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Addiction is a lucrative business for Blizzard

Ever since the release of World of Warcraft (WoW), Blizzard pretty much set the standard on what a major massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) should be like. A massive world, an unheard of amount of items and a game play style that makes things fun for just about every MMO player out there. Then on top of all the addictive elements, charge $15 a month per account. Sounds like a recipe for success right? It is.

Unfortunately, Blizzard sat on its behind after reaching a few record breaking numbers in terms of total account signups to WoW. Why do I say this? Because despite the much anticipated release of the Burning Crusades expansion, not much was introduced into the game considering the large amount of resources that flows into Blizzard HQ per month. Considering that WoW is now exceeding a global account list of 8 million players, there's definitely gold in them subscriptions.

What exactly is Blizzard doing with all that cash? Let's take a look at Burning Crusades. An extremely high percentage of mob models in this expansion was ripped directly from the original game. Colors were changed and names were edited, but overall, only a small handful of new models were added. Take into consideration that much of the new popular features of the game were added outside of the expansion and we begin to see that there's something wrong with the picture here.

Blizzard also delayed the Burning Crusades expansion for a long time. Those who paid for the expansion were also asked to pay a retail price that matched the original game when it was released -- that is an obscenely expensive amount considering that the original game is much more grander in scale. Burning Crusades appears like a collage of textures and models taken from the original game than a true expansion.

Besides all of the above, Blizzard is still not addressing some of the strange oddities in the game. Hunter pets that swim deeper and faster than a druid in aquatic form -- I don't know about Blizzard but I certainly have never seen a cat out-swim a seal, infantry that can run faster than the fastest ground mount in the game. I've seen a guard chase down a player on an epic horse mount. Blizzard also recently announced that the druid class will receive an epic flight form -- instantly castable but will cost 5000 gold to learn the epic riding skill. Wait a minute, you need a "riding skill" to turn into a bird and fly away? What exactly are we riding here?

Don't get me started on class balance even, there's no such thing -- gear stats dominate this game. Blizzard attempts to adjust class features on almost a monthly basis and just makes a mess of everything. Fixing one problem reveals another. The problem here lies in the dynamics of each class and their abilities. Because of the large amount of complaints that flow on the Blizzard forums, the company is subject to constantly changing abilities around. In essence, the whole ecosystem of classes is adversely affected by small adjustments as well as large ones.

So take one part large monthly income from 8 million paying subscribers and one part large injection of cash from the release of Burning Crusades and what you get is a missing picture and lots of questions. Make no mistake about Blizzard though, it is in the business of making a profit, not putting its players first. It already achieved what it set out to do with the initial release of WoW.




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I disagree...
By OblivionMage on 4/20/2007 4:27:49 PM , Rating: 2
This blog honestly seems like more of a rant then a constructive and interesting post. First off, you stated that they charge 15$'s a month to play, and you made that sound like a ridiculous amount. A great deal of other MMORPG's (D&D Online to name one) have this exact same billing method, if its too expensive, then don't play. Perhaps GuildWars is an exception, but I personally hated that game. It felt more like single player then an actual MMO, and this was before I bought WoW.

The druid 'riding' skill was perhaps worded incorrectly, but does that truly make up for your complaint? All of the other skills related to mounts and/or flying mounts are called 'riding' and Blizzard has been using that word as more of a category then as something to actually describe the skill. The pets swimming as fast as a druid in aquatic form is simply because of the +30% Talent that hunters can get. And they have to be able to swim fast in order to keep up with hunters, although I agree it is a bit stupid. I don't really care about the guard thing, if they weren't as fast, and faster at that rate, then players on epic mounts, players could just run around enemy cities at will.

Blizzard added a whole new continent, then new levels for each class, with their respective talents, as well as items and instances to accommodate these higher level players. They added two completely new races, and their capital cities, as well as starting areas and quests. If you don't think that they added enough to make up for the price, then by all means don't get it. Comparing the expansion to the actual game, in terms of price to content, is not fair.
If you compare BC with some other games that are retailed at similar prices (I live in Canada so 49.99$ was the price of BC) you will realize that most games don't even have near the amount of content that BC adds, although I do think that BC should have been 19.99$ instead of 49.99$, to match the actual game.

Class balance is a problem, I would agree with that, but it is not any more (in my opinion) then most other MMORPG's.
As for addiction, I think it is more the style of Blizzards art that is particularity appealing, but I don't think that they are purposely making it addictive. Neither do I think that I am addicted to it. I bought the game on the 22nd of December, and I have a level 33, a level 13 and a level 7. I have played 4 days total on my level 33, that is in a almost four month period. This means one day of played time a month, that is 7 hours (roughly) a week of playing. Which is not overly much for me, as I am on the computer for a very large amount of time every day, and this includes weekends.
I only really play WoW when friends are on, and we can voice -chat with vent, otherwise it can get very boring, however I still consider myself to be getting my money's worth.

This is just me being bored, so please, criticize away...




RE: I disagree...
By Tuan Nguyen on 4/20/2007 4:38:56 PM , Rating: 4
Well you're certainly welcome to disagree. I suspect that not everyone will agree.

I did not mention that $15 was a ridiculous amount. Correct me if I'm wrong. What I pointed out was ($15 x 8 million) + ($50 expansion x 3 million) = not really much improvement as far as funding for development goes - and that, is ridiculous. Think about this for a second, how much money is put towards making a typical hit game and you get my drift.

As far as your mention about the guards thing allowing players to run around at will is simply not true. Spawn more guards, and players can already be struck and dismounted by being dazed. So there are plenty of mechanisms to trap a player down. No human should be able to out run a horse period.

I also live in Canada, and as for the cost of the expansion, you're right, it should have been $19.99, or even $29.99 - but not the cost of the original game. Compare the two. Firstly, you have all that influx of money from the original game and the subscriptions, a lot of time and resources. You should be able to develop an expansion that has more than repetitive original game content and renamed models -- it's all the same mostly, save for the environments.

