Blizzard have been the connoisseurs of PC gaming for more than a decade now. They’ve made countless classics over the years and have always been counted as one of the best developers out there. Anyone who knows how much they make from World of Warcraft will know that what I just said, is an obvious understatement. They must have made enough money by now to start their own country. And they don’t need to go out of their way to make this happen. They release one game in 3-4 years and still make more than most development teams shelling out 2 games in a year. It is this money that seems to be getting over their heads.
Blizzard was always a company focused on the quality of games. The efforts that they put in the development of their games clearly suggests that. You will never see a blizzard game being half assed, or being released with a lot of bugs; simply put they have a standard for quality, and they try to maintain it to the best of their ability. As far as game development goes, they have always been as good as they were 10 years back. But, as far as making gamers the top priority, I think their stance has become slightly apathetic.
There are many reasons for this and although they’re not that severe, still they can be bothersome if you’re a Blizzard fan. Firstly, they haven’t released a new game in a long long time. In the past 7 years, Blizzard have released just 2 games, out of which one is a sequel and the other is the most popular MMO in the world. I agree that they have to give commitment to World of Warcraft, but that does not mean giving up on developing other games entirely. And this pattern is here to stay. It might be sometime since we see a new game from Blizzard. Titan is on the horizon, but there is Diablo 3 before that, and the 2 Starcraft 2 expansions are in queue as well, so don’t expect to see anything new from Blizzard for the next 5 years.
Another thing that bothers me is their growing restrictions that they have imposed on their games. Some of the decisions taken by Blizzard are simply outrageous. Starcraft 2 was released without LAN support, which was one of the most important aspects of the first game according to me; this is probably to curb piracy. But, it isn’t helping the cause as the game has been pirated almost 2 million times. On the contrary, restricting LAN play has caused many problems on the professional scene. And this approach is only getting stronger. Diablo 3 will require a constant internet connection even for single player. Plus, it will have some form of DRM on release. All this is quite anti-gamer if you ask me. The last thing a gamer wants is the game shutting down cause the internet isn’t working. Hence, so many of the youtube videos of people breaking the keyboards in frustration.
The next original property on their production queue also happens to be an MMO! This might sound like an unreasonable rant, but i always like the single player games over MMO’s. They have the loot to lure players in, but nothing beats a great story. This only adds weight to the fact that they’re swimming in money, and can’t get enough of it. Also, their pricing scheme for digital downloads in foreign countries is ridiculous. I live in India, and i had to pay almost 3000rs(80$) for my copy of Starcraft 2. And its the kind of game that you can’t wait to get your hands on, and that only adds to the frustration.
After such a long rant, i’m sure i’ll be the first person to buy all of blizzards products. It’s the quality that i can’t let go off. I’m a blizzard fanboy through and through, and i cannot wait for diablo 3, and to see what they have under wraps with Titan. But, i do wish they realize that gamers determine the success or failure of a game, so staying loyal to them is more important than building an empire out of cash…