Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Good and the Bad

It seems like since the Blizzard HQ has lifted the veil on the Beta information in Cataclysm, all hell has broken loose like the stock market. Every other day there is good news and then every other day there's bad news. This week the good and bad has been notable, so I got drawn out for a midweek entry! We'll start with the bad news doc...

Blizzard decided that the next step in the Real ID revolution is to force all posters on the official forums to use their Real ID's and thus their real names! Now take a moment to think about all the forums that have been on the internet for two decades, and think about why people are so drawn to them. It's the anonymity within a community, and making a name for yourself outside your real identity. I'm sure there are some professional community forums with real name ID's, but the vast overwhelming majority is anonymous user names. And that's how it should be because discussing things on a hotbed like Blizzard official forums opens yourself up to stalkers and attackers and general douche-bags.

So it begs the question as Larisa so elonquently put it...did Blizzard forget to do a reality check before announcing this change? Despite one day of overwhelming negative reaction from the blogging community, they are still not backpedaling much in the blue posts today. And then, in the most ironic twist, Blizzard has tried to decide that the blue posters will not use their real names "because it will be detrimental to our employee's security." Oh really? Maybe you think it's not just the blue posters that have hate mail and psychos coming their way?

As Larisa and most others concluded, this is a terrible idea. When real identities are forced, the forums will slowly die if they are not truly dead already. One hopes that Blizzard's infatuation with Real ID does not taint them so much that they make moves that will definitely make people run away from the community. Although there will likely be more traffic and comments in blogs then, which is a good thing! Silver lining...

Time to turn to the good news. The talent system is being overhauled after Blizzard listened to alpha and beta players who let them know that the talent overhauls were not good enough. And truly, looking at the proposed changes, they were not. The problem was that no matter how much you try to do, with 51 point top line talents, the talent trees were unnecessarily bloated and always would be. So now the revamp has been announced. I'd link the blue post but it is way to long to quote here. The overview is that you will be locked into a talent tree at level 10 by your choice until you put 31 talent points into it, which will happen at level 70 because talents are coming every other level instead of every level. The mastery bonuses are coming in a little quicker including at level 10 since you are locked to what you want to specialize in. I agree with this change considering the new LFG system, and assuming you can still switch specs at level 40. All the crappy talents can finally go away and the system can be simplified to be much better and more streamlined.

With the overall additions over time to the game, sometimes you have to pare away to make it better. And this is a good choice here. It sounds like Mastery will be it's own separate stat on gear as well which converts to something useful to you once you have Mastery trained at level 78 or beyond. So while Blizzard has made one crazy decision, they have made one great decision. One would hope the way they listened to their customers in the talent tree paring will be the same way they eventually approach the Real ID forum issue. Making your customers safe and happy is the primary goal in any business, and that's where the focus at Blizzard needs to be right now.

PostNote - I was not selected for the officer position in my guild. While I was disappointed, I was apparently second place behind someone who is far more connected and social, and she is such a sweet person that I know the position will succeed. Additionally, the guild leader gave me full authority to join forces with her and help her make things great, so I've chosen to pitch in that way and I'll obviously report on our big fun events as they come along. The first one is August 15, but no details allowed! there might be guildies around you know.

1 comment:

  1. You know I had not thought of that. I just finished posting my thoughts on the Real ID change. I also am not quitting unless it starts to creep into the gameplay, but forum posting. I will be done with it. Buy you are correct, I said it in the forum, and I will say it again. The forum will simply migrate to the unofficial fansites, like MMO or Wowhead. The official forums will simply die. If that is the goal it seems easier to just shut them down and blame the cataclysm, but then they can't pretend to have discussions. They are actually calling that black hole of a forum post a discussion. Discussion implies discourse, and meaningful debate. The decision has been made. This is a pat on the head, plain and simple.