Friday, June 5, 2015

Watcher Needs More Time to Formulate Answers

The developer Q & A originally scheduled for June 6th at 2PM has now needed to be changed, yet again, for the second time.  Originally it was scheduled for 2PM and then the Heroes of the Storm live stream was added to be scheduled to run as competition with it, or at least part of it.

After some players complained that blizzard was trying to bury the Q & A by running the Heroes of the Storm live stream opposite of it they begrudgingly gave in and pushed the Q & A back an hour so that it would not run at the same time.

Blizzard was trying to pull a fast one and was hoping that people would not notice it, or would not complain about it, but they got caught with their pants down and had to make adjustments or look even worse in the eyes of an already upset with their recent actions community.

Now it seems they are pushing it back even further, not just the one hour it was originally pushed back for either, but an entire week, as if later that evening or Sunday, Monday, etc, would have been bad for some reason, they needed to push it back an entire week. 

I do believe it was a good idea to move it personally but believe moving it to Sunday would have been more appropriate.  The reason I support the move was that it would be a lot to ask of the player base that might have an interest in both games, and there are many that do, to watch four straight hours of live streams.  So I am not taking a shot at blizzard for pushing the Q & A back, just maybe pushing it back to the 13th of June.  It is a solid idea, but it also shows a little bit of the reason the game is in this type of trouble right now.

Mismanagement.  That is the power word at blizzard right now.  Mismanagement.  They mismanaged their time developing warlords, that is why it was so late.  They mismanaged what they assigned people to develop, that is why there is so little content.  The mismanaged the people who talk to the players, that is why Watcher, and others, routinely have a foot firmly placed in their mouth.  Blizzard is all about mismanagement.

That is how they managed to announce what I see to be a very important Q & A that I believe the people want to hear, no, need to hear, and then totally screw it up by scheduling something else at the same time.

Some might point out that it is not blizzard themselves doing the Heroes of the Storm live stream, but it is blizzard themselves that gave the okay for the live stream at that time.  Just another case of mismanagement.

This is nothing new for blizzard.  They have swung the pendulum to extremes for as long as I can remember.  In wrath people complained dungeons were too easy, so they went too far in the other direction and in cataclysm they made dungeons too hard for the masses.  In mists people complained about to many dailies that felt mandatory, so in warlords we are stuck with not even one single daily hub at all.  Blizzard does not know how to do things in moderation, they only know full steam ahead in one direction or another and this can only be attributed to mismanagement.

So as I said, I agree with moving the Q & A to the 13th of June but what I don't agree with is the fact that they needed to move the Q & A at all.  The Q & A was scheduled first.  The Q & A is needed for a game that seems to currently be one in turmoil not the brand spanking new game that everyone will be playing because it is new anyway.

Not to mention the Q & A could very well be the make or break point for a lot of people that are looking at other games such as, but not limited to, FF 14s coming release on the 23rd of June with the eyes of someone looking to move on.  The longer blizzard does not address their concerns the more likely they are to be upset with them and feel as if their concerns are being ignored. 

This Q & A is a very important moment in the history of the game for both the developers and the players and blizzard is throwing it around like it is a meaningless talk about nothing of conciquence which will no doubt leave a bad taste in the mouths of those who really need to hear "the game is going to be fine."

But maybe blizzard knows that, maybe they are not throwing it around as if it means nothing.  Maybe they realize that this could be the make or break moment for a bunch of people waiting on every word that comes out of Watchers mouth.

So perhaps Watcher just needs more time to formulate the answers he believes will sound best.  Maybe Lore needs more time to pick out the questions that seem to address the concerns of the player base but are phrased in the most non threatening way possible.

Make no doubt that all the questions asked will be carefully selected as to not touch on anything they do not have an answer for and all the answers they do have will be completely 100% scripted so Watcher makes no mistakes saying the wrong thing.  Remember, he is a lawyer after all, and he knows his words can be used again him, as they have been recently.  So there will be no single word, either in question or answer, that is not preplanned.

