Just Like WoW

Posted by Daeity On Monday, March 26, 2012

Gamespy had an article where Blizzard's Next Gen MMO was mentioned again. (Anything we can scrape together, right?)

In it, they discuss WoW's basic formula and if there were any major changes planned for Mists of Pandaria. An interesting connection between Titan and World of Warcraft is implied.

"We have some awesome ideas, and we're developing a next-generation MMO here at Blizzard, so we're experimenting with a lot of different ideas there," said lead quest designer Dave Kosak. "I can't say any more about that, but I'll tell you that we're not going to significantly change up WoW at any point in the future. I think there's an expectation when you play WoW. Honestly, I think our combat game is really fun. When you get a quest to kill ten things, that lets you be your class, and you know exactly what to do, which means that you can concentrate on the story, concentrate on the atmosphere, concentrate on chatting with your friends. You can really be in the world."
A while back I had believed that Titan would be very similar to WoW, but much more improved, dumbed down for larger audiences, better NPC AI, and more action packed. I think this is the first team they ever said something like this (ie, "using WOW" rather than "it won't compete with WOW.) Basically, they take WOW and now they're experimenting with different ideas and ways to do things to create a new game.

Most of the original Titan team came from scifi driven backgrounds, including Halo and the old Starcraft Ghost team. But, now they're trickling in WOW developers to continue work on the project.

I'm reminded of Blizzard's "Decision Gun".. maybe it was used for Titan too? :)

Now, it's been a while since I talked about the subject, but if I recall, the WOW Engine was used as alpha testing for Titan.. or possibly Warcraft 4, I can't remember (heck, maybe both.)

There have been some fun rumors that the Next Gen MMO will be a giant new DOTA type game. I'm not sure if I agree with that.. I think there will be facets of shorter action games (like MMOFPS matches) within it, but I am most certain that eSports are planned for Titan (which is also the reason why I think it will be more action packed.) Blizzard has been updating all of their eSports Job Postings too.. they used to all be "Starcraft 2" specific but now they just mention eSports initiatives for Blizzard titles in general. :)

Meaning that eSports is planned for their other future games.

Diablo 3 is one potential too, but not for a long time. Some employees are "all for" a PVP Arena (with RM wages), but the game will be primarily PVE to start out. If there's a lot of PVP integration by the time Diablo 3 X1 comes out, things will look more and more likely for larger PVP battles and arenas. I can see a larger push for competitive PVP especially if JW is moved to head up another project, as unfortunate as that would be.

This is news! Dawnguard Trademark filed!

Posted by Daeity On Friday, March 23, 2012

This just in! Zenimax filed for a trademark called "DAWNGUARD" and it appears to be an expansion/DLC for Skyrim.

Shacknews: "Dawnguard trademark filed by Zenimax"

Kotaku: "‘Dawnguard’ Trademark Filed, May Point to Skyrim Expansion"

VG247: "Bethesda files Dawnguard trademark, could be for anything"

Nowgamer: "Skyrim DLC: 'Dawnguard' Bethesda Trademark Hints At Elder Scrolls Content"

.. etc. etc. etc.

It's making the rounds on the internet now. This is just like "In-Game Ads Planned for Titan" happening all over again. /sigh

(In case you didn't know, I already broke the Dawnguard news a month ago. And the Titan In-Game ads I revealed 2 months before it made the news.)

WOW Annual Pass Surprises

Posted by Daeity On

This isn't exactly a late post, I just wasn't planning on writing about it. :)

It's an issue that has already been talked about to death on many forums, and I prefer the kind of stuff that no one else is talking about. However, a lot of you have asked for my opinion on the matter so I'll oblige.

Basically, many WOW Annual Pass subscribers are upset to learn that they no longer have immediate access to the MoP Beta, and entry into the Beta is actually based on a previously unannounced Blizzard-internal surprise invitation ruleset.

