Tag Archives: World of Warcraft

#366 The ARTS era of Gaming

This week I am still going trough all of my PAX East loot , going through all the pins and giveaways and entering any and all codes I was handed on the expo floor.

Between everything I noticed that a common theme of the free beta tests and games were for existing or start-up MOBA games or as I call them, Action Real Time Strategy games (or A.R.T.S for short) It seems that the ARTS genera will be the go to PC game for any company in the 201Xs.

Currently we have; League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, Dota 2, SMITE, Heroes of Newerth, Infinite Crisis, Dawngate, Magicka: Wizard Wars, Orcs Must Die: Unchained, and all the others that I forgot.

 

Too many launchers....and I intend to play all of them

Too many launchers….and I intend to play all of them

 

It reminds me of the last decade, where we saw every gaming company and their dog create a Massively Multiplayer Online game like; World of Warcraft, Rift, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, DC Universe Online, ESO and all the others I forgot to name.

With the end of the last decade we saw that most -if not all- of the MMO companies caved from the popping of the MMO bubble, forcing most of them to go Free-to-play.

The question is will this A.R.T.S bubble pop the same way? Because these games are not are based on a monthly payment plan, so people like me can be subscribed to multiple titles of the same genera. With the introduction and how these games are built around microtransactions these games can easily be supported by the 1 or 2% of gamers that spends a ridiculous amount of money at the online store page.

The problem these A.R.T.S games now have to face -at least my guest is- would be competing with each other on how to woo the MOBA/ARTS base to spend their free time and eventually money on their game rather than their competitors. The multimillion dollar question is how? Heroes of the Storm will have Blizzard marketing advertising power, with the appeal of free palette swapped skins. Dota 2 had more complexity and all the champions are free to play from right out of the gate. Infinite Crisis has the allure of having every DC comics Super Hero you or I have ever heard about become a playable character And League of Legends is getting ahead by just being popular.

I know there is marketing term for when a company doesn't need to advertise it's product because it is so popular....It is like the Apple/Iphone effect.

I know there is marketing term for when a company doesn’t need to advertise its product because it is so popular….It is like the Apple/Iphone effect or something.

 

On top of the question. ‘How to get the ARTS players to play their preferred game’ the other question is ‘How to make a new ARTS game that is different enough in-game play or giveaways to comfortably compete with the other, established ARTS companies.’

The first company that can come up with solid answer to those two question can dethrone LoL, HotS, and everyone else in the market.

 


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#365 Thoughts on the PAX East Heroes of the Storm Panel

One of the Pax East Panels I got to sit on Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm dev talk panel. Last year I missed Blizzard’s PAX panel, where they officially announced the launching of their new title, Hearthstone so this year I made sure not to miss a minute of this year’s announcements.

As a bonus treat to the few people who attended the panel you were able to hear what I sound like in real life, I was the person who asked which heroes the devs would add if balancing was not an issue.

As a bonus treat to the few people who attended the panel you were able to hear what I sound like in real life, I was the person who asked which heroes the devs would add if balancing was not an issue.

 

The panel went over a few things; first, there is no official release date on Heroes of the Storm and that there are no beta keys for the Heroes of the Storm. Two facts that everyone at the Heroes panel and booth were adamant about getting that point across to everyone at the convention. While Blizzard said that they are adding more people into the program each week, the only way to get in is opt in through their website and keep checking your Battlenet launcher to see if your gaming library has been updated.

I'm still not the beta but this new method of how Blizzard goes around handing out betas has guaranteed that at least one more person downloads and uses Blizzard's new cross-promotion gaming launcher.

I’m still not the beta but this new method of how Blizzard goes around handing out betas has guaranteed that at least one more person downloads and uses Blizzard’s new cross-promotion gaming launcher.

 

After Blizzard’s PSA about not trusting any emails that claims to have Heroes of the Storm beta key, the Developers then moved on to reveal some of the new heroes and mechanics to soon be added to the game.