So maybe blizzard is not throwing around the Q & A with disregard to the concerns of the player base or because of their ever present mismanagement issues, but because Watcher just needs a little more time to work on his closing argument... oh, sorry, I mean his answers.

Moving it back concerns me because it seems more of a move of politics and less a move with the thoughts of the people it matters most to.


  1. I believe that Blizzard intentionally swings the pendulum so far from the criticism to punish the masses for disagreeing with how they do business. Wrath dungeons too easy (I guess everything except Halls of Reflection Heroic, one of the most grueling and frustrating dungeons to ever be released. The adds could be so nasty in there and the time limit on killing adds so that Sylvanus/Jaina could break down the walls was panic mode while Arthas slowly crept up to you for instant wipe), we'll punish the naysayers in Cataclysm because they ignored CC in Wrath.

    Not enough dailies? We'll saturate and gate content with dailies and you'll like it. Too many dailies? No problem, "NO SOUP FOR YOU!"

    It has to be intentional. To assume that the loud vocal minority represents the 12 million that played at peak is stupid. But they have the capabilities to have short questionaires that you would need to answer (no more than 3 questions because we know how short the attention span of a player can be) prior to logging in.

    Mismanagement? Of course. The larger you get, the harder it gets to manage. That's the evil curse of success. Does anyone honestly believe that the Federal Government operates as a well oiled machine? What do they teach you in economics? That you can't honestly predict what your customers are going to do and to have your whole business revolve around products that have to be purchased is a nightmare. Even with products that people need, your business is guaranteed to survive.

    I agree with you Grumpy, moving the Q&A back was a smart decision. What I would like to see is a forthright answer to questions (less propaganda, more honesty about screwing up or rushing; maybe even a "we were driven to rush based on our superiors..."). Hopefully they don't get the bad word spewing angry guy to ask a question.

    I may not watch the livestream, but I will be looking what was said and probably watch it on youtube afterwards.

    1. Ah, the pain those last three dungeons in Wrath were. That was about the timing of dungeon finder was introduced, so not only a huge influx of pugged groups thrown together, but content that had specific objectives that pugs didn't deal well with..

    2. I don't remember them being bad at all in the DF. I seem to remember a 75% or so success rate. Groups would wipe once or twice but it usually wasn't much of a problem.

    3. I used to heal and tank Halls of Reflection. Getting out the first room was tough.


    4. I do not like the pendulum design that blizzard uses. I believe it hurts the game and it upsets the player bases, for better or worse. I believe they need some more controlled adjustments instead of complete changes most of the time.

      / start "easy" rant (not aimed at anyone here)

      The people that say "wrath dungeons were easy" or any ones for that matter, never did them early on.

      Going in when you first hit 80 with under geared tanks, healers and damage dealers struggling to do 800 DPS, they were pretty darn rough. People just out greared them fast and that is what happens with dungeons, that is all the people remember.

      Same with halls. It was brutal on release, was still even hard later on without a solid tank or healer in the group or if all your DPS sucked, but by the end of wrath we did not even bother LoSing them. We just stood in the center and killed them. That too was easy as time went on, just as anything would be when you way out gear it.

      I hate people that say "this is easy" when they do not look at things in the appropriate level. Like cataclysm heroics, the elitists that need to make themselves feel better say "they were easy" when if you went in on the day of release or even weeks after with appropriate item level people they were a freaking nightmare. Sure they are easy in a guild group but not with most randoms.

      / end rant


      I think you got lucky or misremember the first week. With guild it took us a bit but once we knew it than we were fine from then on, but in pugs, I would say the success rate on the first boss (s) in halls was closer to 10%. You would always wipe, it was a near given, until it was out about 2 months. After that I would say your 75% is roughly what I experienced as well.

    5. It heavily depends on what you were playing. I clearly remember wiping only the first time, so my lfd experiences were pretty much success. I was a tank though, and back in wrath a tank could really make or break a dungeon more than healers or dpses.