As far as class balance goes, you missed my point actually. Yes, class balance is a problem but what Blizzard is doing with it is the bigger of the two problems. Blizzard constantly modifies (nerfs and buffs) classes, almost as if it has no idea where it stands and is playing with a grade 5 science kit to create odd concoctions.

If you consider yourself getting your money's worth, that's fine, there's no arguing with that. But when you talk about money and how much of it Blizzard is bringing in from WoW, there needs to be much higher expectations from a technical point of view.


RE: I disagree...
By Zurtex on 4/20/2007 5:10:38 PM , Rating: 1
I also have to disagree with you and agree with the poster above.

Do you have any idea of the difficulty involved in running an MMORPG? Do you honestly think they gain $15 per person in pure profit?

Before World of Warcraft, MMORPGs were always a difficult business in the west, while revenues may be high, profits tend to be non-existent. Blizzard did an amazing job of creating a large MMORPG, having an interesting story, putting an endless amount of quests in it while keep a consistent universe which has lots of humour in it. On top of that they do a really good job of maintaining the stability of it and keep a level of control in each of the realms, many other people may not think that, but I'm willing to bet they never seriously played MMORPGs before WoW.

My understanding is that World of Warcraft was built for patches, not for expansions. That 70% of the effort that has gone in to burning crusade is about making World of Warcraft a scalable universe, so they can now add more content in the same way without the headache of re-writing the inner workings of the game. On top of that, when the game was ready, but not polished off they made the decision to delay it after the Christmas period when they would have gained the most sales and instead wait until Burning Crusade was just right to release. They do an amazing job of balancing compared to other MMORPGs, they do a really good job of creating a lively universe with always new stuff to discover. Burning Crusade is built on an incredibly old game engine and yet it still managed to look even a bit more pretty than most of the older parts of World of Warcraft.

You talk about their revenue as though it were their profit. The amount of servers, back-up servers, GMs, technical staff and the like they need to run or pay for 24 hour service will be crazy. MMORPGs have never had a very good habit of making lots of money, it takes lots of development to make them and once they're up, it takes lots of continuous maintenance.

Pre - World of Warcraft, if a class was stupidly broken in an MMORPG, it's likely that it would stay that way forever. World of Warcraft has changed the face of MMORPGing.

And yeah, if people don't feel like they want to pay, there's nothing making them. At the end of the day all it's meant to be is fun.

P.S, I'm not a WoW player, I was invited to the original closed BETA but was about to start Uni in the summer. I've had a couple of goes since but decided it's not massively for me, doesn't mean I don't respect what it's done to the MMORPG scene (set a very high bar).


RE: I disagree...
By Tuan Nguyen on 4/20/2007 5:36:50 PM , Rating: 4
Again, I think people need to read a bit more carefully about what I wrote in the original article. I did not say that $15/month went to pure profit. In fact, I indicated throughout the article that much of that money went towards the development of the Burning Crusades expansion, as it would appear to be on the surface. However, when you take a close and deep look at the expansion, you realize that almost none of that cash flow went towards the expansion. Here's why:

Blizzard charged $50 for the expansion. There were about 2.5 million initial purchases of the Burning Crusades. I think that's more than enough to cover the cost don't you think? :)

So, where does the subscription cash go towards? Ah, maintenance. If 8 million x $15/month goes towards maintenance, there should not be as many problems as there are currently. Using that cash, WoW should never have to be halted every Tuesday for several hours. Imagine if eBay, or Yahoo, or Google, came down every Tuesday for several hours at a time for maintenance. $12 million dollars a month towards maintenance? :) I don't think so.

Again, cost of developing BC was already covered in the sale of the expansion itself. $50 x 2.5 million initial purchasers, and that does not even include all the trickle purchases that occurred thereafter.


RE: I disagree...
By OblivionMage on 4/20/2007 7:06:31 PM , Rating: 2
The cost to rent a server is 200$'s a week (Or so I have been told) directly from blizzard. Which is 800$'s a month, which is only 53 players, per server, to cover the direct costs. So I agree with Tuan that the 15$ a month is mysteriously disappearing...If you look on their website, under the "employment" area, some of the jobs say "The team from Diablo 2 is looking for a ". This suggests that they are at least working on something. Hopefully another timeless classic! There have been so many rumors of Diablo 3, that I don't think it will happen, a new Starcraft will most likely be the case. Or a totally new game, maybe "World of Blizzard" where Starcraft, Diablo and Warcraft are all combined for ultimate MMO Domination!
I figure that if 8 million people are constantly subscribing, that is 120,000,000$'s a month. That is absolutely insane. I personally think that they are all on vacation in Hawaii...
Anyways, I did sorta misread/speedread your article Tuan, so I am sorry :(


RE: I disagree...
By Panurge on 4/20/2007 7:15:00 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, the costs are far higher than you are guessing at.

Sure, it may only cost $200 for a single server's rental a week, but each "server" in game is comprised of many of these individual machines.

Add to that the maintenance and electricity costs of running the servers, the cost jumps. Add to that the one cost that makes any server farm expensive, cooling, and the cost skyrockets in comparison to the paltry $200 a week.

On top of the servers themselves, there is bandwidth to pay for. Months of 8 million people accessing on a regular basis is a huge bandwidth cost.

Sure, I can't give any hard numbers for these, but the $15 a month per user does get heavily eaten up by costs compared to what most people believe.


RE: I disagree...
By darkblueslider on 4/21/2007 7:51:35 AM , Rating: 2
I paid £16 ($32USD)(N.B. that figure includes 17.5% VAT for my burning crusade in the UK.
On the Highstreet it was generally £25

How much of that money does blizzard actually get?
Taking away the physical cost of the media box etc etc.
it might be approximately $20-$25? (Assuming that it can be sold for $30 profitably)

Also $15x 8 million is incorrect. How many of those players are Chinese who pay 0.02c or thereabouts per hour?