While we have some heroes like Zagara and LiLi the one that stood out to me was Murky, the baby murloc. When the devs started talking about the inspiration for this hero, they said they wanted a hero that was incredibly weak, but the mechanic is that Murky lays an egg somewhere on the map and while he will be dying a lot he’s purpose is do little waves of damage to the enemy’s health over a continue waves of recently hatched Murkys. Chipping away the enemy team until they either cave from exhaustion or another teammate comes in for the assistance for the kill or the capture of the map objective.

A hero based around dying over and over again. Sounds like a perfect fit for me.

A hero based around dying over and over again. Sounds like a perfect fit for me.

 

Between that and everything else I have heard and seen about this new game I can say it looks fun. I do not take that word lightly, remember I wrote an entire blog post about why the recent Mario game was fun (Be MOP #349).

What also caught my eye was Heroes of the Storm’s approach to heroes skins. While it is a free to play game and it will have cosmetic skins of the champions and mounts for sale on the online shop Heroes will also be providing free in-game cosmetic palette swapped skins for the champions as a reward for playing with that one hero for a set amount of time and there will also be an ultimate skin that you can unlock once you max out that hero.

While Blizzard has the iconic PC gaming characters at its disposal, I think the free unlockable skins and designs will provides as the more important tool for the Heroes of the Storm marketing team when trying to advertise and the game above the other competitors that are currently on the market.

Heroes reminds me a bit of Pokemon, the creative team goes to town making monsters and creations with unique gameplay and then the Pokemon Company threw the entire project at the player base and the fans are the ones who create the competitive gaming leagues and separate the heroes into various tiers of usefulness. Which is something that Blizzard have said from the beginning.

 

My only PAX East regret is I was not able to get into the League of Legends gamplay design panel to see the different approach Blizzard and Riot have designing the character’s roles and move-sets  for their games.

 


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#363 Guest Post: Pax-tivities

Since I am attending PAX East this weekend I thought it would be a good idea to set up a guest post with another blogger that also going to the convention. So today Stubborn of sheepthediamond.wordpress.com will posting for Be MOP and I will have published piece about what to bring to these events on his website. Be sure check it out once you are done here.
—-

Dear Reader (of someone else’s blog!),

Going to conventions, particularly for the first time (or the first time in a new venue), can feel overwhelming.  Too much time during my first PAX was spent confusedly looking at the schedule and the map, trying to work out what was where.  Since PAX changed venues after that, too much of my second PAX was much the same.  However, since I’ve been a few times, I thought I’d write a handy summary of the variety of different things to do around the PAX arena.

At the top of my list is always panels.  As an educator and, as the cliché goes, a “life-long learner,” I love going to hear people speak on a variety of topics.  There’re three basic types of panels: the shill panel, the feedback panel, and the true discussion.  Each has its own merits and drawbacks; at a shill, you’ll hear a lot of very tempting information about a product.  You can often ask questions about the product, too, though the answers you get may only be in “beta” form (meaning they may never come to pass).  If you’re really interested in a game, you absolutely should go to a shill panel, but if you’re on the fence, don’t expect a fair review.

In feedback panels, developers often ask the audience for input on how to do something.  It may be how to better the community in League of Legends (been to that one) or how to further develop DayZ (my buddy went to that one), but often it’s a great chance to speak to the actual team leaders behind a game’s development and get some time to voice your ideas.

The discussion panels are often my favorite; they can cover a variety of tough issues like female representation in games and game companies or how to publish your first indie game.  These panels often have the most honest and interesting exchanges, as in last year’s Extra Credits Q&A when James Portnow, their resident game designer, basically trashed a lot of “game developer” for-profit schools but also gave some really insightful and important information about how to pick a good one.

Whatever you do with panels, try at least once to step outside your comfort zone.  Are you a dude who doesn’t think the whole female gamers thing is an issue?  Give it a try; you might have your eyes opened, as my buddy did.  Are you not particularly interested in indie games?  Go to one of their developer panels and hear their stories; you might be surprised!