    6. The wipe was actually pretty funny cause I had no idea where the entrance of the dungeon actually was, being lfd.

    7. If you are a tank or a healer you could carry a HoR run easily if you knew what you were doing. I used to carry them on my priest (loved mass dispel and fade which made it easy) all the time.

      As a damage dealer you are at the mercy of the random gods and if they give you a tank wearing tissue paper or a boomkin that thinks he can heal because he has healing spells, you will die. A lot. Which is what happened to everyone that was not the tank or the healer themselves.

      Success rate when I healed = near 100%
      When I tanked = Around 75%
      Damage dealer = Maybe as much as 20%

      Numbers went up as time went on, but over all that is my experience to the best I can remember.

    8. Didn't mean to bring up a sore subject (or did I?). Since I've been playing, HOR was the single hardest dungeon to get through with a PUG (based on the gear you were wearing on release). It had a regular and heroic version and raiders went straight to heroic and got their assess handed to them. The previous two dungeons were a cake walk (Pit of Sauron had some nasty moments such as the girl caster with 4 zombie guys, twice. The bosses could be difficult if you weren't careful).

      The first question entering HOR was, "what's the kill order" because you got a different answer every time. Kill the healer. Kill the rogue. Everyone else was secondary and that stupid mage always split regardless of how fast you tried to kill her.

      The first boss was brutal in that when he feared you, you still took massive amounts of damage. A feared healer can't heal and a feared tank can't pop a defensive cooldown.

      And let's not forget about Arthas slowly creeping up on you. The abominations would get to you fast but the casters would plant themselves and if Arthas walked past them, unless you had a DK or high ranged DPS, you were wiping.

      I think the reason I have so many bad memories of the place is because so many people would leave so quickly. One wipe and folks would leave. If you had bad luck with agility 2 handers, you needed that polearm to drop off the first boss. The normal mode would drop very nice I level 219 shield (equivalent to Ulduar normal). So if a bear tank or Pali/Warrior tank didn't get that drop off the first boss, they would leave (and they would usually leave if they got it because that place sucked!!!).

      And as Forest said, "that's all I got to say about that."

    9. Not sore, just memories. I loved the dungeon actually. But people remember it near the end, they seem to forget what it was like on release, and it was not the push over with randoms as everyone likes to make it out to be.

      Ah, the memories. All the fights over where to stand, order to kill, etc, and then as soon as the fight starts the tank drops group. Yeah, it was hard on release. But gear did fix it quick enough.

  2. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    I am uncertain if I believe that Blizzard is going to truly address any issues in a forthright manner, not about the 6.2 patch specifically, but rather about the greater issues of the mismanagement you spoke of. I really have little faith left that they even care that the path they are on currently is one that leads to failure for the long term. Many players have already proclaimed the loss of trust. I freely admit that my own level of trust is truly much less than it was at the beginning of WoD, something that has never occurred before when Blizzard issued a new game.

    If that trust level dips to low, the company will not recover from it. This is not about WoW really at this point, but rather the effect that a breach of trust between the company and the players will have on the survival of Blizzard as a major force in gaming. Bad word of mouth will be a slow acting poison that slowly kills the company. Except that the demise may not be that slow at all. Things like this have a bad habit of snowballing right out of control, going from a minor snowfall to a major avalanche.

    I know they are more likely to believe that this set of issues that have come up will fade with the release of the upcoming 6.2 patch. That people who play will get excited about the new things and that thereby issues such a flight/no flight, lack of non-raid end game activities and so on, will fade away to a minor nuisance. If that is the direction they choose, I think it is likely going to be a mistake.

    I hope my fears for this are wrong, mistaken and completely unfounded by the events to come. I have enjoyed WoW almost from the beginning and Blizzard as a company, again almost from the beginning. I would like to continue that enjoyment based on the fact that I know Blizzard won't release a game until it is ready to be played out of the box (or at the end of the download), but is this still the Blizzard way of doing things? WoD makes me wonder. Another failed expansion and or failure to attempt to address larger issues of game design for player's fun or for developers' vision will make things even harder to keep on trusting Blizzard.

