Saturday, 17 January 2015

Blizzard's Gift - I've Changed My Mind.

   Suffice it to say, I've changed my position on this whole Blizzard gift thing.
   Initially, as I said in my last post, I thought it was perfectly justified for Blizzard to thank the players who had been with them from the beginning, people who purchased WoW in a leap of faith. That was great, you know? And, obviously, they'd kind of have to have been subbed far more often than not.
   The thing is, Blizz only said, initially, that to be eligible you had to have activated your account within 60 days of its release in your region. Fine, I get that, totally. But, that was all they said. Then, once all of the emails had gone out, they announced that you also had to have been subbed for damn near 10 years straight. I do not understand that. Barring the fact that Blizzard went about 7 months recently without releasing any new content, life gets in the way. 10 years is a really long time. If people had purchased the game at the minimum age of 12 when it was released, they would be 22 now (maths). In that time, they would have gone to high school and done their most important exams, headed off to college, even university for even more important exams. Then there are the people who were already 20 when WoW was released, the ones who had grown up with the Warcraft series. They'd be 30 now, and in that time probably got a job, maybe even had a child. Something has to give, right? So subs would be cancelled whether they'd want to do it or not because life demands it, not because they want to stop playing.

   No, I'm not complaining because I'm one of these people. I started WoW in Burning Crusade; I wasn't eligible from the beginning, but I was happy for the people who were. After all, I can't exactly falsify my account activation, right? Plus, it's just a statue that won't affect the game or my life in any way except having to find space for it on a shelf.
   The trouble is, now it seems as if Blizzard are rewarding the people who were simply well off enough to be able to afford a rolling subscription. Rich kids, people whose lives never changed in 10 years to get in their way, and people who took for granted their ability to stay subbed.
   No, not all of the people to receive the gift fall into this field, some of them would have stuck to WoW simply because they love it, making cuts in other parts of their free time to keep doing something they enjoy - that's what free time should be used for, after all. But I knew right away, as soon as I read 'consistant 10 year subscription', that many of the people to receive the gift would be ungrateful. I looked on Ebay this morning, the day after the first deliveries were made, and I saw 2 statues on there already. I admit I was surprised to only see two - one was start bid for $250 with a buyout of $650, while another was a start bid of $500 and a buyout of $1000. Well, I had another look this evening out of curiosity alone and found the number had increased massively.
   When you consider the number of people who would have kept a 10 year sub with only small breaks here and there, there can't have been many of these statues sent out - like I said, life gets in the way - and there's a huge number on Ebay. So how many of the people being rewarded even care for the reward they've been given?

   I disagree massively with this decision. They should have, at the very least, stated the 10 year sub on the initial blue post alongside the 60 day account activation, because all they've done is get other peoples hopes up, people who have played loyally but had to take breaks whether they wanted to or not, but love Warcraft, WoW and Azeroth enough to have bought half of the Blizzard store, read all of the books and short stories, taken time, like many of you, to blog about the game and increase the depth of the world by creating stories of their characters, roleplayed in the game itself and really established a deeper community. And yet, because they were late to the game, or because they couldn't justify subbing to the game when the realm was dead and there was no sign of new content, or simply didn't have the time for a brief period because life was moving in another direction, be it for good or bad, are going by - yes, I'll say it - unappreciated.

   I'm finding myself angry about this, and it's really weird because it's not anger on my own behalf in the slightest. It's for the people who deserve it, like - well, to be honest, like most of the people reading this post right now, because I know a lot of you are bloggers yourself, far better and more dedicated than myself and have been playing for much longer. You all deserve the appreciation that Blizzard has given the rich kids (and a few people who probably do deserve it, admittedly).
   I know I said a couple of days ago that Blizzard didn't have to do this and that it was a really generous thing and they should be congratulated rather than yelled at for doing something that only cost them money, but I think, in the end, they took it in the wrong direction.

   If anyone wants that statue, it seems to be trending at around $200 on Ebay right now.
   I doubt Blizz will adjust the eligibility, and I doubt they'll have any more made, either. It sucks for everyone else. I do understand the concept behind it, but I think Blizzard have misunderstood the difficulty of remaining subbed, overestimated the content they release and forgotten that the community is something that is made by itself rather than put in place by them.

   Well, we got the mount, we got the pet, we got the title, a new battleground and a revived version of the first raid, and it was all exclusive to the celebration of the 10th anniversary. The game has done stupidly well, everyone has had a lot of fun - I know I have - and while this statue business has ruffled a lot of feathers for both justified and unjustified reasons, as long as the game quality continues to improve, as it has been (aside from a few nerfs to make it easier for casual players, like the talent system), it will last for a lot longer still, and I hope it does - though it will be interesting to see how long that will be. Another 10 years, I wonder? As long as it ends with a final attack by the Burning Crusade, I don't care. I want to kill Sargeras - or, rather, weaken him so that some other sod can come along and kill steal.

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