Of course, at any convention, there’s going to be an Exhibition Floor.  This wildly crowded shopping mall reminds me of a carnival, with all sorts of sights and sounds to experience.  I don’t spend a ton of time on the floor, but I always go to every booth to at least look at what they have, even if I only stay a few seconds.  The floor gives you an opportunity for hands-on experiences with upcoming games.  I first heard about The Last of Us on an exhibition floor several years ago, well before the final product was nearing completion, and even then, I was intrigued.  As a result, I followed its development from there on out.

Sometimes browsing lets you find new and exciting things, but other times you may have a target in mind.  Last year I bee-lined for the League of Legends booth, having heard of free goodies being given out.  I got two free skins as well as some inside information on a secret contest that was running to find Teemo mushrooms to win a Teemo hat.  Many booths will give out freebies of some kind, whether it’s a closed beta key, a plush sunshroom, which my wife scored from the Plants vs. Zombies booth, or a kiss with a Zombie, which my buddy scored from the same!  I’d recommend you hit the floor later on Saturday, as the crowds usually die down as time passes, but doing so runs the risk of missing out on swag that they might have run out of.

A third option – and something that I consider to be really generous and unique – is the game library.  You can peruse hundreds of board, card, and pen and paper role playing games, trade in your driver’s license, and play any of these hundreds of games for as long as you’d like.  The result is always a ton of fun.  I’ve bought several of the games I first tried there.  Others I only enjoyed with my friends, then just put back.  Whether it’s controlling berserk robots, throwing Romans into a volcano, or simultaneously cooperating with while secretly plotting the downfall of your friends, every game has the potential to be a lot of fun.

If board and card games aren’t your thing, there are huge rooms dedicated to letting you try computer and console games for free, as well.  You just wait in line, then get a computer or console pre-loaded with many current games from which to choose.  The lines for those sections can be long, though, so don’t wait until late to do this!  We’ve been turned away twice due to line length and time, though both times we’d just wandered over for the heck of it, so it was no big loss.

Lastly, there’re a whole slew of activities that I’ve personally never done (since I’m an old man) but I’ve heard great things about.  Both Friday and Saturday night there are amazing concerts with some very famous performers including MC Frontalot, the Bit Brigade, and Metroid Metal (among others).  Like I said, though, I’m an old man and value my hearing too much, so I’ve skipped those in the past.  My old buddy’s younger brother (who’s my buddy, too) goes every year, though, and really enjoys them.

There’s also the Omeganaut championship, a gaming challenge for random attendees who play for some very attractive prize packages (like going to Germany for a European gaming convention).  I’ve gone to the final round the last two years, but the semi-finals are spread throughout the convention.  I haven’t been, but I’ve heard they’re a lot of fun, too.

Lastly, again, since I’m an old man, I don’t attend after parties, since I’m too sleepy, but my young buddy said some of his fondest memories come from just hanging out after the convention center closes in someone’s hotel lobby, playing games and meeting new people.  If you’re young and have an endless battery, you might want to try that, too.

All of these options only skim the surface of what’s available at PAX.  Each one is really a bundle of hundreds of other options, experiences, and memory-makers from which to choose.  I’ve never regretted a single decision I’ve made at PAX, whether it was to go to a midnight movie that got suddenly cancelled and instead had a celebrity come out and do a Q & A or to take my buddy to a mind-expanding panel and watch him grow a little, or to gush like a fool about The Secret World and get some closed beta keys and some free TSW swag.  Every year I’ve gone, I’ve loved it, and I’m excited to go again this year.  If you’re going, I hope to you enjoy it, too, and if you’re not, consider joining me next year!

Sincerely,

Stubborn (temporary Bostonite)

 


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#362 The Liebster Award

This weekend I received a notification from WordPress that I have been recognized by Growing up in Azeroth for a Liebster Award! While I usually do not like talking about just myself on this blog too much, for today I will gladly make the exception.