    1. I am pretty sure that they will stay away from the fact that there is no one steering the ship, so to speak. Not is not something you ever want to admit, but to people keeping a watchful eye it is noticeable.

      I don't expect to get any real answers from him. Maybe a few sound bites we can throw back in his face no matter how well prepared he tries to be, but nothing that actually matters to me, you or anyone else in the game.

      Blizzard is doing this Q & A for themselves, not for us, that is the feeling I get from it.

  3. Here's to hoping that Watcher comes on for the dev q&a and just says, "about that no flying thing, psyche!"

  4. I just can't figure out what's going on down there. In 10 years the WoW team has never appeared so disorganized. Maybe the focus has just shifted to the new games.

    1. I think that is exactly the case. They probably do not see as much future growth in the MMO genre and are just milking it. Heck, they have said as much in an interview when they mentioned they do not see much future growth.

  5. Here is my take on why the Q&A was delayed even though it was announced first : logistic.

    It's far easier to postpone something that involve only 2 person, and from blizzard, than pospone and even requireing multiple players to be there do to the exibition match and streams.

    1. That is why I said I agree with them moving it. Moving something 2 people are doing, and can do from anywhere really, is much easier.

  6. I have three or four, maybe just two about 'watcher" - fuck Watcher and I hope he/she reads this.

    Today is a very important day, yes even in the scheme of things in the world - June 6th 1944 - Invasion of Normandy or D-Day. Does Goggle put up something about it, like they do for all other crappy things like Cinco de Mayo which has NOTHING to do with the US? Nope. Yet, it is a very, very important day. So the choosing of June 6th, I thought was very nice but not for two, lack of a better term. releases from Blizzard.

    They do have their head up their collected asses, no question.

    Do I still play WoW? Not very often and especially since I was slighted for the 10 year gift. Yes, I have played for 10 years but for the period of 2 weeks due to having lost my wallet and having to cancel and get a new credit card - yes, they held that against me.

    But anyway, I do have a question for you GE or any other person who reads here (Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader and Jaeger and others :) ) -

    SKYSHARDS? WTF? I finally got my 2nd one, after what Panda Land has been out for how long? I have been killing those bad people (forgot their name) every day with 1 to 3 different toons and nothing. Seems since the Golden Lotus huge quest line was deleted, nothing. My sister runs them every day (like she does Thunder Island and that other place, why I have no idea) and only has 7 since Panda land has been out. WTF.

    I know people have that dragon but where should I be looking? I don't care for WoD, so I am just playing in Panda Land these days.

    On to other crap - pet battles - you know that you can only use pets from the AH or if someone gives you one - the highest level that you have? My sister level a pet for me and give it to me - she got it to lvl 25 and I can't use it until I get a pet at lvl 25. Good thing I didn't buy one from the AH because I would not be able to use it. Why did my sister to do that for me? Because she knows I suck at what pet does what and which to use. One of the reasons I don't play card games, even poker. Another reason why I don't the mount from the hearthstone or what ever it is called. I just can't figure out what's what. LOL. no pity - I think it is related to my little friend in me head.

    Ok, one more thing - I am looking to the right side of your blog and see all of those blogs with dates of 3 months to 3 years old. Are they still active or what? If they aren't active, maybe it is time to take them down? Just curious.

    Ok, take care, I will be here tomorrow, but come Monday, I will be gone for a while. (And you thought I was gone, I was just lurking (is that the right term- just reading but had nothing to say???).

    Ok, please re-read everything and give me the answer about the skyshards. Thanks GE and everybody.

    -roo better life thru chemistry!

