Monday, October 24, 2011

So what, Blizzard ?

So you did it. And now the results are in. About 50% dislike your youtube video. Imagine that! You make an expansion for your game and 50% of the people who watch the intro movie at youtube vote 'dislike' !

Compare that to the Cataclysm trailer, that really wasn't brilliant, either. Only 7% disliked it! Compare it with the WotLK trailer, which was really, really good, by the way. 1.6% of the voters disliked it!

Then you have the more serious bloggosphere, like Biobreak.

Almost 60% of the readers vote "Jumped the Shark!". 26% vote "wait and see" and less than 15% actually like the idea!

Look, I have quite a lot of blogs on my blogroll. Not a single one of these bloggers actually likes the idea! Some say that their daugther is thrilled, some say that their wife likes it. Some even go so far to argue that WoW was never a serious game to begin with. But not a single one actually likes the idea him/herself! Even those who otherwise think that this expansion is going to fix the game and totally plan to buy it, think that Pandas are 'meh'.

I have an idea! You just scrap those Pandas. Tell us it was a mistake, a joke - anything. I'm going to believe you - promised. I'm going to make a post that this kind of stuff happens - some junior designer probably misunderstood something and ... you know how those things are!

Tell us
"You didn't really think that we were going to add Pandas to World of Warcraft, did you?? Damn, Blizzcon was fun for the team!!"

Keep the landscape, keep the monk. But please, remove those laughing stocks!


  1. Just as a note, you've linked 2 cinematic trailers.

    The Blizzcon announcement for WoTLK was the awesome:

  2. 60% of 297 people cannot be wrong, amirite?!

    It takes Blizzard 1.5 years to turn around a heroic difficulty design that clearly lost them subs; there is no way in hell pandas are going away.

    Personally, the more people rage against the pandas, the more I like them. Remember when Apple announced the iPad? I thought it was a dumbass name, along with ~99% of the tech media at the time. Now, if you make a iPad joke people look at you like you made a knock-knock joke.

    What it does do is make people who believed that their MMO was more socially acceptable realize that they won't be able to talk about it anymore to non-gamers. EVE players think they can talk about Excel in space because of "srs bsns" Ponzi schemes, for example. Point being: pandas don't make WoW more or less childish or ridiculous than it already was.

  3. I take that there is an assumption that being disliked by the bloggers is a bad thing for the game, or at least Blizzard's profitability???

    Can you think of a game design that would be approved of by the blogosphere and increase WoW's large subscriber base? I can't. If I had a game design and I wanted 10+ million subscribers and it was praised by syncaine, gevlon, et al, and their readers, then I would be very worried and disappointed.

    My opinion is that Cata was designed to appeal to the developers and blogosphere but not the "silent majority." Blizzard will be well served if MoP is the opposite.

    Although, Pandas were perhaps a jump too far.

  4. I've said it before, but I'm seriously baffled at how people feel pandas are "going to far" or "crossing the line". Obviously there's something about pandas I've missed.

    I just don't get it. In what universe is pandas more childish than cows? More childish than dragons? More childish than gnomes?

    I'm not thrilled about the expansion. I haven't been thrilled about an expansion since WLK, and that one let me down big time. But if I were to make a choice about buying or not buying the expansion, the pandas wouldn't be impacting my decision in any way.

    (I already know your reason for this, Nils. This was just me rambling generally.)

  5. Thanks for pointing out the YouTube trailer. I saw the poll on Syp's site but I didn't think that the blogosphere was representative of the playerbase as a whole. I would think that YouTube gets watched by a wider audience though, and seeing 50% of 30,000 voters click "dislike" kind of makes you wonder...

  6. Actually I'm more bothered by the goblins with their trike-riding Chicago-gangster sillyness than anything bouncing pandas could bring to the game ...

  7. It might be interesting to explore what kind of news could create mostly-positive reaction.

    The decline was long in the making, and I really don't think Pandas are a problem... though they don't help either.

    Maybe taking a look way back and checking what people praised about early Wotlk/Cata announcements might help.

    Memory is unreliable and selective thing though...
    For Wotlk, I think I was excited about new paladin abilities and being 100% supported maintank instead of "mostly offtank". Thinking up situations where i could use new arsenal to solve old problems. Also everyone else was supposed to get "more aoe" - in TBC paladins were only go-to aoe-tanks... and Wotlk definitely delivered on AoE part.

    Now? Well, most things they revealed for paladins aren't actually new at all - and some are creating problems where none existed before. And the things i might be genuinely excited about, like Blinding Shield (still wonder why they scrapped it for Cata), are going with big "maybe".

    For Cata, i think it was remake of old world, change of raiding lockouts and priorities, and return of harder dungeons (aoefests were starting to bore everyone).

    All mostly praised, with people claiming that "wotlk kids" wouldn't function there... and yep, they didn't (remember early Cata "learn to play" GC rant); so dungeons got nerfed pretty soon.

  8. 50% of 30.000+ is not something you can ignore..And while I see much hate on the forums about pandas I also see much more hate to the people that dislike pandas from wow fanboys. You try to prove that the half community are idiot people who don't know what game they were playing 6 years..