 

I believe in the rap world this type of thing would be called a 'cypher'

I believe in the rap world this type of thing would be called a ‘cypher’

 

1.    What is your favorite noob moment in WoW or another video game (the more embarrassing, the better  :D )?

I talked about this one before (and it is my favorite drinking story) by my biggest noob moment was the time I gave up a chance to meet Emma Watson  for a virtual dragon (Be MOP #12). If I was to reveal another major noob moment my another favorite moment was equipping an agility dagger on my undead mage while leveling through the Mulgore zone because I thought that stacking agility would make me run faster.

 

this is one of those times where, even if I had the chance to redo everything all over again I would still chose to stay inside for the night because I get more mileage telling of the story that almost happened instead of what could have happen.

this is one of those times where, even if I had the chance to redo everything all over again I would still chose to stay inside for the night because I get more mileage telling of the story that almost happened instead of what could have happen.

 

2.    You are going to be trapped in a hotel with your family for one week.  You get to choose one book, one board game, and one video game to have for that week.  What would you choose and why?

If I was trapped in a hotel with my entire family, which for reference we are talking about my two parents and five younger siblings, I would have to pack my copy of the completed works of Hitchhiker’s to the Galaxy. For games I would have to choose two co-op games with near infinite replay value that I could play with my siblings, for that I would have to bring along a pack of Uno cards and Super Smash Brawl for the Wii or if we wait a few months the Wii U.

 

I was tempted to put down one of the Mario Party games but towards the end of the week that hotel building would start to look like the set of Stephen King's The Shining. 

I was tempted to put down one of the Mario Party games but towards the end of the week that hotel building would start to look like the set of Stephen King’s The Shining.

 

3.    If you could have one WoW spell in real life, which one would you choose?

This one is easy, because I have about an hour-long commute I would have to pick one of the mage’s teleport spells so I can cut down the time and gas money I spend each week getting to a from work.

 

4.    Zombies or Unicorns?

Unicorns. If only because Unicorns do not go out of their way to hunt you down and kill you.

 

5.    What is your favorite WoW joke/pun?

“I love this planet! I come here; I see cow and chicken and ride little horsies. THIS PLANET HAS EVERYTHING!” Draenei Male.


6.    It’s the last day of WoW before the servers shut down permanently.  What do you do?

Probably take a walking tour of the world and revisit my favorite Warcraft zones (no particular order: 1000 Needles, Hellfire Peninsula, and Tirisfal Glades) and for the final hour I would end up /dance -ing on top of one of the major city’s mailbox.

 

7.    All time favorite movie?

V-for-Vendetta-movie-poster


8.    If you could kill off one WoW characters to bring another WoW character back, who would you kill and who would you bring back?

Besides Garrosh, I would kill off Malfurion Stormrage and bring back Millhouse Manastorm just so that Blizzard or the players can kill that gnome again.


9.    What was your first WoW character? (Calling it now, it was a night elf hunter!)

It was actually an Undead Mage, the same mage that took me from beginning of Burning Crusade all the way to wilds of Pandaria.

 

I still kept some of my old WoW screenshots. I think this one is the equivalent of that embarrassing childhood photo your parents still keeps around

I still kept some of my old WoW screenshots. I think this one is the equivalent of that embarrassing childhood photo your parents brings out at parties


10.    What was your first video game ever?

The first video game that I ever owned was a copy of Pokemon Red. It is actually one of my favorite memory. It started with my parents calling me down to the kitchen where they then presented me a fresh out of the box GameBoy color, Pokemon Red, and the official player guide. While my parents watched as I picked my first starter and played up to Viridian Forest and beyond throughout the school night. Playing with electronics or watching T.V on a school night was an unprecedented event back then and which probability made it so memorable.

11.    What is the one food that you want to try, but are too afraid to?

I really want to try any tropical dish that has pineapple in it, but because of my Anaphylaxis food allergy to the fruit I am  too afraid to try a bite of it. One day I might grow out of the allergy, like the rest of my family, but I certainly do not want to test that theory without proper professional medical supervision.

 

It is more funny to think that someone born in New England would have such a deadly allergy to a fruit that is grown on the other side of the world.