    1. I don't know how to farm the skyshards myself, but 'I know people have the mount' is not exactly helpful. Why? Because all the people I know with it used a bot to farm the shards. The bot itself belongs to one of our officers (he bought it) but many guildies borrowed it for shards as well. Our shaman farmed and sold them to others via trade chat, so this is still probably the easiest way. It's not exactly legit, but 'what ppl dnt know dnt hurt'. So... maybe someone can give pointers, but I wouldn't get my hopes up. I'm pretty bitter lately.

    2. Hi James,

      Well, I didn't know they could be sold as I was under the impression they are soulbound. But My memory is probably not right. I will check into it and "Thank you" for an answer :).

      And I owe everyone an apology - my rant about the pet level ("On to other crap - pet battles" up somewhere in the middle), was in another comment I made a few weeks back and answered by GE and Anon - GE's former guild leader). I tend not to remember too good these days, no excuse.

    3. The skyshards are soulbound. I just got the mount three weeks ago after farming six shards over about a month of very casual farming. I would do 3 cycles maximum, killing the mogu npcs starting south of the Ruins of Guo-Lai as there is a large encampment there, up through the Ruins toward the NW of Guo-Lai Hall and then down to the Five Sisters area, then back to the encampment and repeat. You will get about 1 shard every 3 days doing it this way and it takes only 40 minutes at most to do 3 cycles. You could also spend many hours doing it in one or two days, but burnout may be an issue, as well as bag space.

    4. They are soulbound, but you 'unlock' the Alani for someone else to kill. You basically make him killable with the shards and the buyer kills him and gets the mount. My server is big enough for this kind of thing to be common.

    5. Do the golden lotus dailies on all your characters, from killing things you could get them, plus you are making gold, and the last quest you do gives you a box, which can contain a sky shard.

      But if you just want to grind, keep killing all the mogu guys all over the place. Took me forever to get 10. It is all a luck thing and I have none really. Maybe your luck will be better. But if I said I grinded 50 hours to get 10 I would say that has to be close to accurate.

      I have not cleaned up the blog roll in a while. I need to get to that one day.

    6. ok, thanks! Well, I started backplaying now that I am out of the hospital. Will try to do what everyone suggested. Not sure why, just would like that dragon. Won't ride him, but at least I got him or her. :D


    7. Yeah, as a mount collector I got it just for the sake of getting it. I mounted it once, when I got it, to see what it looked like and will probably never mount it again.

  7. I hate to quote one of the most controversial statements of the last ten years "What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?" but I can’t think of a better way to word it. 6.2 is expected this month or next, which too late for Blizzard to react in any meaningful way to input from any questionnaire. I can only see two things come out of this meeting that are actually meaningful.
    One, any details on exciting features that are not currently apparent via PTR data mine/ testing (skeptical any of this will appear).
    Two, actually seeing, what Blizzard thinks are the chief communication issues with its customers.
    Regardless if it turns out to be the usual combo of hype/snark/propaganda, which it no doubt will, WOW is still a piece of commercial art. Blizz survives by being a creator who sells content to customers, which is supposed to mean that the common man is a critic of note. The questions and answers will be targeted to selling us on the game, what they did do that they think we did not notice. What we are asking for, that they think they can’t do and most importantly what they miss entirely.
    If mismanagement is the current theme (which I think is true), there will be some major issues they won’t spend a single breath upon. The more they are simply ignorant to, the more likely the game will not get any better.

    1. I don't think there are any features that are not currently implemented. We are getting a new set of garrison missions (ships) and a new raid. That is it. Nothing more, or at least nothing that should not have been part of the 6.0 release.

      Remember at blizzard when they said that tanaan was a 99-100 zone and then later said, tanaan was never intended to be released with 6.0. Both those comments are right from the horses mouth. They can not even keep their own lies straight.

      I agree that there will not be one single mention, except in passing, to anything that matters to us, the players. They will just say it is the largest content release ever made, like they did a few weeks ago, and forget that most of us playing are not brand new and we know it is all a lie.

      The need to keep from being caught stepping on their own words again. So the only way to do that is to completely avoid anything we deem important.