The life of a Battle.net MVP


#1

You probably know what a Battle.net MVP is. They’ve been identified by Blizzard as exceptional contributors to the community, and are easily spotted with the green text of their forum posts.

First and foremost, I’d guess them to be very passionate individuals, players who love Blizzard and their games.

I have to wonder, though, what it’s like to be a Battle.net MVP, especially in the face of what the game has come to over the years. Do they blindly lead the charge as employees would (you’ll never catch a Blizzard CM talking shit about a certain design decision), or are there times where they feel as I do, that the game is more-or-less wonderful, but has taken a wrong turn somewhere…and do they feel helpless to elicit change? I wonder if they guard their opinions due to the political touchiness of the subject, and if so, where do they vent?

I also wonder if MVPs collectively “speak the same language”, or if there are some MVPs that seem to hold a particular set of opinions separate from other MVPs, ie. “The game is perfectly fine, these are just trolls acting like children” vs. “No…no, there may actually be a few problems with the game that Blizzard doesn’t seem to be taking into account.”

Perhaps an MVP (or more) may want to speak to this, and use me a base reference to clarify their stance. So, without further ado MVPs, here’s where I stand – how about you?

  1. World of Warcraft: A wonderful game, but on the decline, due to a number of factors. They aren’t all related to new raid designs (10/25 merge, LFR introduction) but they are definitely factors. My most objective opinions are:
  • Game Age: It’s old. Period. There’s only so much you can do to liven up an eight-year old engine.
  • Player Base Grown Increasingly Apathetic: I have theories on why this is, I’ll save those theories for the blog. Just know that I feel players of today have less interest in doing things, period, than those of us who played during the game’s rise to fame.
  • Social Interaction Reduced: In early game, there wasn’t much to do on your own – you had to rely on others (groups, guilds, etc.) to get things done. This is less and less true today.
  1. Blizzard: A fantastic company that produces wonderfully immersive games that are fun to play, but that is also a publicly-owned company, one that must provide long-term viability toward shareholders. As a result, design decisions made in their games are weighed appropriately – as any business would – against a particular underlying goal: “Is changing the game to focus on XYZ a better or worse long-term investment for the company?” That doesn’t necessarily mean ALL their decisions are ONLY about money. I believe Blizzard is truly passionate about game design. BUT…I think that, more and more, business-related decisions are now getting in the way of traditional game-design decisions.

  2. Ghostcrawler: I absolutely do not hate the man. I think Greg Street is a very hardworking guy, who has truly busted his ass over design decisions for…what is it…like 5.5, 6 years now? He is a human being. He makes mistakes, just like you and I. We make them every day. Blizzard’s made mistakes, they’ve been pretty damn good about fixing them. And I think the same can be said about GC…up until about Cataclysm, in which he stuck fiercely to his guns defending the 10/25 merge, justifying it by telling us he was “saving us from burnout”…only to re-introduce that burnout to today’s raiders by keeping LFR on its own lock, separate from 10/25.

I think GC has grown to become very rigid in his stance, treating more and more critics like trolls, which prevents him from acknowledging the fact that he may, in fact, have made a poor decision or two. My perception on why he hasn’t changed is simply due to the fact that he feels it is too late – going back to the way things were would only make things worse: players who’ve come to love and rely on LFR for loot would be excluded, throw tantrums and leave…but the traditional raiders of yore are already gone…and would more than likely not return.

I wonder how far off/close to the mark my opinions are in comparison with those of the MVPs.


#2

lfr can be maintained without sacrificing 10/25. merging 10/25 locks killed raiding. imho.


#4

Awesome post! :wink:

This is something that actually differs from MVP to MVP. We all handle situations very differently; some MVPs prefer the politically-correct approach to touchy topics, others prefer to be more direct with regards to their opinions.

Honestly for me, I often find myself hopping around with regards to posting style depending on my knowledge of the subject, and how touchy it is.

Well, every MVP has their own opinions. We sometimes disagree with one another, even in forum discussions. The only reason players are ever chosen to be invited into the MVP program is if they demonstrate helpfulness and the ability to participate in discussions constructively, not because they have similar opinions.

Sometimes these disagreements can be quite fundamental. To avoid creating a heated argument, that tends to be kept off the forums for the sake of ‘professionalism’. There are some MVPs who have totally different opinions in comparison to others, and that’s really fine. Constructive posting is the only requirement.

Personally, I believe that World of Warcraft is indeed in decline. However, here are some reasons why:

  • World of Warcraft simply cannot compete in the Asian market. Although there have been some signs of decline in Europe and NA, the actual decline has not been as dramatic as what we see in Asia. The reason for this is simple: the Asian market is after different things in an MMO. The Asian MMOs are blowing WoW out the water as a result.

  • Age. For the same reasons you have mentioned - WoW is getting pretty old now. Some people have gotten bored, and it is getting harder to woo new players into a game that has existed for 8+ years now.

  • The lack of an unreachable goal. In order to keep players motivated to play the game, especially casuals (I kind of hate that word in all honesty), the game needs some form of an unreachable goal that deceives players into believing they can get it. This is something Vanilla and TBC did well in.

I am not personally sure my opinions on Blizzard’s business practices are quite solid. But for what its worth, what I think is that whilst it is true that Blizzard is a company that needs to generate good profits to appeal to shareholders and survive, they are a company that still keeps in touch with the very bare essences of gamer culture. There are some gaming companies that have completely lost touch with actual gamers, and have terrible reputations as a result.

Whilst company profits do weigh in on their design decisions, it is no surprise that in the case of Blizzard, it is also largely player-driven.

I have mixed opinions about him. There were times when I screamed 'OMG THANKS GC", and times when I just wanted to scream out every bit of profanity towards his decisions. A good example of the latter was when they decided to equalize loot and lockouts between 10s and 25s, which effectively plunged most 25-man guilds into a constant state of trying to survive. How mine has managed to pull through Cataclysm and MoP so far is a mircale. I believe that is not entirely his doing though – it is a team of people who make these decisions for the game.

Which leads me to the next point. Often when players lash out at Ghostcrawler for controversial decisions related to the game, they forget that Ghostcrawler is not the only one who is involved in the decisions. He just happens to be a face people can scream at.


#5

Excellent response, @Palefang. If you think you can turn the ear of a few other MVPs on to these boards, I’d love to have them come over and join the discussion!


#6

I’ll be sure to point this thread out to a few.

Also been preaching to them that Discourse is good… maybe they’d like to try it themselves on an actual forum? We’ll see…