It is more funny to think that someone born in New England would have such a deadly allergy to a fruit that is grown on the other side of the world.

 

Now for the random facts portion of this post:

  •  I have met both Chuck Norris and Oprah Winfrey
  • I used to fence (the sport) while I was middle school and high school
  • One of my most prized possession is a mint condition, still in the box,  original Mighty Mophin Power Rangers Megazord
  • I was a member of the audience of Good Morning America during my first and only trip to NYC
  • My absolute favorite Batman movie is and always will be Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever
  •  I have previously ran for a seat of State Representative for my district. While I did lose that race, I plan to get back on the horse and try again next election cycle.
  • My voice was recorded on one of WoW Insider’s live shows. Try to guess show number, and which one I was.
  • My first MP3 file was of BareNaked Ladies’s song, One Week
  • In Highschool I went on a school organized week long spring vacation trip to London, Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam….with my younger brother and my mother.
  • My family keeps a few dozen chickens as pets. Not livestock but honest to goodness pets, each with their own names and personalities.
  • You can all thank my mom for getting me to start blogging after she used my name to sign up for a WordPress account and created a blog for me to build and update as a project to help the family get a dishwasher in exchange for a few dozen eggs. But that story is for another time.

Alright this post is getting on the long side so it is time to pass the nominate a few more bloggers for this challenge, for that I choose

http://www.alternative-blog.net/

sheepthediamond.wordpress.com/

arcanewordsmith.wordpress.com/

and YOU! If you have not been formally nominated for a Liebster Award consider yourself invited to join in on the fun.

 

My questions for you are (and because some of questions that I had to answer were so good I had to pass them along):

1.What is your favorite noob moment in WoW or another video game

2. You are going to be trapped in a hotel with your family for one week. You get to choose one book, one board game, and one video game to have for that week. What would you choose and why?

3.  All time favorite movie?

4. What was your first video game ever?
5. What is the one food that you want to try, but are too afraid to?

6. What inspired you to start blogging?

7. What is your most prized possession?

8. What new game are you the most excited for?

9. What was your first music album? First MP3 file?

10. What is your favorite blog post that you have written on your site?

11. What was one question you wish people asked about you?

 

 


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#358 The Official Origin Story of my Steam Account

It is the end of the month of March and with this an important gaming milestone, my third anniversary of joining Steam.

A few months ago I was planning to write this post on the birthday BUT because of a touch of dyslexia I confused the 13 for a 31, which is why I am writing this post now.

A few months ago I was planning to write this post on the birthday BUT because of a touch of dyslexia I confused the 13th for a 31st, which is why I am writing this post now.

 

Since my three years of downloading Valve’s Steam 200+ games collection and hundreds and hundreds of hours of gameplay on record. With the celebration I thought now would be a good time to spin the yarn and tell all of you how I started my adventures through  Steam.

It all started with my first Pax East back in 2o11. At the time my gaming experience was limited to World of Warcraft and just that. It was also the only game I played for years and because of my barebones laptop that I could afford on my early college student’s budget.

But going into this expo for the first time with my mother and younger brother just completed their amazing story with Uber Entertainment and one of our family’s pet chickens. It is a really long and epic read that you can catch it all on my mother’s blog found HERE, HEREHERE, and HERE.

The TLDR version is: It started with my brother asking a game developer for a few gaming keys for some friends who had a series of unfortunate events and it ended with one of our chickens starring in a video game.

 I would like to see anyone else try to top that story.

I would like to see anyone else try to top that story.

 

Well that series of events happened and while I was exploring alone on the expo floor I stumbled upon Uber Entertainment’s booth. dispite knowing nothing about the game Super Monday Night combat, beyond the fact of my brother’s excitement to be a part of it, and being a good older brother I bought a digital key  for the game, and if memory served I bought the deluxe key with an exclusive Penny Arcade inspired Cardboard Tube Samurai skin for the assassin character in the game.

