Blizzard is paying the price for being in bed with Activision

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Mantis
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Re: Blizzard is paying the price for being in bed with Activision

Post by Mantis » Sun Nov 25, 2018 1:51 pm

I'm not sure exactly how free from influence they've been. The merger was 2008-ish and Diablo 3 launched in 2012 with a gameplay crippling real money auction house. The franchise has been limping on ever since thanks primarily to initial efforts to monetise it further, and it seems that the money men behind the scenes wanted to cut their losses with it and pulled the plug on a second expansion pack even though the team were doing a good job of turning the game around with Reaper of Souls.

Of course we'll never really know for certain.

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Re: Blizzard is paying the price for being in bed with Activision

Post by DjchunKfunK » Sun Nov 25, 2018 3:36 pm

Blaming Activision for the Diablo 3 auction house is giving Blizzard far too much credit, that was a Blizzard decision. It's tempting to just blame Activision for all the bad decisions Blizzard have made over the last few years, but Blizzard are no angels and are just as capable of making decisions based purely around money. Blizzard have always talked up their independence and ex and current employees in that article talk about how the culture is changing now which suggests before they were more independent.

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Re: Blizzard is paying the price for being in bed with Activision

Post by Mantis » Sun Nov 25, 2018 3:50 pm

Hence why I said that we'll never really know. What about the awful pricing structure of Hearthstone and the way the game makes it hard to obtain a decent deck without spending a lot of cash or no lifing it? What about the loot boxes in Overwatch?

All we know is that since the two companies merged Blizzard have increasingly released more games with these questionable elements to them. I doubt even the employees at Blizzard are fully aware of how much influence Activision has had on them over the years, perhaps they're just being more overt about it now.

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Re: Blizzard is paying the price for being in bed with Activision

Post by Alan » Sun Nov 25, 2018 4:16 pm

Valve aren’t owned by Activision and Dota loot boxes and card game pricing is also out of whack - worse than Hearthstone it would seem. Cannie blame Activision for everything.
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Re: Blizzard is paying the price for being in bed with Activision

Post by Raid » Sun Nov 25, 2018 4:43 pm

Exactly. Hearthstone and Overwatch are I think two of the biggest contributors to the state of modern gaming monetisation, but the former at least is based around an existing concept. Physical card games have long employed the same business model, so it seemed an obvious move, but at the end of the day you then have a physical card that you can trade or sell. Overwatch was simply extending that same system of random chance. I don't think Activision can really be held responsible, and I refuse to keep Blizzard as a separate entity in my head. Regardless of how much creative control they retained as part of the merger / buyout (I forget which), they still have shareholders, and shareholders hold the real power as they can replace an exec that won't bow to their dividend-increasing whims.

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Re: Blizzard is paying the price for being in bed with Activision

Post by DjchunKfunK » Sun Nov 25, 2018 8:42 pm

Mantis wrote:
Sun Nov 25, 2018 3:50 pm
Hence why I said that we'll never really know. What about the awful pricing structure of Hearthstone and the way the game makes it hard to obtain a decent deck without spending a lot of cash or no lifing it? What about the loot boxes in Overwatch?

All we know is that since the two companies merged Blizzard have increasingly released more games with these questionable elements to them. I doubt even the employees at Blizzard are fully aware of how much influence Activision has had on them over the years, perhaps they're just being more overt about it now.
In both those examples Blizzard are just applying industry ideas to their own games, something they have been renowned for doing throughout their history. Just because in this case they happen to be practices people don't like it doesn't mean Blizzard are not responsible. In the case of Hearthstone the pricing model is baked into the core of the game so it would be hard for Activision to mandate something like that.

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Re: Blizzard is paying the price for being in bed with Activision

Post by Lee » Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:34 am

Achtung Englander wrote:
Fri Nov 23, 2018 1:19 pm
Blizzard's inertia is pure corporate alpha male decision making. The people who are in control of the purse strings and direct project funding are the least informed about the games and the community. Why ?

- they don't play games. Hardly anyone in a suit / boardroom office actually plays games, let alone their own . I know this, I have seen it with my own eyes.
- they will chase the most popular thing right now without thinking that by the time their thing comes out, it is already out of vogue
- they think they know what is best because they have a big salary (I am not kidding here)
- they don't follow their own community and think its a waste of time
- they will not listen to new ideas or take a risk on anything remotely original because its untested. When they do take a risk and it becomes popular they will milk the cow until its dead - Guitar Hero, Skylanders, modern warfare games
- they need to make money now and as much of it as possible. So cancelling projects and jobs is an easy win if it means churning out Shooter XIV because they know some people will buy it

This is why with this generation of games (2013 - ) almost all are sequels, offer nothing new in gameplay mechanics and almost all have DLC, MTX as part of their core. They are using gambling mechanisms to get more money to make up for offering less like no SP narrative, less content, open world sandbox shooters where you have to make the fun for yourself.