    The truth is that until cataclysm or until ICC patch of Wotlk Blizzard was considered a company that everything they produce is top quality.If pandas were introduced before the ICC patch people would say "wtf? but ok its Blizzard I know its gonna be awesome". This thing is lost from the company and I don't know how it is going to get it back.

    I also Dislike the new expansion for many reasons and much more because it is still a TEAM B expansion...I don't know if TEAM A is still around but I really hope they are making Titan.

  9. 50% of 30.000+ is not something you can ignore..And while I see much hate on the forums about pandas I also see much more hate to the people that dislike pandas from wow fanboys. You try to prove that the half community are idiot people who don't know what game they were playing 6 years..

    If 50% of 30,000 were complaining over the features, I would've understood it. But the fact is that the vast majority of them is complaining over pandas. I just don't get that. At all. I'm just baffled.

  10. Novead, look at it this way: The more invested you are in a game, the more likely it is that the metagame is more important for you, and style is an afterthought. And people reading blogs are usually very invested in a game :)

    However, the more casual you are, the more important style is for you. I think I wrote before: "WoW has been dumbed down for the hardcore".

    And this is another example. The hardcore at Blizzard thought about what casuals might like. But being hardcore raiders at heart, they were completely unable to find the correct answer and went with the stereotype.

    "Casuals are people who play for fun. Fun means humor. We need more humor. Slapstick is ok"

    Well, this is a fallacy.

    @ Some of the above commenters.
    Please re-read your comments. You seem to be trying to argue that almost 50% of 30.000 youtube voters are irrelevant, because they would never like a trailer. And I have given evidence of the contrary in the same post.


    Current popularity of Barack Obama according to properly standardized polls:

    (This does not account for the universality of youtube, the popularity of the position he's arguing for, etc. I admit weakness in this analogy, but consider it to still stand in spite of that weakness.)

    Judging the popularity of anything based on a youtube video borders on absurd. The vast majority of viewers do not vote. Those that do vote, do so only when they have a strong opinion they seek to voice. On a controversial topic such as MoP, who do you think is more likely to click the vote button: Blizzard fanboys or disgruntled WoW ex-patriots? Same goes for the blogging community and those who vote on a blog's opinion poll. The response bias and poor sampling is so woefully apparent, I am taken aback that you consider these any sort of evidence.

  12. The Man, do you argue that the polls at youtube and the bloggosphere do not seal WoW's fate? I would agree!

    Do you argue that the polls at youtube and the bloggosphere have no significance whatsoever?

    I don't think you are crazy, are you?

    In contrast to a politician, Blizzard can't turn the ship fast. Pandas will be real. There's no way to have a few speeches or some terrorists' attack to change that.

    We might not encounter the President's economic agenda every day. But you will encounter Pandas every day you log in. As long as you play WoW!

  13. @Nils
    I understand that the immersion are important to a lot of people. It's important to me too. What I don't understand is what makes panda-men a step over the line while walrus-men, wolf-men, bull-men, bird-men or rat-men isn't.

    Fine, I can understand that you in particular feel that pandas are out of line. I don't know you, you might have a perfectly valid reason. That so many people around the world agrees with you - that, I don't understand.

  14. I agree that the poll and youtube video show two things: 1) that MoP is far more controversial and less popular than previous expansions and 2) that WoW has a much larger community of ex-players who have to justify their throwing away an 1000+ hour investment than 2 years ago.

    I disagree that either of these methods of opinion polling provide any reasonable perspective of the *extent* of these two factors. Players who "like MoP enough to keep subscribing" don't click like and ex-players who want to "stick it to ActiBli$$ard" will click dislike.

  15. @Novead: Why pandas are over the line while cowmen et. al are not is a personal thing, so as you suggest not everyone will see that line the same way. But to offer my personal reason, it comes down to the silly-quotient. Wolfmen or cowmen are not intended to be silly the way that the pandamen seem to be (based on the trailer at least). So, while the idea of a wolfman or even a dragon would seem silly to some, they are certainly not packaged as silly by blizzard. They are ferocious or scary or other adjectives that I personally find more entertaining and immersive than the adjective silly.

    Goblins were much the same way for me. I made it to level 5 on my only goblin and had to quit from the disgust I felt of driving around in my turbo trike and honking at friends. However, goblins were not the exclusive focus of the expansion; Deathwing and cataclysmic events were, both of which were very serious and evil, offsetting the small amount of sillyness in goblins.

    This expansion, though, puts the sillyness much more central than past instances. And hence, it's a bigger game breaker for the anti-silly crowd than other examples.

  16. Thank you, Roboticus. While I don't find pandas silly in any way, this is an answer I can understand, rather than the usual "but... it's pandas!"

  17. I'm not sure where you're getting silly/slapstick from. I just watched that trailer, and what I saw was: pretty landscapes, epic-sounding Chinese-flavored music, and fairly serious-looking pandas doing martial arts. No panda in that video did anything humorous.

    Now, it's certainly possible that you find panda-men to be inherently silly in a way that cow-men are not... but I don't think that Blizzard is trying to present them in anything but a serious manner at this point.

    Find a better word than "slapstick", at least. It carries strong implications of physical humor which are completely absent from any of the promotional materials I've seen so far.