A common practice back in the day. Image from: http://mondaynightcombat.wikia.com/

One of my favorite skins in videogames.
Image from: http://mondaynightcombat.wikia.com/

 

After the everything was done and I was back home I followed the instructions on the card and in order for me to redeem and play this game I needed to download and install the steam client. Granted I did not play much of it because my barebones laptop started to overheat the moment the game asked it to run the game in a frame rate above single digits.

From there it is just history, I want to take this time to say thank you to PAX East, Uber Entertainment, and my little brother for opening of the gateway to a brand new world of PC gaming full of free games, charity driven bundles, and some of the biggest discounts in major AAA game titles I have ever seen.

 

Here's to many more great years of gaming

Here’s to many more years of great gaming

 


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#357 Heroes I want to see in Heroes of the Storm

Blizzard had a busy week, with the launching of their first expansion for Diablo 3, Reaper of Souls. On top of their impressive launch party but Blizzard also announced that Tyrael will be one of the playable heroes in the their newest game Heroes of the Storm.

This is great news because not only are Blizzard taking a leaf out of Nintendo’s book, Building hype for Super Smash Brawl, by announcing segments of their new game in line with a major release of one of their other gaming titles. But it also means I was completely called it two weeks ago when I  exposed Blizzard’s “No game is an Island” marketing plan (Be MOP #350)

Nothing makes a blogger happy than correctly calling out a multi million dollar entertainment company's marketing plan.

Nothing makes a blogger happy than correctly calling out a multi million dollar entertainment company’s marketing plan.

 

I could go into more marketing material but today, this Friday, I want to create a list for some of the Heroes I want to see in the game. Because the best thing about this game than say any of it’s other competition in the A.R.T.S/Moba genre is that Blizzard already has three expansive universe that they could continuously harvest from for years to come.

One (or all of the) Dragon Aspects from World of Warcraft.

These were my favorite characters from the Warcraft universe, they were there from the beginning with the creation of the Well of Eternity and they fought besides the players against Deathwing at the end of Cataclysm.

Plus how cool it would be incorporating powers like time manipulation into the game.

Plus how cool it would be incorporating powers like time manipulation into the game.

Deckard Cain from Diablo

This character has been an established character since the original Diablo and while playing through Diablo 3 for the first time I felt a bit anticlimactic killing him off in the first Act, it would be cool seeing an old fragile man going 1v1 against Diablo himself on the battlefield.

I could totally see him play as a support/specialist

I could totally see him play as a support/specialist

 

A heroes from Blizzard’s still super secret T.I.T.A.N MMO

We know this project is eventually coming and even someone with no background in marketing can tell you that the moment project T.I.T.A.N is announced or hits the beta that Blizzard will be releasing a special HotS hero from that series. We now the game is in the works, it is better just to get it out of the way now.

 

An Innkeeper from World of Warcraft

I want something like an Inn Keeper in Heroes of the Storm, because it would be hilarious to see a game full of powerful heroes and villains to see one normal NPC in the heroes roster and fighting besides aliens, demons and important world leaders.

If they really wanted to connect it to a franchise they could have it be a new Hearthstone character.

If they really wanted to connect it to a franchise they could have it be a new Hearthstone character.

 

Those are just my pick for additional heroes to add to the game, but I want to know what you think, What characters from Blizzards games do you want to see in Heroes of the Storm? Leave a comment down below I would love to hear want other people want from this game.

And Blizzard, if you are reading this, I can not wait to see you at this year’s PAX East.

 

 


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#351 Why I am the Perfect Heroes of the Storm Player

Some stirrings around the internet has revealed that an early build of Heroes of the Storm has made it into the hands of some people on the internet and that means that a beta version of the game is on the horizon. With that I believe now is the best time to write the third installment of one of my oldest blogging series, explaining why I am the perfect player to play the Beta of Heroes of the Storm.