AAA game development is going backward for the most part. Only Sony 1st party games are offering something new and Rockstar is going bigger and bolder. For originality and dare I say, fun, look towards indie.
So on point there Achtung Englander but I will add that since Overwatch blew up as much of as cash cow all their games have to be making that or more now. Lets be honest that bubble burst and people have been spending less on DLC/skins since then. Only proof I have is those I would play with said games been driving off buying them. Once it finally dawned on them that they were paying shit loads more than say in Hero's of The Storm where you could buy the skins you liked straight up.

Holding Overwatch as the minimal is beyond study now. And I can see why they went to mobile with Diablo to try and do the same before the bubble burst there. That is if Chinese where smart enough not get stuck in the pay to win mentality.

Now instead of being market leaders they are chasing the current fads like EA/Ubisoft/Microsoft is. Pretty sad way to end.
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Re: Blizzard is paying the price for being in bed with Activision

Post by Alan » Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:25 am

Remember they were selling mount skins in WoW for £20 ten years ago. They were pioneers of the wallet worm.
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Re: Blizzard is paying the price for being in bed with Activision

Post by Mantis » Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:53 pm

Heroes of the Storm esports events cancelled for 2019, development team being downsized to effectively maintenance mode.

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2018 ... orts-plans

Clearly wasn't making enough money for the tastes of that new financial director they brought over from Activision.

Pretty disappointing news as I still play HotS quite a lot, it's the only MOBA I've ever really had any fun with.

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Re: Blizzard is paying the price for being in bed with Activision

Post by Alan » Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:07 pm

I wanted to like it but it all felt very shallow and weightless. Felt like a war of attrition more than anything.
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Re: Blizzard is paying the price for being in bed with Activision

Post by Mantis » Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:19 pm

It's seen a fair few changes and overhauls over the last couple of years but is still the same game at its core. I just like it because of how it makes use of all their IP.

I wonder what exactly are Blizzard developing when they say they have so many unannounced projects. They haven't released anything since 2016, and Overwatch was a pretty lucky success given how much trouble they went through salvaging it out of Titan. All that's currently announced is the Diablo mobile title and that is being outsourced anyway.

Hopefully they've got something pretty big up their sleeves, because at the moment they're killing off HotS and have let both Diablo and Starcraft fade into obscurity.

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Re: Blizzard is paying the price for being in bed with Activision

Post by DjchunKfunK » Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:29 pm

With the pressure from Activision and the way their storied franchises have sort of fell by the wayside, it feels like Blizzard are at a real crossroads.

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Re: Blizzard is paying the price for being in bed with Activision

Post by Alan » Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:49 pm

Do you think the guitar hero music licences could transfer over to Rock N Roll Racing 2? :-k :-k :-k
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Re: Blizzard is paying the price for being in bed with Activision

Post by Raid » Fri Dec 14, 2018 3:21 pm

DjchunKfunK wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:29 pm
With the pressure from Activision and the way their storied franchises have sort of fell by the wayside, it feels like Blizzard are at a real crossroads.
I think the crossroads was years ago. How many games playable entirely in single-player have Blizzard actually released since the Activision deal? Their most recent was Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void (2015), and that's only if you consider Starcraft II as being three separate games (the original Wings of Liberty came out in 2010), and the only other non-Starcraft product was Diablo III (2012, 2014 for Reaper of Souls). In the meantime they've released Hearthstone, Overwatch, multiple expansions for WoW, and Heroes of the Storm, all of which have been fully monetised.

Blizzard became a monetised-multiplayer company years ago, it's just that they had so much good will to use up that people didn't really start to complain until recently.

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Re: Blizzard is paying the price for being in bed with Activision

Post by DjchunKfunK » Sat Dec 15, 2018 10:45 am

I don't think it really matters whether they have released single player or multiplayer games, up to now they have still been able to go at their own pace and choose the games they made. I don't think Activision pushed them into making more multiplayer focused games either. Blizzard are famous for looking at what is popular right now and then putting the Blizzard spin on it so it makes sense that they have been more multiplayer focused recently.

When I talk about being at a crossroads I mean in terms of whether they will be able to adapt to a faster pace of development and still keep up the level of quality, or will they just become another part of Activision that shovels out average games.

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