Automated Matchmaking Raids, eSports, New Books

BlizzCon Opening Week

The Heroes of the Storm, Wow Arena World Championships, Hearthstone World Championship and the Starcraft II World Championship Series Global Finals will be held October 28 – November 1st. Lots of money on the table. Heroes of the Storm has a $500,000 prize pool. The others have a $250,000 prize pool. You can see on the screen more information about it and if you’re really interested, you can watch it live. In comparison, the League of Legends prize pool is $2.1M and the Dota 2 prize pool was $18.4M. Blizzard has multiple games so $1.2M for them all isn’t bad considering they are much smaller audiences. Makes LoL look small though, doesn’t it considering all the money Leagues. Moving on….

Matchmaking Normal Difficulty Groups

There was a request on the forums to make an automated system for matchmaking normal difficulty raids.

Do you think blizz should put a lfr-like queue to normal mode raids which has been split the way lfr has been? You could get in easily and clear part of the raid for example each day. If you join a PUG they will want to clear as much as possible. It is easier to fit a 30-1h raid and do small part of the raid each day than do entire or almost entire raid in one go that could take several hours?”

Rolling my eyes…

A Blue responded:

Very unlikely, the extra convenience of having an automated queuing system for normal mode would be immediately defeated by the lack of coordination that these groups are usually accustomed to.

LFR’s difficulty level is tuned exactly to match the level of coordination that one can expect (on average) from a group formed by an automated system.

Given that extra option, I believe very few would be satisfied with queueing for LFR only.

What you said actually sounds reasonable at first, but once such an option becomes available, it creates false expectations. If such content isn’t properly tuned for random grouping, it will only lead to nerf requests. We see that happening all the time even in LFR as I’m sure you’re all aware, especially when new raids launch and they’re slightly over-tuned.

There’s also this issue with automated systems and their detrimental effects on the social potential of a game, which is an essential factor for any mmorpg, so we want to be very careful whenever we expand or change such systems.

No. Just…no. There are so many other things that need to be done, especially before the expansion comes out, that are a much higher priority. For example, getting rid of that stupid ass smile on Taurens. How is a player supposed to be menacing going into a fight with a smile…I don’t even….Hahaha…moving on.

Partnership with Random House LLC for new novels

Blizzard is working with Random House to bring two new novels next year, World of Warcraft: Illidan by William King to be released in March and an original Starcraft novel by Timothy Zahn – no release date on that. They intend to release other novels based on other Blizzard universes.

Two things stuck out to me in the video:

  1. The books give them the chance to tell stories they do not have time to tell in their games. Don’t have time? DON’T HAVE TIME? Seriously? We have a content drought and you don’t have time to tell stories? You had time, you mismanaged it.
  2.  It gives them a chance to expand their universes. I hope this means NEW lore, that with better time management, will make it into the game so players can experience it. Kinda sucks if players have to purchase and read books to get the store “great stories” that could be in the game.

Responding to questions

Because I suck at responding to questions, I thought I’d answer some in this video. First up:

Blinking Twin: “Tbh, I’m not interested in unlocking flying. To me, Draenor is a really really boring zone, only second to  Vash. At most, I leave my garrison to farm pets and mounts I want in past content or to trap beasts in Nagrand for leather. Why grind to fly in a zone I hate?”

That is a very good question and I totally get what you are saying. The reason why I did it is 1) I like the fact it unlocks flying for all my toons so leveling others is more time efficient. 2) Farming is more enjoyable now. The main reason is 3) This is a new system they are implementing, one they said will continue in the future. Their goal was for players to PLAY the content. What if they make the Pathfinder achievement a requirement for Legion? It’s not like this hasn’t happened before with the original flying achievements. Because the goal was for players to PLAY the content, it’s very possible they might do this. It would suck incredibly if I had to go back to Draenor in Legion to fly. So I would suggest to those skipping flying to keep an eye out for information on this. By the time Legion releases, millions will be flying so making it a requirement, like they have in the past, wouldn’t be surprising at all and it’s a reward to the players who did it. Just sayin’. Do you though.

Cbatgm said: This is why flying should have cost money at level cap, and been available at launch.  Blizzard lost how many millions of people again?  Half their players?  You can’t just throw a bunch of grinding in people’s faces and expect them to keep playing.

Also, RNG needs to just go away forever.  Give me linear progression and a token system any day!  If they want some randomness they can give me a random number of tokens every time I run the dungeon/raid/whatever.  Or make a random chance for items to drop, but also let me buy them with tokens if they never drop.  And I’m talking EVERYTHING – mounts, pets, you name it.  I’m still mad I never got that pet from MC during the anniversary, even though I ran it EVERY DAY.  On multiple characters no less!

IMO, the way quests, dungeons, etc. work are old school – they should have evolved by now. One of the things I like about Skyforge is that you upgrade things and receive currencies for your participation in game events. I don’t like they that limit you but I think that kind of system should evolve a bit, or another system that more consistently rewards players for their time. When MMOs first came out, 10+ years ago, there weren’t that many MMOs let alone games. Now…there are more games than people have the time/money to spend. That doesn’t include all the things that people can do that are much less expensive to do now that 10+ years ago, like flying/travel. Let’s not forget all these open world games coming out now – use to be Skyrim was the only “real” contender for that. How many players are going to still be enjoying Fallout 4 when Legion drops? It’s time for MMO development to evolve IMO to effectively compete.

What do you think? Are there games you can recommend that handle this better? Let me know in the comments.