But yes... regardless of the figures, Blizzard *does* make a lot of money. You do raise some Valid points. But in terms of being "ripped off" Surely your getting more content for your $15/month than you would with any other MMORPG player, regardless of what a meaningless value like "USD Spent in Development per subscriber" Results in.


RE: I disagree...
By Zurtex on 4/21/2007 10:05:15 AM , Rating: 1
You have to be kidding me?

Blizzard do a fantastic job at having almost no problems compared to almost every single MMORPG in existence.

I used to play one which had 100'000 active subscriptions, but they only had to maintain 2 servers. There would be times when the entire MMORPG would go down for a couple of days and there'd be nothing about it until it randomly popped up again, or occasionally the staff would say "Oh sorry, we were on holiday".

Things like that were even common for large gaming companies, I mean compare the problems that Phantasy Star Online by SEGA had compared to the problems World of Warcraft. WoW runs like a dream in comparison.

Again, if you think Blizzard directly get $50 from all 8 million consumers, you're extremely naive about the gaming industry. You do realise that retailers and publishers want to make a profit somewhere in that?

I'm willing to make a bet that google spend more than 12 million dollars a month on their world wide server maintenance and development.

You seem to have missed my point about where a lot of the time, effort and energy was spent in to BC, but never mind. You're very much coming across as one of these people who go on to MMORPG websites, complain endlessly about the service of the game and how it's not worth $x a month and still carry on paying. There's a reason why MMORPG companies don't listen to people like that, compared to people who have fairly decent constructive criticism about certain aspects of the game.


RE: I disagree...
By eman 7613 on 4/24/2007 2:53:14 PM , Rating: 2
Your an idiot, do you honestly think, that if there is a problem, throwing an extra million at it will solve it? Do you think upgrading their workforce from 100 or so to 300 will fix it? no, that will make things worse. You may not know enough about business to understand this, but throwing money into a problem makes things worse. Perfect example Vista, poored millions into development. Took 5 whole years to get them their product. Linux had most all of the features of vista (with the exception of dx10, but hey) by 2004 (ignoring 3d desktop, 2002, wow didn't Xp come out right before then?). And it cost 0$, with the effort of a few hundred people, while the vista development team is a few thousand.

Ask anyone who works upper management in a business, add people & money to a problem does not get it solved any sooner, but most probably later.

The fact that They have 8 million subscribers and is still growing is a testimant to how well of a job they have done, not how badly they are ripping off users. And guess what, you don't HAVE to pay 10 - 15 a month (b/c you can buy them cheaper in multiples) there are hundres of crack servers, were guess what. You can play WoW for free! Infact, some of them make it easier to level and get stuff, while others stay true to How WoW is played.


RE: I disagree...
By dandres87 on 4/21/07, Rating: 0
Its obvious for anybody outside the WOW hype
By thepinkpanther on 4/20/2007 8:34:09 PM , Rating: 2
Its really not that expensive for the servers. since its in a grand scale it can be done much cheaper than keeping few servers running.

5 million customers paying 15 dollars a month for how long....lol its insane. And now 3 million extra plus they had to pay almost full game price plus gets dragged into that drug theme....

Forget anything about diablo, starcraft etc. they are doomed.

There is no point in EVER making those games. Just continue on the mmorpg or what the hell they are called. They are so big cashcows that you gotta be insane just to think on working on games that in less than 1-2 months has been passed in revenue on a game like wow.

Wow 2 will likely come next. Then perhaps another mmorpg game will come. maybe a starcraft or a diablo mmorpg.
Sadly but true.




By OblivionMage on 4/20/2007 9:18:50 PM , Rating: 2
WoW2 is too obvious, they would call it, World of Warcraft, Revolution


By just4U on 4/21/2007 5:21:06 AM , Rating: 3
I find it highly unlikely that Blizzards next project is based around Warcraft. They have two other incredibly popular franchises with Starcraft and Diablo.

All of which were very lucrative for them. D2 stayed in the TOP 10 for god knows how long. They sold so many copies of that it's unbelievable.

If I had to hazzard a guess the next MMO from Blizzard will not come until they have released one of their franchise games (based around SC or Diablo) After that is complete they will most probably look at following up with a mmo.


By jtesoro on 4/24/2007 1:12:03 AM , Rating: 2
Before they release World of Warcraft Revolution, they'd probably do World of Warcraft Reloaded first.

Alternatively, they could name their releases this way:

World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft Returns
World of Warcraft Forever
World of Warcraft Begins

They'd probably skip World of Warcraft & Robin, even though it would have provided the most interesting twist in the series.


WoW
By cochy on 4/20/2007 4:11:02 PM , Rating: 2
Well I've made comments on WoW in the past. They basically amount to the obvious. WoW is a massive cash cow for Blizzard and they will milk it to the highest degree of profitability for as long as possible. Then release WoW2.




RE: WoW
By OblivionMage on 4/20/2007 4:29:43 PM , Rating: 2
I honestly think that a StarCraft 2 would be much more intelligent for Blizzard to release, as a WoW2 would just get repetitive and boring. The Warcraft story is near an end, and while another title might be milking it a bit too much, I think that they need to at least conclude this epic storyline.


RE: WoW
By Ramshambo on 4/20/2007 4:52:10 PM , Rating: 2
Universe of Starcraft!


RE: WoW
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 4/20/2007 6:21:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
near an end

But, but... Icecrown! Northrend! The Lich King!!!!

Nay, I'm about done with WOW myself. I picked up all the epic crafted mage gear, a few pieces of Tier 4, and now I have no upgrades until Tier 6 -- Blizzard did some odd itemization.