Over the course of the test, we’ll be inviting Annual Pass holders, press, fansites, friends and family, and opt-in beta testers to participate.
In their official announcement, Blizzard makes note that "To find out more about getting into the beta test, including info on how we’re inviting Annual Pass holders, please read the Mists of Pandaria Beta Opt-in announcement and FAQ." Well, at least they created a FAQ on HOW they're inviting the Annual Pass members giving everyone an idea of when they'll be invited!

Unfortunately, here's all they wrote on the subject within the FAQ:
We’re inviting Annual Pass holders in waves over the course of the beta test, and will be ramping up the number of invites we send as quickly as possible. We’ll be inviting Annual Pass holders based on several factors, including how long your World of Warcraft account has been active and when you signed up for the Annual Pass.
The detailed information on "how we're inviting Annual Pass holders" was even worse than the official announcement, and it provides no clues as to what's going on.

This was a vast departure from that Blizzard customers were previously led to believe, but more on that later.

Hey, I Didn't Say That!

You might have noticed that I get misquoted a lot, or people just spread general misinformation about the blog. Anyone can be Daeity, it's just a virtual identity floating around the cloud.

Anyone can also make a post on "Forum X" saying "Daeity said Y" and then when "Y" didn't or doesn't happen, that's actually used as proof that Daeity was wrong. Sadly, unknowing (aka ignorant) users even continue to link to "Forum X" as irrefutable proof. :)

This just happened.. again.. on MMO-Champion. It's a really good read, I recommend you check it out from beginning to end especially the speculation on TOD's identity. And they say *I'M* paranoid. :)

Here's the original post that kicked off the funny feeding frenzy:
More than "90% people with Annual Pass" won't get beta till a month before release

I read this on Digital Castration.

How reliable is this guy?

This sucks if true
But here's what actually happened; it was just a comment made by an anonymous user.
Anonymous said...

On Mists of Pandaria beta and Annual Pass:

More than 90% of Annual Pass holders will not be receiving their invites until 3-4 weeks before the expansion is released.
And here was my response:
Daeity said...

@Anonymous

That's brutal. It was a major selling point of MoP. I guess from Blue's perspective; "hey, at least we're fulfilling our end of the contract. You get to play the beta." :)

Do you have a link for that?
The worst part is that no one from MMO-Champion needed to check the source. In fact, they DIDN'T EVEN ASK FOR THE SOURCE but instead asked for MY source.

Can you believe that?

Just read the first 3 pages alone. 3 posts demanded my source, 13 said I was lying but they refuse to check the blog (or have never read the blog), and 11 just refused to read the blog.

Even after they were told it never happened, and that everyone there was being trolled hard, it still continued. They're currently over 300 posts on the same subject. :)

Someone easily trolled them, and everything they're saying just makes the situation look even more foolish for them. The best responses are when they said that I never provided any sources. Oh my. And in a twisted way, this link will be used as "official proof" in the future that Daeity is wrong and never provides sources. :)

"Don't listen to Daeity. Remember that time he said that 90% of the users won't blah blah blah derpity derp. Here's the link. See, he's full of bullshit."

I've talked about this predictable MMO-Champion mentality before, and here it is again. It's very bad and just embarrassing.

If you're looking for something fun to do, here's something; out of the 300+ posts, see if you can count how many people actually asked for a direct link. Be careful though, some of them are misleading. For example, many users didn't ask for the OP's source, they just asked for MY source because they didn't believe ME. :)

If you want to have even more fun, keep posting stuff that "Daeity said", and just make up a bunch of stuff. Watch the feeding frenzy. Put me down for some ridiculous MoP Release Date (make it a Sunday), but make sure not to provide any links.

So, What I Do Really Have To Say?

From what I can tell, most of the written content about the WOW Annual Pass just guarantees "a spot in the beta test". But they've never said that WOW Annual Pass subscribers will get access as soon as it goes live.
Access to the Next WoW Expansion Beta Test – Get a guaranteed spot in the beta test for the next World of Warcraft expansion (at a time to be announced in the future).
I'll keep digging around, but if any of you know of older (October/November 2011) posts detailing the WOW Annual Pass / Beta Access portion that shows "as soon as it goes live", let me know.

