Blizzard’s Christmas Tweety Bird

Every year, players trying to get to the Winterveil tree in Ironforge on Christmas must suffer the pointless chaos and annoyance of being hindered and/or blocked from the event by the usual group of big-mounted small-brained jerks who apparently can only have fun in the game by making sure no one else can. As this happens every year, this year Blizz anticipated it and took appropriate steps — putting the NPCs into Khadgar-like no-mount bubbles, spreading the trees out to all the capitol cities, reminding players in advance that hindering game play would not be tolerated, etc.

HAHAHAHA, no just kidding, don’t be silly. Never missing an opportunity to really screw with the players, not only did Blizz fail to anticipate the problem, but when players complained, basically flipped us all the bird in the form of a tweet, saying just suck it up.

And I quote from @BlizzardCS on 25 December.

Mount blocking your path? Zoom into 1st person view to move through them & get your gifts under the tree. CS can’t assist with crowd control

As an added jab, Blizz Customer Disservice systematically locked down the forum threads where players dared to complain. (Apparently it was annoying to have a crowd of people clogging up the forums, which is an entirely more serious annoyance than having a crowd of people clogging up the in-game event area. Also, some of the posters were rude, which cannot be tolerated when directed at Blizz but is encouraged when used as a game play style to prevent players from enjoying the game as intended.)

There’s just so much wrong with this entire scenario, I hardly know where to begin.

First, let’s stipulate that even though this was a major game annoyance, it is of zero consequence in any kind of bigger picture you want to draw. It’s a game, it’s not nuclear nonproliferation talks. It means even less than nothing when viewed in comparison to international economic troubles, Ebola, world poverty, or your grandma’s latest hospitalization. And even within the microcosm of Warcraft, it’s an event of little or no importance — you will not level, or get gear or an achievement as a result, and to be honest the presents were pretty yawn-inspiring anyway. It’s just a cool little fun thing for the players. Kind of brings back, just for a moment, that wide-eyed excitement you had back when Santa Claus still answered your letters.

Next, what is wrong with players who can only enjoy the game by spoiling it for others? I’ll save a more thorough treatment of this question for another post, but this is just baffling behavior to me. I understand the humor in a good prank, but yesterday’s actions by the dim witted jerks blocking access are not even close to the definition of prank. It went on for hours and hours. It was accompanied by boastful gloating in chat about how proud the idiots were of doing this, and Blizz can’t do anything about it, neener neener neener. On my server, one of our more odious trolls kept advertising he would give free tents to anyone wishing to use one to block access (mind you, he was too cowardly to do it himself, he is after all just a chat-lurking troll). I did report him for spamming, as I thought he was advertising the tents a bit too often, thus hindering chat. Won’t have any effect of course but it gave me a brief moment of satisfaction.

And let’s see, “CS can’t assist with crowd control”? Uh huh. So what pray tell is the no-mount zone around Khadgar? What was all that with the login queues for days and days at the start of WoD? What’s with the Ashran queues? What’s the purpose of CRZ?

Come on, how about a tiny bit of honesty? How about coming out and saying the truth, which is “We can’t be bothered to fix this, we really don’t give a crap that you are annoyed about it. We are barely treading water to keep this expansion going.  If we have nothing better to do we might think about some mitigations for next year.” Not “CS can’t assist with crowd control.” Because that is a lie.

I know the zoom-in tricks to nullify the actions by these pitiful bully wannabes, but after getting the presents on my main, I decided all things considered it just was not worth it. And thus they won. They succeeded in ruining for me a part of the game that should have been a fun diversion.

And this is why Blizz should care about what happened. They should care that a small number of idiots ruined an event, intended to be lighthearted and fun, for many, many players. They should care that rude behavior was allowed to run wild to the extent that it prevented normal game enjoyment for others. They should, but they don’t.

And I quote from paragraph 7 (“Code of Conduct”) of the official World of Warcraft Terms of Use:

. . . Blizzard reserves the right to determine which conduct it considers to be outside the spirit of the Game and to take such disciplinary measures as it sees fit up to and including termination and deletion of the Account. Blizzard reserves the right to modify this Code of Conduct at any time.

. . . certain acts go beyond what is “fair” and are considered serious violations of these Terms of Use. Those acts include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

. . . (iii) Anything that Blizzard considers contrary to the “essence” of the Game.

It’s a matter of interpretation, I grant you, as to whether yesterday’s actions were a violation of this Code of Conduct. Blizz chose — apparently — to consider the activity in keeping with the “essence of the Game”and to be fully within the “Spirit of the Game”.

Really? So the whole point of the Winterveil gift day is for jerks to have perverted fun at the expense of the majority of players? Well, thanks Blizz, in that case the event was a roaring success. I was thinking it was yet another misstep by Blizz management, but it turns out it was a true representation of how the game should be played. The fun never stops.

About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

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