I'm also a little surprised that guilds blew through an expansion pack that took 2+ years to create in a little under 2 months. Vashj is down already!?


Dynamics of a Corporation
By othercents on 4/20/2007 6:02:54 PM , Rating: 2
Blizzard is not a small company that can do what it wants with the money they get. They are part of Vivendi Games which is owned by Vivendi. Which means basically that whatever income Blizzard is making it is being used somewhere within the Corporation.

In 2006 Vivendi Games had two new game franchises that launched (Scarface & F.E.A.R.). Now those were not free to make and I'm sure that your subscription fee probably helped them produce those games and other games that probably failed.

You must also look at Blizzard and ask yourself if you were them how would you increase your income. Well first off you wouldn't add new things to the game to piss off the current subscribers. You would take your time and make small adjustments and try to keep those people that are mad just happy enough that they still pay for their subscription.

You can't really complain about what Blizzard is doing especially since at the end of 2006 they had 8 million subscribers and by March 2007 they had 8.5 million. Plus in the grand corporate scheme of things the ~$1 billion that Blizzard had in subscriptions was paltry compared to the $27.2USD billion in gross income that Vivendi Corporate had.

FYI. This information is available from the Vivendi website in their yearly report. NOTE: I did convert EURO to USD.

Other




RE: Dynamics of a Corporation
By Tuan Nguyen on 4/20/2007 6:09:51 PM , Rating: 2
"Well first off you wouldn't add new things to the game to piss off the current subscribers. You would take your time and make small adjustments and try to keep those people that are mad just happy enough that they still pay for their subscription."

And therein lies the issue for gamers. I'm arguing on the side of gamers.

When I sit down at a restaurant and pay for my dinner, I demand what I expected.

There's a common saying, "You get what you pay for." In this case, gamers didn't get what they are paying for. I don't need to think that much on the Blizzard end of things, I am the customer.

And what do corporations always say? "The customer is always right."


RE: Dynamics of a Corporation
By othercents on 4/24/2007 3:23:43 PM , Rating: 2
Actually customer service organizations say that the customer is right, but corporations say that their stock holders are right. What pays the best dividends is what the stock holder will want. For example, if GE came out with a new light bulb that never broke and always performed flawlessly forever then this would be bad for stock holders because at some point GE would not be manufacturing light bulbs since the demand for them would drop to zero. However the customer is always going to demand a light bulb that performs as described above even though it is bad for business.

There is always going to be a cause and effect issue with any game. The main thing that the corporation is interested in is the bottom line. They want to stay profitable. However the customer is interested in many different things depending on who you talk too. So the Corporation has to decide which of those things are valid issues and which are just pure rubbish. Then out of the valid issues they have to decide which of those will make the least impact on their bottom line. Major overhauls of the system at this point is out of the question since you could have a major dip in subscribers (IE. DAOC & New Frontiers).

Now, here in lies the question. If you owned the company and had some new great idea that could increase sales and make everyone happy. Would you release it now, or wait til 4th Quarter? I personally would wait till 4th Quarter to alleviate the impact that the new games like Warhammer have on current subscribers.

FYI. I don't play WOW anymore, but I did in the past. Actually I don't play any MMOs right now, but I am waiting for Warhammer Online.

Other


Totally Agree
By DavidJ on 4/21/2007 1:06:25 AM , Rating: 2
What happen to the game I enjoyed at level 60? I play a level 70 rogue on a pvp server and lately have become really bored with this game thus far. All it turned out to be is one giant rep grind. It now has gotten worse with the new patch coming that has a cooldown on how many quests that you can complete during that time. Blizzard's argument was that you'll get better rewards in the end. This game is a giant grind.

Blizzard really botched TBC. It introduces areanas which are currently are dominated by pallys and mortal strike warriors, thus removing all other classes to be useful in the arena. I really believe that blizzard wants to buff or keep certain classes overpowered first just to get people to reroll. Once people have spent time on rerolled toon, they are still getting your money. Later down the line, blizzard nerfs certain class that was originally overpowered. All it does is make you spend more money for your subscription.

What ever happen to games being fun anymore? I typically enjoyed rpgs, as well as mmo gaming. This game has gotten so uninteresting. I really question my time playing this game now, and in the future. Sure you have cooler looking gear, and mount as a status symbol for having no life, and the uber raiding guild that has most shit on farm, but in the end, was it fun? This game has ups and downs. To have fun, you have to put in the time to grind gold. Being a player that likes pvp and pve, their system of talent specs and respecs is out of control. For me to enjoy both, I have to grind my ass off for gold, then respec (which is 50 gold btw and only goes down 5 gold per month) for pvp, then tuesday rolls around, and I have to bring my dps to the raid, thus making me grind another 50 fucking gold just to raid (and buying pots, flasks, all that shit). Now that is stupid and it's getting pretty damn old, pretty damn fast. I feel for you prot warriors having to be weekend MS warriors. Now how hard is it to make a damn item in your bag that you can buy off a vendor for a rediculous lump sum to instantly switch builds (maybe put a 1 day cooldown on it like the lame ass new rep quests?) That would make sense right? But no, blizzard wants you to play 24/7 to compete with the hardcore. Sorry, I have a life.

Class balance in this game does not exist. It's not designed for it. Blizzard wants to have the flavor of the month class to get people to reroll and they profit. This is truth. When TBC came out, Druids were on top of the food chain. 2k plus mangle crits were the norm. Blizzard let it fester for a little bit in players eyes. I'm sure people rerolled druid. Then after everyone became 70 for a couple of weeks, the nerfbat was thrown. Thus nerfing druids back to their shitty level 60 selves and forced to heal on raids instead of MAIN TANKING them. A lot of classes get the nerfstick in 2.1. I just don't understand their idea on nerfing classes. Wouldn't it make much more sense on buffing other classes to be on par with classes they have the most trouble with?