Although it might never have been written by Blizzard, it was certainly said. By Mike Morhaime, CEO of Blizzard Entertainment when the WOW Annual Pass was first announced.



You can watch the exact statement above from his prepared speech (I've linked to the 6m36s mark):
"You will also get guaranteed access into the next World of Warcraft expansion beta when it goes live."
So here's how I see it;
  • This was an official announcement from the head of Blizzard guaranteeing Beta Access for all WOW Annual Pass subscribers "when it goes live." Not "while it's live", or "during the beta".. but "guaranteed access.. when it goes live."
  • Media news sites took this information, and it became a major selling point for World of Warcraft enthusiasts. Blizzard did not correct them or mention any fine print.
  • When the written Annual Pass announcement was made, Blizzard provided no real details.. only that they would have guaranteed beta access. No mention that "terms are subject to change" or any kind of fine print to ensure that players weren't mislead by Mike's statement. This just left players with the Blizzcon 2011 announcement which contained the most details.
  • The sudden back-peddle of the Blizzard's Promise™ was very disappointing as you've seen. If it was obvious from the start that Blizzard was going to invite players in waves and that only certain people would get in when it went live, you would not have seen the negative reaction that had just happened.
  • Leaving everyone in the dark is not good business. It leads to frustration and wild speculation. You need to give customers specific information and stay true to your word.
  • For several months, users were led to believe that they would have guaranteed access when it went live. Even though Blizzard claims to monitor all communications, forum comments, and fan feedback to improve the customer experience, they still didn't say anything to correct this gross misunderstanding. They have paid staff with the responsibilities to set user expectations, and they failed greatly in this specific situation.
What's left now are the "types of players" who are invited first, something I'll be very interested in seeing. Right now, initial invitations are to a very limited beta experience (the Pandaren 1-10 leveling zone) with the new content locked down.

According to Blizzard, they have a "secret internal formula" for invitations (which will drive hopeful Beta testers even more crazy) based on how long the WOW Account has been active, when you signed up for the Pass, if you're from the press or a fansite, a Friend or Family member, an opt-in beta tester, and other criteria.

Blizzard hasn't revealed which of these have more seniority over the Annual Pass members. If you're a WOW Annual Pass member, though, don't be surprised if (on average) the Press & Fansites get invited before you. I think the Annual Pass invites will probably be "sprinkled in" with the various other criteria that are higher on the totem (like Press/F&F).

* UPDATE:

Cool. Proof that even MMO-Champion impartial "Moderators" don't confirm anything, don't read, and their actions are personally motivated after all. It was purely a reaction to a name, even though it was completely fake. :)
Callei, Moderator

Closing. The person the OP refers to is not a credible source, ergo, closing to prevent spreading misinformation.
How many times has MMO-Champion kept threads open even though they knew for a fact it was from an actual noncredible source?

A wise moderator would have closed it with, "This thread has derailed."

MoP Press Event Left Me Wanting

Posted by Daeity On Monday, March 19, 2012

Apparently, the video and images leak pretty much covered everything that was going to be released today so there's nothing new to see there.

I had a hard time deciding what to say about the Mists of Pandaria press event. It's been pretty disappointing for me personally because there's so much they haven't said yet. So, I may have to reserve judgement for later (e.g. after the game is released.)

Here were the big ones I had questioned:

  • The 10 player realm limitation. It was removed, but instead of 40-50 per realm, it appears to be just 11 per realm instead. This was a big selling point for me, and I was seriously considering a new subscription until I saw this. With the MoP release so far away, this can still change however. The problem is that the press question wasn't a very good one; they asked if an eleventh character slot would be opened, but they never asked if "more than 11" would be available so there was no definitive answer to this.
  • The "Item Squish" question hasn't been answered yet. They haven't made a final decision about it yet, so for now it's going to be "Mega Damage". They want to wait until the talent system controversy wears off first so that they don't freak out players too much. Just as a reminder, Ghostcrawler said that "there are some very real computational limitations... PCs just can’t quickly perform math on very large numbers" in regards to Mega Damage. Apparently, PCs can handle math on large numbers now..

