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?
- 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.
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.
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.