The storm is coming

The storm is coming

This series started way back in the early single digits when I explained how I was the perfect Diablo 3 player because I knew nothing about the previous Diablo games so I could offer the purest feedback without any bias from the old games. (Be MOP #25)

Fun fact I wrote that blog post because I one of my college professors was a proud Greek man and I knew he would be flabbergasted if he ever learned that I used a famous Socrates quote to justify getting playing a videogame

Fun fact I wrote that blog post because I one of my college professors was a proud Greek man and I knew he would be flabbergasted if he ever learned that I used a famous Socrates quote to make my case for me to play a videogame

I made my case about Hearthstone because with my past experience with Pokemon TCG and  Magic the Gathering would help Blizzard with giving feedback when it came to balancing some of the odder and unconventional deck builds. (Be MOP #240)

Now I get to make my case for Heroes of the Storm. First off I got the experience of playing Blizzard games for years and I have been writing about them for years so I know the ropes when it comes to their participating in Blizzard’s betas.

But more importantly I have been following this game’s development cycle ever since I first mentioned when I compared Blizzard to the Pokemon company with their choices to expanding into different genre of games (Be MOP #68) to when I was predicting Blizzard’s major announcement in last year’s PAX East (Be MOP #191). I was there to write about the official acknowledgement that the game is still in production in the Activision-Blizzard financial results (Be MOP#219) after months of no updates on the game and all the way through their third final name change (Be MOP #288).

If comedy have taught me anything it is that a good running gag needs a killer ending to finish off the series and I like of no better ending than letting me into the beta.

So Blizzard, Please?

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Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

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#350 Blizzard’s ‘No Game is an Island’ Marketing Plan

Blizzard is back in my sights with their recent announcement that their newest game, Hearthstone, has moved out of the Beta stage and have officially released to the public.

A game that was first relieved at Pax East last year, which is surprising in terms of game development cycle.

A game that was first relieved at Pax East last year, which is surprising in terms of game development cycle.

I played the game when it was in Beta a while ago but for one reason or another I dropped it for various reasons that I have now forgotten. As of writing the final game is for PCs and Macs with an iOS version in the works with no work on the Android version.

What caught my eye from the Hearthstone release was the promotional World of Warcraft Hearthstone mount that you can get when three games. I do like this line of thinking with this promotion not only because I am a former mount collector in WoW but because it looks like it is Blizzard’s new long-term marketing plan. A marketing plan that I now will be calling ‘No Game is an Island’ with Blizzard using all of their existing games to offer a promotional in game prizes as incentive for players to buy their new Intellectual Property.

 I like to imagine that this long-term plan was started in a Blizzard executive meeting when they saw the signs that World of Warcraft was not going to last forever.

I like to imagine that this long-term plan was started in a Blizzard executive meeting when they saw the signs that World of Warcraft was not going to last forever.

 

This have been in the works for a while, it started with StarCraft II and Diablo 3 with the announcement to add exclusive non-combat no more pets in the collector editions to try to get existing WoW players to buy the more expensive versions of the game.

we saw that idea expanded with the StarCraft II's and Diablo 3's collector edition of their expansion packs with both of theme offering exclusive portraits and banners sigils for each other

we saw that idea expanded with the StarCraft II’s and Diablo 3′s collector edition of their expansion packs with both of theme offering exclusive portraits and banners sigils for each other

 

Then now that long-term plan evolved into the creation of the Free to Play Heathstone and Heroes of the Storm games which advertise the other paid games and the merger of their various game launchers into one meta Blizzard launcher.

It is a brilliant move, and it reminds me of Valve's introduction of Team Fortress 2's hats that you can only get by preordering other games that you bought through their Steam service.

It is a brilliant move, and it reminds me of Valve’s introduction of Team Fortress 2′s hats that you can only get by preordering other games that you bought through their Steam service.

 

Blizzard’s plan only works with active Intellectual Property, which might be the reason why we saw the release of StarCraft II and Diablo 3 in the past few years after an extremely long hiatus of the games. I am also excited to see what this might mean for Blizzard with for the future, especially with their Hero of the Storm starting to be prepped for a beta release.