    I understand that making this change in the game is a huge undertaking, but it will have long term benefits. I think that they probably don't have enough time to do this before launch. It's going to be a "better situation" for them "in like 6.0 or 7.0 if players are demanding the item squish." Player demand, huh? That sounds familar. :)
  • There's also no firm answer on "cross-faction" PVE Scenarios and Pet Battles like what I was expecting. They've only created 5 scenarios so far, and they're still being deliberately ambiguous about any future events. So, this could still go either way. What they have said, though, is that "players can group together" (they never differentiate with Horde/Alliance, always "players"), and that the Scenarios are given to them by Factions (like the Brewmaster Faction) and you help them out doing something. However, both Horde and Alliance can belong to this same faction. It has been confirmed, though, that a PVE Scenario is in fact an instance. So, it's basically a instance teleport and the dungeon is crafted using a "slice of the world". Pet Battles are unclear too. I was expecting "friendly battles" between Horde and Alliance as well. All I know about this is that you can "challenge another player in the world" (once again "players" but not Horde or Alliance.) However, it is cross-server.. so it might be cross-faction like what I was expecting.
  • And finally, we have the story arc. I was expecting "the addition of more cross-faction cooperative stuff, stories/lore/events that are all about fighting for inner-peace, learning about ourselves, and a whole silly enlightenment thing." And, I was expecting the Pandaren to choose sides to teach them (Horde/Alliance) something about themselves and try to bring enlightenment to them and get them to relax. The consensus of the readers here, though, was that it would lead to a great (PVP) war between Horde and Alliance and there wouldn't be any cooperation at all.

    Blizzard has been a little ambiguous and contradictory on this subject, though. For example, here's that they have to say about Mists of Pandaria:
    "Escalating tensions between the Alliance and Horde have broken out into open warfare. The roar of cannons blacken the sky while naval engagements around the globe fill the seas with blood. As the clash of mortal armies spins the world into chaos, a continent -- once shielded by impenetrable mists -- suddenly manifests itself in the southern oceans. There’s no question that this resource-rich new land will be at the center of a global conflict. Will the Mists of Pandaria part to reveal Azeroth’s salvation? Or will this new battlefield become the flashpoint that pushes the Alliance and Horde over the brink into total annihilation?"
    The "escalating tensions" sounds like it's past tense.. so this could be the pre-events to MoP or just the start of the MoP story arc. And then there are two questions; will this bring Azeroth's salvation or annihilation? Will they work together or destroy each other? :)

    If this was all about a new super war, why would they even ask these two opposing questions?

    Chris Metzen said that the final patch of Mists of Pandaria will be the two factions working together and laying siege to Orgrimmar. Around the 8 minute mark, he said that MoP is basically "throttle off" and more about exploration, exploring ourselves, and no super villain. It's a "vacation.. before things ramp up." And he also said that the Pandaren will play a distinct role in regards to the "factional hate" going on. So, it's a little contradictory. Most of you were expecting that all hell breaks lose and the greatest war ever starts once the Horde/Alliance visit the Island of Pandaria. However, the environments still look very tranquil (not destroyed), and Metzen said that all of the hate between Horde/Alliance is instead manifested in a physical form as Sha. Basically, the whole "your enemy is war itself" and you destroy these physical manifestations of your hate towards the opposing faction.
So, I don't think I'll know any answers to most of my questions until well after the game comes out.

The one item I didn't discuss, though, was AOE Looting. From what I've seen on the forums, users have previously stated that Blizzard would never do this and they have constantly said "No, it will never happen." Many users claimed that it was an engine limitation or some such nonsense. Anyways, I can't find any official quotes from Blizzard stating that they would never do this (except for Diablo 3.) So, if you find any older official quotes (especially when most users were asking around the time Rift came out), let me know.