Bits and pieces

I’ll be glad when Legion alpha cranks up again, because frankly it’s becoming quite a challenge to write about WoW these days. Very little is happening in the current expansion, and the news about Legion is both parsed and parsimonious. While I am personally not bored with the game, I am involved in activities decidedly not interesting to write about. No one wants to hear about my exciting new herb farming route, or my glacial progress on a ring for my warlock, or my new Worgen transmog, or my misadventures healing in LFR. (However, if I get desperate enough you may expect to be subjected to such posts.)

There have been a few recent snippets about the game, though, so here’s my take on them.

New patch?? Nope. For a few hours last night, there was a blue post entitled “World of Warcraft Patch 6.3.0” which had about two uninspiring lines about a couple of extremely minor bug fixes. It drew my interest obviously because of the title, but clearly it was a boo-boo, because today the new headline is “World of Warcraft Patch 6.2.3 – Build 20886”.

I didn’t think the two minor fixes were a new patch, but for a fleeting moment I wanted to believe that there was an actual WoD patch that had secretly been in the works for a while, and that the blue poster had gotten his project notes mixed up. But alas, no, just another piece of inattentive work from devs who, like the rest of us, have written off WoD, and in this case could not be bothered to do even minimal proofreading.

Still, what could have caused such a typo? I could understand if the title had been “Patch 6.3” because that might mean the poster  had a too-light key touch in the middle of trying to type “6.2.3”. But the title  patch number was “6.3.0”. Weird. Are things at Blizz in such disarray that the devs have lost track of which patch they are working on, or even which patches are live?

Activision acquires Major League Gaming. (Check out the post over at alt:ernative chat for one WoW blogger’s excellent take on this.) I’m sure if you are Activision or one of their shareholders, this is a good move, but I really think it is another nail in WoW’s coffin. Clearly, ATVI is going all in on eSports, and that does not bode well for WoW, certainly not for the aspects of the game that drew most of us to it in the first place.

I don’t see Wow PvE as suited to being a spectator sport, beyond the occasional elite guild raid face-offs. No, if there is eSport money in WoW — and I am not really sure there is — it will be made in PvP. Make no mistake, if there is money to be made, it will be huge money. If you are Blizzard with finite development resources, and PvP is making you rich, how much time are you going to spend on the PvE side?  Even if PvE can be profitable, how must it change in order to please the spectators? How much pressure will Corporate put on every franchise to evolve into a major league style “sport”?

But in the end, I don’t see WoW — or any traditional MMO — as a profitable eSports venue. The genre is dying. If Legion is not the last expansion of the game, it could well be the penultimate one.

Who is playing WoW? I have been reading some social science papers lately on the subject of who plays video games these days, and it made me wonder what the true demographics of WoW are. Surprisingly — or maybe not — there are no data available on this, beyond a few undoubtedly inaccurate guesses based on severely limited sampling.

I doubt even Blizz knows the demographics of their customer base. How would they? I don’t recall what if any personal information I had to give when I first subscribed, but even if it was enough to be statistically useful, I doubt if Blizz “ages” it as the years go by, not to mention anyone can fake it (though most do not). Besides, no tech company ever went broke by just assuming their target audience is 20-30 year old males and tailoring their products for that demographic.

Still, it makes me wonder if maybe some of the discontent with WoW these days is the result of Blizz failing to understand who their main player base is and what game design keeps that real player base engaged.

That’s it. Everyone have a good weekend!

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.

3 Responses to Bits and pieces

  1. Bodhi Rana says:

    I enjoy a good LFR misadventure post. So know if you ever throw any of that up here, you’ll have at least 1 eager reader.

  2. I don’t know the demographics. I know that my blog over the past three days was visited by 15 different countries. WoW players in Slovenia!
    But, Blizzard doesn’t know my age, education, interests or gender. It feels like the game and designers have grown up a lot — most of the “hottie” tmogs sets are from Classic or Burning Crusade. Today’s heroes dress like heroes, even if their armor is a bit … drab (that is not a clue on my sexual orientation!).