It sometimes feels as if Blizzard and all their customers form two giant gangs intently staring at one side of things and refusing to see the other. For my part this article misrepresents what has always been my biggest problem with Blizzard for the past 5 years or so: that their games are constantly changing in ways I dislike. (I won`t include SC2 in this since it`s a totally different animal and a thoroughly great game which isn`t easily trivialized, and the changes made to it are subtle.)
Not that small changes are bad in themselves. And even less so bugfixes and new content. But I think that if you loaded up vanilla on one computer and MoP on another and played them simultaneously for a while you`d realize that they`re not the same game. It`s not that they`d be two versions of the same game. They`re totally different games. Like Pac Man and Donkey Kong,
To use a circus analogy, the tent is there to keep the atmosphere and to shut out the world outside. Since there`s just one entrance it takes time to get people in and out and there`s limited seating because the tent canopy blocks seating expansions. So you remove the tent flaps here and there to make room for seating and more entrances until pretty soon you`re sitting in the middle of the field with the sunlight in your eyes so you can`t see the trained seals anymore. Then you hire half naked women with plastic smiles to walk around selling popcorn, party hats, circus afros and beer. Then you add a pool area, slot machines, skill cranes and love canals. And then you add loudspeakers so there can be commercials blaring in your ear through the show and organize bus travel from the inner cities to fill up the expanded stadium. Pretty soon what was once a circus is now a fair full of drunks and people who wouldn`t watch a line dance if you paid them.
My point with the analogy is that commercialism kills quality if it`s taken too far, which I would suggest it has been by Blizzard. Some of the point of any form of escapism is that the illusion remains credible, which requires at least some consistency. It also helps if the escape is somewhat esoteric and if it requires a certain interest, commitment and even skill to partake in it. What doesn`t help is to try and make one product to fit everyone`s needs as if you`re making toasters or something, when what you`re really doing, or should be doing, is making a cultural statement.
Many of the people who are "loud" are like an opera audience complaining about the guy shouting "HOT DOGS!" at the back, since he distracts from the people shouting in Italian on stage, and because he didn`t used to be there before the opera house decided to add to its income over their protests. These people didn`t want the changes, the "improvements" and the "progress" since they felt it destroyed immersion and dumbed WoW right down to the lowest common denominator where it has remained.
While this doesn`t apply to Diablo which is meant to be a simple game, the commercialism aspect certainly does. "If you just sign here we promise you clowns next week. Or maybe next month. Definitely within a year or two, or possibly in the future when we`re happy with our clown solutions, although they probably won`t be the clowns you wanted. But just pay us now and watch the cycling horses and the bearded lady for six months and we`ll work on the clowns. Honest!"
This is how we`re being strung along by modern gaming companies who release half finished games, expecting customers to wait for months for patches, bugfixes and DLC that should have been in the game to begin with. And this practise was pioneered by Blizzard when they released the very first expansion I can remember for the original Diablo. Previously gaming companies might release sequels, but they were always full games which were completed before release, not after. The business model Blizzard developed and which might have been fine if the quality remained high has spread like a plague in the gaming world until even the most mediocre titles try to increase profits by tacking DLCs onto them, with what amounts to removed content being withheld for profit motives. This is the real issue here since it is basically like selling cars without headlights or with missing seats before asking for more money to install the missing components. This would therefore border on fraud and I certainly consider it a malicious business practise, which is quite a bit more important in my estimation than whether or not Blizzard "listens" to feedback. I have a feeling that the business model somewhat trumps community feedback.
Edited by Fishslap#2608 on 27/11/2012 18:20 GMT