I hate to say it, but I think I'm not going to renew my subscription. I'm fed up with the way blizzard and the evercrack staff totally destroyed this great game. Here's looking forward to Warhammer!

And no, you dirty bastards, you can not have my stuff.

Demonethisis
lvl 70 Rogue




RE: Totally Agree
By Soccerman06 on 4/22/2007 4:24:40 AM , Rating: 2
First off, Its not my place to say some of this stuff, but seriously its so hard to balance classes out when each have 3 subclasses in of themselves. Look at warriors, they can take damage, do big hits, or be a rogue in plate. Warlocks can throw dots up and run around with their head chopped off while rogues cheap shot and backstab to dead in 2 hits, and btw they nerfed us serverly by taking our only defense against other classes away (lots of health and a decent fear). Thank you blizzard for nerfing us everytime you get a chance. Im hard pressed to find a warlock out there with more health than any other class cept for a mage, and we use to have atleast as much as prot warrior pre TBC. Sure we can spec into it, but we nerf our damage in the process making it almsot useless. Druids can still tank, I dont know wtf your talking about, druid tanks are still some of the best in the game, it all depends on the gear/player. Paladins and shammy mana regen is getting reduced cause they are dominating healing meters in raids. I could go on but I wont.

Now tell me theres an easy way to fix every class and every ability, then go work for Blizzard as the lead developer. When you have 8+ million people playing a game, and when a few little noobs start whining on the forums that they cant beat a certain class, Blizzard must nerf that class. OMG Im sorry you do less damage than someone, you might suck or picked the wrong class to play. If you want to do major raid damage, go make a caster, if you want to pvp make a paladin, rogue, or warrior. There are armor sets out there that let other classes do these rolls, learn them, be them and dont be lazy and complain when you are dominated.

I do wonder where the $15 a month I pay for goes, but I can see how atleast half goes to maintenance of the servers (GMs, technicians, computer system, ect). But theres still a large amount of money that I think goes into blizzards pocket and we never see cause of the lack of new hardware put out by blizzard. What one would really only have to do is to go out to a financial institution and look at Blizzards quarterly earnings and/or profits and that would probably give you baseline estimate on how much they make off each subscription.

For you whining that you cant afford 100g respeccing, how shitty are you that you cant spend 3 hours a week farming for the money. Seriously Primals are easy to farm and are worth a lot of gold, go do it and dont be a lazy person (having a life is overated!!). Its possible for me to make well over 1000 gold in a day just getting primals. If thats not enough, go do heroics and get an epic boe, which basically drop about once every 20 times. Yes I will agree 50g is kinda lame to respec, but common its not hard to make the money.

There are a few things they do need to look at like the 5 man and quest drops that are better than raid drops... common thats an easy fix, I wil blame them for that. But I am extremely annoyed at the fact that some drops are better in 10 man raids than a 25 man, Im sorry blizzard get off your butt and fix this, nerf one or buff the other common.

One more thing, why should the people who put in 2 hours a day have just as good as/better gear than the people who spend 10 hours a day? Where does that come from, why would that be allowed? Its not, there are crafted gear better than any heroic drop and most are better than T4 some T5. Heroic gear isnt even that great, yeah whatever its not hard to get either, you just need to be focus on the mob at hand and have a good 2 people on crowd control, if you cant do that, dont go into heroics. Im sure you already knew this cause your a lvl 70 rogue with blues and pvp gear... Of course youd whine about pve, your in a social guild.

Iccy- Ysera


RE: Totally Agree
By DavidJ on 5/2/2007 4:29:11 AM , Rating: 2
Hate to burst your bubble. But the current blues in TBC are much better for a rogue class than the current Kara epics. I do raid kara weekly (lrn2check armory rep). The current gear I have on is my pvp gear. Heaven forbid somebody having 2 sets of gear =P. Hell, the gear out of heroics are much better than my tier 4 set!

Also, for a rogue class, the highest dps weapons come from pvp. Again, it's not my fault that blizzard totally screwed over itemization.

My guild may be casual, but we're currently raiding Gruul's lair and hoping to get in Magtheridon's lair soon enough, or until Warhammer comes out.

BTW, enjoy your nerf on you crafted epix =P


By nerdboy on 4/20/2007 4:13:19 PM , Rating: 2
That is LOT of money every month for so many problems. I have never paid to play online. I heard WOW is amazing. I have also heard that the new expansion is amazing. So I guess before I decide to invest in the game and being out 15 dollars a month to play I guess I will wait for some more reviews.




By SomeYoungMan on 4/20/2007 6:39:06 PM , Rating: 2
There's free trials you can try and decide for yourself. I'm not sure how many more reviews you need considering the game has been out for like 3 years.


I demend a perfect virtual environment.
By v3rt1g0 on 4/20/2007 5:15:19 PM , Rating: 2
That was a pretty pointless rant.

So Blizzard is making huge amounts of money. Good for them.
..but because of that you demand that the game has to be utterly perfect?
They have 8 million subscribers because people like the game world/mechanics.
I hardly think pet swim speed, guard run speed, and flight forms make great supporting arguments.
Where are your strong points to back up your rather muddy thesis?

Your posts are usually pretty good, but this one is really lacking.




By Tuan Nguyen on 4/20/2007 6:06:09 PM , Rating: 2
I don't demand a perfect environment, but considering what I wrote in the original article and what I wrote in my two above responses, there are very obvious areas of the BC expansion that indicated Blizzard took the "cheap" way out in development. That is the main argument point.

Given all that development time, delays, cash and gamers can't even expect new mob models? Give me a break, Blizzard.


Hmmm... I don't care
By Jeff7181 on 4/26/2007 6:05:42 PM , Rating: 2
I paid $40 for the game and $40 for the expansion. I pay $13 per month because I pay 6 months in advance. That's cheap entertainment. Cheaper than going to the movies once a week. Cheaper than going to the bar once a week. Cheaper than buying a new CD every other week.