With a free constantly updating Action Real Time strategy game like Heroes of the Storm this is an open invitation for Blizzard to start pumping out executive cosmetic items or hero skins for HotS as rewards, incentives for buying certain paid games or participating in time limited in games events or attending video game conventions like BlizzCon and possibly the upcoming PAX East.

I have not had much interest in Blizzard games ever since I stopped playing World of Warcraft but I hope that this and more importantly the Heroes of the Storm will get me back in to playing their games and from there who knows I might even pick Starcraft II or Diablo again.


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Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

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#342 Blizzard and Microtransactions (part II)

Oh it is this something special, I get to talk about Blizzard and World of Warcraft again, call it a callback to Be MOP’s earlier days (which was about six months ago before I decided not the renew my Warcraft subscription). Blizzard made headlines because they recently announced that their newest virtual shop item, any one of your characters to be instantly boosted to lv 90, will be sold at $60.

Image from WoW Insider

This is not the first time I talked about the latest addition to the Battle.net store, funny enough the last time I threw my two cents in about the Blizzard Store was 99 posts ago (Be MOP #243) Image from WoW Insider

Ignoring the fact that WoW is still subscription based and you still need to buy expansion packs this is quite a bit of money to spend for a in-game purchase.

This one item is Battle.net shop equals to one of the latest current-gen AAA game or four months of WoW play time just for the ability to skip the leveling process in a MMO. We could call it a E-shop purchase but this is a microtransaction and one that is a bit too big to be called ‘micro’ any more.

Initially the idea of micro-transaction is supposed to offer the player cosmetic goods that does not unbalance the game, like Blizzard’s mounts and Valve’s hats in TF2  or bypass the tedious parts of the free to play game, like the ability to either buy the newest champion with your money or grind up in-game victory points in League of Legends by yourself.

From the business point of view micro-transactions are meant to be small enough to justify the  impulse buy when the prompt comes up. Very similar to the dollar menu at a drive through or the candy shelf at the checkout aisle at the grocery store. It a microtransaction should not be enough to wait for your next paycheck to come in before heading over to checkout.

Between this and the Batman DLC fiasco (read Be MOP #280 & #338) it seems that the gaming industry is forgetting what microtransactions and downloadable content actually means.

It’s not just Blizzard, other companies have been incorporating in costly microtransactions, trying to push the edge of what is acceptable to pay for these services.

Case in point. Image from Reddit.com

But I want to know what you think: What is your opinion about the $60 price for a level 90 character? Are you planning on buying it?

And do you think there should be a limit on how much a company should charge for the items and services in their in-games shops? If what should it be?

Leave a comment down below I would love to hear what you think on the matter.

 


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Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

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#311 Where are the Winter games?

Yesterday’s snowstorm following close by today’s cold snap has forced me to face the fact that the winter season is in full swing here in New England. As family tradition states that with the winter season I break out the winter sweaters, festive beverages, and Christmas music for the rest of the month.

The problem is that between the decorations around the house and the holiday events around the town I do not have any games that properly captures the winter season. Fall has the Halloween holiday to define that time of the year and with that there are a slew of horror and zombies to best compliment the season, so much so that Valve had their own Halloween sale offering huge discount with almost every game that had the word zombie in the title.

 

Sure we have the Winter Steam sales but those aren't winter themed games

Sure we have the Winter Steam sales but those aren’t winter themed games

 

I can not think of any games that I know of that capture the spirit of winter.  Off the top of my head the Batman Arkham City because of the entire game takes place in gothic city during the winter time and in a pinch you could argue Paper Please could fit into the winter category if you ever wanted to feel like you were living with your family in a harsh a communist country funded apartment without any free heating.

Living in a bedroom with no heating fits pretty well right now

talk about a cold game

I ask this because this is the first winter that I am not subscribed to World of Warcraft, so I can not relay on Blizzard’s Feast of Winter Veil event for my yearly fix for the winter season themed games.

I will miss looting the Stolen Present from the Abominable Greench

I will miss looting the Stolen Present from the Abominable Greench

So I am opening this to everyone, what are some of your go-to games to get into winter seasons when the it starts getting cold outside?


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Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

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