Monday, August 24, 2009

Blizzard: Damned if they do and damned if they don't!

As the dust settle on Blizzcon 2009 I find myself tuning into a variety of podcasts and opinions in an effort to digest the splurge of info.

It's a shame, in my opinion, that a lot of the 'oomph' was taken out of the announcements with leaks splashing their speculation around the web a week or so in advance of the event. No real harm done I guess but if you're not actually at the event I think it's harder to get excited about something that you already kind of knew about.

Aside from that though there has been something else that has got my goat. Why do people throw up their arms and wail in protest to Blizzard lifting inspiration from other games?

It's a criticism that has been aimed at Blizzard so many times, even by our good selves on the show but when I sit and reflect on this I realised that it's really not fair at all to slate Blizzard for this trait.

Recent announcements include 'Guild Levelling' which will allow you to spec your guild in such a way that you can cater perks to suit your play style. Mass resurrections will make a 25man wipe in a dungeon much more manageable as your downtime is reduced. I'm sure there'll be perks for PvP players as well, but this idea of levelling your guild is apparently already done in titles such as Warhammer and DDO.

Lord of the Rings Online also has similar features in the way that the better standing your guild is on the server the more access you have to things like guild housing (something Blizzard are still resisting in WoW), so it's easy to say 'Blizzard has ripped this off'.

Achievements in WoW come as a direct result of the popular Microsoft Gamer points and Battlenet looks as though it has taken a big leaf out of Steams 'how to...' book.
Is any of this a bad thing though? Of course not!!

It would be absolutly nuts to blast Blizzard for taking what makes one game or service good and implementing it in their own way. Are the people that call out Blizzard on this really stupid enough to think that Bliz should simply watch other people enjoy the benefits of an idea or innovation?

It seems to me that Blizzard are pretty much damned if they do and damned if they don't. Imagine if Blizz didn't take on board successful features, how stagnant would WoW be now? Whether or not you personally enjoy the new features in WoW you must at least be able to see that Blizzard have succeeded in keeping their franchise a relevant gaming choice in a market that has suddenly got incredibly crowded.

If Blizzard were to rest on their laurels and simply assume that their game will stay in the front of the pack just by 'being' then WoW would very quickly be lost in the deluge of MMOs. As it stands Blizzard have a duty to see how other games enter the market and where it makes sense they should lift out successful innovations and turn their hand to them.

I think it's great that Blizzard respect their competitors (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery) and they have their heads screwed on when it comes to looking after their franchise and their service to the gaming community. That's what makes them Number 1. Anyone thinking that Blizzard do little to innovate and simply rob ideas from other developers would do well to find a cliff and test their weight against the pull of gravity!


1 comment:

Andrew said...

I've always found the claims that Blizzard does nothing but ape other MMOs to be preposterous as well.

But even if it's true, other companies utilize Blizzard's ideas just as much in return. Gaming has always been filled with competitors borrowing ideas from one another and improving on them.