There's been a VERY small fraction of time over the past two years that I haven't been able to log in any time I want and play. $13 per month sounds very reasonable for what likely amounts to 99% uptime considering I have around 130 days of playtime spread out among all my characters.

If Blizzard is lining their pockets. Good. They deserve it.




RE: Hmmm... I don't care
By sabinsx on 4/29/2007 4:18:42 PM , Rating: 2
i suppose you saw star wars episode one and just ate it up, didn't you?


Blizzard's response
By James Holden on 4/20/2007 9:22:17 PM , Rating: 3
Blizzard responded to this blog in their own forum:

http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topi...




Hai Dr00d
By SomeYoungMan on 4/20/2007 6:36:57 PM , Rating: 2
Someone is still upset over the Mangle nerf...




Too much Raiding
By Mithan on 4/20/2007 6:41:31 PM , Rating: 2
The issue with WoW that I have is that the game turns into nothing but Raiding at the level cap, and they don't even bother tossing a worthwhile bone to non-Raiders.

Now, before people get their panties in a knot, I realize having Raid Content is important. For fairly easy development costs, they provide some content that is hard and requires a lot of people to do, and thus becomes a huge time sink for people and gives the illusion of there being something to do, so that is fine.

The issue I have is that they don't give a shit about the regular player who isn't into Raiding.

The game basically does turn into World of Raidcraft and the y do not care.

If they would get off their ass and add worthwhile solo and small group content to the game, it would make it much better, but as things stand now, we probably wont see any decent content of this type until the second expansion pack comes out, but by then, will I be playing anymore and care? Probably not.




Blizzard is a corporation, not a public service
By seaker on 4/21/07, Rating: 0
By v3rt1g0 on 4/23/2007 4:38:47 PM , Rating: 2
Learn2Read.


If you're sick of WoW
By Evelgrivion on 4/21/2007 2:43:58 AM , Rating: 2
dons flame proof suit

If you need another MMO to play, and can handle a steep learning curve and the taste of hard and brutal losses and the adrenaline rush of taking the hard earned assets from someone else, perhaps you should give EVE Online a shot. After playing EVE for over a year, everything else feels watered down by comparison.

But please, before someone tries to flame me, I give you this disclaimer: this game is not for everyone.




I miss bloodsheets
By Marlo on 4/21/2007 3:59:03 AM , Rating: 2
Where are the numbers to support the claim that "An extremely high percentage of mob models in this expansion was ripped directly from the original game."

What makes the orignial "more grander" in scale than the expansion?

How much did it cost to make and ship The Burning Crusade, and how much does it cost to maintain the game?

I understand that this is a blog and not an article, but telling people why you're right is always a good idea.




Stop killing pigs?
By stnhsnth on 4/21/2007 12:12:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What exactly is Blizzard doing with all that cash? Let's take a look at Burning Crusades. An extremely high percentage of mob models in this expansion was ripped directly from the original game. Colors were changed and names were edited, but overall, only a small handful of new models were added.


Go to Zangarmarsh, maybe?

BTW, the original game really only had a "handful" of models. Look around and you can see the same model with different colors used over and over all over the place. Considering they're similar mobs, it kinda makes sense, doesn't it?

But really, overall?

QQ more noob.




Better Areas to Rant About
By GoodRevrnd on 4/21/2007 3:47:41 PM , Rating: 2
I'm having a hard time understanding why you would pick such trivial things to rant about as guard run speed, pet swim speed, and epic flight form costs. They may be logically stupid, but at least they exist for balance reasons.

The single biggest issue is how they could spend 2 years on this and come up with itemization that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Most T4 = garbage, pre-patch T5 = garbage, most heroic loot is worse than regular 70 blues or better by so little it's not worth the effort.

Then we can talk about the incredibly shallow pvp that's STILL in the game (granted a good pvp system is something that needs to be designed from the outset).

Or how about that a $50 expansion took 2-4 weeks to get your 10 levels.

Anyway, I think I've made my point. Hopefully this won't matter once Age of Conan beta starts. Apps are up for those interested.




The real issues
By Sinz on 4/21/2007 6:46:12 PM , Rating: 2
Blizzard have an appalling track record when it comes to customer service . ie there free phone number is only usable by USA residents . Basically the ingame GM's are a joke the only response your likely to get is " its working as intended " or " theres nothing we can do " there only visible function is to police bad language and behavior not actually deal with ingame problems
As for game bugs the time scale on getting some of them fixed is more often measured in weeks and months not days
Although 90 % of the geographical models are new a large percentage of item models are straight copys from the original game
It would be nice to see Blizzard focus some more of its resources on its customer service and fixing ingame issues rather than just pandering to the lowest common denominator
and spewing out new content and items continually and basing there Class changes on PvP issues as the majority of players are more focussed on PvE




Give me a break
By mythos on 4/22/2007 3:15:33 PM , Rating: 2
This has to be quite possibly the worst written and thought out attack on Blizzard I've ever read. Come on.. you can do better than this. There are legitimate problems with the game - but you pick on some inconsequential run speed - I hestitate to even call them issues, since they aren't, really - and a skill name you don't like? Please.

Mentioning balance in a drive-by sentence is entirely absurd, no MMO ever in history has come as close to something fun and diverse yet balanced to play as Blizzard, obviously there is a scale here between homogenization and diversity where balance is only achievable at one end. If the problem were to simply throw money at this, it wouldn't be a problem, but money can't solve everything, this much should be obvious.

Finally, your comments abotu Blizzard's finances are laughable and childish. Obviously they are making a lot of money, and obviously, they are also putting a lot back into the game. What the proportions of these are neither of us knows, but even if most of the money goes to the proverbial coffers - meanining the Vivendi shareholders - um, what, again, is the problem? Think about that for a second. Actually, seeing as your mental prowess is obviously a bit lacking, take a few more seconds. Wherein lies the problem?




