more a part of your side.  Still, there was so many very irritating things, I decided it wasnt worth the time needed to be great.

Worlds of Warcraft does SO MUCH right, I can see why people play it.  Levelign isnt that much of a chore, a good area fo rquests and you can hammer out a level or two in no time, and blammo, you feel that much tougher.  You can do it solo or in a group.  Each class is fairly unique and has its own play style to suit everyone.  Crafting is great, doesnt take years to master and is very useful.  You feel more and more involved as you get along wither it be fighting hordies/Alliances at every turn, or just the quests get so interesting at times they become fun.

They have a serious database problem and it lags.  I have been booted once or twice over a month and a half.  I saw a queue once.  IN busy areas you can lag to all hell and auction house is buggy as hell.  

Still, you cant play for 2 or 3 days, you have a nice double exp present wqhen you get back.  You pimp out a level or two and suddenly your glad you missed a day or two.

It didnt matter who made this game, it only matters how much fun you have playing it.  And thats why this game is so popular.
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