Interesting...
By Aikouka on 4/23/2007 9:37:59 AM , Rating: 2
First off, I'd like to say that I was a bit surprised to find so many comments in a post in the blog section of DT. Then I looked down and saw that this was posted on the WoW forums, which explains the influx into a section that isn't visited as often as the main news stories.

Second, I noticed a lot of people writing decent and thought-out responses have their ratings lowered. C'mon people... do we need to ask Kris to post a "How To Rate" flash kind of like that Steam forums "How To Post" flash video? If anything, anyone using "QQ" or "OMG HI2U DROOD" should receive a lower rating.

Now, onto the meat of the sammich (I'll attempt to address in the order in which they were written):

WoW definitely sets a standard in MMO games, because it didn't try to cater to one type of people. WoW doesn't set itself out to be hard to play and this is evident by simply watching people play and/or talking to them. Seeing 60+ level players with improper specs for their chosen task or simply doing everything wrong shows that WoW caters to the excellent as well as the... not-so-much. It is good to note though, that a lot of the "massive world" that you speak of has been implemented over time, which is a good thing for refreshing the game, but it is good to note.

Well, I wouldn't classify Blizzard as sitting on their behind... I think they're more-or-less taking a leisurely stroll. When I browse the Anandtech forums, there are posts on a lot of the prominent and new MMO games, and when I look at the Vanguard thread... their devs release patches to fix bugs so often, they make Blizzard look lazy. There's also implementing things that should've been there from the start. WoW is a relatively fast paced game for an MMO, and there are certain zones that are simply too slow to move around in. A good example of this is Felwood, and it took Blizzard until patch 2.1 to finally introduce another flight path at the Emerald Sanctuary. Maybe Blizzard will finally realize a graveyard in southern Tanaris would be nice and implement that in 3.4? Ever die in Thistleshrub Valley and have to walk from Gadgetzan? Nope? I hope it stays that way for you. I've heard it commented from other players often that they believe the developers simply don't play WoW and understand it. Although it's been said that Blizzard has their own internal testing team (it's been mentioned before when it comes to end-game content difficulty), yet they don't notice these issues? People who played games like EQ may say we're being too picky, but as I mentioned, WoW is a fast-paced game compared to some other MMOs and that fact can't be ignored in certain situations.

I think a decent amount was added into the game, but I think some things were overlooked and/or hastily added. The Draenei quest lands... well, their quests are so hodgepodge that it's a joke questing there. The end-all elite quest... you simply have an elite NPC do all the work for you and in-turn, he ends up doing another elite quest for you that involves killing the mobs along his predetermined path. Not only are their quests boring, but there are plenty of bugs involving this new race such as being unable to attain a new Argent Commission if you destroy yours. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to see if this and the Xavaric bug in Felwood have been fixed in 2.1... but I doubt it. It reminds me of the time when Dwarf Priests couldn't get the MC attunement quest and it took Blizzard almost a month to finally fix it.

I think people are reading the phrase "extremely high percentage of mob models" a bit incorrectly. To me, if one game uses 2% and another uses 10%, that's extremely high in relation. There may be a lot of new models, but there is a decent amount of reuse. For some, this reuse might be seen as cheating... I mean, why couldn't there be a new look for some of the mana-based mobs in Netherstorm? There is quite a bit of reuse in TBC in armor models as well. Although it is kind of amusing to hear people say, "I gotta go get my blue T2."

I didn't mind the price of TBC too much... in fact, I purchased 2 of the collector's edition versions of the game, which cost even more. Although, it would've been nice to get a free month or something from the expansion. There were people who said, "then don't buy it"... the problem is, Blizzard was too good when they made it. Literally, what is there for you without The Burning Crusade? Nothing. If you want to be able to do things in WoW, you need the expansion, because most players are now at this higher pedistal than you and I'm sure they aren't interested in that UBRS run that you're organizing.

The chasing down a player on a mount is probably a charge-like manuever. Although, adding charge to guards seriously makes the game not as fun. I always had fun running through Crossroads on an epic mount doing /train. As for the flight form... well, it's a bit weird. The flight form isn't like travel form as it isn't usable in combat and it's more like a mount. Unfortunately, for druids, the flight form is considered a mount by Blizzard developers, but the form doesn't receive bonuses to flight from things such as the Riding Crop or the Paladin's aura. I believe making flight form a mount-esque move was to avoid it being too powerful in PVP. I also believe the pet keeping up with a druid in aquatic form may also deal with pets being designed to keep up with the hunter or the fact that they aren't restricted by environment effects.

Class balance is a hard thing to define... sometimes people are a bit unfair in their assessment. They have this crazy notion that their character should be able to beat anyone they encounter, and that simply isn't balanced. There's also an issue with hybrid classes vying to be better than the class that they're immitating at that classes defining role. Druids want to tank as well as warriors, they want to DPS as much as a rogue while being able to heal like a priest.... Why not just make the game World of Druidcraft at that rate, because there's no use for any other classes. I mean, I've tanked on my Shaman before, although it's no where near as effective as tanking on my Warrior. I've also been the main healer on my Shaman, but I'd still rather do that on my Priest.

I think one thing you may've forgotten is to try to explain Blizzard's unattached state to their playerbase. You can look at some of the 41 point talents available to classes and simply laugh... they're not even worth it! Sometimes you don't even need to go down that far to see problems. I think one of the best examples of this is probably the Warrior class. The Protection tree has "Improved Shield Wall" a talent that requires 20 points in Protection and gives you 5 more seconds on Shield Wall for 2 points. Not bad, right? Well, let's look at the Warrior's Arms tree. Improved Disciplines requires 25 points in Arms and it reduces the cooldown on Shield Wall, Retaliation and Recklessness by 10 minutes (-1/3) and makes them last for 6 seconds longer. So for one more point and 5 points further down in the tree, you get a far better talent that does what the other talent does and more. That's a problem.

I mentioned 41 point talents earlier... let's take a look at the Shadow Priest. Vampiric Touch would be better named Vampiric Garbage. The shadow tree is incredible for soloing and good PVP viability (although Discipline is far superior for group PVP with the longevity). So how good is Vampiric Touch? Well... let's see... Vampiric Touch costs mana to cast and returns mana for shadow damage dealt (by the original castee). Since it returns 5% of the shadow damage you deal, that means it will take 20x the mana it costs to even make up for casting the spell itself! At Rank 3, this will require you to deal 8500 in shadow damage in the 15 second duration. Most mobs don't have 8500 health much less is it mana efficient to even do that much damage to a mob via spells. Wanding is still a superior method of dealing damage. So essentially, priests were rewarded with a talent that gave them the ability to 5-man Loatheb.

We could also take a look at Rogue's Surprise Attacks (40 point in Combat), but I think if I mention that it is merely a buffed up Aggression (25 point combat talent) explains how bad it is.

We could also mention how eventually older players realize that WoW is always the same thing over and over... all simply rehashed into a new pretty container. Unfortunately, sometimes the stories are so side-story-ish that... who cares about them? I enjoy the Warcraft lore and seeing people such as Khadgar and Wildhammer was pretty awesome, but most of the quests you do are for boring nobodies that make you realize there's nothing really there. I'm finding it extremely hard to keep myself playing in Outlands leveling my next 2 characters (at the same time :P), but I have absolutely no problem leveling some other characters in Azeroth doing quests I've done many times over.

Tuan, you may enjoy visting the Anandtech forums for the Software section. We usually have some good discussions going about WoW at times.




Blizzard stiffles me...
By Axbattler on 4/23/2007 11:03:52 AM , Rating: 2
..for not officially announcing plans for a StarCraft 2.

I just want to see more of the Queen Bitch of the Universe ;)

The problem is how much of an incentive there is there to develop their other franchise. At $15 a month, it takes 3 months to make the equivalent of selling a new game. Or let's say 6 months including generous running costs. That is still better than they could selling many copies of StarCraft 2/Diablo III, and having to support them via Battle.Net for free. Tbe only chance is for them to think that there are a large enough group of gamers who will buy their games, but are not interested in MMOs, or would not cancel their WoW subscription while they are drawn into their new release.




Before
By complacentnation on 4/23/2007 7:36:34 PM , Rating: 2
Before I read this post I was thinking of buying the Burning Crusade, but I put it off because tomorrow I'm paying for a transfer which is $25. Paying $40 + 25 + 15 in the same month would just be ridiculous for the same game. I still do have eight levels to go before I reach 60, so what's the point. WoW is a total sink of money and time. Two things I don't seem to have enough of. Don't get me wrong I do like the game a lot.

But, I began to think of all that money and where WoW is going. I believe Blizzard is being totally lazy with this game. I've owned a subscription for two years and even in UO there was live content. Where is the live content in WoW? They seem to set up standardized events, where is the fun in that? There is much more they could do to make WoW feel like a world filled with random, live, fun events.




i also agree
By sabinsx on 4/25/2007 2:49:30 AM , Rating: 2
+55$ to buy the original WoW or the first couple of months, lets say for the first 5 mil users: 275,000,000

+55$ for the xpack for 3.5 mil (as i cant find a more up-to-date source that is higher) comes to: 192,500,000

+take for granted the average WoW user pays 14$/mo for the game (with the bulk discount): 112,000,00 a MONTH...
1,344,000,000 a YEAR

+considering the game has been out for two years to get up to 8mil, lets just multiply the yearly estimate by 1/3 and add that to get the total profits from monthly charges:
488,000,000

=total estimated profit to date:
2,259,500,000


now...
first argument is going to be "expenses" such as server costs and paying development for free content.

-for developers, google says the average game developer nowdays makes around 73,316$ yearly. blizzard claims 250 employees of this caliber. 18,329,000 a year

-for the server maintainenct side, and im taking a mostly wild stab in the dark in saying that... if the monthly cost for an average server that can hold up to 1 mil users is 50,000$, and the average network admin makes 73,418 (google it)... and you also need 5 to run each main server... the net cost should be 9,670,900$ yearly for 10 servers.

=these expenses alone bring us to 27,999,900 a year... or
55,999,800$ over two years.

so what is the net profit on the part of blizzard?
2,259,500,000 - 55,999,800 = 2,203,500,200

NET PROFIT BEING 2 BILLION DOLLARS.

sure, that's not counting other employment (game masters or message board admins)... but the other employment probably adds up to little.

sure, that's not counting marketing expenses... tack on a couple million.

sure, that's not counting shipping costs... but selling a game in-box at a store is nearly all profit.

and to even more counterbalance it... it's not counting any sponsorship for other products... or capitalising on the franchise (such as with board games, clothing, or their collectable card game)

whats the average video game cost to make, you ask? 20,000,000... 20 million over 25 months... http://compsci.ca/blog/profitability-in-video-game...

blizzard has 100x as much money as it costs to make a SINGLE video game in their bank account.

at least 50% of the models i've seen in the expansion are reused. we got flying mounts, but... we could already "fly" between points before xpack. we got ONE new BG. we got ONE new profession. we got ALMOST NO new ideas for new crafting in existing professions. we got ONE new game mechanic (socketing). and lastly we got two new races... two races no one cares about and effect your game play with minimal impact.

0 new classes.

now as to where else blizzard went wrong. every time a class was adjusted, it was to make them LESS different from each other class, and make the more "level" or similar to an existing class.

my 2 cents... blizzard's 2 billion.




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